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Bradley Sarandi Receives 2020 Warren Gill Award
Congratulations to this year's 2020 Warren Gill Memorial Award recipient - Bradley Sarandi!
Named in memory of a former faculty colleague, the Warren Gill Memorial Award is given every year to a third year student in Human Geography who displays outstanding leadership and/or service to the community.
Learn more about this year's recipient in the Q & A below:
Q & A with 2020 Warren Gill Award Recipient - Bradley Sarandi
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you go to high school/college? What program are you in at SFU and what led to your interest in this program?
I graduated from Burnaby Central Secondary in 2018 and have spent my life growing up in Burnaby. I am a third-year Human Geography major at SFU with minors in Development and Sustainability and Dialogue in Communications. My interest in human geography was sparked in my senior year of high school. Upon learning about the imminent risks of climate change and other social justice issues related to the environment, my fascination in learning more about environmental studies and creating positive change began. SFU has truly fostered my curiosity for learning more about geography and the timely intersectionality between various issues that we face today.
2. Are you involved in any extra-curricular and/or volunteer activities and how do these contribute to your experience as a student?
This semester, I have gotten significantly more involved with extra-curricular activities outside my studies. Currently, my main route of volunteering is with Embark Sustainability as the Social Sustainability Coordinator. I am also the SFSS representative for the BESU, part of the welcome team as an Environmentor, and a member of the Developmental Advisory Council for the sustainability office just to name a few. I also work on my own start-up, Cultivate Inclusivity which has been incubated through a variety of SFU programs, in my spare time. I highly recommend getting involved as they have truly made me far more engaged with my studies and allowed me to experience a greater sense of community at SFU.
3. What have you enjoyed most about your SFU experience so far?
I have really enjoyed the variety of different subject areas that I have been able to take part in and learn more about at SFU. I have been able to participate in so many awesome experiential programs that have allowed me to develop critical skills. I really enjoyed SFU’s experiential learning programs like the Semester in Dialogue which allowed me to learn from the interdisciplinary student knowledge in the cohort, experience a different learning style and connect with various changemakers in the community.
4. What have you found most challenging about the transition to university studies and how have you worked to overcome this?
I learned that my university success was dependent on my own hard work and determination. Nobody was going to be there to hold my hand if I wanted something to be done. I quickly realized that I had to be driven to achieve the various goals that I wanted to accomplish. Being in post-secondary, I had the challenging perception that we were expected to come equipped with a specific academic level and this held me back with my fear of messing up in my first semester of courses. I learned the valuable lesson that we are always continuing to learn and being able to deal with the discomfort of being wrong has resulted in a good vulnerability that has advanced my knowledge.
5. What have you learned and/or what skills/knowledge have you developed through your program at SFU?
My studies in geography have allowed me to learn about the complexity of sustainability and climate change and the importance of community engagement and accountability to solve these complex issues. I have became a much better critical thinker and have learned to analyze where academic ideas come from and the various biases and assumptions that can lie within them.
Most importantly to my academic career, SFU has allowed me various ways that I could take individual action and engage with the greater community throughout my studies. I have been able to utilize my studies in geography and integrate different skills like dialogue facilitation in many of my experiential pursuits and have been able to learn from a variety of different local organizations and individuals regarding climate, social justice, sustainability and resilience through SFU’s programs like the Semester in Dialogue and Civic Innovation Change Lab.
6. What advice do you have for future students in this program?
It sounds cliché but taking risks is never a bad thing. You can never know what the future holds but if you never take risks, you’ll never know what could have been. I also encourage students to get involved far earlier than I did. Being connected with your fellow students will allow you to have a much fuller and more rewarding university experience.