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Steering Committee Introductions: Nathan R.G. Barnett

Hello there! I’m Nathan R. G. Barnett, my pronouns are he/him, and I am a settler who lives, works, learns, and exists on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, covered under the Williams Treaties. I’m also the Vice President of University Affairs (VPUA) at the Trent Durham Student Association (TDSA) for the 2021-22 year and if that looks a little familiar to you, that would be because I was also in this role last year! I’m so excited to be able to continue doing this work and to develop and learn more as a student leader. Now, when I’m not busy working, I love reading, sewing and watching (mostly re-watching) the same 5 TV shows I’ve seen a million times but that still get me every single time. 

 

I’m also a recent graduate from Trent’s Social Work program, and while I am excited to be out of school for a bit, I definitely will miss it. Social work has been, and continues to be, a great passion of mine ever since I first took a course in it, coincidentally the first class I ever took at the post-secondary level. The values and commitment to social justice and equity have always spoken to me, and this degree has allowed me to develop my skills and confidence in regards to advocacy. 

 

I began getting involved with advocacy and student politics in my second year at Trent, through an on-campus job running health and wellness events. Due to the small nature of the Trent Durham campus, a lot of the people I got to know at my events were also involved with the TDSA and, as I became friends with a lot of them, I was encouraged to run in an election and won my first election as a director on the TDSA board for my third year. During this time, I also got involved with OUSA, first through student consultations for the Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Students paper and then as an author. This opportunity really solidified my desire to work in policy and advocacy, and at the end of my third year, I ran for and won my election for VPUA. Last year was definitely a unique experience that I wasn’t expecting when I ran but I had a great experience, so here I am doing it all over again! 

 

As we come into another strange year, I’m looking forward to being a resource and advocate for and with students, particularly students who have been disproportionately impacted over the years like queer students, racialized students, students with disabilities, and students coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds. I’m also looking forward to spending the next year working with students, my fellow SC members, and the government to best support student needs through better financial aid, more mental health supports, and equity initiatives.