About two centuries ago in his paper Death of a Rebellion, Soren Kierkegaard predicted what many philosophers agree is the society we now live in. He predicted that individuals would replace their passions with reflection and as a result, rather than our desire for change motivating us to influence the world, it would be our logic. But thinking about it doesn’t make us actually do it. Why risk failure when one of the seven billion other people on the planet can try? So bad is the inertia in our day and age that we give more credit to people who talk about a problem than to those who try to solve it.
That’s why it’s so refreshing that rather than look for excuses, two students took it upon themselves to change things on campus by starting a club. Third-year students Stella Mbuyi and Denae Ennis founded a UTM club that tries to improve our community through charity work and fundraisers. Inspired by a Tupac quote about “sparking the brain that will” change the world, Ennis and Mbuyi named the club “Ignition”.
The club picks a specific charity to donate to and raise awareness about their work. Changing the focus annually, say Ennis and Mbuyi, allows Ignition to have several different influences in the community and inspire club members with different interests.
“During our first general meeting we listen to suggestions from our members—not for charities, but rather a focus,” says Ennis. “This year we chose to focus on youth. After that the executives of the club research charities that address or are involved in the chosen focus and during our second general meeting, which occurs a little later, we hold a vote to decide our charity for the year. It’s a long and tedious process but we find it necessary that our members are involved in the decision.”
This year, said Ennis, the club chose Unity, an Ontario charity that aims to engage and empower youth to be role models.
To start a club on campus is to fill out forms and meet requirements set by UTMSU, such as a constitution stating the intent of your club, four official executive members, and a list of 25 students who support the club. Having just two founders, what Ignition found hardest to accomplish was getting students to join and remain active.
Mbuyi and Ennis managed to tackle this problem in inventive ways. “We tried to recruit groups and found that a bit easier but it was our model recruitment session—which we held for an upcoming event—that helped us get a lot of members,” said Ennis.
Ignition was behind the Halloween candy grams and the Jamaican patty sales in Davis. Their upcoming events include taking high school students to lectures and explaining to them what the transition to university is like and hosting a multi-genre ’90s-themed performance show called “199X” at the Blind Duck, where they will auction off vintage clothing to generate proceeds.