Apart from gruelling academics and athletics, universities also offer students the chance to join or start a club comprised of students with similar interests working towards a common goal. With a wide variety of organizations ranging from humanitarian-based to creative to cultural, the University of Toronto Mississauga is no different. The Medium sat down with Rumsha Daimee, a third year UTM student majoring in psychology and criminology, to discuss how she cofounded UNICEF UTM this year.
UNICEF, which stands for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, primarily “helps children who are suffering around the world.” Founded in 1946 to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries which had been devastated by World War II, UNICEF now operates in 190 countries. It supplies vaccines for 40% of the world’s children and supports many other health, education, and emergency initiatives.
Daimee believes that “all universities should have a UNICEF branch” to allow students who are interested a chance “to get involved.” She firmly states that with the help of university students, it “would make a bigger impact” and it gives students a chance to “hold events and fundraisers [on a larger scale] than high school.”
When asked as to what inspired her to open a UNICEF branch at UTM, Daimee replies that she had always “wanted to start a club” but she chose to focus on a charity since it gave her a chance to “help people.” She pursued UNICEF because “[she] thought it was [well-known] so people would support it more easily.” Daimee also reminisces that “when [she] was little, [she] admired celebrities that were UNICEF ambassadors [and] always wanted to be somehow a part of UNICEF like them.”
The group’s goals for this year include “establishing [themselves] as a club at UTM—something that people know exists,” and to “try to do [fundraising] events”. Daimee would also like to “get people at UTM involved and hold events where they have the opportunity to volunteer [and] contribute to the club.”
Recently, the UTM branch of UNICEF held their first fundraiser—a bake sale—at the Student Centre. For Daimee, it “was a little bit nerve-wracking to see if people would buy anything.” However, “they sold out quite a few things and [the members] were very happy. It definitely encouraged [them] to have more fundraisers.” The club is going to be “sending [all the funds] to UNICEF so they can use it for whatever initiatives they need it for.”
To end, Daimee imparts some advice to students who wish to begin their own society or club: “Starting a club can be challenging for sure. But when you have the club, you hold events. [When] your event goes well, it feels really good and you feel you are actually making some sort of impact on the students that are in the university and the organization that you’re supporting.”