In a world where inequality continues to persist, where poverty and hunger remain prevalent challenges, initiatives striving to combat these issues are nothing short of vital. At the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), the United Way Campaign stands as a beacon of hope and collective action, championed by the committed efforts of individuals like Shanzey Ahmed, an industry engagement specialist at UTM.
The United Nations, through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), underscores the urgency to address global challenges. At the heart of these goals lies the mission to eradicate poverty and hunger. Organizations like United Way have taken up the mantle, dedicated to tackling these issues head-on, one community at a time.
Ahmed, a key figure in orchestrating the United Way Campaign at UTM, sheds light on the campaign’s overarching goals, highlighting the paramount importance of unity and fundraising in the pursuit of combating poverty. “Goals for the United Way Campaign include creating opportunities for the UTM community to get together and participate in fun activities while simultaneously raising funds for an important cause,” Ahmed explains.
The crux of the campaign revolves around fundraising efforts that directly contribute to United Way Greater Toronto, an agency steadfast in its commitment to fighting poverty in the local communities of Toronto, York, and Peel.
“UTM staff, students, and faculty have been essential in the success of this campaign every year,” Ahmed notes. Their engagement takes various forms, primarily through participation in a multitude of upcoming events organized in collaboration with UTM departments, groups, and individuals. Moreover, staff members have the opportunity to contribute through direct payroll deductions, showcasing the diverse ways in which the UTM community rallies behind this noble cause.
Looking into the future, Ahmed enthusiastically details the exciting initiatives planned for the remainder of the year. From heartwarming moments like Photos with Santa, to the upcoming Craft Sale at the Staff Christmas Party, these events aim to engage students and raise awareness among the UTM community.
Ahmed also highlights the Library Book Sale slated for November 21 and 22, 2023, calling for donations of books, DVDs, board games, and more. The campaign’s diverse array of activities not only aims to generate funds, but also to foster a sense of community and involvement.
When asked about the significance of the SDGs and UTM’s role in advancing them, Ahmed explains, “Funds raised from this campaign go towards local food banks, homeless shelters, employment support, refugee settlement services, and mental health support, amongst many others.” Ahmed underscores the critical role played by the UTM community’s engagement and donations, particularly given the escalating living costs in the Greater Toronto Area.
The link between the United Nations’ SDGs and the United Way Campaign at UTM stands as a testament to the power of collective action in combating poverty and hunger. Ahmed succinctly encapsulates this, stating: “This campaign is only as successful as the UTM community’s interest in participating in it.” This assertion reinforces the significance of community engagement as the cornerstone of the campaign’s efficacy.
Beyond its immediate impact, the United Way Campaign at UTM symbolizes a paradigm where concerted endeavours transcend individual aspirations, fostering a communal spirit of resilience and empathy. Ahmed’s unwavering dedication coupled with the unwavering commitment of the UTM community serve as a testament to the transformative potential inherent in collaboration and shared determination.
This campaign not only channels resources to essential causes but also cultivates a culture of social consciousness and altruism within the UTM community. It encapsulates a profound understanding that pursuing societal well-being necessitates collective responsibility, echoing the spirit of the SDGs envisioned by the United Nations.
She stresses the campaign’s evolving nature, adapting to current needs and challenges.
Reflecting on the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, Ahmed expresses gratitude for the unwavering support of everyone involved. “As a committee, we are still working hard on bringing the campaign back to pre-pandemic engagement levels and appreciate the support of everyone who continues to get involved and donate,” Ahmed explains.
The impact of the United Way Campaign at UTM transcends mere fundraising. It symbolizes a collective commitment to affecting tangible change, bolstered by Ahmed’s leadership and the support of the UTM community.
As the world grapples with multifaceted challenges, Ahmed’s unwavering dedication to the United Way Campaign at UTM is a testament to the transformative power of collective action. In her leadership, hope thrives, and the pursuit of a world free from poverty and hunger remains steadfast. Ahmed’s vision embodies the belief that change is not just an aspiration: it is an attainable reality through collaborative efforts and shared determination.