Joanna Sugunathazan

University of Waterloo Co-op Student

Joanna Sugunathazan, 20, is a third-year student in environment and business at the University of Waterloo. She recently finished a four-month co-op position as a philanthropy clerk with United Way, helping our team stay organized during the hustle and bustle of campaign season.

“It means a lot to me to find a job or a role where I’m making a meaningful impact. The reason I wanted to apply for this position is because I have a desire to see change in our society. If I was to draw a connection, I guess you could say that in school I’m constantly learning about sustainability. For the most part I’m learning about it from an environmental standpoint — but political and social sustainability is what keeps society running at its most efficient level.

“When you look at some of the work that United Way supports, the programs ensure that people in our society aren’t left behind, and that’s part of being sustainable. We can have all this progress and technology but it means nothing if there are people in our community being left behind.

“Communities don’t function without humans who care about each other. It’s easy to go online and see all the hate because people can attack one another without seeing the other side of things. But when you bring it back to real life, it’s hard to ignore some of the things you see in your community. You don’t watch your neighbour suffering and just sit there. It’s nice to know at the end of the day that we are human, and at the core of our nature we are meant to care for one another and protect one another.”

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