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A group of students sitting outdoors on a hill talking and laughing together
June 8, 2023
4 mins read

Express yourself & support others in a diverse community

Diversity flourishes at UBC: students from more than 160 countries make up our unique community!  

UBC strives to be a welcoming, caring, and inclusive space for everyone—and that includes you! During your time as a UBC undergrad, you’ll have lots of ways to share your ideas and opinions (from scholarly conversations to group projects), and find resources to help you express your identity and voice your needs.

As students, we’re part of a UBC Vancouver community with close to 59,000 learners just like ourselves, so we all share the responsibility of respecting the identities, opinions, and needs of others, which may differ from our own. 

UBC’s Respectful Environment policy reminds us of how important it is to help others feel that their opinions and ways of self-expression matter—whether that’s in the classroom or while attending UBC events!

UBC has many resources that can support you in expressing who you are—and help you support others so they feel included, too.

A group of students walking together in the UBCLife building

First, you can go by the name you want

Names are central to our identity. At UBC, staff and faculty (e.g. your profs, TAs, ES Advisors) call you by your preferred/chosen name (different from your legal name). This means that you can choose the name you want to be known by.

You can update your preferred name via the Student Service Centre (SSC). Head to Personal Info > Contact Summary > Name. The earlier the update, the faster the records (e.g. class lists and Canvas) get updated. (The changes take 48 hours to show up on these systems.)

Expressing yourself & supporting others: Tips and resources  

Here are just some examples of ways you can find support in expressing your identity and needs, and helping those around you to do the same.

Accessibility needs 

Ways to get support

If you’re a student with a disability or an ongoing medical condition, you can:

Ways to give support
  • Apply to be a paid student assistant (e.g. peer tutor, mobility assistant, and notetaker) for clients with accessibility needs. You can find current openings on CareersOnline. Notetaker positions are usually posted just before or shortly after the start of term, so check around then!
  • Educate yourself about experiences of persons with disabilities and ways to be inclusive in your daily and academic settings
  • Ensure your events are inclusive and accessible
  • Follow @ubcequity and sign-up for the Inclusive UBC newsletter to engage with learning opportunities.

Gender and sexual diversity

Ways to get support
Ways to give support

Racial/ethnic diversity

Ways to get support
Ways to give support

Religious/spiritual diversity

Ways to get support
Ways to give support
  • Learn about days of significance, including religious holidays and cultural observances
  • If you’re organizing a UBC event, ensure students of any or no faith can participate and be comfortable

More general ways to get informed and give support

Lastly, 3 things to remember

  1. Every student—including you!—is important and has something to contribute to UBC, and our collective diversity is what makes UBC so unique
  2. Not all diversity is visible, so avoid assuming others’ identity or needs
  3. If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable, you can get help from UBC’s campus services (emailing them would be a good starting point!)

You belong here. Express your opinions, identity, and needs—and take steps to help others feel that they belong, too. As we dive into a new term, remember that we can all make our community a welcoming and caring place for everyone!

Header photo credit: Jamil Rhajiak / UBC Brand & Marketing