Campus community at a Pride UBC event
August 8, 2019
4 mins read

Expressing yourself & supporting others on a diverse campus

UBC’s an incredibly diverse place—here, you’ll get the thrilling opportunity to meet and make friends with students from over 160 countries! Maybe you’re wondering if you will fit into this community?

The answer—you do. 

UBC strives to be a welcoming, caring, and inclusive space for everyone—and that includes you! During your time here, you’ll have lots of ways to share your ideas and opinions and find resources to help you express your identity and voice your needs.

As students, we’re part of a campus with close to 55,000 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!

UBC has many campus resources that can support you in expressing who you are—as well as being supportive of others so they feel included, too.

First, you can go by the name you want

Names can be deeply connected—if not paramount—to our identity. At UBC, you can choose the name you want to be known by. Staff and faculty (e.g. your profs, TAs, ES Advisors) will call you by your preferred/chosen name (different from your legal name). 

You can update your preferred name via the Student Service Centre (SSC). Go 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 the system.)

You can also have your preferred name on your UBCcard. If you have yet to apply, update your preferred name on the SSC first before applying for your UBCcard. If you’ve already got your card, you can request a new one with your preferred name—at no charge—on the UBCcard website or in person at the UBC Access Desk in the UBC Bookstore.

For more info on preferred names—and their importance—visit the website of UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO).

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

  • Sign up for a disability awareness workshop to learn more via the Centre for Accessibility 
  • Apply to be a paid student assistant for clients with accessibility needs, e.g. peer tutor, mobility assistant, and notetaker (you can find any current openings on CareersOnline or your profs may seek volunteers in classes)

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 religious days
  • If you’re organizing a campus event, ensure students of any or no faith can participate and be comfortable

More general ways to get informed and give support

  • Participate in workshops and opportunities on the Centre for Accessibility blog
  • Support others by being an active bystander
  • Take a course in the fields of diversity appealing to you, e.g. Critical Studies in Sexuality (CSIS); Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice (GRSJ); Religious Studies (RELG)
  • Join diversity-related campus clubs that interest you

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.

You belong here, whatever your identity may be. Express your opinions, identity, and needs—and take steps to help others feel that they belong, too. We can all make campus a welcoming and caring place for everyone!