April 29, 2019
Student leader reflects on last days as Students' Union president
Sagar Grewal takes advocacy work international
When Sagar Grewal started classes at UCalgary in September 2015, he didn’t know much about politics. But that changed within weeks. While he was too young to vote in the October 2015 federal election, he signed up to help with the Students' Union (SU) Get Out The Vote campaign. “My 18th birthday fell two days after the election,” says Grewal. “Since I was ineligible to vote, I wanted to encourage my peers to exercise a right that we as Canadians are so privileged to have.”
Grewal, the president of the SU until May 3, has a passion for advocacy that has expanded from campus to the United Nations. He was one of two Canadian youth representatives at the recent 2019 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Youth Forum and 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. “It was an honour and privilege to be appointed as a member of the Canadian delegation,” he says.
A meeting of foreign ministers and ambassadors, the High-Level Ministerial Segment, was also taking place and Grewal and youth representatives from more than 30 countries delivered a statement. “We addressed the role youth play in policy development, and the importance of engaging and empowering youth,” he says.
Grewal will travel back to Vienna this summer consult with and help draft a UNODC Youth Engagement Guide to support member states in their drug policy development. “It’s exciting to contribute to literature which will hopefully result in better youth engagement on crucial issues which impact their lives,” he says. “Unfortunately those perspectives are often missing.”
Grewal is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, a non-partisan advisory body to the Prime Minister and Government of Canada on national issues. He’s engaged and consulted youth across the country and contributed to drafting Canada’s first ever National Youth Policy, set to be unveiled later this year. His two-year appointment will terminate in June 2020 when Grewal expects to graduate from the Faculty of Kinesiology with a biomechanics degree with honours.
“Kinesiology was appealing as I wanted to focus on working with people while biomechanics provided me an interdisciplinary education,” he says. “I felt my degree would provide me with many possibilities allowing me to pursue the one which I am most passionate about.”
His decision to attend UCalgary was simple: “The Faculty of Kinesiology is ranked first in North America and seventh globally. This was where I wanted to be.”
Over his years on campus, Grewal has engaged in a number of leadership opportunities, from the Kinesiology Students’ Society to the Leadership and Student Engagement Office to the Board of Governors, demonstrating “the impact of advocacy and engagement” through it all. Next year is the final year of his undergraduate degree. “I plan to continue to further my passion for advocacy through my work with the Prime Minister’s Youth Council while also exploring new opportunities,” he says. “I hope to leave behind a legacy of positive impact.”