WRC Distinguished Student Award Recipient 2011
Lauren Webber is a born and raised Calgarian completing her final semester of a degree in International Relations. She hopes to pursue a Masters of Public Health and work with the World Health Organization or a similar area of leadership and diplomacy in international development or foreign affairs. She hopes to work towards a vastly improved global awareness on disease prevention, communicable and non-communicable, with a focus on educating young women in developing nations.
Lauren learned she was elected as the new student body president the day after she lost her mother to a long, painful battle with breast cancer. On March 3, 2010 Heather Webber died at the age of 47, after her third battle with cancer, leaving her three daughters and husband to mourn, along with hundreds of friends and supporters. Before she died, she told her loved ones she didn't want an obituary that said she had lost her battle: the word lost wasn't in her vocabulary. She was the kind of person who motivated others to be their best, to stay positive no matter what and she stayed motivated and upbeat right up until her last days. So, just as her mother had shown resiliently, Lauren remained positive, energetic and motivated. She dedicates all her successes to her mother, sisters, father and peers who have lifted her along her path.
Lauren transferred from the University of Alberta in 2007, and in 2008 was elected to the SU Operations and Finance Commission. In 2009, she was again elected, this time as an external commissioner where she served for the 2008 - 2009 academic year, before being elected president this year. The University of Calgary Students' Union is one of the largest, most successful student advocacy groups amongst Canadian universities. Lauren is the primary spokesperson and representative for nearly 25,000 undergraduate students. She has been actively involved in numerous lobbying campaigns to promote high quality and affordable education system on campus, throughout the province of Alberta and Canada.
Aside from her experience with the Students' Union, Lauren has spent time volunteering as both a spring and fall orientation leader for the Student Success Centre, and in 2009 acted as a fall orientation team lead, where she assisted in planning and implementing all Orientation Week programs.
Since her first year Lauren has also been a WUSC member at the University of Calgary chapter. WUSC is responsible for selecting refugee candidates, placing them at a Canadian post-secondary institution, and providing training and guidance to the sponsored students and local committees throughout the sponsorship process. Lauren assisted in this selection process and helped provide vital social and financial support to the sponsored student. In the general election last year, students were asked in referendum vote for an increase in fees for WUSC campaign. The increase would allow the program to sponsor two refugee students annually rather than the current one refugee student per year. The proposed increase was successful and will soon be able to host two deserving refugees from Africa, next year hoping to bring the first WUSC female student refugee to UCalgary.