Volume 97, Issue 3
Thursday, June 5, 2003

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Profile: leadership, social activism the keys to experience

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

Erin McCloskey laughs when she is told some call her a social activist. "It's certainly not a self-proclaimed title," she said. "That is who I try to be."

During her time here at Western, McCloskey accomplished much in the realm of extracurricular activities. She was the VP-education for the University Student's Council, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and President/Co-ordinator with the Women's Issues Network.

Last year she was presented with a personal battle when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and endometriosis. She is now in remission and volunteering her time with the Breast Cancer Society.

"I certainly learned much more outside of the classroom," McCloskey said. Her work with WIN and London's sexual assault centre are what she is most proud of. "It gave me an interesting view into real life problems and provided the opportunity to interact with people one on one."

Through WIN, McClosky educated students about issues such as eating disorders, reproductive rights and women's safety on campus. She added that WIN was able to get young women into the London community as volunteers.

WIN also provided her with the chance to advocate on behalf of single parents in the area who were in need of financial support. "This is something WIN has never done before," she explained.

In her role at WIN, she brought the Vagina Monologues to London, which raised more than $10,000 for local women's organizations.

"I want to encourage women to take a more active role in their health," she said. Her experience with breast cancer led her to urge other young women to be aware of their own health. "I don't think anyone in this age group would even think to check for things like breast cancer, but I was diagnosed when I was 22."

With OUSA, McCloskey lobbied the government about the value and quality of education.

"[There needs to be] a growing social focus on more accessible quality post-secondary education," McCloskey said. "Everybody's [university] experience is totally what they make it," she added. "The level of opportunity at Western is much better than at any other university I've seen."

Extracurricular activities were an extremely positive experience, McClosky said, adding she would encourage students to get involved outside the classroom.

McCloskey will be graduating with a bachelor of science degree on Thurs, June 5 in Alumni Hall. She is currently working in a federal government office and hopes to attend medical school in the fall of 2004.

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2002 THE GAZETTE