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Check out these advocacy and social justice groups on and off campus to start finding your community

Community is a crucial piece of any university experience. It will be even more important this year as we return to campus, particularly for the many students for whom it is not only their first time in Hamilton but also their first time away from home entirely. 

Finding and building community can be difficult enough after a move, nevermind during a pandemic. It can be difficult to know where to start. One place might be the issues in the world you’re passionate about. Groups or organizations dedicated to these issues are wonderful places where both community and social justice advocacy can thrive. Furthermore, having a strong sense of community, while also tackling these issues you care about can help you cultivate support systems not only as you navigate university but also in the face of larger issues.

Included below is a list of groups both on and off campus, sorted by the social justice issues they’re concerned with, who are doing some excellent work in the Hamilton community. It should be noted this is not an exhaustive list of all the wonderful groups and organizations in Hamilton; there are many more groups that can be found both on campus and off.

If you identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, are passionate about 2SLGBTQIA+ rights and peer support:

  1. Pride Community Centre: An McMaster Students Union service, this organization is committed to supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ students, offering educational and peer support programming and resources. They also have a number of events and programs geared specifically to BIPOC students as well.
  2. Queer and Trans Colour Club: A campus club, this group of BIPOC 2SLGBTQIA+ students are dedicated to supporting all members of the BIPOC 2SLGBTQIA+ community on campus.
  3. Speqtrum: A community organization, this group is committed to supporting and creating community for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in Hamilton.

If you’re passionate about anti-racist and anti-oppressive work, check out:

  1. Diversity Services: An MSU service, this group is dedicated to advocating for a safe and inclusive environment for all diverse groups on campus, while also celebrating the range of diversity of these groups.
  2. Good Body Feel: An inclusive and decolonized local movement studio, this business offers a range of classes and workshops, from cardio to yoga, a number of which are specifically for BIPOC individuals. 
  3. Women and Gender Equity Network: Another MSU service, this group is dedicated to ending prejudice and discrimination based on gender identity or expression on campus, as well as supporting survivors of gender-based discrimination, violence and sexual assault. 

If you’re passionate about climate and environmental justice, check out:

  1. Environment Hamilton: A local non-profit organization, this group is committed to supporting Hamiltonians in developing skills to advocate for and protect their environment through community projects and events.
  2. Green Venture: Another local non-profit, this organization offers a number of programs geared specifically to students and youth, focused on environmental education to encourage action on the climate crisis and make Hamilton a more eco-friendly and sustainable place to live.
  3. McMaster Climate Advocates: Founded by McMaster University students, this group is dedicated to promoting climate action and education on campus through events, social media and collaboration with other like-minded organizations on and off campus.

If you’re passionate about food security and nutrition, check out:

  1. Mac Soup Kitchen: A campus group dedicated to food security advocacy and education, this club runs a number of events, including awareness campaigns and food drives, while also sharing budget-friendly and healthy recipes.
  2. Mac Veggie Club: Another campus club, this group exists at the intersection between climate advocacy and nutrition, raising awareness about and educating students on plant-based living.
  3. MSU Food Collective Centre: An MSU service, this student-run organization is committed to ensuring access to food and food security on campus.
  4. Zero Food Waste Hamilton: A community non-profit, this organization is dedicated to ending hunger and poverty by diverting food waste from local business and engages in education and awareness campaigns.

If you’re passionate about healthcare and public health, check out:

  1. COPE: A campus club, this group is committed to confronting the stigma surrounding mental health through events and education campaigns while also providing access to resources for those facing mental health challenges.
  2. Indigenous Health Movement: A campus initiative, this group of Indigenous students and non-Indigenous allies is dedicated to educating the community on Indigenous health and supporting reconciliation in this area.
  3. McMaster Public Health Association: A campus organization, this group of students are passionate about raising awareness about and advocating for action on public health issues.

If you’re passionate about housing and supporting unhoused individuals, check out

  1. Hamilton Encampment Support Network: A volunteer run organization, this advocacy group is dedicated to supporting the local homeless and unhoused community.
  2. The Hub: A community organization, this organization runs drop-in services for unhoused individuals and those experiencing homelessness anddelivers harm reduction supplies, clothing and meals.
  3. McMaster Women in Motion: A campus club, this team of students is dedicated to raising awareness about and supporting homeless and unhoused women in Hamilton.

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