Laurier personalities featured among top 40

The Waterloo Region Record recently published its annual Top 40 Under 40, recognizing the achievements of community members in the tri-city area.
With many alumni, staff, and even current students making the cut, Wilfrid Laurier University received extensive exposure.

Tiffany Bradley, manager of communications and marketing for Laurier’s centennial celebrations, was recognized for her dedication to philanthropy, specifically the Laurier “100 Hours for 100 Years” volunteer challenge she is spearheading.

“We’re encouraging students, staff and faculty members, retirees, alumni, anybody that has an affiliation with Laurier to sign up and log their hours with us as part of this program,” Bradley told The Cord.

Bradley, who graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2000, has been volunteering with food banks for years. “Sometimes you can come into the office and your phone never stops ringing and beeping, and you think you’re not really making a difference,” she observed. “Then you get to be in the food bank for a day, you actually realize that you’re making a difference by contributing.”

Bradley also sits on the community advisory council for Oktoberfest, and the International Association of Business Communicators.

Another Laurier staff member, Megan Harris, was honoured for her initiatives for women in the community. In 2007, Harris started the Women’s Leadership Exchange, annual meetings for professional women in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

“It’s a luncheon series that’s designed for executive women within the community to come together and network, to learn and share practices with their peers and also to listen to Canadian women who are at the top of their field,” said Harris.

Harris is the vice-president of operations for the Laurier Alumni Association, and graduated from Laurier with a degree in history in 2000. “I was really involved on campus,” she said. “My time at Laurier meant a lot to me. By taking part in the alumni association, it’s my way of giving back.”

Music education student Kari Kokko was recognized for her work with local youth through the Kitchener group Pathways to Education.

“[Pathways to Education] is a program that supports high school students in graduating from high school and going on to post-secondary education,” Kokko said. “It has a tutoring component, a mentoring component, an advocacy component and a financial support component as well.”

Fourth-year history and political science student Erin Epp has been engaged in community volunteering since her first year at Laurier through several Laurier student working groups.

As LSPIRG’s research and training coordinator, Epp focuses on uniting Laurier students with community members outside of campus through skill-building and training initiatives.

“In my job I do the Community Innovation Program which gives students the opportunity to build their skills outside of the classroom in areas like strategic planning, communications, conflict resolution and all those things that are useful in the not-for-profit sector,” Epp explained.

Epp’s engagement with the Waterloo community led her to run for Waterloo city council representing Ward 7. Epp finished in third with over 20 per cent of the vote. “I can’t even begin to quantify the amount that I learned throughout the five months of complete immersion in running for office,” said Epp, who knocked on hundreds of doors within the ward to learn about citizens’ concerns.

She emphasized the value of volunteer opportunities available to Laurier students. “Volunteering is the best way to broaden your network and get involved and learn about things,” she said. “You have to get yourself out there … you have to take risks.”

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