Thursday, November 30, 2023
Cover Story

COVERSTORY - Aishwarya Roshan: Role Model for South Asian Youth

By Petrina D’Souza, 30 Jan, 2019

    "It is a privilege to have the confidence and trust of my community that my endeavours will result in positive growth, advancement, and betterment."




    For all-rounder Aishwarya Roshan, managing time has definitely been one of the most important tasks in her life. Currently pursuing the MD Undergraduate Program at UBC, Aishwarya is an avid volunteer who helps out at various health organizations; as an environmentalist, she regularly organizes awareness events and community clean-ups; is the founder of two major organizations; and a professional Bharata Natyam dancer who presented her first professional show in 2018. Indeed, the 22-year-old’s busy schedule demands time-management skills

    Last year, Aishwarya completed a two-year tenure serving on the Directors’ team of Common Energy UBC, the largest student-led sustainability organization at UBC. The Schulich scholar states that one of the Common Energy’s achievements in 2018 included hosting monthly community forums on an environmental issue or topic of interest. “A few topics we explored within the last year include adopting a plant-based diet, living a zero-waste lifestyle, whether urban expansion can be environmentally sustainable, and international and national environmental policies.” She also mentions Common Energy’s Mug Share project, further explaining that “with Mug Share, students can freely borrow a sanitized travel mug for a day from campus coffee shops with the purchase of a coffee. The project intends to eliminate the inevitable waste production aspect of coffee.”

    In 2014, Aishwarya founded Vancouver’s Largest Clothing Swap, an annual event that has since diverted over 50,000 garments from the landfill and attracted and engaged over 600 attendees in education regarding waste management. “The most recent Vancouver’s Largest Clothing Swap, in October 2018, took place at UBC, facilitating a partnership among the various community and collegiate environmental organizations that I am a part of,” adds Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 finalist. Aishwarya’s interest in environmental issues stemmed in 2009, when she saw that an international climate change conference had not made commitments to reduce emissions. “I realized that social change would not start from lawmakers, but would have to come from community leadership, collaboration, and inspiration,” asserts the young environment activist who has spearheaded the construction of two fully functioning community gardens in Burnaby.

    Aishwarya, a City of Burnaby’s Youth Citizenship Award winner and Duke of Edinburgh Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awardee, has been actively involved in volunteering over the last couple of years. Since 2011, she has volunteered at Courtyard Terrace Seniors’ Living. She is also a weekly recreational therapy volunteer at the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children since 2015. “Becoming an integral part of someone’s life, or making a positive impact on their day is one of the most fulfilling aspects of volunteering. Earning the trust of an individual and forming a strong relationship with them, their family, and friends, empowers me to continue helping others,” shares Aishwarya while expressing her love for volunteering. During her undergraduate degree, she volunteered and worked at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and BC Centre for Disease Control – Immunization Programs and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Service.

    Beyond her academic prowess and social initiatives, Aishwarya is also a professional Bharata Natyam dancer and the co-founder of Asta Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the Indian classical dance traditions through community engagement. Last year, she presented her first full-length professional show titled ‘Satya: The Ultimate Reality’ at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. The young dancer wants to use Bharata Natyam as a platform to open conversation on social issues and themes. “As an aspiring professional, I have the opportunity to perform for diverse audiences and positively influence their conception of this art – an idea that appeals greatly to me.”

    In 2019, while continuing her education in the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program, Aishwarya hopes to continue local volunteerism and also partake in international volunteerism.

    What inspires you to do better each day?

    My inspiration in bettering myself every day is my community. For me, being able to serve the community whether through volunteerism, leadership, or academic research pursuit is a privilege. It is a privilege to have the confidence and trust of my community that my endeavours will result in positive growth, advancement, and betterment. I’ve been fortunate to feel belonging in numerous communities, locally, nationally, and internationally, that have inspired this notion of improvement. The unconditional support from a community is one that I continuously value and wish not to take for granted. As a result, their strong belief in me inspires me to continuously work harder, achieve the goals I set, and reach higher pursuits, with the ultimate intention that this will benefit the community. 

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