By Matúš Sámel

What is your academic background?

Well, I did my BA in Psychology here at Mac. Currently I am studying towards Honors BA in Religious Studies here. Next year, it will be my fourth year.

What are activities are you involved in?

I devote a lot of time to my hobbies, especially art and reading. Besides that I strongly feel about women’s issues and human rights. That is why I am currently an executive member in the Queers Students Community Center (QSCC). I also help to facilitate and organize the Vagina monologues. Recently, I’ve been working on illustration of a children book for McMaster Book-Writing Club for Children. Well, and the OPIRG Board is a big one.

How did you first get involved with OPIRG?

Actually that is a funny story: I used to walk down the hall quite frequently and I saw friendly-looking people in the office and wondered what they are doing, if I maybe should join them, but I never stopped to talk to them. However, once, I think it was Randy, who shouted from his office, that I should come in. We talked, and he convinced me to apply for a position in the Board of Directors. So I did.

So what is your role at the Board?

I am a general board member with all basic roles, because we are all on the same level in there. I guess I do not have any specific role. Well, actually I kind of do (laughs). I am a GLBT Liaison Rep, where I facilitate the contact mainly with the QSCC. Beside that I am also a Provincial Rep, where I basically represent the local PIRG at the provincial level. But these positions are very loose and all the decision-making in the Board is completely consensus-based and everybody helps everywhere they can. So I got involved with the resource library, CUPE strike, Creativity circle, various working groups, PIRGtopia and so on.

What is your experience with OPIRG?

Definitely eye-opening. I met lots of really amazing individuals, I became much more motivated to engage with issues I am interested in and learned much about the problems and issues in community, which were new to me. It has definitely broadened my horizons as it gave me an opportunity to get involved in many activities I would otherwise have never engaged with. The resource library is very important to me as well, as it offers numerous new, non-traditional, sources and perspectives. The most important lesson I have taken from OPIRG is that, you can be the change you want to be or see.