Volunteer Matúš Sámel‘s second installment in his Meet the OPIRG Board series.


What is your academic background?

I came to Mac in 2001 and I graduated in 2007 in Chemical Engineering. I never studied Music, I took just one class, but right now I am mainly working on my music – song writing and music production.

What about your hobbies?

Well my main hobby is music of course. I like various styles of music, whether it is Rap, Reggae, Blues or Rock, but it should speak to the soul. I would classify it as ‘Soul Music’. Besides that I like reading, I watch movies a lot and I play various sports. So I am pretty active I guess (laugh).

How did you get involved with OPIRG?

Well, I had my own NGO called Buck for Change and two years ago we worked on a black issue project and needed funding for our event. One of my organisers suggested we go to OPIRG. So we went and they helped us out. After that I did some research on what they do and I realised that is something I want to be part of. One of the staff members said they were looking for a person to the Board of directors so I applied and got there.

What is your role at the Board of Directors?

I work mostly with publicity of OPIRG so whether it is organising of potential helpers or of the working groups we have. However, on the Board we work on the consensus-based approach so everybody does a little bit of everything. But we have our ‘own’ departments and this one brings with it a kind of dilemma. On one hand, most people do not know what OPIRG is doing and how it is helping at Mac and in Hamilton and we surely want to let them know. On the other hand, this great work is rewarding in itself and maybe we do not want to get huge publicity for it, because ultimately it is all about helping people.

What motivated you to join OPIRG? Were your expectations fulfilled?

I always wanted to be a part of something where people do something good and where people’s life style change. This has surely been attained as we helped so many groups, with their conferences, small events, campaigning. There are so many different things in many different areas and causes – environmental, human rights, animal rights, etc. It is all over the place. So being part of that is exciting, because the OPIRG Board is giving people support so that they can do what they want to do. That is very satisfactory.

What has OPIRG brought to you?

Apart from what I mentioned above, you also get to know many people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, beliefs. And you work every day with these people and have to reach consensus. You have to be aware of where they are coming from and where are you coming from. This engagement is definitely very beneficial for all people involved.