Hart House Emerging Changemakers series is a new program showcasing University of Toronto students who are making an impact in the community and around the world!
Emerging Changemakers inspire, lead, innovate and embolden others as they implement new ideas at the University of Toronto, in the Greater Toronto Area and around the world. Changemakers have a keen focus on creating meaningful contributions to our community to make it a more equitable, inclusive and just society.
Leaders must start somewhere, and students balance their academic endeavours with ideas and actions that bring a positive impact on our communities.
Meet our Next Emerging Changemaker
Prachi Ray is a recent graduate of U of T’s Pharmacology and Toxicology specialist program and is currently a research assistant at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also the co-founder of Ask An Undergrad.
Prachi and her team at Ask An Undergrad have been striving to help high school students transition to university. They have been providing mentorship support, resources to help with the application processes and information about various programs at different universities.
The Ask An Undergrad team consists of students from universities across Canada. They are all passionate to help high school students because they understand the challenges of transitioning to higher education. This year Ask An Undergrad secured a community service grant from the organization #RisingYouth that catalyzed its growth.
Advice for Students
Prachi advises students who are passionate about a cause to reflect on their extra-curricular or volunteer experiences and use those experiences to shape their own project. Prachi also says if students are unsure where to start, it can help to get involved with a group or organization that aligns with their interest and to learn from peers.
Prachi and her team’s biggest ongoing challenge is increasing the reach of Ask An Undergrad and spreading the word about this useful resource for Canadian youth. In the future, Ask An Undergrad would like to ensure they have members from all universities across Canada and then begin to expand abroad to other universities. The team at Ask An Undergrad also likes to find ways to become embedded with youth groups across Canada so that their resources can consistently be available for the students who need them.
Keep an Eye Out
Prachi and her team strive to bring new university members and high school ambassadors to Ask An Undergrad.
Meet Our First Emerging Changemaker
As an Anishinaabe member of the Eabametoong First Nation, Riley Yesno represents the challenges and views of her community in her political writing, talks and research.
Riley has been arguing for Indigenous rights dating back to her participation in the Prime Minister’s Youth Council from 2017–2019. Her work includes tackling issues like Indigenous peoples’ relationship with residential schools and her work to incorporate Indigenous practices in campuses and residences.
Riley’s research is greatly influenced by her lived experiences. Her PhD work is focusing on young Indigenous people as political actors who can shape the future of their communities and all communities in Canada.
Advice for Students
You are not alone! Riley advises fellow students to “pursue what you are passionate about and find others that share your enthusiasm.” She believes that this is how one is able to build something worthwhile. She goes on to say, “Communicat[ing] with likeminded people and learning from them can help you find out where your gifts are best served.”
Riley has spoken about Indigenous liberation, LAND BACK and Indigenous identity on some major media platforms such as The New York Times, New Internationalist Magazine and BBC World News. She believes the massive viewership of those platforms will help more people understand these topics. She is most passionate about inter-community work, talking in-depth about how Indigenous people think of themselves and what futures they want to build.
Keep an Eye Out
Riley is working on finishing her book and believes that it might help and inspire other Indigenous people.
How to nominate?
We look forward to featuring more Changemakers who are making an impact at U of T, in the Greater Toronto Area, and around the world! Experiential learning opportunities at Hart House and throughout U of T are incredible and impactful and help students refine and develop skills, all while meeting new people and building a community of friends.
You may even be our next Emerging Changemaker!
Do you know someone who is?
Learn more about our Clubs and Committees
Learn more about our Clubs and Committees and how you can get involved, make connections, build new skills, and leave your mark in the community.