MEET: Lauren

Interview of Lauren Pazzano by Meredith Poirier

Hi Lauren, how are you?

I’m wonderful, thanks! I just finished my second year at the University of Waterloo and I’m excited to start a new co-op job in September! I really enjoyed being on campus this summer. It was such a treat to do summer activities with my school friends!

Where do you call home?

I’m from Pickering, Ontario, Canada. I’d say Pickering is the perfect suburb, not too small, not too big, it’s a very comfortable place to live. I lived in Pickering my whole life before moving to Waterloo. I’ve already made so many cherished memories with my friends in our apartment. It’s nice to have 2 homes: one with family, one with friends.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and who would you go with?

I would go to Japan with the chef of my favourite ramen restaurant, David Chang. He would know exactly where to eat! And we would become best friends!

What is an issue that you are really passionate about and what do you do to support this issue and/or be an activist for it?

I’m quite passionate about a lot of issues: feminism, environmental preservation, equality for marginalized peoples. Right now I’m working on an exciting project that addresses student wellness and food security, two issues that are very relevant to me and my peers. I’m working with the cafeteria at my university to create a monthly box of fresh fruits and veggies that are as local as possible. These boxes will be sold at cost and provide students and other members of the community fresh and local options that they would not otherwise be able to access or afford! Coming up with a tangible solution that will make my community a healthier and happier place is the most fulfilling feeling!

What’s it like being a (young) woman growing up and living in Canada?

I was very privileged to have a lovely childhood in Canada. I took advantage of the opportunities presented to me and always did my best to be involved in my community! I try not to take for granted the freedom and opportunity that being born where I was born affords me. But even within Canada, a relatively progressive country, there is an unacceptable amount of instances of women and girls being treated as inferior beings. I don’t think there’s one single solution but I also don’t think we can be indifferent and wait for the government to make legislative moves in our favor.  I think more than anything we need to have honest and uncomfortable conversations with those around us about what we can do to be better. Learning is necessary for growth and absolutely no one knows everything! The “call out and cancel” culture is so unproductive and not the source of meaningful change, which women in Canada and everywhere else deserve.

Social media is something that is present in all of our day to day lives. Do you use social media often and in what ways do you think social media affects young girls and women?

I use social media, in some capacity, every day, as do most people I know. Social media has become so ingrained in every aspect of our society: it’s how we validate how we look, who we vote for, what we eat. It’s permeated our culture so intensely but I don’t think it’s as inherently evil as most people make it out to be. Social media is consuming and distracting and attention span shortening for sure. But social media merely heightens the feelings that most women (and men!) will naturally experience. Everyone feels insecure at times but platforms like Instagram make it easier to compare every aspect of your life and the way you look, to other people from all around the world: not just the ones in your class or on the cover of magazines, but them too! It can be overwhelming, the sheer amount of available content, it’s easy to get absorbed and needlessly refresh and scroll, the problem is there is no end, no point that you are satisfied because there is always more to consume. But social media is also a tool for activism. People use Twitter to organize protests and advocate for causes that are important to them. Many women and girls feel the pressure to appear perfect online and I hope that will change but, I think we’re starting to see a slight shift towards using these platforms to empower women and girls! Which is pretty exciting!

Who inspires you the most?

I’m inspired everyday by the people around me. I try not to idolize anyone, especially celebrities but, I do admire my friends and my family for many different reasons. My grandma is probably my most notable inspiration. She’s honestly such a badass. She is so loving and thoughtful while also being such a hard worker that is so sure of herself, and wildly self-sufficient. She inspires me to do whatever I want to do, because I can do anything I’m willing to work hard for! I’d like to think we’re each other’s biggest fans.

Any band or music recommendations?

Honestly I just listen to a lot of ABBA and Frank Ocean.

What’s your motto?

If I’m not enjoying myself or learning something, then I’m wasting my time. Is that a motto?

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Meredith

Meredith is a university student in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She loves ice cream, collages, making playlists, and spending time with people who can make her laugh.

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