Giving Back Through BACS: Meet Shaniya Vance

Cape Breton University students know the importance of giving back to their community. For Bachelor of Arts Community Studies (BACS) student, Shaniya Vance, the inclination was only natural after moving back to Sydney after a few years away from home. 

“You could say I didn’t have the typical path from high school directly to CBU,” Shaniya explains. “After beginning my education at another university and then moving back home to take a year off, I decided to enroll at CBU to be closer to my family and save money.” 

It was the Sport and Physical Activity Leadership (SPAL) program that initially caught Shaniya’s eye, but after applying her transfer credits, Shaniya was also able to incorporate her interest in psychology and is now a BACS student with a double major in psychology and SPAL. Shaniya says although she didn’t come to CBU with much background knowledge on the BACS program, it has become one of the most rewarding parts of her education. 

“My favourite part of the BACS program is the experiential learning component,” says Shaniya. “From the very first-year students are required to select a community issue, conduct research, prepare a study or action project and actually go out into the community and execute it.” Shaniya’s project, Kits for a Cause, is a great example of the difference CBU students can make in their community. 

After securing a $750 grant from Rising Youth, a program that provides funding for young Canadians looking to make a difference in their hometowns, Shaniya put together kits for the Every Women’s Centre. Shaniya used her funds to purchase winter wear, personal and feminine hygiene products, snacks and more. She also reached out to DivaCup, and the company donated 30 DivaCups to her project, valuing approximately $1200. With support from CBU Recreation and Peggy Gordon’s prayer group, Shaniya was able to add even more supplies to her kits before dropping them off at the Centre. 

Shaniya says after completing a work placement with Under One Umbrella CBRM earlier in her degree, she felt she had the necessary knowledge and resources to help those in need here in Cape Breton. “I felt this was a much-needed project in our community. Not-for-profit organizations like the Every Women’s Centre can really benefit from community support,” she says. 

Wanda Earhart, director of the Every Women’s Centre says she was thrilled to be part of this project and couldn’t thank Shaniya enough for supporting the organization. “Donations like this really support us in being able to offer services to the women who come into the Centre,” says Wanda. 

For Shaniya, the project was about much more than a grade. “I feel like this project really helped shape my potential career path and taught me how much I enjoy helping others,” she says. “I can’t express how much project-based learning is important for university students.”

Learn more about CBU’s BACS Program