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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
December 3, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Reuben DeBoer, Student

When Reuben DeBoer came to Laurier Brantford in 2008, he had already travelled and volunteered extensively throughout Canada, Bolivia, New Zealand and Australia. So it wasn’t surprising when he approached faculty at Laurier about a year into his Leadership program asking to create a three-month self-study program in Ghana.

“I felt I had a lot of knowledge to share,” said DeBoer, who is completing the Environment and Society Stream of the Leadership program. “I’ve always had a passion for environmentalism and the community.”

DeBoer first discovered that passion after high school when he volunteered with organizations such as Canada World Youth, World Vision and Katimavik. His placements included working with disabled children, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and helping to set up a waste reduction program in Alberta.

With his placement in Ghana, DeBoer arranged to volunteer in the sanitation department of the government. As part of that role, he travelled to remote villages to talk to tribal elders and chiefs about sanitation, and report on their needs to the government.

“It’s really amazing that I attend a school where an experience like that could be organized out of the blue,” he said. “I’m not sure if you could get that experience at other universities.”

DeBoer, the associate vice-president of services for Brantford’s Students’ Union, also believes it’s important to volunteer within his local community. Among other activities, he’s been the coordinator of the Laurier EcoHawks, a board member for United Way and the assistant Sustainability coordinator for the Brantford Campus.

“Serving others seems to me to be one of the most important things you can do in life.”