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Kayleigh Erickson: Cultivating Change

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Vic chapter.




Meet Kayleigh, a motivated young lady with big goals. This third year student is studying political science, minoring in sociology and is the chairperson of the UVSS. When she has the time, Kayleigh can be found hanging out with friends or watching the soap that her grandma got her hooked on: the Young and Restless.


Kayleigh first got involved with UVic politics in her freshman year when she spontaneously ran for a director position. By running, Kayleigh got to learn more about the UVSS and how she could positively change student life. This sparked her interest in the UVSS chairperson position. A year before even running for chair, Kayleigh approached as many people as she possibly could for support. She searched for those who were as passionate about politics as she was. She soon organized a group of diverse people and began to plan her campaign. Kayleigh’s passion and persistence drove her success.


Kayleigh is genuinely interested in cultivating change and working in the UVSS has helped her to do so. For the past six months, Kayleigh has been promoting a mental health campaign on campus. In her first year, Kayleigh found it hard to adjust to her new environment because she had never lived away from home. She struggled with anxiety and was unaware that UVic had counselling services for students. Even when she found out about the services, she was too scared to call or go in by herself. As a CL, Kayleigh has noticed students struggling with the pressures of university in the same way she did during her first year and wants to make sure that mental health is transparent on campus. Her number one goal is to educate more people. She hopes that in running this campaign, people will be open to talking about mental health. Kayleigh is also the director of the UVic food bank and hopes to eliminate its stigma. Kayleigh stresses that the food bank is available to all, from those in dire situations to those who have simply run out of money for food.  Every student has experienced hardship and the UVic food bank is there to support students during those times.


Kayleigh’s favourite part of her job is the opportunity for individual advocacy. It’s the small moments of success that outweigh any feelings of defeat. Kayleigh loves the fact that she has the opportunity to assist others, even if it’s just one person at a time. “When people don’t know where to go, they come to me,” says Kayleigh about the help she provides. Being able to support someone with groceries for a month or connect a person with the resources needed to solve a problem keeps Kayleigh going. Kayleigh admits that this role can be frustrating at times but she knows that as chairperson, she has the tools necessary to positively change things for UVic students.  


In her time at UVic, Kayleigh hopes to shift the culture surrounding mental health on campus. More importantly, Kayleigh hopes students have restored faith in the UVSS by the end of this year. She has worked hard to make sure that the UVSS is a more accessible and transparent place and wants each student to feel like they are being heard. She works hard to respond to feedback in the hopes of creating a campus where students feel more connected to their representative body.


In the near future, Kayleigh aspires to attend law school. She decided, last semester, that she wants to be the mayor of her hometown, Surrey, become the premier of BC, work as a judge and then as a professor of law. Those are a lot of goals but knowing how hardworking and dedicated Kayleigh is many,if not all, will be accomplished.

Look out for Kayleigh in UVSS events and keep your ears open for upcoming discussions about a proposed 13% increase in residence fees! Want to have your opinions heard or learn more about the UVSS? Click here to check out the website.  

Femi Tunde-Oladepo is in her final year at the University of Victoria where she is studying at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. After her undergrad, Femi hopes to read law and master French, Spanish and Italian. She is an active volunteer in her community and enjoys working with the Rotaract Club on campus. Having filled numerous notebooks as a child, Femi adores writing — especially short stories. She likes to dance (spontaneously), listen to all genres of music, laugh loudly and be the sassiest person in a room. In her spare time, Femi likes to window shop online, go for runs and reorganize spaces. One day, Femi hopes to perfect the art of soft pretzels. Follow her on Instagram @femzieb to see her attempts at being artsy and pensive.