Andre Vashist enrolled at the University of Toronto Scarborough to change his life with higher education, but when he graduated he left the university changed forever too.
With an immigrant father and French Canadian mother, for Andre, Scarborough proved to be the ideal neighbourhood to learn, grow and develop into a community leader.
“Scarborough was the perfect place for me to grow up because there is so much diversity and I never felt out of place because nobody really had a place. I wanted to be part of my community because I loved it,” Andre says.
From being the Student Union Vice President of Campus Life to becoming a founding member of the University’s annual art festival, ARTSIDEOUT, Andre’s vast involvement on campus earned him a coveted U of T Scarborough Letter Award.
This year’s students are preparing to celebrate the tenth anniversary of ARTSIDEOUT this fall, Andre is not only happy about the impression he left behind, but also the lessons he learned from developing the initiative.
“Our purpose in life isn’t simply our own, it’s about contributing to our culture, you are a voice made up of your history and your future,” Andre says.
Keeping this in mind Andre infused his education with his passion for social service into his career, which has taken him all over Canada. Now as he works as the Director of Social Enterprise and Social Finance at the Pillar Non-profit Network in London, he still frequents his childhood neighbourhood – Scarborough.
“No matter where I go, Scarborough is home,” Andre says.