Studying support and inclusion: a curriculum of community

Social Sciences

- Anne MacLaurin


For sociology grad Jasmine Webster, community-engaged learning courses at UVic focused her passion for a career in the non-profit sector.

“The skills you learn simply from engaging with people with different lived experiences shape your approach to community-based work,” says Webster.

Webster started at UVic as a third-year transfer student from White Rock, BC, after completing courses online. In 2021, she decided to finish her degree on campus where she enrolled in a pair of community-engaged sociology courses. 

“I received an email from sociology professor Bruce Ravelli and I was immediately interested in the course,” says Webster. 

“After seeing the challenges my brother faced growing up when seeking inclusion, I am specifically interested in supporting the voices of people with disabilities,” she adds.

The community-engaged sociology courses combine volunteering with non-profit agencies and skill-building while sharing reflections in the classroom. Webster was matched with Our Place Society where she developed training materials and resources for new volunteers.

The interconnectedness of the staff, volunteers and family members [clients] at Our Place Society is incredible to witness and it does embody the feeling of hope and belonging. I loved seeing an organization where it felt like everyone had a place and was wanted in that space.”

—UVic sociology graduate Jasmine Webster 

“As I was working alongside members of the community who were experiencing homelessness, living with minimal income and facing vulnerable situations, there was a shift in the way I was approaching my project—it became very person-centered and involved as I wanted to create solutions that would best serve all groups of people using these resources,” says Webster.

Throughout her program, Webster relied on the UVic library as a quiet place to focus and work, as well as the peaceful outdoor spaces on campus—often with some deer to photograph!

“I love to take photos, so while living downtown I would walk around with my camera and photograph buildings, the ocean and sunsets,” says Webster.

After finishing her final courses in August, Webster moved back to the Lower Mainland and started working with Special Olympics BC as a community development coordinator.

“I am thrilled to be working in the non-profit sector and creating inclusive opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports initiatives,” says Webster.

“Community to me means inclusion and oftentimes, especially for individuals who are marginalized, there are challenges to find those spaces that are accessible and built for people to thrive. I would love to think that my experiences working with different groups of people will better support inclusive communities in the future,” she adds.

Webster hopes to return to UVic as a graduate student in sociology. 


In this story

Keywords: convocation, student life, sociology, community

People: Jasmine Webster

Publication: The Ring

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