VIUFA members are proud to have some incredible students in our courses. We recently honoured two students, Chantelle Spicer (Anthropology/First Nations Studies) and Brian Azocar Brito (Education), with the VIUFA Community Enagement Awards ($1000 each) for their commitment to making on- and off-campus communities better. Read about their wonderful work below. Congratulations Chantelle and Brian!


Chantelle Spicer is a double major in Anthropology and First Nations Studies. She has undertaken key sustainability initiatives on-campus, actively contributes to the Navigator paper, volunteers at Shq’apthut and the VIU Ambassador program, sits on the Research Ethics Board and has taken the lead on Kwulasulwat Garden and the native plant initiative on campus. Off campus, she has volunteered with Five Acres Farm in Harewood through Nanaimo Foodshare and WestCoast LEAF. She also serves as the Women Students’ Representative with VIUSU, and is their incoming Chairperson. She was nominated by Marina La Salle in Anthropology.

Brian Azocar Brito is a Bachelor of Education student completing his final year. He is an international student from Venezuela, who was forced to flee the country with his family for political reasons. The family settled in California, but Brian’s US visa was not extended and he successfully applied to become an international student in Canada. His family remains in California. As his nominators from Education Teresa Farrell and Ana Vieria write, “Many would have been daunted by such radical shifts and ongoing uncertainty for them and their family. Brian has risen above.” At VIU, Brian has dedicated himself to improving the campus life and support networks for international students. He runs a Facebook group for current and future VIU Hispanic students; facilitates Facebook live chats for incoming international students; volunteers as a Peer Helper and as the leader of workshops for international students settling in Nanaimo; facilitates discussions on mental health issues and international students; and was highly engaged with Global Citizens’ Week. Off-campus, he co-hosts a Latin-American program on CHLY from 5-7am, before he returns to campus for an 8:30 class.