Topaza Yu, a fourth-year student in the College of Kinesiology, received news of the appointment to the council earlier this year after applying last summer.
Youth Council members meet both online and in person several times a year to discuss issues that matter to their peers, their community, and their country.
Yu, who has already attended an online council meeting, says she is using the opportunity to help advance and highlight the importance of sexual health and reproductive health in Canada.
“I want to continue to push for the elimination of the men who have sex with men blood donation ban,” said Yu. “This ban is based on questionable and unsupported science and it perpetuates stigma while limiting the Canadian blood supply. I’m also hoping to advocate for universal contraceptive coverage for youth.
While she has yet to complete her undergraduate degree, Yu has already proven herself as a tireless advocate for health issues while working towards finishing her studies.
“I have always been highly interested in pursuing a medical degree or graduate degree after finishing my undergraduate degree in kinesiology,” said Yu.
Earlier this year, Yu was accepted into the Amgen Canada Scholar Program for the summer in Toronto, ON, an immersive, 10-week program of research experience, professional development, and social activities. In March, Yu received an RBC BreakOUT award from OUTSaskatoon for her volunteer work in the local LGBTQ2 community. She also played a pivotal role in the TakingITGlobal:RisingYouth community grant program that distributed packages containing education-based activity resources for families with school-aged children during the pandemic.
While she works on balancing her extracurricular work with her studies and finishing her degree for the upcoming year, Yu hopes that her time on the council will help inspire her fellow students at USask.
“I am a strong believer in the principle of ‘Nothing for Us, Without Us,’ so it is important for youth voices to be incorporated into all levels of government,” said Yu. “This will aid in developing policies that better reflect youth needs and wants. I encourage anyone who has an idea, vision, or concern to share it with their local government, so they can better understand how to best serve youths.”