Maud Schram is passionate about human rights and global issues. A U3 student double-majoring in Political Science and International Development and minoring in Environment, Schram hopes to use her education and experience with on-campus organizations to promote global humanitarian development.
“I was born in Lyon, France, and then at the age of six I moved to the U.S.,” Schram said. “From having moved countries, I’ve just always been interested in international matters and political issues.”
To assume an active role in global affairs, Schram took on the role of co-president of McGill Students for UNICEF. She participates in fundraising, as well as advocacy and on-campus awareness about UNICEF.
Schram and her team of McGill Students for UNICEF launched a viral campaign on Sunday Nov 22 called #PiecesLeftBehind to foster awareness and empathy for Syrian refugees.
“The goal of #PiecesLeftBehind is that people post a childhood picture of themselves and then they write three things that were significant to them in their childhood […] growing up,” Schram said. “It […] reflects back to the idea that refugees often have to leave their material possessions and sometimes their families too, and can’t afford to take everything with them.”
Schram hopes #PiecesLeftBehind will become as prominent as the ALS ice bucket challenge, and will make refugee justice and aid more visible.
Working for McGill Students for UNICEF, however, is not just about helping the current global community, but also providing a better foundation for the upcoming generation.
“My inspiration for [getting involved with] UNICEF comes from UNICEF itself,” Schram said. “While the United Nations may not be a perfect body, I think UNICEF is key because it serves children—the upcoming generation. We hear a lot of negativity in the world; however, UNICEF, and other external factors, have worked to increase the standard of living around the world.”
Furthermore, Schram hopes to use her knowledge in international development studies and human development experience from McGill to help empower women when it comes to sexual violence.
“In the future I aspire to change the structures we currently have in society that put women at a disadvantage,” Schram explained. “One issue that I find particularly important and deplorable is sexual assault: The stigmas that surround it, and the subsequent steps survivors are burdened with.”
Schram would like to create an awareness and outreach campaign in the near future where survivors are reminded they are not alone in their struggle. There are numerous groups and campaigns that share a similar message, but unfortunately the stigma remains prevalent. She hopes to continue to be an advocate for women’s rights and a world free of sexual exploitation.
Something Schram also feels strongly about is McGill students’ rights to a more effective mental health clinic. She believes it is every student’s right to receive the appropriate help he/she needs from the university.
“I’ve been dealing with some mental health issues and just the process of going through that here at McGill has been [a struggle],” she said. “It takes three months to get to see someone from McGill mental health [….] I find it pretty unfortunate and pretty embarrasing on the part of McGill for not properly taking care of mental health issues.”
Schram believes the McGill community has an important role to play in raising awareness about the McGill mental health clinic’s inefficiency in addressing serious health problems.
“It’s really difficult when you’re taking a full load of courses and participating in extracurricular activities,” Schram explained. “This university should just take better care of its students, and the students should speak up.”
Schram hopes to bring positive change to the world by utilizing her experiences at McGill to enact real change. As this is her last academic year, she looks forward to spending time exploring her interests in reading about social science, discovering new places to eat around Montreal, and continuing to meet people from different backgrounds. Schram is excited to learn about the numerous opportunities her degree will lead her to after graduation—including, hopefully, a position with UNICEF.