Sydona Chandon Named NB Multicultural Council International Student Champion
Third-year STUdent Sydona Chandon has been recognized by the New Brunswick Multicultural Council for her service to others and promotion of cultural diversity within the STU community.
Originally from Westmoreland, Jamaica, Chandon is pursuing a double major in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Communications and Public Policy—with a minor in Business.
She has been awarded the council’s International Student Champion award for her commitment to her fellow students—particularly international students at STU. Chandon came to STU to pursue her dreams in a small environment where she believed she would get a more intimate experience.
Giving back to the STU community
Chandon’s experience coming to a new country inspired her to do what she could to help ease the transition for others. She has taken on roles that have allowed her to make a difference. She is vice-president of the Black Students Association, fundraising officer for the St. Thomas University International Students’ Association, and was the 2019-2020 international student representative for the Students’ Union. She has planned social activities and inclusion events for international students and developed a monthly leadership award which recognizes student efforts to improve the campus community.
She said the reward for her is in the act of giving.
“Just being able to see the bright smiles by gifting home-cooked meals to international students during the holidays, coming up with projects that help break stereotypes of minority groups, or creating awareness of intersectionality within my community—these things make me feel like I can be a catalyst for change.”
“Service above self”
Putting “service above self” is something Chandon said she was taught at a very young age and remains as something she tries to live by. She said it’s something she hopes to inspire in others.
“I was taught that you should always be your neighbour’s keeper. Growing up as a woman of faith, I have achieved so much satisfaction out of serving others,” she said. “I hope to pass on the gift of kindness, and I hope my work will show that even as an international student who came to a country that I knew nothing about, I still saw the opportunity to give back to my community.”
Although she said the drive to help community isn’t about recognition, she is grateful for the award because of what it celebrates.
“It truly means the world. I am blessed and honoured to have received this award, because It means so much to know that others have recognized my work even though it was all done in silence. I am truly grateful.”
Chandon plans to pursue law school after she completes her Bachelor of Arts at STU and hopes to someday launch a foundation that will help international students in need.