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#UofTGrad16: Hasna Syed

Together with her siblings, Hasna Syed founded a group dedicated to getting youth involved in local and global issues. You also might remember her as one-quarter of DeysOfficial, whose song Champions created a stir during the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. (Photo by Bianca Quijano)

As Convocation day approaches, we’re filled with pride at the incredible accomplishments of our students. No matter what program they’re in, no matter what their major, our students have made contributions to the campus, to the community and to the world at large. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll highlight students who have made a huge impact already, and are poised to do even more now that they’re graduating. From an Olympic weight lifter to a social activist featured on the CBC, we’re certain that you’ll be reading a lot more about them in the future! Follow the all the U of T Convocation excitement at #UofTGrad16.

Hasna Syed

Hasna Syed’s university experience was a family affair. The eldest of four siblings, two sisters followed in her footsteps and will be returning to U of T Scarborough this September.

“One’s going into third year and the other into second.”

Majoring in Political Science and Women and Gender studies, Hasna’s interest in human rights issues stems from her childhood of volunteering with her siblings. Together they founded Global Youth Impact, a non-profit organization that encourages youth involvement in local, national and global issues.

“I really want to help make some kind of difference in the world.”

Hasna is the president of the organization. Currently, their #Students4FortMac fundraising campaign is underway. Proceeds will go to the Canadian Red Cross to help families devastated by the wildfire in Fort McMurray.

You may also recall that Hasna and her siblings make up DeysOfficial, who last year created some buzz around the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games with their song, Champions.

In recognition of her outstanding contribution to the UTSC community, Hasna received the D.R. Campbell Merit Award on May 31 at the Celebration of Distinguished Services.

What was your favourite class?

My favourite courses were the ones with professors who were passionate about the material they were teaching. POLA90 (Professor Kingston), WSTA01 (Professor Talahite-Moodley), WSTC14 (Professor Hunt) POLC16 (Professor Fu), POLC32 (Professor Braley-Rattai) and POLD59 (Professor Onley) are courses I recommend to students who are interested in critical thinking and making change to the world around them – especially if the same professors who taught me are instructing these courses.   

Where do you feel most at home on campus? 

Anywhere I’m with my friends and/or siblings.

Quick tip for new first years? 

1. Don’t get disillusioned or disappointed if things don’t go your way. Keep your eyes on your goals (these might change over four years) but know that there are different ways to get there, even if it’s not the one you had originally planned.

2. Get involved (everyone says this, but join a club or DSA that you know you’ll learn from, enjoy the company of other students, and still have time for your own studies).

3. Do your readings!!!!

4. Stop to enjoy your time at UTSC whenever you can – whether it’s for thirty seconds, five minutes, or during a 6-hour study break (yes, sometimes this will happen).  Know that there will be a lot of stressful days, but you will get through it.

What is a “must-do” on campus?

1. Get involved with the Global Youth Impact chapter at UTSC, of course! You’ll feel a part of a strong community and can make real change whether it’s big or small or way.

2. Go to the Valley on March 26. (Just do it. Feel free to email me your findings at

What’s next?

I’ll be pursuing a Master’s in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in England!


Read about more graduates to watch.

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