Redeemer University’s array of student-led clubs cover everything from rock climbing to improv comedy. A notable one is Students of Applied Social Sciences (SOAPS), which hosts interesting, useful events for applied social science (APS) students. Unfortunately, for a few years, it was inactive due to a lack of leadership. Thanks to Annika Koekkoek, this is no longer the case.
“When I was in first-year SOAPS had just started, so there were a lot of events going on. After that, it kind of dwindled,” she says. “For my last year, I just wanted to be present with other APS students. I reached out to the department to ask if SOAPS was still happening, and I was told I could make it my own.”
Koekkoek took over as SOAPS president for the 2020-2021 academic year and re-instituted initiatives such as APS faculty and internship panels and conversations on self-care. She’s particularly passionate about Walk for Freedom, a global movement in which the club participates that raises awareness and funds to end human trafficking.
“One thing the club has in its mission statement is to connect with people on campus but also in Hamilton and beyond. Walk for Freedom gives students the opportunity to get involved in a much larger event,” she explains.
Once Koekkoek graduated, the role of president went to third-year APS student Amy Pardy. What Pardy has found most valuable is the club’s emphasis on community.
One thing the club has in its missions statement is to connect with people on campus but also in Hamilton and beyond.
“SOAPS gives APS students a place to grow and connect with each other,” says Pardy. “This happens intellectually through events like Walk for Freedom and conversations about opportunities within the APS field. We also get to know our fellow students and the faculty a little better.”
Looking ahead, Koekkok and Pardy are confident that SOAPS will grow to be a valued resource on campus.
“As Redeemer expands, SOAPS will offer incoming students a sense of belonging and a place where they can learn about the interconnection between the social sciences and faith,” says Pardy.
“The APS courses at Redeemer really challenged me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I didn’t know who else to turn to except for my classmates,” says Koekkoek. “Connecting with someone who knows what you’re going through is really valuable, and I hope that the SOAPS leadership team will keep that welcoming and supportive environment going.”