In this together Series: Lifting Spirits through Giving Back

In this together Series: Lifting Spirits through Giving Back

By: Hallie Rodney, BHSc (Honours) Class of 2022

I spoke with some other individuals involved in very meaningful and special endeavours that I wanted to share with you. Mitchell Pellarin, a lacrosse player who is passionate about cultivating an inclusive community, Esha Karia, a personal trainer and incredible individual who is extending her expertise to support her community and Andrea Jacob, a leader who is dedicated to empowering individuals, specifically young women.

Mitchell Pellarin is a third year Health Sciences student who is on the McMaster Men’s Lacrosse Team. Mitchell and many of his teammates have acknowledged that the sport they play lacks diversity and that it might not be perceived as the most welcoming community. After being involved with an incident of online anti-Black racism involving a former student and teammate, Mitchell and his teammates felt that they needed to do something for the Lacrosse and McMaster community at large. They have worked at creating the McMaster Lacrosse Black Inclusivity Bursary which will be given to Black McMaster students over the next three years to aid in paying tuition. Mitchell and his teammates hope to create an Indigenous student bursary in the near future and are working towards their mission of inclusivity. Mitch knows that “[they] still have more work to do” but hopes to address his privilege and utilize it to promote inclusivity.  To donate to the McMaster Lacrosse Black Inclusivity Bursary, please visit:

Esha Karia, a third year Health Sciences student is working at supporting families’ mental and physical health during the pandemic. She noticed that as social distancing measures were put in place, many families across Ontario have suffered an increase in “sedentary lifestyle choices, weight-gain and anxiety”. Esha utilized her passion for fitness and healthy living by collaborating with McMaster Children’s Hospital to develop a 16-week online physical activity program. Esha hopes that this program will help improve children and families’ emotional and physical well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. When crafting the plans, Esha designed the exercises very carefully and thoughtfully by including equipment that one can easily access from home. Each exercise also included a modified alternative making it more accessible to “both children and adults with ranging athletic experience”. The program is in the process of being tested right now by a sample group from the population and will soon be open to the general public.

Andrea Jacob is a second year Health Sciences student who is passionate about empowering individuals. She is co-president and co-founder of Girl Up McMaster, a chapter of the Girl Up campaign that works at engaging and empowering young women in the Hamilton and McMaster community through its four pillars: advocacy, education, fundraising, and service.

Since the launch of the club in April, they have worked towards supporting the student body and Hamilton community throughout the pandemic. Its’ social media campaigns have included the quaROUTINE series, a series of videos featuring various students across faculties and years, to help connect members of the McMaster community amid the pandemic. The episodes included self-care tips and different activities individuals in the community have been enjoying.

Girl Up McMaster continues to spread positivity throughout the community by sharing original information and educational posts regarding important matters in our world today.

To stay up to date on how Girl Up McMaster is giving back and spreading their message of gender equality, be sure to check their social media pages on Instagram (@girlupmcmaster), Facebook (Girl Up McMaster), and their website (

Andrea Jacob: co-president/co-founder (BHSc 23)

Amanda Backal: co-president/co-founder (Hon. Life Science 23)

Isabella Reis: VP Media (BHSc 23)

Abby Simpson: VP Administration (BHSc 23)

Oishika Tarafdar: VP Advocacy (BHSc 23)

Tess Chee: VP Outreach (BHSc 23)

Rose Yakubov: VP Internal (BHSc 23)

Allie Cui: VP Videography/Photography (BHSc 23)

Sally Shin: VP Design (Hon. Life Science 23)