UW welcomes first Sikh chaplain in university history

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Jansher Saeed

Simran Parmar said he’s stepped up to be the first Sikh chaplain at UW to target discrimination within the university and provide a voice to the Sikh community. 

He plans to dedicate his fall 2019 term towards making UW a unified safe-space for its communities and provide services regarding religion, spirituality and mentoring.  

The Chaplain Association of UW represents eleven religious and faith groups, oriented towards providing support to students, faculty, staff and the community. 

The association also offers private sessions that are intended as non-judgemental, private and confidential. 

“When I first came to Waterloo, I knew nothing about [Feds and WUSA],” Simran Parmar said, who eventually ran for WUSA President and became UW’s first Sikh chaplain. 

Simran recounts first becoming involved with WUSA after applying for an opening at the bike center.

 The experience allowed him to meet new people and helped him use his previous experience with mentoring and counselling. “I have been mentoring students for the past couple of years when it comes to topics like spirituality and meditation.” 

Simran also makes frequent trips to the UK to learn about meditation techniques within Sikhism. 

With Simran’s love for people and the Sikh community, he felt that becoming a Sikh chaplain would be the best way for him to get involved with the district.

As demographic discrimination is a prominent issue at UW and the world at large, Simran aims to make unity the primary goal of his fall 2019 term. 

“As the Sikh chaplain, those are the types of values I want to portray, helping to bring people together. There are still times where people may discriminate against another group or may not want to include a group in their public spaces. That’s why I’m happy that we have the Women’s Centre, we have GLOW, we have all these equity-based services,” he said. 

To bring communities together and help put unity above discrimination, Simran is planning on organizing events with these “equity-based” services at UW. 

“One thing I’m planning at the end of the semester is to have a concert-like show where local artists get together and perform whatever they are passionate about, and create this atmosphere where everyone comes together, and there is unity.”

He hopes the events will help recognize the diversity of UW’s communities and bring the community together in a way that combats discrimination. 

“Having shows like this is a good way to reach out to the broader UW community and get together to discuss what goals we have.”

Currently, Simran has planned to take the role of Sikh chaplain for the fall 2019 term, although he has plans to select a successor. 

His office can be found on the 3rd floor of the SLC with Office Hours running from 8:30 a.m.-10:20 a.m. on Fridays. To request his service or any other c haplain, visit the UW Chaplains Association Website (https://uwaterloo.ca/chaplains/).

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