After a highly public and successful candidacy for the position of BUSU’s president, the name and face of Patrick Foster are well known throughout the Brock community. Beyond that though, many students may not know much about our President-elect.
Foster is a St. Catharines local, having gone to Holy Cross Secondary School. During his years at school he was neither a distinguished student nor particularly involved. Foster’s initial idea was to go to Niagara College for Horticulture. In fact, Foster completed a High Skills Major in horticulture and landscaping.
“I like gardening,” said Foster. “It’s peaceful and simple.”
Those plans changed however, when Foster decided to participate in a three-month humanitarian trip to Guatemala. The trip was organized by the charitable organization Wells of Hope, which provide people in underdeveloped countries with clean water, education and healthcare.
In Guatemala, Foster helped teach English to the local children as well as provide manual labour for digging holes – lots of holes.
“I loved contributing, I loved working with the families,” said Foster.
The trip gave Foster the inspiration to become more actively involved in humanitarian work. It also helped him change his mind about his post-secondary pursuits and decide to go to Brock University for Political Science. Foster considers a degree in Political Science as a good gateway for a future career in the field of humanitarian aid.
“It’s tough to get a job helping people, but I knew that if I went to Brock, it would help me get there,” said Foster.
Now in his fifth year at Brock, Foster is planning to complete a Pass Degree in Political Science and then switch into Sociology with a focus in Criminology. Though this plan will most likely take him a few more years to complete, Foster is happy to stay at Brock. As long as he is involved in the Brock community and helping to make a difference, he considers it time well spent.
However, Foster’s involvement on campus was not immediate. In his first year, he didn’t have a large network of friends and was unsure how to get involved. Once he got a job at General Brock, Foster started to meet more people and become better acquainted with all the opportunities that Brock has to offer.
“There’s so many things that you can do here,” said Foster. “It’s not only about volunteering, but having a blast while doing it.”
Foster is currently the co-president of UNICEF, a member of the Roots African Caribbean Society, and he has also been involved with the Playmakers Foundation. Some of the highlights for Foster this school year include walking to Toronto in three days in order to raise money for UNICEF’s support of Syrian refugees, organizing a variety of events for Black History Month and bringing halal food options to General Brock.
“Being involved made me trust in my competency and build confidence,” said Foster. “I have grown so much and I’ve learned that I can be a guy that can affect the community and the world.”
Foster first got a taste of the political life at Brock when Talia Yousef asked him to be a part of her campaign team in the 2014/2015 BUSU election. Yousef ran for the position of Vice President of Student Services. Before this point, Foster had a very limited knowledge of BUSU and how the students’ union worked. In working with Yousef and helping her campaign, Foster became aware of the possibilities that an executive position in BUSU could offer.
“I saw how much change you could create with a position and I thought that this would be the best outlet to affect change,” said Foster.
Despite not having been involved with BUSU and the political side of Brock, Foster decided to run for the position of president this year because he wanted to be able to use the opportunity to bring more change to the Brock community. After an intensive campaign period over the last two weeks before Reading Week, Foster successfully won the race for president with a total of 67 per cent of the votes.
Foster is currently looking forward to the start of his term and the next school year. Though he has no idea what next year will look like, he is excited for the opportunities it will bring.
“I’m going to work really hard and we’re going to overcome any obstacles,” said Foster. “I know that we have a good team and that we’re going to make the community stronger.”
Future plans for Foster are still rather vague and fluctuant. He would like to participate in an international exchange in the upcoming years and potentially do a Master’s in Criminology.
In the meantime, the Brock community will be hearing much more from Foster as he continues to make his mark on the school.