Grad Anita Rajkumar on Giving Back to her Community

For Anita Rajkumar, giving back to her a college was priority throughout her studies. On Thursday, June 13 she will receive her Honours Bachelor of Science with a specialization in health and disease from the University of Toronto. Through her many leadership roles at St. Michael’s, she has achieved more than academic success and her contributions will have a lasting impact on the St. Michael’s community.

Anita Rajkumar
Anita Rajkumar

“I’m excited just to graduate because I didn’t have a high school graduation due to COVID. I’m really going to miss all my friends and the community I’ve made here at St. Mike’s,” she says.

Having attended a Catholic high school, she wanted to have the same experience at the post-secondary level by attending an institution the prioritized both faith and academics. “I chose St. Mike’s because I thought the integration of spirituality and a service-oriented community with my academics would be beneficial,” she says.

When she arrived at St. Mike’s she was eager to involved in the array of co-curriculars on offer. But like many in her cohort, Anita’s introduction to undergrad was completely online due to the pandemic. By her second year, the campus was reopening, and she signed up to be a mentor because she enjoyed being a mentee in her first year. She received the Excellence in Peer Mentorship award in recognition of her commitment to this role.

Her willingness to give back drove her to become further involved in her third and fourth years. She became a Senior Mentor in the Peer Mentorship program, Student Campus Minister – Interfaith and Social Outreach Coordinator, and an executive of the Advocacy Student Advisory Group.

In preparation for these roles, she went on the leadership retreat in May 2023. “It was a fun way to get to know everyone prior to starting our roles and be able to plan what type of events we wanted. We were able to collaborate across all the different clubs at once,” she says. She noticed that the St. Michael’s staff members were very willing to hear from the student leaders. “They would think of ways to build on our ideas or integrate them with events already happening on campus. They wanted to make our ideas flourish and come to life,” she says.

This past year, Anita looked into how mental health resources could be added to the mentorship program. Information booths were set up to get these resources into the hands of first-year students to help them fully integrate into college life.

In her role as campus ministry’s Interfaith and Social Outreach Coordinator, she organized a student interfaith panel where St. Michael’s students of various religious traditions came together to discuss how they practise their faith in university. “It was a great event that allowed students to recognize that there were very diverse faiths present at St. Mike’s,” she says.

Her generosity extended outside of the St. Michael’s community. This year, she helped launch a student-led Snack Outreach Program that prepared and served meals to Toronto’s most vulnerable on a weekly basis.

In September she will begin a research-based master’s degree in medical science at U of T, which she hopes will lead to a career in research and health advocacy. While pursuing graduate studies she wants to keep in touch with her St. Michael’s community, particularly by continuing to volunteer for the Snack Outreach Program.

More Convocation 2024:

Grad Para Babuharan on Finding His Community

Grad Vanessa Choi on Paying it Forward 

St. Mike’s Student Dacian Dawes on Finding her Place

Grad Patrick Elo on Crossing the Finish Line

Grad Caroline McQuade on the Value of Mentors

Grad Patrick Policicchio on Research, Connection and Belonging