Beyond the books: How Elizabeth-Joy brings her passion for helping people into her role at the MSA

Elizabeth Joy sitting in the DBARC

Elizabeth-Joy Phillips loves working with people and doing everything she can to help them. Her passion has led her to the Social Service Worker program at Mohawk College, and her unstoppable drive has helped to secure her current role as President of Mohawk Student Association (MSA).

She has always loved the community and getting involved. Whether it’s a community-building event for current students, Elizabeth-Joy is giving it her all to make student life at Mohawk as strong as it can be. I’ve always dedicated my life to helping people,” she said. I love people, I love working to understand people's different perspectives and their stories.

Elizabeth-Joy worked in sales before deciding to attend Mohawk College, where her interactions were always transactional. She decided to go to school as a mature student because she wanted a career where she could truly connect with who she was working with.That's what made me gravitate to doing social service work because I saw that I could really impact people in a meaningful way by giving them the resources and supports that they need to be successful in their day, she said.

"Photo of Elizabeth Joy at the MSA office"When she was younger, Elizabeth-Joy never saw herself going to college. I was not the girl for college. I thought that everything that you needed to learn to do a job, a company will teach you,” she said. But that requires the student mindset, to be teachable and to be open to learning. So, once it started to be very clear what it was that I wanted to do, I understood what it took to actually be in college.

It was her drive to help people and to practice the skills she was learning in class, that led to her involvement with the MSA.Being able to find a way to put my passion into practical use, as well as everything I was learning in my course, made working with the student association the perfect marriage, to take the theory and put it into practical use right away,” said Elizabeth-Joy.

Elizabeth-Joy currently serves as the President of the MSA, but she’s worked with the MSA in multiple roles - her first being with the Student Recreation Committee (SRC).I joined as an SRC student, which was the student rec committees that we used to have. I was in the wellness group,” she said. I went out to one of their events once when I was invited and I met everybody on the team, and that's how I ended up joining. After working with them for a bit I was told about the director-at-large position, and they encouraged me that I should run for the position.

Elizabeth-Joy successfully ran for and won the director-at-large role, and while working in the role, she also started working in a student position alongside the MSA as a digital influencer. Never one to stop pushing herself, she soon set her eyes on the position of president. I was appointed in November of 2022 as president of the MSA,” she said. It's been an awesome experience thus far, being able to represent the students in this way. It's been amazing.

She encourages students to get involved not only with the MSA, but with their Mohawk College community through student positions, volunteer opportunities, or seeing how you can get involved with Open House to help new students learn about the college.

Open House isn’t just a great way for new students to learn about the school; it can also be a way for current students to get involved and act as leaders and guides to potential Mohawk College students.

"Elizabeth Joy outside the Fennell campus laughing"Elizabeth-Joy encourages students to get involved on campus as much as they can. “As soon as you get involved in something like the MSA, you're just so excited to know all the things that you've come to learn that you can't help yourself but share it with other people,” she said. That makes you the go-to person that everyone's coming to for information. And that just starts to open up your community within the college and outside of it. 

Getting involved with the Mohawk College community can start before you’re even a student. For many prospective students, Open House is their first major exposure to Mohawk College campus and our community. Get a taste of campus life, tour everything the college has available to offer and build connections with other future students who may one day be your fellow classmates.

What's great about getting involved on campus is that you meet people in different programs that you can network with” she continued. Why not work at the MSA, get to know your schoolmates and build relationships to set yourself up for success when as you leave.