Give a brief bio about yourself/ your background/ your history.
I was born and raised in Morden, Manitoba. I was enrolled in French Immersion throughout elementary and middle school, and partly through high school. When I was young, I always felt the need to keep busy, whether that be packing my schedule full of after school programs like drama, volunteering at the local Humane Society, running track and field, and being on every possible soccer team I could find in my vicinity. At one time I was on 3 different soccer teams, all in separate leagues, getting to play the sport I loved so much every night of the week. I have always let passion drive my ambition, in some way due to my early diagnosis of mental illness. Struggling with depression throughout most of high school, I had very little energy to put into things I did not find interesting. Although adults always told me that I was smart, I was quickly labelled ‘lazy’ for not caring and spending most days in bed. I played soccer as an output for all the anger and frustration I felt for not being able to ‘live up to my potential’, as well as the comfort and belonging I felt on the soccer field; it was my home. In 2018, I moved to Brandon to continue my studies and play on the Brandon University women’s soccer team. I began my first year as a red shirt, suffering from intense imposter syndrome. Thankfully my stubbornness and passion for the sport convinced me to keep working at my skills, and I eventually became a starter my second year, and captain by the third. Due to unforeseen health issues, and the inability to stand by and watch as the soccer team and culture I had built slowly shift, I was forced to quit in March of 2021. In addition, my friends and former teammates, who experienced sexual harassment, were being ignored by the university. Having seen firsthand the way the young, impressionable girls were being groomed and gaslighted by an important figure, I joined my friends in fighting the university for the protection for women and students they have always promised but have yet to deliver.
What education have you taken?
At 16 I completed the National Lifesaving Societies course and exam to become a certified lifeguard, and the Canadian Red Cross’ Water Safety Instructor course in order to teach swimming lessons. Although I am no longer a certified lifeguard due to an opportunity to work in federal government part time, I have continued to re-certify my Standard First Aid & CPR-C.
In 2018¸ I graduated with honours from Morden Collegiate Institute and am currently finishing up a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a French minor.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
A few of my accomplishments include winning 3rd in 4×100 relay at the Provincial Track & Field meet in 2017, becoming captain of my high school soccer team and winning the coach’s award for my leadership role and support of the team. I was also lucky enough to win two scholarships at graduation, including the Morden Legion Branch #11 Poppy Fund Bursary, and the Dr. Randall and Karla Warkentin Scholarship.
I am also very honored to receive this recognition, but I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for my friends, who encouraged, cared, and fought alongside me throughout the despicable situation that we were all put through because of BU’s athletic departments’ lack of respect for women and policies. You are all my inspiration to keep fighting for justice, and systemic change to protect future amazing and talented women of Brandon University.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
The most common phrase I have heard throughout my childhood, and still, is that I would be a good lawyer. As a child I knew that this wasn’t necessarily a compliment, but I took it and ran.
What is your philosophy in life?
It’s not that difficult to be a decent person. The bar is literally so low.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Ideally getting paid to argue, mostly so I can buy a farm and fill it with rescue dogs, but hopefully having a positive impact wherever that may be.
In one sentence, how will you #BreakTheBias?
I will #BreaktheBias against women by continuing to advocate for survivors of sexual violence, and fight to ensure women’s voices are being heard, no matter how hard they try to silence us.
Lauren Craig is not only a student with a special talent for soccer, as evidenced by her contributions to the Brandon University Women’s Soccer Team, but also one who is curious about the world and passionate about social justice. It has been a distinct honour to observe Lauren’s personal growth in real time over the course of her degree, but especially so over this last year, as she found her sense of place as someone who is continually striving to do and be better, and who expects the same of others. Lauren’s resilience in the face of adversity, her willingness to speak truth to power, and her ability to support and uplift her friends, fellow students, and teammates all align with the 2022 IWD theme of #breakthebias, which asks us to imagine a gender equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. Lauren is equally fearless and humble, motivated and justice oriented. She is making – and will continue to make – a meaningful difference as an engaged citizen and leader.