After years of feeling like he didn’t belong, Moe Hussein found a welcoming and inclusive community at Brock University.
The Sport Management major came to Brock as a mature student in 2020 after attending three other post-secondary institutions over the course of 15 years. This week, along with more than 3,500 other graduating students, Hussein is celebrating the long-awaited accomplishment of earning a Brock degree.
Hussein’s family immigrated to Canada in 2001 from the United Arab Emirates to pursue a better education for him and his three siblings.
Long before Hussein learned about Brock, his sights were set on a different Ontario university that his parents, after hearing great things, encouraged him to attend, along with his siblings.
After graduating from high school in 2005, Hussein did as his parents wished and enrolled, but his experience at the university did not match its reputation.
“I was faced with tremendous difficulty in the form of racist attacks from fellow students on campus and racist rhetoric from some professors,” he said. “Students would yell at me and throw stuff at me. I complained several times, but nothing happened. I left a year prior to graduation. It wasn’t the place for me.”
Hussein then moved to Toronto to pursue his education at a second university. Although he enjoyed his experience there, he found it too expensive to live in the big city.
“Being diabetic, I couldn’t afford to continue my studies because I was unable to afford rent, food and my medication on top of tuition,” he said.
Feeling defeated, he moved back in with his parents a year later and attended a local college to pursue a one-year business diploma.
After graduating, he worked in a variety of industries, including car sales, finance and retail, but found the jobs unrewarding and stressful. Encountering what he called “abusive management and customers,” he developed symptoms of anxiety and depression.
To help relieve some stress and feel a sense of accomplishment outside of work, Hussein started a not-for-profit soccer club.
“I wanted to give minorities and people like me the opportunity to develop their skills and become leaders,” he said. “I also wanted to help individuals with mental health issues use sport as a healthy way to express themselves.”
Hussein managed the club for seven years, finding great joy in everything from playing and coaching to handling the finances and planning the marketing.
“It made me realize I wanted to do this as a career, rather than a volunteer role,” he said.
He researched degree programs and discovered Brock’s Bachelor of Sport Management program.
“It’s been the best decision I have ever made,” he said. “I felt welcome at Brock and proud to share my culture and heritage. Students were kind and friendly and made me feel comfortable. Professors wanted me to succeed and worked with me to ensure I was on the right track.”
Despite most of his studies taking place during the height of the pandemic, Hussein’s time at Brock helped him overcome much of his social anxiety.
“I felt like myself for the first time in years,” he said.
Hussein said he has found a second home at Brock and is planning to stay with his Brock family for a little while longer. He was recently accepted into the Master of Arts in Sport Management program and will be working towards completing the degree part time while he works and volunteers in the sport industry.
He has big goals for the next few years, but Hussein is confident he can achieve them with continued support and encouragement from the Brock community.
“I want to become a great difference maker in the sport industry,” he said. “I want to make sure that no one in the sport industry suffers injustice due to their race, gender or sexual orientation.”