How have you been a leader at the University of Calgary? What qualities do all good student leaders possess?
To me, a leader is a person who would be the last one to label themselves as such. Instead of attempting to lead others with words, they set an example with their actions. This involves service to their peers and the community, a willingness to take personal risks and the confidence to improve their environment.
Over the course of my degree I have done my best to lead by example. I have served the undergraduates at the University of Calgary for two years as a Students Union elected official, where I have focused on combating apathy at the university by encouraging others to take the opportunities available to them through the SU. Through my dedication to Dinos Athletics, I have aimed to inspire others by my actions on and off of the track. I have also spent two summers involved in osteoporosis research through the faculties of Kinesiology and Engineering, and have challenged others to add to the vast knowledge base that the University of Calgary has developed. I look forward to drawing on my experiences during my time at the University of Calgary to help our university become one of the top 5 institutions in Canada over the coming years.
How have you been involved in the community during your university career?
My involvement in the community has focused around Sport and its ability to impact others in a profound way. Sport has given me so much, and I consider it a privilege to give back. I have started to do this through my involvement with the Calgary Track Council, where each year hundreds of young athletes get the chance to participate in Track and Field meets that I help to run throughout the city. These meets allow youth to be exposed to the positive messages that sport relays, such as belief in one s abilities and camaraderie during competition. I have also represented over 400 residence students on the Athletics In Residence Committee. Through this committee I had the opportunity to organize residence-wide sporting events to promote healthy living and an active lifestyle. I also have made it a priority to attend as many Dinos sporting events as possible during my time here, and plan to continue to support the amazing student-athletes on our varsity teams after graduation.
How have you balanced school with your other commitments on campus and in the community?
With plenty of caffeine! As a track and field athlete, I’m also able to pop on the running shoes and run from commitment to commitment. On a more serious note, the academic services at the University of Calgary have been a huge amount of help over the years. We are very fortunate to have such a great choice of study spaces, even if they don’t always help us escape from Facebook.
As any university student can tell you, the busier you are, the better your time management skills become. What I found even more useful than multi-tasking was the opportunity to unwind and make some (sometimes hazy) memories outside of the classroom. This refocuses me and allows me to keep my studies in perspective. After all, these are supposed to be some of the best years of our lives! However, the most valuable resources that I have had during my academic career have been my classmates and teammates. I would not have been able to balance athletics with academics without them, let alone have any semblance of a social life. I consider it a huge honour to have been chosen as an Academic All-Canadian for all of my university years. To all the helpful classmates that have helped me achieve this by lending me notes and walking me through missed lectures, thank you so much!!
University is what you make it, so how have you been making the most of your university career?
I was lucky enough to spend three years living in residence at the University of Calgary, and enjoyed every minute of it, aside from those 6am fire drills. The experiences I’ve had and the friendships I’ve made make it all worthwhile though. A university career should involve so much more than just the classroom, but it is important to remember that aspect as well. I have done my best to take an active role in all of my classes, whether it be in the form of contributing to discussions or learning from the experiences of classmates I have met along the way. There’s nothing like adversity to bring students together, such as a brutal midterm or a fume hood explosion, so being engaged and open during class has really enriched my time here.
Having the opportunity to be involved in student politics has also been a blessing. It has opened my eyes to how much the SU does for us, including bringing great acts to Mac Hall, supporting over 200 student clubs and throwing an insane party every Thursday night at The Den. Lastly, the chance to represent my university by wearing Dinos red for 5 years has been an honour; I will never forget the friends and sense of school spirit that I have been surrounded with while being involved in varsity athletics. Go Dinos!
Class Ambassadors are permanent representatives of their graduating class. What is the role of University of Calgary alumni in the community and how will you represent the university to alumni and future alumni?
The word alumnus stems from the Greek word 'to nourish' (thank you Wikipedia). At the risk of sounding a little cheesy, our degrees have now equipped us to nourish the communities that supported us during our university careers. After all, our degrees are largely subsidized by the taxpayers that make up these communities. We now have a special and valuable set of skills that we can use to enrich the communities that allowed us to cross that convocation stage. A less altruistic but equally important role of the alumni is to add value to the degrees we have received. By inspiring future alumni with our accomplishments following graduation, we benefit from the idea that University of Calgary grads are difference makers and valuable assets in the workplace.
I have specific plans to give back to the university that has given me so much. Aside from ensuring that all grads feel a sense of connectedness and are able to reminisce about the amazing moments we have shared while attending the University of Calgary, I would also like to create a legacy of the time we spent together. I will work with my fellow class ambassadors to choose a 2012 Class Gift that we can all take pride in. I will also continue to support our Dinos by cheering them on wherever I end up. Lastly, I will work with the Alumni Association to create a Faculty of Arts alumni chapter. The University of Calgary’s newest and largest faculty does not yet have its own chapter, as do most of the other faculties on campus. By teaming up with the SU’s Arts representatives, I will work to make sure that all future Arts grads are able to connect with each other through events and shared experiences, wherever their degrees may lead them.