How have you been a leader at the University of Calgary? What qualities do all good student leaders possess?
Leaders are a diverse bunch - they exist in every sphere and a employ a variety of different approaches - but I feel that there are three key elements that every one of them needs to succeed: passion, commitment, and vision. And these are attributes which I've tried to embody as a student leader. As a an activist for social justice, I've served in a number of student clubs - Amnesty International, Journalists for Human Rights, and many more, and have even founded my own club to further my passion for human rights. Through this involvement I've led in a variety of different capacities, from planning events and engaging with students to leading comprehensive workshops to educate my fellow students on critical global issues. I've committed myself to these activities over the last few years in order to increase awareness of crucial international issues, and have even been recognized with awards to recognize my extensive involvement on campus. My passion for what I do has been what's driven me to devote hundreds of hours to these activities.
Aside from student activities, I've taken leadership in the academic realm as well. When I discovered that my program didn't offer courses in a subject that I felt was essential, I got together with a group of fellow students and started lobbying the university administration to change that. When I feel strongly about an issue I dedicate myself to it, and I think I've done a great deal of that at the University of Calgary.
How have you been involved in the community during your university career?
As a U of C student, I chose to spend my undergraduate career dedicating myself to both serving and learning from the campus community. On top of serving in various positions in student clubs, I've also engaged in a number of broader campus initiatives. In my first couple of years I completed the university's Emerging Leaders Program and Sophomore Leadership Program, getting involved in both student life and community events. I also went through all three of the University of Calgary's UCL leadership programs to sharpen my leadership skills, and have been occasionally volunteering with the University of Calgary Ambassadors since my first year to keep engaged with the campus. What's been most important to me though is student life. That's why I've focused the bulk of my time on student clubs and regularly attending student-run events like speakers, documentary screenings, and debates. More recently I've become involved with the Students' Union, having volunteered over 150 hours with them and now working for them conducting research. I've learned a ton in my classes during my time at U of C, but I've learned just as much by interacting with my fellow students and the campus community.
How have you balanced school with your other commitments on campus and in the community?
I've put tremendous effort into remaining involved on campus, both through participating in clubs to spread awareness of important issues on campus and through regularly attending campus events to learn from my peers. At the same time, I've volunteered literally hundreds of hours on campus and at the local hospital on weekends in order to contribute to my community. But I've always kept school as my number one priority. Entering the University of Calgary as a Chancellor's Club Scholar, I made it my goal to make the most of my educational opportunities and to learn as much as I could to prepare myself for the road ahead. Looking back on my time here, that philosophy of putting school first has worked out just fine. While I've been able to meet tons of fantastic people, get involved with many wonderful groups, and learn a ton from the experiences I've had at University of Calgary, I've also been fortunate to maintain a nearly perfect academic record and take advantage of the knowledge of both the amazing professors and brilliant students here.
University is what you make it, so how have you been making the most of your university career?
As I mentioned above, I've tried to take as much as I can from my time here by not compromising on anything. I've made the most of the school portion by getting immersed in the world of international relations, taking what I've learned in class and building on it by reading tons of books and articles on global affairs in my spare time. At the same time I've stayed involved with student life through clubs and the university through both regular volunteering and taking part in its student initiatives. Through both of these, I've made some awesome friends who have also provided me with wonderful social experiences - I can recall countless late nights spend studying, laughing, debating, planning - the memories of an enjoyable university career. I think what's helped me most is trying to integrate all these elements. By getting involved with clubs that interested me I've been able to make wonderful friends, learn a great deal about the subjects that interest me, and stay extremely involved in my community. It's this sort of experience that makes me feel like I haven't really missed out on anything while I've been here, but rather have been able to enjoy a little bit (actually, a great deal) of everything.
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 role of a University of Calgary alumnus is two-fold: First, an alumnus should play an active role in showcasing the strengths of the university to the wider community. The University of Calgary is a wonderful institution with fantastic resources and strong connections to the Calgary community. But the university is still a growing institution, and the second responsibility of our alumni is to help the U of C develop resources and connections in those areas that it's lacking in. As an alumnus, I plan to encourage more students to come to U of C and take advantage of the phenomenal opportunities it offers. But, as a student of international relations who found a lot lacking in my program here, I want to help the university develop connections with areas of the globe where it currently doesn't have many. I spent most of my degree studying the Middle East, a fascinating and dynamic region but one which the university had very few classes relating to. As a graduate, I want to help engage with parties who have an interest in that area - students of politics, economics, religious studies, engineering, and commerce alike - to help introduce more resources to study that region. Our university and city are highly integrated with the energy industry, and I feel that by improving the resources available to learn about the culture and environment of the region that's the hub of global energy I can help future students benefit from a University of Calgary that's more integrated with and more aware of the world around it.
Beyond that, I know that the best way I'm going to represent this university is by showing the world what I can do with both the knowledge and experiences I've gained here. In my years at U of C I've developed a powerful enthusiasm for the advocacy of human rights, and as a student who aims to get engaged on an international level I'm going to put to use everything I've learned here in order to positively influence the lives of others. I think that it's through that effort that the influence the University of Calgary has had on me will really shine through.