I definitely aspire to inspire our first-year off campus student population each year. The LOCUS program is designed to help students transition to life at Laurier and help them find their fit here. A goal of the program is to help students find their fit at Laurier, and to encourage students to participate in many of the activities, events and clubs we have on campus. I try my best to have students utilize LOCUS as a diving board into co-curricular experiences at Laurier; they use LOCUS to help them discover their passions, interests, goals, etc. and we connect them into the spaces, activities and opportunities that will ultimately foster their passions and interests, or help them meet their goals. Whether it’s volunteering on the LOCUS House Council, helping them start a campus club, or signing them up for intramurals, myself and the LOCUS team really try to tailor the experience to each student to help them find their inspiration and purpose at Laurier.
I think what inspires me most is seeing students develop and grow throughout their time with us at Laurier. It’s so exciting to be on campus during orientation week welcoming many shy and excited first-year students, and helping them push themselves outside their comfort zone by encouraging them to sign up for a club, apply for a leadership position within LOCUS or the Students’ Union and then eventually watching them grow, lead and discover their true potential through co-curricular experiences over our four (or more) years together. It’s truly inspiring to watch our student leaders push themselves, support one another and positively contribute to the student experience.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and we shifted to a remote learning environment, I believe I showed leadership by instantly expanding the LOCUS program’s scope and reach to create an environment in which students felt connected to one another and the university; I carried this approach over the course of the 2020/21 academic year and was able to go from supporting approximately 500 students to over 3500. Through this leadership, I was able to expand the amount of student staff positions and create new, meaningful positions for students to lead, inspire and support the off-campus student community.
There are not many universities across Canada that focus solely on the first year off-campus experience and providing targeted transitional support to that population of students. The LOCUS program is definitely uniquely Laurier; I think it further exemplifies how much we care about the student experience and ensuring that all first year students, regardless of where they choose to live, have an equal opportunity to get involved and feel supported through their transition to life at university.
As an alumna of the institution, I believe that I found my purpose during my undergraduate education and because of all the opportunities and experiences Laurier offers to students, it ultimately gave me the opportunity to grow as a leader, gave me permission to learn from failure and set me up for my career at Laurier. I think because I was able to experience “inspiring lives of leadership and purpose” first hand as a student, it guides a lot of the work I do as a staff member now. I know how impactful and life-changing undergraduate opportunities can be and it is very much at the forefront of what I’ve done at Laurier. I consistently look for new ways to involve students in program decisions, develop new opportunities for student leadership, and ask for feedback on what they believe to be the best step moving forward. By empowering the students throughout my career at Laurier, I know that I am very much inspiring lives of leadership and purpose every day.
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