Date : September 2014 – April 2015
On my first night at the University of British Columbia, I had a momentous meeting with my floor residence adviser, a moment that would change my entire experience as a member of this community. It was the night I was inspired to join the Kwakiutl house council!
In my first week, I applied and was elected as a floor representative for Kwakiutl floor 5; a position i held for my entire first year. Being a member of a house council under the Totem Park Residents Association (TPRA), I actively participated in planning, advertising and organizing of house-wide events, and sometimes, Totem Park-wide events. in addition, I was to convey information and feedback between the residents of Kwakiutl house and the TPRA.
Much as being a new member with minimal orientation posed a lingering challenge for me as a leader in residence, the Kwakitutl house members were a very supportive community. This inspired me to work hard and effectively so that I could in turn, make their experience in first-year residence worth while. It goes with out saying that this experience had several minor but significant successes : winning the Totem Park colour wars, successfully holding house-wide events, and being runners up for the Totem Park residence cup.
Having not had extensive experience in community leadership before, I was surprised by how much being a leader in such an exuberant community could improve my own personal motivation to take on previously unfamiliar tasks. I realized that I did not have to have to be a very vocal icon in order to have a positive impact in my community. I learnt that leadership was more about being engaged with in the community, than trying to coordinate activities from a distance – that being a leader who was immersed with his members, so much that the role ceased to have a significant tag, and instead worked in unison with the interests of every one was far more rewarding.
Needless to say, this experience was especially socially rewarding. Being part of events meant that I had to interact with members of my community more often than I would have ordinarily. Though my interactions might have initially been regarding my responsibilities, many of the people I interacted with became friends that would hold further significance in the rest of my life here at UBC.
Put succinctly; I acquired skills in events organizations, community development, interpersonal relations and networking. These are skills that should enable me take on roles in the community, advertise, advocate, etc more effectively. I feel better poised to take up leadership in the community, residence, orientations and clubs – all of which are part of my future goals.
It was a life-changing realization that leadership and service tend to add more value to an individual, than what they take away in terms of time-commitments or challenges. Thumbs up to an experience I will hold dearly for the rest of my life.