Uytae Lee talks about 1st year

A day in the life

Uytae Lee talks about 1st year


The fun and excitement extend beyond the classroom. There’s a real community here that offers countless opportunities to get involved through societies, clubs, open mics—and that's just naming a few.

The art of multi-tasking

Uytae Lee figured the best way to make the most of his time at Dal was to get involved—right from the get-go. He joined the Society of Undergraduate Planners as a first-year representative, signed up for the Swing Dance Society, the Dalhousie Badminton Club, Green Residence Forum, and Your Environment, Sustainability & Society Student Society (YESSSS).

“My best times at Dal have been both inside and outside the classroom and that’s really what I love the most about going here,” he says. “The classes are great, but the fun and excitement extend way beyond the classroom. There’s a real community here that offers countless opportunities to get involved through societies, clubs, open mics—and that’s just naming a few.”

Uytae is a fixture at open mics on campus, often playing songs he’s composed himself on his ukulele – and he's gaining a degree of celebrity status as he works toward a double major in Community Design and Environment, Sustainability & Society. While studying for an introductory Sustainability class, he composed and recorded a song about procrastination, and even created a stop-motion video for it. He’s also been able to bring his music right into the classroom.

“I had the opportunity to write a song for one of my assignments in Planning 1002 and I thought that was a pretty fun and interesting way to present information,” he says. “That’s my favourite class so far. The professor, Frank Palermo, is very passionate about the field and a great speaker.”

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Uytae spent most of his upbringing in Langley, British Columbia. When it came time to decide on a university to attend, he liked the idea of going from one coast to the other and discovered that Dalhousie is one of a few universities in Canada that offers Community Design at the undergraduate level.

“I’m also an environmentally conscious person, so being able to take Sustainability as well was a great opportunity,” he says.

His initial interest in community design stemmed from talking with a family friend who works as an urban planner. He didn’t know much about the profession, but after doing some research he realized it was something he wanted to study. Once he started at Dal, it didn’t take long for Uytae to discover the program is a perfect fit for his interests.

“It really involves a lot of creativity and requires an open mindset,” he says. “In one of my lectures, my prof talked about how community design was not about just understanding a place, but planning and changing that place for the better. I realized then that the program isn’t about a static theory but a constantly adapting view that ultimately focuses on a positive and significant impact on the community. That gives me a lot of satisfaction.”