Uytae Lee talks about 2nd year

A day in the life

Uytae Lee talks about 2nd year


Sustainability is definitely very dynamic in Community Design – to make streets more walkable, to get food locally and limit the amount of gas used in transport. It’s all very relevant, it all crosses over.

An exciting combination

“I’m hesitant to say there’s a divide between the two subjects,” says Uytae Lee of his double major in Environment, Sustainability & Society (ESS) and Community Design. “A lot of what I see in Community Design is relevant to sustainability – they mix well together.”

Though Uytae came all the way to Dal from Langley, B.C. specifically for Community Design, he also knew about the ESS program. Combining them “seemed like a great idea – something pretty exciting to do.”

So he did it. And during his second year at Dal, he got a good look at how societies can be built more sustainably – and some historical examples of how they weren’t.

In-class exercises like an “unofficial discussion forum” are providing hands-on experience dealing with real-world sustainability problems. Students the ESS class were given a topic: gorilla habitat conservation efforts in Uganda. Then each student took the role of a person in the community somehow affected by conservation.

Uytae chose to represent the perspective of the tourist industry in Uganda. “It was fun to put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” he says.

He admits that in “a class of 100 like-minded people,” the outcome of the exercise wasn’t hard to predict. Of his own views, he says, “I didn’t always agree with the tourism perspective – I’m against the idea that it should be based only on profit. It was a challenge, but now I appreciate their point of view. It’s a valuable lesson in how to understand people who don’t have the same views as you do.”

And, he discovered that “there’s no one solution – lots of middle ground has to be covered.”

Sustainability - YESSSS!!

Uytae’s degree combination also looms large in his social life. He’s involved in three student societies: YESSSS (Your ESS Student Society), Sustain Dal, and the Society of Undergraduate Planners.

YESSSS, he says, is about “fostering a sense of sustainability in the Dal population.” If you’re in the Student Union Building on Mondays, you might see him at the Muggy Mondays table, pouring the free coffee “for anyone with a reusable mug.”

After graduating, Uytae says he’d like to stay in Halifax, “if I can get a job.”

He’s already increasing his odds, with a summer internship line up with the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association. “I’ll be helping improve the street,” he says, from cleaning to organizing Quinfest and “other fun stuff.” He’ll also get to apply his Community Design know-how, doing “a façade improvement program – which is totally relevant.”