Making a Difference at Dal: Barbara Walls

- April 19, 2007

Barbie Walls (Abriel photo)

At Dalhousie, learning extends beyond the classroom. Many students are making a significant difference in the wider community while achieving success within the classroom. This year, the department of Student Services began an initiative called "Making a Difference at Dal," recognizing outstanding student achievements within the Dalhousie community and beyond.

It's hard to walk through the Dalhousie campus without stumbling across some of Barbara Walls' hard work in action. As the president of the Dal chapter of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), one of Dalhousie's most successful societies, Barbara (better known as Barbie) has breathed passion into the issue of HIV/AIDS research, a passion that is beginning to resonate throughout the student body. Her dedication to CANFAR has been so outstanding this year that her efforts were recognized by the Dalhousie Student Union when she was awarded Society Professional of the year, and also by the University itself when she was awarded the prestigious Governor's award.

"If there's one thing I've learned about myself from all of this, it's that I am driven," remarks Walls. "This has not only given purpose to my life, but has taught me patience, and how to go beyond my expectations." The society, which has approximately 40 regular members, is responsible for organizing many events including The Red Party, an annual fundraiser for HIV/AIDS awareness.

Inspiration and involvement

This year, Wall's involvement with CANFAR presented her with an amazing opportunity - the chance to meet Stephen Lewis. "He is one of my biggest influences," says Walls. "He speaks in such a way that his words grab your attention and makes you want to do more, to become more involved. When I walked away from him I was inspired. Meeting him was a moment I will never forget."

Walls' admiration for Lewis can be traced back to his approach and work on the topic of HIV/AIDS. "A lot of people react in fear to the issue of HIV/AIDS," explains Walls, "But this doesn't happen when you listen to Lewis." 

Now in her fourth and final year at Dalhousie, Walls has set her sights on new challenges and opportunities for the future. "My time at Dalhousie has given me focus towards my future. I have watched Dalhousie change in its attitudes and perspective about the topic of HIV/AIDS, and for that I am truly grateful," says Walls. "If I had to use one word to describe my four years at Dalhousie, that word would be inspiring."


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