Bonnie Neuman, Vice-President Student Services, is known for being effusive when it comes to all things Dalhousie. At Thursday’s Governors Awards Reception, she was in her element as she heaped praise on four outstanding students who have distinguished themselves for their community involvement.
“I’m humbled by the contributions of these students,” she said. “We could not be the university we are today without the strong dedication to helping others that our students demonstrate.”
One by one, Dalhousie students Jamie Arron, Rob LeForte, Emily Stewart and Alex Legge were invited to walk the red carpet and stand by, looking slightly abashed, as Dr. Neuman recited lengthy lists of their accomplishments. Then, Jim Wilson, chair of the Board of Governors’ student experience committee, looped black-and-gold scarfs around their necks while handing them each a plaque and a pin.
“It’s an awkward feeling,” admitted Alex Legge, who is in her first year at Dalhousie Medical School. “It’s always a little bit strange to hear about yourself, but I must say this is one of the most meaningful awards I’ve received.”
Established in 1992 by the Board of Governors to mark the 125th anniversary of the Dalhousie Student Union, the awards recognize leadership in the “extracurricular realm” in the areas of university governance, developing a sense of community on campus, community service, visual or performing arts, minority access and athletics.
Jamie Arron was up first. The fourth-year student in International Development Studies has been described as a “man on a mission.” Throughout his four years at Dal, he’s been active in campus and community life: he set up the nonprofit organization Mavericks of Social Change; he spearheaded the DSU’s social innovation challenge and Brains for Change; and he works as a research assistant for Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly. Last year, he was awarded the International Development Studies’ Activism Award.
Although nearing graduation, Mr. Arron says he’s not ready to leave Dalhousie yet. He ran in the DSU election for the VP (student life) and is waiting to hear if he was successful.
“First year was all about good times; I had a lot of fun,” he said. “But since then I stumbled into the strangest opportunities and I’ve had a blast. For me, it’s what learning is all about. It’s such a contagious environment; no one’s trying to filter you out.”
Rob LeForte, a political science student from Dartmouth, has served on the DSU executive as the VP (education and external) for the past two years. During his tenure, he’s championed the implementation of a late-night study space at Dal and the approval of a fall study day. Other extracurricular activities include serving as president of the Dalhousie Undergraduate Political Science Society, vice-chair and chair on the board of directors for the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations; chair, pan-Canadian accord committee, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. Described as “easy going and approachable,” he’s also a paddler and a rugby player, a member of Dal’s Rugby Football Club.
In her four years of undergraduate study at Dal, Alex Legge distinguished herself as a stellar student and an outstanding varsity basketball player. It’s always been her dream to enter Dal Med School and she’s now living that dream, while still keeping up with her community service. Honored as a Top 8 Academic All-Canadian by Canadian Interuniversity Sport last year, she volunteers as assistant coach for the women’s basketball team and as her class’s representative for cancer-fundraising initiatives such as Run for the Cure and Relay for Life.
Recovering from a knee injury, she is hoping to return to her team for her fifth and final year of eligibility.
“My goal all along has been to get into med school, so anything else has been icing on the cake,” she said. “I must say my experience at Dalhousie has far exceeded expectations. If you work hard and give it 100 per cent, you can go far.”
Emily Stewart, a fourth-year student majoring in environment science and economics, was the fourth student to walk the red carpet. She’s involved in STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur) and the Dal chapter of Engineers Without Borders. She’s also active in residence life.
She confesses to be uneasy in the spotlight and is quick to credit the other students she collaborates with. “I am definitely not doing this alone,” she said with emphasis.
“People have so much energy and enthusiasm at this age,” she said. “I don’t really consider myself to be that talented—I just like rallying the talented people. Together, we do great things.”
comments powered by Disqus