Meet Alyssa Ahmed:
Alyssa Ahmed is a 3rd year University of Guelph student, majoring in Psychology and minoring in French. Alyssa shares with us the many leadership and volunteer roles she has taken on while at the U of G, including being this year's College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Student Association President, being involved in the Collegiate Leadership Competition, teaching French through an Experiential Learning course to members of the Campus Friends program, and with her past involvement in the College of Arts Student Union and LINK. Alyssa's passion for the community and making positive impact on other people's life is evident through her extensive participation in campus activities, both before Covid, as well as her current involvement in activities and initiatives online. Alyssa discusses the benefits of being involved and gives advice on getting involved remotely.
Can you briefly explain the Experiential Learning activities that you're involved in?
“My involvement with the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Student Association (CSAHS-SA) has been the role of the President this year, which has been so rewarding. I have met so many people in my executive team, the ASO’s and the student body who are so driven to make a change. This year, I started the Pen Pal Program which matches up students at the beginning of the semester to help students deal with feelings of isolation and hopefully, to foster a new friendship!”
“My role with the College of Arts Student Union (CASU) last year was the VP of Activities, and last year, I was a LINK volunteer and found it very enjoyable! I was able to learn so much from my partner about the culture, norms and cool aspects about their country. In the past (pre-Covid times) I was a UOGA and I helped out with the Fall Preview Day from a different point of view. I felt as though I was making a large impact on these student’s choices!”
“Collegiate Leadership Competition (CLC) is a leadership competition where delegations from a vast number of universities get to practice their leadership skills in an applicable setting. Our delegation is put together in early January each year and we train for 3 months until competition day where we apply our knowledge and work together as a team (however this year it is laid out differently with more than just one day of competition).”
“I also volunteer for Campus Friends, a program run through Community Living Guelph-Wellington which allows me to connect with members of the community with developmental disabilities by engaging in various activities on campus. You really get connected with these amazing people and participate in fun activities such as scavenger hunts, sports, taking your partner to class with you or walking puppies from OVC!”
You are heavily involved in so many activities on campus. What would you say is your favourite and why?
“My favourite activity is definitely CLC! I have had the honour of being on the team throughout all my years at Guelph so far and have loved every second of it! Unlike sports, academics or music, there is never really an opportunity to compete/showcase leadership skills. This gives me a chance to develop my leadership skills, learn lots, gain perspectives and compete in something I am truly passionate about. The best part about CLC is not just competition day, but the connections I’ve built, memories I’ve made and learning that is a result of this amazing opportunity. This year there are 60 post-secondary institutions from across North America.”
What will you be doing for FREN*3700? What has the experience been like so far with this Experiential Learning course?
“For my FREN*3700 I am combining my second language with something I am very passionate about. I am teaching members of the Campus Friends program who are members of the Guelph community with developmental disabilities, French! They are very eager to learn and I am just as eager to teach. I will be teaching based off of their interests, so depending on what they would like to learn in French (whether it be reading, writing, listening, talking), I want to help them achieve that. I think I will learn just as much from them as they learn from me.”
What do you think the benefits of being involved on campus are?
“There are honestly so many benefits from being involved on campus. You get to make so many connections, many of which you can never make in just the classroom. You learn so much and it’s all very applicable. You get to learn more about the University, community and hopefully you can discover something you are passionate about!”
“I have had the opportunity to learn more time management and delegating skills and network with staff and faculty at the University. This has given me the opportunity to make a difference, while being able to use my creativity to plan and organize events that students would enjoy and benefit from.”
“I think the most important benefit of being involved at U of G is the difference you can make. You don’t need to save the world to make a difference, it’s the small things that can change someone’s life, or even yours.”
What's your advice to anyone who wants to get involved right now, but is hesitant because of the current remote delivery format of many activities?
“Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is so important because it exposes you to new possibilities and allows you to grow. Sometimes getting involved isn’t easy, but once you take the first step it is so rewarding. Even if things are remote right now, there are so many opportunities to get involved. Find something that interests you or try something totally new and I guarantee you will learn from the experience regardless. If you decide it’s not for you, no harm done, you will simply end up in the same position as you are now, the only difference is that you will know more about what your interests.”