By Dryden Observer Staff
Randii Sullivan’s university experience hasn’t been quite what she expected when she first arrived on campus six years ago — and it’s all been for the better.
The Dryden native was one of four people on her campus to be recently awarded a Board of Governors Award in Dalhousie University’s Impact Awards
Sullivan originally had ambitions of being part of the varsity women’s hockey team. When she didn’t make the cut, she initially felt lost, but quickly found inspiration by getting involved in residence life as a food and environmental rep on residence council. That led her to working as a residence assistant (RA) in her second year, and she’s never looked back.
Now, as Sullivan nears the end of her second Dalhousie degree (a Bachelor of Social Work, following her Bachelor of Science in Psychology), she’s also completing her fifth year as an RA across three different residences, including three years as a senior residence assistant. During that time, she’s supervised over 50 RAs and has helped build a safe and supportive environment for hundreds of her fellow students.
“Even after five years, I find that I’m getting something out of it,” she says. “As much as I think I help facilitate students’ experience, they also do the same for me; I find I learn a lot from them. I never get bored with it because there’s always something new to learn, always new residents to make the year unique.”
She credits her time as an RA with guiding her towards social work, inspiring her desire to learn more about the social conditions that inform individuals’ personal circumstances. It’s also led her into a whole plethora of community and volunteer activities, from co-chairing the Think Pink Breast Cancer Fundraiser in 2012-13 (raising $3,000) to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Change for Children, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Feed Nova Scotia and more. (Somehow, she even made time for a term in Australia on exchange.)
Among her proudest work is her time as a peer advisor with Dalhousie’s Career and Leadership Development Centre. Through that role, she co-chaired the program committee for the Dal-hosted East Coast Student Leadership Conference and travelled across the region and country presenting to student leaders about strategies address the stigma around mental health.
With graduation approaching, Randii is considering masters programs and has also applied to medical school — another thing she would never have considered six years ago.
“My life here at Dal has taken so many different twists and turns, and what I’ve learned is that one person can make a difference,” she says. “I’ve been able to impact people in every aspect of my life here at Dal… You don’t always have to aim big: sometimes it’s the small acts that make a real difference.”