Student leadership a pas de deux of one and many


- Philip Cox

Hung. Photo: Laura Zeke

3M Canada student fellow proves that creating community and collaboration are at the heart of leadership

In the summer of 2020, as the pandemic wore on and it became clear that the next academic year would be spent online, fourth-year honours English student Anne Hung worried that incoming students wouldn’t have the same richness of experience that she’d had on campus in her own first year at university—so she decided to do something about it.

By September, she’d established a virtual mentorship program through the English Students’ Association that paired 85 first-year students with 25 upper-year student mentors, fostering new community connections built on solidarity, sharing and support.

That winter, as blood supplies in the city’s health system ran dangerously low, Hung and fourth-year economics student Jeremy Lacey collaborated to create the UVic Blood and Stem Cell Drive—a campus-wide effort that connected representatives from five student course unions to prompt donations from their members.

A community leader is born

This is the type of selfless and thoughtful leadership that will define Hung’s legacy after she walks across the convocation stage to receive her degree this June—a practice that’s also earned her a 3M Canada national student fellowship for outstanding leadership on and off campus earlier this year.

“At first, I was hesitant to assume leadership positions on campus, because I had always thought of leaders as unwavering and confident, and I did not feel like one of those people,” Hung states. “But the more I learned and grew at UVic, the more confident I felt and the more ideas I had for community building and collaboration.”

A former competitive dancer, Hung trained at ballet schools in Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles and New York, and has performed in Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker (2011), Ballet Victoria’s The Gift (2015) and Avant Dance Company’s Take a Bow (2016). She firmly believes that the lessons she learned through dance have informed her experience at the university.

“Dance taught me the skills that allowed me to complete my degree, work part-time and still have time and energy left over for volunteering,” she says. “I consider myself lucky to have been able to [dance competitively] and pursue my academic interests, and even luckier that the skills from one have transferred so well to the other.”

Life imitates art 

In the classroom, these skills have helped Hung maintain straight As throughout her degree, earning her several awards for academic distinction along the way, while also informing her research. After receiving a Jamie Cassels Undergraduate Research Award (JCURA) in 2021, for instance, she chose to focus on the relationship between the development of Romantic ballet and 19th century print culture and technology, resulting in a project titled En Pointe, in Print: Dance and the Early Nineteenth-Century Press in 2022.

Outside of the classroom, Hung’s work as vice president of the English Students' Association (ESA), managing editor of the undergraduate journal The Albatross, editorial assistant for The Malahat Review, student ambassador for the Faculty of Humanities, and co-producer of a podcast for the SSHRC-funded Crafting Communities project show the stamina and dedication of a competitive athlete.

In virtually all of her work, Hung’s commitment to the values of respect, equity and diversity through collaborative practice shine through: co-organizing events for the ESA such as a public reading by Oji-Cree Saulteax poet Jaye Simpson, whose writing explores their experiences with Indigeneity and marginalization; or supporting seniors and those recovering from illness or surgery through the Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program, for example.

Transforming the student experience 

She is currently developing an open-access digital exhibit for UVic Libraries’ Special Collections, interviewing previously excluded women of colour and queer and gender non-conforming people involved in UVic’s women’s movement since the 1960s.

Anne focuses her efforts on problem solving in ways that will benefit and spotlight others rather than herself. But make no mistake: Anne has changed the undergraduate experience in Humanities and improved the lives of people in and outside of the university.”

— Mary Elizabeth Leighton, Professor of English


In this story

Keywords: convocation, student life, English, award

People: Anne Hung

Publication: The Ring

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