Maleeka Thomas is grateful for the opportunities the University of Lethbridge community has provided her, and the fourth-year sociology student – the first international and Black student to serve as president of the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union (ULSU) – is keen on returning the favour.

I have a passion for helping people and I always want to ensure the environment I leave behind is better than when I arrived. I want to leave a legacy and ensure student advocacy is at the forefront. It’s important to have people who wouldn’t normally be in a position of power sit in these positions to show the diversity that exists within our University.

Why did you choose ULethbridge?

I chose ULethbridge because it’s a welcoming community where the staff gave their time to ensure the questions of a potential international student were answered. I also appreciate how beautiful the campus is, how the University embodies liberal education and will allow me to become a well-rounded person and the fact that it’s one of the most affordable universities offering a world-class education.

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How have your professors impacted your education?

The professors here are genuinely amazing. They’re passionate about students and really care about us and the education we receive. Professors Jodie Asselin (anthropology) and Tom Perks (sociology) have made great impacts on me and my academic experience. Jodie has helped me take advantage of what the University has to offer and has encouraged me to keep going to achieve my academic goals. Tom is the most understanding professor I've had and is so willing to ensure that your experience in his class is the best possible. Patrick Wilson is an amazing educator here at the university, he has taught me how to ask challenging questions and sparked my interest in the cultural aspects of the world. He motivates and empowers his students to advocate for themselves and ensure that the classroom is a safe environment to have discussions about societal norms.

What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?

One experience that stands out is joining the Students' Union and getting the chance to represent as well as advocate on behalf of students. Doing work that aids in bettering the ULethbridge experience has become one of the most joyous things I've done so far at the University.

What advice would you give those beginning their journey at ULethbridge?

Take your time and soak up every moment. University is not a race. It’s not about when you finish but how you finish, and the memories made along the way. Take full advantage of the liberal education experience as it will help prepare you for the outside world and work life. Lastly, get involved. Whether you’re volunteering or joining a club or student government, ULethbridge offers a bit of everything, so find what works for you. I’ve found the best way to make friends is to mix and mingle with people from different clubs.