How do you receive Canada’s largest undergraduate merit award? We asked Loran Scholar, Robyn Hooper, to find out.
“It was the times I listened to my [inner] voice that I found the most incredible adventures [that] no one else had been before.” – Robyn Hooper, Loran Scholar
If this is the first time you’re hearing about the Loran Award, fret not. We’ve got all the deets on what the scholarship is, where it came from, and what a recipient looks like.
Basically, the Loran Scholars Foundation is a national charitable organization that fosters character development, community involvement, and leadership potential in today’s youth. The foundation launched the Loran Award to praise students entering Canadian universities that execute those very values. Secured at 25 schools across the country, 36 recipients enjoy the benefits of the Loran Award each year.
So, yes. Being a Loran Scholar is a major flex. Here’s what Robyn Hooper had to say about what it takes to receive Canada’s largest undergraduate merit award, valued at $100,000!
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.
Robyn Hooper is a Garfield Weston Loran Scholar of 2007. She was fortunate to complete her last two years of high school at the United World College-USA in New Mexico. At UWC, she:
“Did a lot of work in teams. From running outdoor Wilderness expeditions to planning entrepreneurship classes for a local jail. All the while, [she was] learning about each other’s cultures and countries. [She] was involved in various organizations such as Amnesty International, Oxfam International and the Red Cross, and at the time [she] also described [herself] as a guitar player and singer/songwriter, an avid outdoor-enthusiast and environmentalist.”
While many highschool-ers are preoccupied with the latest TikTok trends and sending their unsolicited opinions into the twitter-void (not judging) – Robyn chose a bit of a different path. Getting involved with leading organizations like Amnesty International and the Red Cross really amplified Robyn’s commitment towards personal and social growth.
Granted, 2007 didn’t necessarily carry the wide-spread implications of a global pandemic. So, it’s tough to compare her then opportunities to the current restrictions (such as travel) posed by the novel Coronavirus. That said, the current state of affairs has actually opened up a bunch of opportunities for community service and leadership. Why? Because it has exposed those that are most vulnerable. Now is a great time to start thinking about how the current economy is impacting different groups around the world and even within your own community.
Think Globally. Act Locally.
We asked Robyn what she loved most about the Loran program. Her answer:
“I loved the service work I found at UBC farm with the “Intergenerational Landed Learning” program. A fantastic woman named Stacey ran the program. I worked with inner city children to foster an appreciation for local food and sustainability with the support of volunteers. Volunteers included local seniors with loads of garden/farm experience and UBC students like myself, thereby creating the connections between multiple generations. The connections and community we built with the schools and other volunteers was incredible and a highlight of my time as a Loran scholar.”
When it comes to supporting local and other sustainability efforts, 2020 is actually a very pivotal moment in time. It’s important that we consider how our local efforts can have an impact on a global scale. For just one example, volunteering at a local food bank is helpful to those in need within our communities. But when we start to unpack potential solutions at large, we start to expose the social and economic injustices that created the need for things like food banks in the first place.
Basically, if you want to be the next Loran Scholar, you may want to start thinking critically about how your local volunteer efforts can be a stepping stone to larger social change. Thinking ‘big-picture’ will definitely help you stand out against competing Candidates.
Align your goals. Personally and Professionally.
Over 10 years later, Robyn is now a:
“Birth doula on the side and a full-time Executive Director for a regional invasive species non-profit. [She believes] this mix of environmental work and community support work is an incredible blend of learning, reward, and challenge. Eventually, [she] can see [herself] finding ways to pursue other leadership opportunities, but [she] loves the balance [she’s] found right now. In particular, [she] loves the work-life balance, community, and quality of life in Revelstoke BC.”
It’s clear that Robyn’s passion for community service and support created a drive to explore similar themes through her profession. This ultimately demonstrates a long-term commitment to the values rooted in the Loran Scholars Foundation, such as selflessness, character development, and leadership.
So, consider getting involved in areas that might align well with your education and career goals. Not only will look great on your resume, but it will make you more equipped to represent or serve as a leader in your desired field.
Our last piece of advice? Be a good human, just like Robyn:
“I want to do good things for the planet, for others, and I want to live my life with integrity and compassion. I hope I’m making an impact in the small things, such as kindness with strangers and buying carbon credits. But also, in my work with an environmental non-profit – being a team leader, working together with a team, finding ways to protect our region’s native biodiversity through invasive species management.”
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