Samantha Leigh ‘19

Q: What was your Question? A: How do people use spaces, and what makes a space useful?

Favourite place on campus: Anywhere with a view of the mountains.

On residence life: I love the little family I have with my roommates. It’s so great to come home after a hard day of homework and eat dinner together.

Why did you choose Quest? My grandpa asked where I wanted to go to school, and I kind of flippantly replied, “Anywhere in BC.” He googled universities in BC and Quest popped up. As we read, I started tearing up. It was everything I could want from an education in one beautiful place: experiential learning, high-level academics, and a community where everyone is as passionate as I am.

So what would you say is your passion? Creating simple solutions to address more complex problems.

You’re doing a TEDx talk called “There’s No Such Thing as ‘Garbage’” on March 3. What will you be talking about? The waste management system I helped implement at Quest, based on previous research I had conducted. In early 2017,  our landfill waste contained 70% materials that could have been recycled or composted. In about 4 months with the new system, that number dropped to 29%.

People want to do what’s right: the contamination isn’t just because they’re lazy. But the system can be stressful and confusing. We need to figure out what the problems are and target them, to make it easier for people to make the right disposal choices.

You know, it was a dream of mine in grade 11-12, that I would have something important enough to share at a Ted Talk—an idea worth sharing. Being approached and asked to speak is definitely a fulfillment of this dream.

What next? Graduation! And this summer, I will complete my Keystone Project with a Quest Summer Fellowship. I’m going to conduct research assessing behavior around waste management at cafés in the District of Squamish.

Favourite quote:  “There’s so much humanity in a love of trees, so much nostalgia for our first sense of wonder, so much power in just feeling our own insignificance when we are surrounded by nature…yes, that’s it: just thinking about trees and their indifferent majesty and our love for them teaches us how ridiculous we are—vile parasites squirming on the surface of the earth—and at the same time how deserving of life we can be, when we can honor this beauty that owes us nothing.” ― Muriel BarberyThe Elegance of the Hedgehog

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