Malitela Mapani, Not Your Average Carleton Student

Malitela Mapani, or Mali as she’s known by her friends, said she’s a “person of service.”

She is the vice president (programming) of the Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA), a student government organization at Carleton representing students who live on campus.

Mapani, 22, said her role is to engage students and show them the “fun side” of living in residence with year-round events. So far this year, RRRA’s events have included an outdoor “lemonade and chill” and a boat cruise. Mapani said she and her team strive to create events which are enjoyable for everyone.

Mapani said getting involved on campus is important because it “teaches you so much and builds your character.” Although it’s a lot of effort, she said it’s worth it because you grow as an individual.

Also a proud member of Tau Sigma Phi, she said joining a sorority has expanded her community and horizons.

“It’s so uplifting,” she said. “You just always feel like you have a support system behind you . . . you just know you’re never alone.”

Mapani is a fourth-year biology student with a concentration in health sciences and said when she’s not working on community outreach, she is writing labs and assignments.

She said her end goal is to become a doctor: "I can’t picture myself doing anything else."

When Mapani moved from Kitwe, Zambia four years ago to attend school in Ottawa, she had never traveled outside of Africa. While she misses her family and her cultural cuisine, she said her parents have always wanted her to see the world.

But Mapani is no stranger to living on her own. At 11-years-old, she left her home to go to boarding school and today, she’s in her fourth-year of residence living. 

Trying to find a balance between school work and extracurricular activities is one of her concerns, she said. But whether it’s paint therapy or binge-watching Netflix, she always tries to find time for herself.

One way she rids herself of stress is by babysitting children, which she does on Sundays at her church. Faith, she said, is also an important part of her life.

Mapani also said she loves sports, which is something not many people know about her. She currently plays volleyball but said back home in Zambia, she would go on “intense outdoor trips," which included canoeing, hiking to the top of mountains, cooking meals over a fire, and slepeing under the stars.

She said she has even trekked for 56 hours with nothing but the supplies she could carry on her back.

“I love to try new things,” she said.