Time management wizard: Aveline Chan '17

Chances are if you haven’t seen Aveline Chan around campus by now, you soon will. This accounting and piano performance major is about as involved on campus as one could possibly be. She’s like a fireball, lighting her way across our school. Aveline was an AARO and Mustang Corral Leader, for starters. She leads in Student Senate, Best Buddies and Mustang Heroes. With so much on her plate, it is hard to imagine how she keeps up with it all, but Aveline champions all. She sat down with Her Campus SMU and talked about her involvement, her goals and her ability to be a time management wizard.

Courtesy Aveline Chan

If you remember the double edged sword of stress and fun that is AARO and Mustang Corral, you probably remember how much you relied on your leaders. Aveline was one of these. She remembered her own process of coming to SMU and wanted to make that the best process for our new Ponies. “I worked as an AARO Leader last summer because I knew firsthand how scary the SMU transition could be and wanted to do everything I could to make SMU’s newest students feel welcomed.” She calls the AARO leaders the “first impression” of SMU, and her sunny personality and kindness obviously gives a very good one.

Courtesy of Aveline Chan

This obliging spirit is echoed in her leadership of Best Buddies. This club works with young people with intellectual and physical disabilities to provide opportunities and friendships. Aveline serves as the vice president, public relations chair and a peer buddy. From her first year of walking into meetings, unsure of what the club actually was, she now manages operations, communications and formal fundraising. With the help of her own PR, the club membership has skyrocketed from 25 people to over 100.

“I didn’t expect that my friendship with my buddy Mollie would become one of my most treasured SMU experiences. The best part about being buddies with a person who has an IDD is that it’s not much different than my relationships with any of my other friends. We’re just two girls who love to watch movies, hang out and go shopping!”

Aveline and Mollie. Courtesy of Aveline Chan.

Best Buddies works with SMU to help us grow as a school in our accommodation of the disability community. Addie White, Chapter President of Best Buddies, is spearheading a project called “SMU Momentum” which would provide college chances for people with IDD. Aveline hopes to see it launch before she graduates. Learn more about this project here.

If she wasn’t already busy enough, just look at her majors! She always played piano growing up, and wanted to keep it as part of her life coming to college. She’s a Pi Kappa Lambda, which is the National Music Honors Society, and she is a Meadows Scholar. Aveline says she can’t even pick a favorite piano song to play because she’s just “cool with everything.”

“Majoring in piano has allowed me to continue playing and practicing the piano, reminding me of home and keeping me grounded,” Chan says.

She’s also the president of Mustang Heroes. This is the largest community service organization on campus, with over 200 members. They started on campus in 2010. Now in 2016, they look to mobilize students on relevant issues. It is piloted by SMU students. Club members pick what issues that they want to focus on, and they contact nonprofits themselves and organize volunteers. Each month, Mustang Heroes takes weekend trips to engage in service. Aveline commands as project leader for New Friends New Life. In this project, they work with female victims of human trafficking to help them get a degree or a GED, to move back to normal life. They also have new projects with a wide range of issues, like sex trafficking, homelessness and humane animal care.

Courtesy of Mustang Heroes

She describes her favorite experience with Mustang Heroes:

“Last year, I was a project leader for Reading Buddies," she says. "Every Friday afternoon, I worked with the same small group of fourth graders on reading comprehension. I treasured the time I spent with the students but sometimes wondered if my visits were making a difference. On the last day, my students wrote me a note that said 'We will never forget you.' I realized all the hours I had spent with these fourth graders had not gone to waste – having a college student intentionally care for them each week had meant something to these students.”

Aveline is a student senator for Meadows, and describes it as one of her favorite organizations. She loves working to improve SMU. She participates in Asian Council, Cox Mentor/Mentee Alliance, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Alternative Breaks.

Courtesy of Aveline Chan

“Cool with everything” doesn’t just describe her philosophy on piano, but apparently her outlook on life. Want to be as involved as Aveline is? “Join at least one club where you find yourself in the minority. Growth happens when you take the plunge and step outside of your comfort zone and interact with people who think differently from you.”

Favorite quote? “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” – Mary Lou Kownacki

Favorite SMU memory? She brought a minion plushie from Build-A-Bear to class, and no one judged her.