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Meet Jade Zheng: One Service-Minded Ole

St. Olaf, meet Jade Zheng ’14, formally known as Weijia Zheng. Zheng is an international student from Guangzhou, China. Although she has been studying English since she was five years old, her first immersion into Western culture was not until 2008.

For most international students attending St. Olaf, they are at more of a disadvantage than students who were born and raised in the United States. However, it’s definitely not an issue for Zheng. A biology major, Zheng juggles the same amount of work as everyone else. However, she’s most known for her extraordinary involvement in many of the student organizations on campus.

Not only is she a member in these organizations, but she’s taking on leadership roles this year for: Oles Face AIDS, Oles for Global Health, and CHROMATICA. Now, how does this girl do it? “No sleep,” Zheng joked in a recent interview with Her Campus St. Olaf. 

This year Zheng took the initiative to create her own student organization that is more beneficial outside of campus: singing to a group of elders at the nursing center in Northfield. She definitely feels that it’s necessary to bring something bigger to the community and especially to the people at the nursing center, who she says are more than eager to be entertained by bright, young kids.

Aside from her participation in student organizations, Zheng is also a peer educator at the Wellness Center. Building a healthy community is something that she is really passionate about, which is why she wants to be an infectious disease specialist in the public health sector. While she struggles balancing academics with other activities, she does try to have time to do other things that involve less work.

Zheng says she enjoys singing, watching comedies, cooking and hanging out with her friends when she has down time. Not to mention that she traveled all over China during the summer of 2010! She has also has three lovely dogs that she really adores back home in China.

For many Oles it’s hard to handle the amount of classwork at St. Olaf, let alone taking on leadership roles in student organizations on top of this, but Zheng does it without any complaints. Bringing awareness to global health issues and the disparity in health care in a global context is something that she hopes to spread in the St. Olaf community. As a student who is passionate about public health, she has done a lot of events that are related to this subject in past years and this year.

This fall, as a chapter leader of Oles Face AIDS, Zheng will be going to the summit conference in Boston, Mass. This is crucial for her and the organization because they will hear other voices from other colleges that issue common goals towards spreading awareness about AIDS.

Zheng’s advice for her fellow Oles – especially freshmen, is: “Do things that make you happy! Explore activities in different areas; don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.” For Zheng, getting involved in things other than academics is definitely a crucial experience for a college student. Her Campus St. Olaf thinks that she is definitely heading down the right path!

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