I first met Elizabeth Nash when we were both on a Job Shadow Experience at Western’s Creative Services Department. I remember the first thing I learned about Liz was that she had recently appeared on UWO alum Alan Thicke’s reality show (!!!) and she had acted as a campus tour guide for him and his son, Carter William Thicke. At our job shadow she was handed a picture of herself and Alan Thicke proudly holding their hands in the Western ‘W’ and beaming. Needless to say, I was impressed.The impressiveness does not end there. Liz is a fourth year student at UWO completing her Honours Specialization in English Language and Literature. As President of the Arts and Humanities Student Council, an avid volunteer within the London community, and an overall friendly face on campus, Liz knows how to keep busy.
BD: We’ll start off with an easy question; why did you decide to come to Western?
EN: Confession: I first wanted to come to Western because it looked like Hogwarts!
Other than the beautiful campus, I was really impressed with the volunteers on Fall Preview Day. Everyone was welcoming and friendly, which I appreciated as a nervous twelfth-grader. Out of everything, I think that’s what I like so much about Western: if you need help, and if you ask for it, then you’ll get it. People truly care and want to help.
This year, I had the opportunity of going up UC Tower, so it was a nice full-circle moment. I definitely pretended I was Hermione.
BD: What is your favourite Western HoCo memory?
EN: Three out of four HoCos I’ve actually spent in Toronto at the Ontario Universities’ Fair, which happens to run on the same weekend. While it’s always tough to ditch HoCo, the OUF is a great time. I’ve been able to speak with hundreds of students about attending Western!
My favorite memory from this year was waiting until the fair ended for the day, and then breaking out into the school song with the other volunteers. I am deeply and madly in love with that song; I promise that if you ever start singing it, I will join in.
BD: What inspired you to run for A&H President?
EN: Never in a million years would I have imagined myself in either student government or in this position. In high school I didn’t get involved, and I floated along. Once I arrived at Western, I ended up becoming a part of the Leadership and Mentorship Program’s First-Year Committee. We did a lot of campus-wide events, which sparked my interest in student leadership. At the same time, a soph I knew was on Council, and she recommended I apply. Flash forward a few years, and I had to decide if I wanted to run.
What it came down to is that I believed I could make a difference on the Council. (I hope I have!) The last thing I wanted was to not run and think, “What if I could have made a change?” It’s always difficult making a big decision, but I was lucky to have a lot of support from my friends and council members.
BD: As a fellow English major I can attest to the fact that many people are often critical of our choice of degree. What advice would you give to someone considering a degree in Arts & Humanities?
EN: Don’t listen to the haters! What’s the point of studying something that you hate? You spend money on tuition only to get yourself a job in the very field you dislike. Funny story: in high school I told my parents that I was considering going into science so that I could make money. My parents told me, “Liz, if you study science, we won’t support you.” They knew how much I loved English and encouraged me to follow what I love.
If I had a recommendation, it would be to make sure to do extracurriculars throughout your time here. My degree takes up two lines on my résumé; my student government experience takes up two pages. What I have learned in the classroom has allowed me to succeed outside of it because of all the transferable skills I’ve learned (Communication! Writing! Public speaking!).
Do what you love, and don’t apologize for it.
BD: I am a big fan of the ‘Blind Date With a Book’ event that the A&H student council puts on, where students can buy books based solely off of a few descriptive words. What other successful events have you run on campus?
EN: Thank you! The AHSC has had an incredible year. We ran a sold-old formal, Change Camp, faculty mini-speeches, coffee houses, contests for local high school students, a publications launch, and a lot more! We still have our faculty-student debate, Reverie, and The Walrus Talks Creativity ahead of us.
I’ve also been so thrilled with the amount of debate in meetings. People are really passionate about our faculty, which is great to see! Getting all of these people in one room is an electric feeling.
BD: Why should everyone vote in campus elections? What would you say to someone that doesn’t think his or her vote matters?
EN: Campus elections are my favorite time of year! Swiss Chalet Festive Special season is shortly behind.
I am extremely passionate about voting (just ask my roommates). It’s a democratic process that makes sure constituent voices are properly heard. If you don’t like the way something is being run, vote. If you want to make a change, vote. If you want to be represented, vote. This year, the margin between slates was only 32 votes. Clearly your voice matters!
BD: Any ideas for what’s next for you after graduation?
EN: I’m juggling between grad school, jobs, and wanting to run away to New Zealand and live in a hobbit hole. Stay tuned!
BD: As a lover of literature, if your life was a book, what would the title be and why? What font would it be in?
EN: “Started From the Bottom, Now We Here” in Garamond font. I had a rough transition into university and almost dropped out. I ended up talking to a counsellor for a while, which completely changed my university trajectory. Reaching out for help is not a bad thing! Don’t be ashamed. Making the phone call to get counseling was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done in my life, but I’m so happy that I did.
(Alternate title to the story of my life: “Confessions of A Girl Who Threw Up on the 2 Dundas.”)
BD: My last question will be an English major’s worst nightmare, what is your favourite book?
EN: This is actually my favorite question! I’ve prepared myself for this moment. Hands down, my answer is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Just read the first sentence and you’ll be hooked. Books that are close runners-ups: The Book Thief, The Great Gatsby, and Crime and Punishment.