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Florence Zhang, President Extraordinaire

Name: Florence Zhang

Age: 20

Program: Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences

Hometown: Markham, ON

Tell me about yourself and all of the things you do at Western

I came to Western not really knowing who I was or what I wanted to do. Through meeting a lot of different people, I’ve found my passions in terms of career and interests. I started using Instagram as a platform to express my passion for fashion and beauty. Through working alongside a talented photographer, Alex Lam (@alxznder), I really built up my confidence to be able to express myself in front of a large audience. Last year I planned Western Voice, Western’s largest singing competition, as Special Events director for the Chinese Students’ Association. Being a musician myself, planning Western Voice and working with fellow musicians gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my musical roots. I have been classically trained in piano since the age of 5 and I’ve always loved singing and performing. When school and work got busy, I had to put those passions behind, so Western Voice was the perfect way for me to integrate music into my everyday work. This year I am the president of the club.

What’s your favourite spot on campus?

I can almost always been found in the Maps and Periodicals Centre in Weldon.

How did you get involved with the Chinese Students’ Association (CSA)?

I was walking through the UCC Clubs’ Week in first year and I was approached by some really engaging execs on the team. They told me that it would be really valuable experience, so I decided to step out of my bubble and interview for an executive position. I was fortunate enough to make it onto the team as an exec that year. I built a lot of relationships with different people, and I really connected with the club values, so I decided to continue on as a director the following year. CSA has been one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences of my Western career thus far. I’ve gotten so much out of the club and I decided to run for President this year in order to contribute towards spreading the experience that I had to incoming Western students.

How can people get involved in CSA?

You do not have to be Chinese to be a part of the Chinese Students Association! Western Voice is CSA’s initiative to recognize local talent and contribute to the community. We have a long standing relationship with UNICEF. Despite being run by the CSA, Western Voice recognizes talent across all cultures. Our initiatives are unique in the sense that we are the only event that gives our contestants the total star package: music video, studio recordings, photoshoots, and more. We also offer clubbing events and general member socials throughout the year in order to engage our large member base.

Why did you get into fashion and Instagram?

During my first year, one of the senior advisors on CSA had already started using Instagram to post photos of her outfits. She really encouraged me to step out of my bubble and begin posting my own on public social media, and was very supportive of my style transformation. I received a lot of support from the people around me and from fellow bloggers on Instagram. Finding my own style was a major contributor to how my sister and I rebuilt our relationship – we were never really close, but we bonded over a mutual love of clothing. Our styles overlap and differ in certain ways but we are constantly encouraging each other to experiment with new trends.  

Do you have any mottos you live by?

If it’s not black, put it back.

How would you describe your style?

My style is minimalistic. I tend to stick to neutral tones and shades and solid colours rather than patterns. I like to experiment with different textures and I like to create a polished look using simplistic pieces. In my outfits, I aim to be classy, sophisticated and clean. I also do not own any sweats.

What are your goals going forward?

Currently, I am focusing my endeavors toward school and CSA. I am a prospective pharmacy student and will be applying to the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. In terms of CSA, my goal is to create an inclusive community where people can feel comfortable expressing themselves. Through our events, I hope to contribute to a Western experience that will be meaningful to all of our members in their own way.

Speed Round:

Best bar in London: Frog

Chocolate or Candy: Chocolate

One Tree Hill or Gossip Girl: Gossip Girl

Staying in or Going out: Staying in

Favourite store: Aritzia

If you’re interested in learning more about the Chinese Students’ Association, check out their Facebook page here

Follow Florence on Instagram @florencezhang

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Alex Hawkins

Western '21

Alex is doing a master's degree in library and information science. She graduated with a BA in psychology and criminology in 2019. She previously served as co-Campus Correspondent and President of Her Campus Western. Follow her on insta @alexhawkins65.
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