Nawaf Zeyad Nuimat describes himself as a social butterfly who sometimes takes things too seriously. He is a passionate 4th year scholar pursuing a specialization in Globalization and a major in Media, Information and Techno-culture. Though he was born in Canada he grew up in Qatar and only came back right before college. He was determined to apply to Western and Kings, but he met a member of Huron’s administration in a Christmas party and after hearing about the small classes and the Center for Undergraduate Research and Learning, he decided to attend Huron.
Over the course of his university experience Nawaf has proved to be a multifaceted student having interests that go beyond the classroom. During his first year he decided that he wanted to support other students in their transition to college and applied to be a Don. He noticed students who lived in the city felt disconnected from their class and he brought it up with Residence management. The administration thought it was a great idea to create a position that could solve the issue and he was appointed the first Off-campus Don in his second year.
Being a Don opened my eyes to things I never expected to learn. That knowledge has allowed me to provide support and guidance to first-years and other Dons.
Nawaf’s second year went by participating in various clubs and organizations like the Center for Global Studies Association (CGSA) and World University Service of Canada (WUSC). In his third year he became a Senior Don, a job encompassing more responsibilities. He expressed he has learned extensively from people in the last three years.
The most important lesson I’ve acquired is control. When you are in a leadership position and want everything to go perfectly you are bound to micromanage. I have learned to trust my teammates and it has turned the work environment into a supportive and safe space.
Nawaf was excited to transition into the role of Head Don when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the difficult decision to close residences was made. His plans for the year suddenly became blurry. It was complicated in all different aspects of his life, his job, academic and personal development encountered unexpected complications and it all came at the same time. The internships he was applying to were cancelled and he was forced to change his plans. As many others, Nawaf has struggled in the virtual environment, missing the community component that made Huron so special. 2020 was a time of learning how to deal with these difficulties and find the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the mechanisms he has developed to find motivation is connecting with other students. He is currently working with different groups on campus to provide activities and online spaces for students to coexist safely. Nawaf has also tried to dive into his academics. He is passionate about global studies, specifically exploring Social Reproduction Theory in the context of current issues. He is looking to keep learning about people’s agency in a community context. I asked him about plans for after graduation and he chuckled. He wants to enter the nonprofit sector and work in economic or youth empowerment or refugee matters. He is also considering grad school, perhaps to study sustainable practices or international development.
Nawaf has been fascinated with the way that people have come together to support each other in these difficult times.
In our modern society we often lack a strong sense of community. Life is hard, last year showed us how much, and we will not have an impact if we don’t work together for everyone. We need others to support us and keep us accountable.
He explained how Huron has managed to keep that strong sense of community we need amid the pandemic. As a small liberal arts university, he argues we have the most passionate and resilient community where we can be connected to everyone if we need to. And for Nawaf, that’s what being a Leader with Heart comes down to.
It means doing something that you love, not for yourself, but for others, because our society is in need of humanity. It means giving space to be human again, because that’s making the world a little better, day by day. You cause an impact not because you are in control, but because you act with care.