My name is Laura, I’m graduating with a major in English and double minor in Drama and Economics. This subject combination happened largely because of my involvement outside the classroom. I received a Cressy for my leadership in U of T’s campus theatre community through the George Ignatieff Theatre, Drama Coalition, and UC Follies. In arts especially leadership is the ability to unify a team that supports multiple creative voices. I was extremely fortunate to work with wonderfully talented, dedicated artists to help facilitate their visions. My top priority was giving student artists a chance to let their talents shine. I did this by defining our goals together as a team and giving people essential roles on achieving those goals. When you give people important responsibilities on projects they’re passionate about, they proudly rise to the occasion. Instilling a sense of pride in students is important particularly as academic pressures can overwhelm one’s sense of worth. Peer-to-peer leadership on campus reminds us that our contributions to the world extend beyond our grades. Getting involved outside the classroom has made me realize that I want to use my skills to organize and advocate for community arts initiatives. Being recognized for my work is encouraging that this is a skill society needs and appreciates. It’s an honour to join this community of leaders, full of people from diverse industries who all impress me with their entrepreneurship and generosity of spirit. I encourage you to get involved on campus to share your experiences and open yourself up to new challenges. You may find that you and your peers can motivate change in a way you just can’t do in the classroom. For me it’s the beginning of a journey of learning from and giving back to the artists that inspire me every day.