Kevin Cooper wants to make the world a better place through transportation, urban planning and architecture. And thanks to a University Women’s Club of Vancouver bursary, his academic career is supporting his dreams.
The summer of 2010 found Kevin working as a program manager and garden coordinator for the Sustainable Opportunities in Youth Leadership (SOYL), an initiative of the UBC Intergenerational Landed Learning Project. SOYL gives Vancouver secondary students who are new to gardening the opportunity to plant and grow gardens at four high schools in the city. As a student in the Global Resource Systems program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Kevin was well-suited to this job.
Kevin’s studies were supported by the UWCV Muriel Loch Memorial Bursary. “It made a huge difference,” he says. “When you don’t have money, you think about it all the time. I have a student loan, and a line of credit. I was always cutting close to the line between black and red; it’s pretty uncomfortable.”
“The bursary enabled me to pursue extracurricular activities, and be part of a community of learners in my faculty and program. I got involved in the AMS bike co-op, and spent two years as President. I was also a volunteer with Sprouts, which is a student-run organization that makes healthy and sustainable food available on the Vancouver campus.”
Kevin’s plan is to graduate in November 2010 – “I have just one more course to complete”, he says – and then return to school in September 2011, “either in architecture or urban planning. I want to help people. For example, if I can help improve a transportation system, then fewer people need to drive to work, they get to be more active, and that’s good for people and the environment.”
Kevin’s advice to potential donors? “Setting up a bursary is a great thing to do, so go for it. There’s a lot of value in financial independence.”