Huron’s new vision: Nawaz sani leads with heart
A big vision means going against the grain. Huron University
College has chosen to remain small and exceptional in our focus on undergraduate education, challenging students to be leaders with heart. For 3rd year Management and Organizational Studies student Nawaz Sani, leadership with heart is not just a motto, it’s the foundation of his own holistic student experience.
Originally from Pakistan, Nawaz moved to London at 14 and attended Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School. After hearing about Huron from his guidance counsellor, Nawaz decided to attend March Break Open House. “Everyone was so helpful and nice. After just one day here, people knew my name. I was already part of the community.”
Nawaz’s own experience with community speaks to Huron’s broader vision. One hundred days after beginning his term as Principal, Dr. Barry Craig charted an exciting new course for future growth that will distinguish Huron from other Canadian universities, highlighting corporate social responsibility, service to the community, and social justice. Yet, it also highlights a fundamental element of the Huron advantage. For more than 150 years, Huron has prepared leaders for every aspect of civil society. But more than that, this strategically small university prepares leaders with heart.
“At Huron, we support one another. Never has it been more important and necessary to focus on recruiting, attracting, and retaining a diverse community of students, ones who are both academically inclined and community minded,” Dr. Craig says. “Challenging students to be leaders with heart means ensuring that students from all backgrounds are supported throughout their time at Huron and their individual gifts developed.”
Thanks to an entrance bursary and opportunities to work on-campus, Nawaz’s desire to be a Huron student became a reality. Once here, he became involved in the campus community through Volunteer Ya!, a club unique to Huron which volunteers in the London community. From serving community meals and spending time with seniors, to working with Operation Christmas Child, students lend a hand.
Alongside unique extracurriculars are unique academics that pair an ethical business core with liberal arts. This past autumn, Nawaz and other students took part in one of Huron’s Community-based Learning courses that saw groups of students take on the role of external consultants. The students, working in small groups of 3 or 4, provided “real-life,” pro-bono consulting services for a local business or organization. The consulting projects required that students provide their client organizations with the most beneficial analyses and recommendations to address specifically defined business challenges.
“It was such an amazing opportunity,” Nawaz says. “There was a bit of everything: research, problem-solving, real-life job experience, and working in a group over the course of a project.”
He adds, “Sitting at the back of a big class isn’t always that fun. Here it’s easy to participate. Professors are really encouraging and want to hear from you.”
Building on these hands-on experiences, Nawaz is developing plans to start his own business that combines job creation for people facing barriers to employment with manufacturing. With Huron’s vast network of alumni who have found success in entrepreneurship, students can access this group for mentorship and advice. It’s this combination of start-up meets ethical core that is helping to further solidify Huron’s growing reputation as a strategically small university that has served as a business incubator.
For Nawaz, Leadership with Heart means perspective. “For me, being a leader with heart means thinking about more than just me; it’s about going beyond my own well-being. It’s thinking about others and the community we’re all part of. This sort of leadership means making the world a better place, even in a small way. Lots of places say this, but being at Huron means you live it.”
For more information, please visit huronuc.on.ca