Hi, my name is My name is Maxwell Evans & I am a Happy Human Rep. This is my first year being in the Happy Human Project but I'm in my third year at Dalhousie & my second co-op term working for a media company in Toronto.
I was born in Toronto, Ontario, but moved to Oakville, Ontario when I was about 5 years old. Oakville is not the most diverse city in the world, being a wealthy & primary white city, but growing up there I noticed more and more diversity around me especially while finding my people and entering high school with a diverse friend group.
When I arrived at Dalhousie during COVID-19, it felt like I was in a place with little to no diversity, even compared to my hometown and as I came alone at the time, I was very intimidated by how I would be treated differently or how I would feel being the only black man in the room for most situations I would have to encounter.
And that is why I have decided to write down three pieces of advice for any minority who is currently at or planning on attending a PWI (predominantly white Institution).
1. Find your group
I’m not saying to go and pick out every POC that you see in the crowd and try to be friends with them, just to find people that you feel comfortable with, you know has similar morals/values and that you feel like you can be genuine around. When I was in my first year finding people that I could 100% relate to was a rarity, especially since the only people I was interacting with were the people in Risley. I didn’t let this stop me from finding a good group though, as I made a couple of amazing friend groups and just decided to surround myself with positive people and positive energy which made way for my love for Dal and my friends to grow exponentially.
2. Join a club
There are a plethora of clubs/groups that involve diversity, check them out! My first week I went to an outdoor party that was being held by BASA (Dalhousie African Students Association) and I met so many cool people that I 100% wouldn’t have met if I didn’t show up to the Event. Another great example was the meet in Greet held by the Black Student Advising Center where I met so many people who are now a friendly face around campus & always people, I can talk to wherever I end up seeing them.
3. Have fun! Go out!
The good thing about Halifax is that we have some of the most fun nightlife available at a Canadian university. Meeting people is so natural, and you will see every type of race, culture and religion getting together to enjoy each other's presence & just have fun, every time I go out, I can find at least one person I connect with in some way whether its music taste or laughing at that one guy dancing like a crazy person. Try to go to parties to give that new friend group a chance or to meet some new people and find out what they're about. If partying isn’t your thing go play your sport or check out the Dal events; painting or movie nights. Every time I walk into the Dalplex to play basketball I feel right at home, like I’m dapping up my long-time homies I've been playing ball with for years. (If you ever see me next semester come say hi, I'll throw you on my team.)
Well, that’s all I have for right now, if you need any more advice let me know, I can talk about this for hours. But now it's time for me to get some rest as I have a train to catch at 7:54 tomorrow morning, peace out.