Shining a light on student health
“If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” says Nadelaine Verzosa, known as Dhylan, who collects her BA in health sciences from Simon Fraser University this month.
And the Burnaby resident would know.
While completing her degree, Verzosa volunteered as an orientation leader, a peer coach and a peer health educator with SFU Health and Counselling Services (HCS), and also sat on the Simon Fraser Student Society’s (SFSS) board of directors as the health sciences representative. She balanced all this while working a part-time job.
Born in the Philippines, Verzosa moved to New Westminster at age eight with her mother, a teacher, and her father, a civil engineer.
“They came to Canada with the belief that a good education is key to success,” she says.
Her parents hoped she would study medicine, while Verzosa considered English literature. She settled upon health sciences—a happy compromise between science and arts, she says.
“Right away, I found the courses fascinating.”
While at SFU, Verzosa “excelled in creating various opportunities for students to explore and tend to their health,” says Jennifer Perutka, HCS marketing and communications coordinator.
Erika Horwitz, HCS associate director, says: “In my years at SFU, I have not come across a more dedicated and brilliant student.”
Verzosa spearheaded events with Hi FIVE, an HCS student-run campaign to raise awareness of mental-health issues and create a stigma-free campus.
By running monthly outreach activities and showcasing the campaign during SFU Club Days, Verzosa got students talking and thinking about their mental health.
“With Hi FIVE, we hoped to break down the barriers of isolation, particularly for people who don’t have family here and perhaps don’t have a support system in place,” she says.
When the SFU Food Bank was discontinued last year, Verzosa was part of the team that established the SFSS Food Bank Program, which now gives Nesters Market food certificates to students in need.
“I’m proud that we developed a program that can pull people through a tough time,” she says. “I hope it will be a springboard for people to develop other initiatives, maybe even a community kitchen.”
Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.