When peers nominated Greg Clark for Student of the Year, he brushed it off.
“I was definitely surprised,” he said. "I kind of laughed it off. I thought, 'Oh well, that’s not going to happen.'”
On paper, Clark is pretty much your average Western University student. He gets decent marks, and he’s involved in a few extracurriculars. He's a third-year criminology student, and in his spare time, he sophs and plays on the varsity wrestling team. While many describe him as a quiet guy, he makes time for his friends — a lot of time.
Second-year chemistry student Matias Wharton can attest. Last year, Wharton was extremely nervous after he applied to be a soph, and Clark volunteered to sit with him as he waited for the call.
“He just sat in my room with me because he knew how nervous I was,” Wharton said. “I really appreciated him being there, even though I didn’t ask him to.”
As another student nominator wrote, "Greg is the person that doesn't have a bad thing to say about anything ever. He could literally step in dog poo and ruin his shoes, and someway he would find the good in it."
Student after student chimed in, saying Clark is the type of guy who's always there for the people around him. With rates of stress and anxiety higher than ever among university students, Clark's attitude is refreshing. He refuses to lose sight of a bigger picture. While Clark thinks school's important, it's not everything.
“I like to be the guy who makes people feel good. Whether they’re down, or even if they’re feeling good already, just kind of keep it up,” Clark says.
Clark credits his team mentality to playing sports while growing up. He became interested in wrestling while at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Markham, Ont., an athletics-focused school. Although wrestling sometimes contrasts Clark's happy-go-lucky attitude and gentle demeanour, he enjoys the challenge of working towards a common goal as a team.
Clark also brings this attitude to sophing. His contributions to the campus community are most evident through his previous work as a residence soph in Medway-Sydenham Hall and his current work as an off-campus Faculty of Social Science soph.
A large inspiration behind Clark's decision to become a soph was his positive interactions with his sophs Maggie Sullivan (A.K.A. Wizz) and Monica Ha (A.K.A. Shakes).
“They were good at showing me that you don’t have to be a really loud, outgoing person all the time [to be a soph]. It’s about what you do for the frosh in terms of as a friend."
Clark says sophing gave him a purpose at Western. Understanding the impact he can have on first years, he tries to lead by example.
Ultimately, although Clark’s there for people in stressful situations, he's a big believer in keeping a positive attitude. Clark isn’t the most involved student, nor does he stress over his grades, but he's managed to have a profound impact on those around him, and he sets an example for all Western students on balancing school and happiness.
“Although you’re here for school to get a career, you want to be able to look back at it and have a lot of good memories and good times."