Interviews by Basma Humadi and Student Media
Malek Salhab, Founder
What does your organization aim to do and why?
Our organization aims to bridge the socioeconomic gap between underprivileged minorities and viable healthcare by bringing excess medical supplies to those who need it most. Sending thousands of dollars in supplies and equipment as a nonprofit organization makes it possible for us to be a catalyst for change throughout the globe, from Syria to Haiti. We do this to implement and inspire, which go hand in hand. With the manifestation of our persistency and consistency, we are not only working towards the cause, but we are also advocating for the cause.
What is challenging about running this organization?
Many things. Most things, to be more more specific. Leading from the forefront has forced me to adopt a multifaceted approach towards teamwork. Being able to build a solid workforce upon each individual’s strengths and weaknesses has demanded a lot of attention, as this is our first semester as an organization. Still, we all genuinely enjoy the process and believe in the rewards of hard work.
What is your most memorable moment with United2Heal and why?
Our first general body meeting. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we definitely were not expecting much. As the meeting approached, we saw friends and strangers alike fill the room. Whether it was students who traveled all the way from VCU, or our guest speaker who’s founded an array of NGOs, we were beyond grateful to see that we already had a solid group of supporters.
What is one thing that you are deeply proud of with United2Heal?
United2Heal is unique in that it forges connections between people, mainly driven by a common goal: helping others. I, along with the rest of the U2H community, am extremely proud of this and strive to keep it at the core of our values and actions.
Ashley Jean, Student
If you could go back in time to the first day of college and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
“Don’t get lost in the sauce,” which translates to don’t get lost in the midst of everything going on. College has so much to offer! Do not think that you can explore everything in one semester. Getting involved with different organizations on campus is strongly encouraged, but do not let those commitments and responsibilities consume what you are here to achieve.
What is your proudest achievement?
So far, my proudest achievement is my photography business. As a self-taught, freelance photographer, my work is driven by my love for capturing life’s memories. Therefore, I never imagined my hobby would become, what I believe to be, a successful business. Despite my current success, I plan to continue to grow, not only as a photographer but as a business owner in hopes to one day be published.
If you could write a book about yourself, what would the title be?
Bambi is a nickname that has stuck with me since I first stepped foot onto this campus. Throughout my time at Mason I struggled to find my purpose, just as Bambi struggled in the Walt Disney Movie. As many can relate, college-life can be a bit rocky at times but it is those adversities which help shape the person you are destined to become. “To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail,” a quote from Michael Jordan that inspires me to remain motivated, despite my downfalls. All it takes is time, positivity, and patience!
Also, if you all wanted to include my business Instagram link, it is @SnapsByAsh_
Joy Millsaps, Alum
You’ve also attended Mason – what year did you graduate?
Actually I started in ‘69 and worked three jobs for almost seven years while to put myself through school. I came upon my last semester and I had a stalker who attacked me and I was totally thrown from finishing school. So I came to my last semester, weeks before graduating and didn’t graduate. But I did get an excellent education.
What was your major?
When you were here what was your experience like?
We were working out of trailers. [That] was the main campus – it was just the front quad. Class sizes were also very manageable 16, 17, 20 people. [Now, Mason] is more like a city – we were more like a village.
What was the feel for the campus like then?
It was a very friendly and very intimate gathering place. It was a stimulating intelligencia – the young sprouts who were spreading their wings. There was a lot of activity against the Vietnam War at the time. A lot of viggy action with that.
Were there a lot of protests?
There was a lot of us who did the March on Washington protest, yeah. I burned my bra, and it went up in a little poof – up in smoke. It was the beginnings of the women’s movement as well. It was an exciting time to be a student on campus.