Jeremy Lee, an international student from Hong Kong, has taken nearly every academic and social opportunity OSU has offered him. He’s a double major in natural resources and horticulture and he’s been involved with Horticulture Club, Turf Club, Organic Growers Club, International Language Club, Photography Society and the International Cultural Service Program.
1. What makes OSU special?
People at OSU are very accommodating and open-minded, which makes the OSU community inclusive for everyone. OSU sits at the heart of the Willamette Valley in a small town. I really like it because I don’t get stressed like I might in a big city, and I don’t have to go too far off campus to experience nature. Our diversity of tree species on campus is also special; especially the American elm trees that line 26th Street.
2. What is your favorite memory at OSU?
Last year, I got to represent OSU at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition in Provo, Utah. I was with a group of like-minded horticulture students and participated in several plant identification competitions. At the event, I met horticulture students from all over the country and made connections with employers from the horticulture industry.
3. How have you built community at OSU? Where have you found belonging at OSU?
I’ve built community through my participation in school clubs. The effort I dedicate to the Horticulture Club has brought people together through our love for ornamental plants. I’ve found belonging at OSU not only with the horticulture department and the College of Forestry, but also with the wider international student community. I work in the International Living Learning Center, where I serve as a lab assistant and an English tutor. I connect with the students I tutor because they’ve had the same obstacles and struggles as I did when I was a freshman. I am glad to mentor fellow international students not only on English language skills, but also on how integrate into the greater OSU community.
4. How have you learned about yourself and others at OSU?
I’ve learned about others and myself by trying out different things and getting out of my comfort zone. Initially, it took a lot of courage to get involved in school activities because I did not feel comfortable socializing with other students as English is my third language. But the more I get involved in school activities, the more I learn about my personality and develop better communication skills.
5. How have your studies influenced you?
My studies have really changed how I look at the world—they have helped me understand that the natural resources on Earth are finite and realize that climate change is already affecting our natural environment. Through my horticulture studies, I’ve learned there are a lot of things we can do to better our urban landscape that could help mitigate the effects of climate change.
6. Why did you choose your major?
Back home in Hong Kong, I hiked cross-country and I loved it, so I pursued a degree in natural resources to deepen my knowledge of environment protection, wildlife sciences, ecosystem biodiversity, etc. As I was taking classes in natural resources, I came across a couple horticulture classes that really interested me, so I added that as another major.
7. What is the best way for you to de-stress?
I like bringing my camera to the nearby William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. I usually walk around and see what kinds of wildlife I can find. Immersing myself in nature is my favorite way to relieve stress.
8. How have your experiences outside of the classroom impacted you?
Experiences outside of the classroom allow me to talk to people and hear their stories. I believe everyone has a story to tell. Each of those stories is unique, and I personally benefit from them. Listening to people talk about how they became what they are now is always inspiring.
9. Has your time at OSU changed the way you think?
Definitely. I have become more mature through learning what is going on around the world. I have also become a better critical thinker because my classes train me to look at an argument from different angles and try to identify biases. I look at the world a lot differently than I did in middle school, for instance. I used to think about how I could improve as a person, as a part of my family or as a citizen of Hong Kong; but now I also think about how I can make the Earth a better place as a global citizen.
10. What advice would you give to a new OSU student?
Participate in as many campus activities as possible to meet new people. The social skills you learn and networking you do are valuable. I was a student technical assistant last year, so I got to drive a truck to the coastal range to witness timber operations and assist with biodiversity research. It was a very special experience, something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I were back home in Hong Kong.