Kelvin Lei shares what inspired him to get involved in UBCO’s campus community.

Kelvin Lei (left) and Pierre Frigon (right) - Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Kelvin Lei (left) and Pierre Frigon (right) - Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

In responding to the question of what his favourite movie is, Kelvin Lei answered with “I don’t have a favourite movie. I just enjoy going to movies with people and hanging out with people more than the actual movie.”

This is Kelvin Lei in a nutshell, a student at UBC-O who has made bringing people together a massive part of his university career. As a founder of two clubs (UBCO League of Legends and UBCO Esports) and having a big hand in many other clubs (UBCO Games Club and UBCO Smash Club), Kelvin has helped build a strong foundation for many friendships and communities on this campus and even beyond.

But like anything, this passion for community building didn’t come from nowhere. “When I first came here in first year, the general mood I felt on campus around first years was pretty low. First year was me trying to find a place to belong on campus which was affecting my academics.” Because of this gap in life Kelvin felt the urge to take matters into his own hands. He went on to start a club in his second year of school, called UBCO League of Legends, a club for his favourite video game. “Two hundred people signed up on the club day,” Kelvin said with a fond look on his face. “The first big event for our club ended up with 100 plus people which was crazy, because it was being run at 12 am. The overwhelming reaction we got was a realization of what we wanted on campus. To bring a lot of people together that otherwise wouldn’t have participated in campus activities. This idea spurred me on to run the club for the next couple of years, even though there were definitely tough times with low turnout.”

As for advice with helping other clubs start out, he had this to say: “Be approachable, especially on club day, or else people will be intimidated to come say hi. Also, have something that catches the eye, or something interactive. For example, we had a Super Smash Bros. set up which invited people to stay and play or watch.”

According to Kelvin, an executive team with a variance of personalities can make or break a club as well when it comes to approachability and welcomeness.

“Having execs around that can reach out and give first contact for a conversation can be a great thing to have when making a club. On club day, if their going around and talking to people, it makes approaching the table a lot less intimidating for first years.”

What I find the most touching about this whole thing is the reason why Kelvin poured so much hard work into these clubs.

“Having the feeling that this is something that should be done, that could easily make things better for everyone really pushed me to do it.” For Kelvin, it wasn’t all about making friends and getting to add something to his resume. Kelvin made his club because he felt it was the right thing to do, which shows his passion for helping other people.

Kelvin’s work with clubs here shows how when you’re given a bad situation, it doesn’t mean you have to just accept it and live with it. With a lot of hard work, you can take control of the situation and fix the problem yourself. You’ve just got to take the initiative, but don’t just do it for yourself, do it for the people you care about too.