This blog was originally posted on the SFU Recreation blog on August 4th 2021.
I joined the Promotions team back in 2019 and I instantly knew these were my people. I had started off in the Fitness Centre as a Fitness Assistant. As a creative person, I really enjoyed decorating the bulletin boards and coming up with ways for gym-goers to engage with them such as "Rate how you feel on a scale of Baby Yoda" to "What are your plans for after finals?" I also transformed the staff board to have our Senior Recreation Leaders hold onto balloons (representing our Weight Room Supervisors) and water flowers (our Fitness Assistants). However, after 2 years I got kind of bored with the role and after running into a past Fitness employee, who was now on the Promotions team, I decided to make the jump. Promotions felt like the perfect outlet for my creative energy and I am so glad I decided to take the chance.
The SFU Recreation Promotions team works a little differently than the other departments. We usually have a small tight-knit team that work together to develop a semester plan and come up with marketing strategies. The role is very open to whatever the team would like to do and what projects you would like to be involved in. Our lovely Senior Recreation Leaders also work with volunteers to help them set goals and achieve them, so they can get the most out of their volunteer experience.
The main tasks that Promotion Assistants help out with are event management, social media and blogs.
We plan and host several events throughout the semester to help encourage people to engage with SFU Recreation facilities and promote physical fitness. Some of our popular events have been:
Pets and Yoga via Zoom
Quick Bites Workshop via Instagram Live
Our volunteers have been extremely valuable in brainstorming ideas for the events and facilitating them to the end. With virtual events, we had to really think outside of the box to come up with fun events that students want to attend and strategies to promote the event. When COVID happened and we had to pivot to remote means, Pets and Yoga has been a really fun and nice way event to connect with students and transition our usual in-person Bunny Yoga to online.
I remember when I first started off, I was really worried about my lack of experience with social media. However, the Promotions team provides ongoing training, support and guidance to help students learn basic graphic design skills, copywriting and video editing. Volunteers also get a chance to brainstorm new ways to engage with our followers and design initiatives to increase our reach, such as through social media contests, weekly trivia questions, and raffles. Don't underestimate how much you have to offer! As a student you have a unique perspective into our target audience.
Blogging is something very close to my heart as it was a project, I got started to complement our Healthy at Home Initiative. Through blogs, volunteers are able to share their advice and knowledge about active living to students in a way that is accessible and tailored towards students. Senior Recreation Leaders also provide personal support and guidance for volunteers from drafting up blogs to editing. If you have no idea where to start, we also provide a list of suggested blog topics that you can pick and choose from. If you have difficulties writing without deadlines or writing, we also have group blogs that you can collaboratively work on with others. Blogs are really open to whatever you want to write about as long as it is still in line with SFU Recreation's core values.
Volunteering with the Promotions team is unlike any other volunteer opportunity I have ever had. It is a very self-directed and team-oriented position that seeks to empower volunteers to build connections and to follow their passions. The position is low commitment and has very flexible hours allowing you to volunteer whenever you can and to customize your workload. When I first started off in the Promotions team, I was very apprehensive because I had never been in such a role before. However, I quickly mastered the art of Canva and had a lot of fun coming up with social media puns and doing photoshoots for the different departments. After a while I got hired on as paid staff and got to take on a leadership role and helped get our blog started. What you take out of the program, is what you put in. If you have an idea, there are lots of support and guidance available to help make it a reality!