She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.
What kind of people do you get to meet/work with?
I get to work with a whole variety of individuals for the organizations I volunteer with. On-campus volunteering tends to be with SFU students and staff. My work with the RCMP is varied in the sense that I have worked with fellow Muslim youth, community leaders, RCMP officers and members of various government agencies. And with the Olympics, I will be working with people from around the world!
Why you are passionate about what you do and why you continue to volunteer
I see real needs in the Muslim community that I can address through my experiences and skills. Particularly with the Muslim community, I see many examples of my community being marginalized. Through my involvement with community initiatives I can help those who are struggling, and I can apply my academic knowledge to support those who need it. This will also assist me with my future work as a social worker. I also simply love to lend a helping hand and be involved in something bigger than myself—whether that is the Muslim Students Association or the Olympics.
What you find rewarding/challenging in the volunteer positions you took on?
Working with people is always both challenging and rewarding, but it all depends on your attitude. For instance, when I see Muslim students feeling connected and empowered on campus, students overcoming personal challenges, athletes achieving their personal best, or Canadians understanding the contributions that Muslims have made to Canada—all of these are rewarding experiences.
I also take challenges as a reflection of who I am and what I am capable of. In any organization, individuals may want many different things and you need to be able to balance and work with these differences. In particular with the Paralympics, I think there are a lot of unseen challenges and significant accomplishments for these athletes and I cannot wait to meet them and be inspired by their stories and their achivements.
What you would say to others interested in getting involved with the organization(s) you volunteer with?
When you are passionate about what you are doing, it will show in the work that you do and it won’t even seem like work. Let your passions drive you, follow issues that inspire you and seek to make everything you do better than when you came to it.
Being involved in MSA is a way of finding connection and a sense of community on campus. Whatever community you feel a part of, embrace it, make it better and share with others what you are all about. Orientation, LEAD and Peer Programs are ways of discovering who you are and to challenge yourself and help those around you. The Olympics are many triumphs at many levels and, really, an once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Why do you think it is important for other SFU students to get involved as volunteers/engaged citizens?
Volunteering motivates you to strive beyond yourself and it teaches you to appreciate what you have which inspires your work. Volunteering on campus helps you stay connect to the school and opens more doors to take you to places that you otherwise would never know were there. You will never know what you will find in volunteer and civic opportunities but that powerful warm, fuzzy feeling inside (after you helped someone out) is always enough—anything else is bonus!