Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Alumni

empty
STC West Coast
Volunteerism is an excellent opportunity to be exposed to tasks or experiences that typically you would not have the introduction in a paying job.

Students often overlook one important benefit of volunteerism. While students realize that scholarships and bursaries usually require community engagement, they often forget that volunteerism can also give you the edge you need after you finish your degree.

Through a recent volunteer stint, I’ve met Crystal Kwon, an SFU alumnus who has used volunteerism as a leverage to place her career in the speed lane. After she graduated from SFU on summer 2007 with a major in Communications and a minor in Publishing, Crystal took on a volunteer internship position with STC Canada West Coast, a non-profit organization dedicated to technical communication.

Crystal is now a publicist for the Vancouver International Dance Festival, but she credits her time as a volunteer for providing her with the experience she needed to break into her chosen field.  While her main job with STC Canada West Coast was to assist with the launch and the management of a technical publication competition, the volunteer opportunity enabled Crystal to work on various aspects of the competition including event planning and marketing.

I recently asked Crystal for some of her thoughts about volunteerism and how her experience can help current SFU students.

What major accomplishments you have with STC Canada West Coast are you most proud of?

I’ve created a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy for them to increase the visibility of the technical writing industry. Also, I’ve devised a sponsorship package that they’ve requested to use not only for the competition I’ve managed for them but for the chapter as a whole.

How did your position with STC West Coast help you acquire your current role?

STC gave me the appropriate real-world experience with tasks which were essential to break into the field I wanted to pursue. By having many samples of my work, my potential employers were able to see products of my work prior to my employment.

How can volunteerism help current SFU students get the job they want after they graduate?

Volunteerism is an excellent opportunity to be exposed to tasks or experiences that typically you would not have the introduction in a paying job. Often, companies understand that students have objectives as well and will expose them to certain tasks even in an observing role so they can have a feel for the job.

Also, volunteering allows students to experience a bit of work life which is a different lifestyle than the student role. Getting ahead means that students need to make sacrifices to obtain this experience before graduating to obtain the edge against your competition.

Do you have any advice to students who are thinking about volunteering but who don’t think they have the time to do so?

It is a sacrifice, but keep a long-term outlook on things and look beyond today, or this month. Volunteering at the right places will definitely help advance your career, perhaps by months or years. When you put it in that mind frame, it doesn’t seem like a waste of time. It is an investment in your future.

SFU Alumni
Marketing professional Kelvin Claveria graduated from SFU in 2011 with a Business Administration major and a Communication minor. Before joining Dunn PR and Global Bend, Kelvin held communications roles at eBay and SFU Volunteer Services. In his free time, Kelvin volunteers for IABC/BC and blogs about digital marketing and music.

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Sustainability

Iceberg Melting
What’s Your Cause? Polar Regions, Climate Change, Cultural Awareness, New Immigrant

Over the course of the past semester, SFU Volunteer Services set out to learn what causes motivate SFU students to get involved in their communities–either on campus or beyond. We collected information through the ENGAGE blog and want to highlight some now in hopes of inspiring others to think about what their cause is and how they can contribute!

Children playing hopscotch
An SFU student perspective on the Big Sisters Study Buddy program

You may have heard of them–you may even have an idea of what they do. But have you ever thought of being one? Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has been serving girls in one-to-one mentoring relationships since 1960, with the mission of “enhancing the confidence, self-esteem and well-being of girls through supportive friendships with caring women”. Each Big and Little Sister match gets together once a week for at least one year. 

Mubnii smiling with her hands in an open position, in front of an aquarium
Health Sciences Student Profile: Mubnii Morshed

Heath Sciences offer students one of the most comprehensive and diverse programs, focusing on everything from epidemiology, molecular biology to political science anthropology. These days, there are many volunteer opportunities associated with the Health Sciences.

You Might Like These... Workplace Transition

Travis
Words from Within: A Conversation with SFU Alumnus

"I wanted to give students practical tips on 2 different things. How being SFU alumni can help you secure a job. How staying involved with the SFU Alumni Association is a mutually beneficial relationship." - Travis Wong, BBA '09

Google searching bar and a magnifier
E-E-E

"There's more to finding a job than surfing the net" These are the famous words career advisors state on a daily basis to current students and recent graduates. A well-rounded job search strategy is critical for career success and involves the 3 E’s for excelling: EXPLORE, EXPERIENCE and ENGAGE

Jenny Vo Headshot
How to Maximize Your Return on University Investment | Part Two | Reach Out to People Outside SFU

In Part 2 of this series, Jenny shares about maximizing your university investment through different networking channels such as mentorship programs and professional associations. Jenny highlights her own fears of networking, how she overcame them and ultimately, what she learned from these experiences.