Skip to main content
SFU Student

empty
Portrait of Jamal
Through SFU Engage Blog, I furthered my writing, editing and time-management skills, learned more about groups and organizations that suit my interests and concerns and can applaud myself for having made a contribution, no matter how big or how little.

Not only does volunteer activity give me a sense of pleasure and personal fulfillment, I regard it as a civic duty.

My journey into exploring and seeking the right volunteer opportunities for my skills started right out of high school. I used my interest in and strong command of language by becoming a volunteer English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor at a conversation club downtown. Basically, we helped build visitors’ and foreign students’ (namely from Japan and Korea) by conducting one-on-one conversations that lasted for about an hour. Little more than merely speaking was involved. However, I always insisted that we hold special grammar and vocabulary sessions to secure stronger basics. I found that conversation and practice were key to picking up a new language. However, one cannot overlook the bad grammar.

My volunteer job with the SFU International Mentorship Program was more or less similar to that of the conversation club. We assisted newly-arrived foreign students in getting acquainted in their new home. However, I have found that many such students had already had strong English skills (or they wouldn’t have made it into SFU in the first place). As such, most of my work with SFU International Student Services involved helping in organizing fun monthly activities and group outings such as dinners at The Himalayan Peak and a tour of the Haunted Houses at the PNE.

Each ‘mentor’ was assigned up to 3 ‘mentees’ per semester, with whom he or she had to keep contact with on a regular basis usually through e-mail. The mentor and mentee would meet on several group or person-to-person occasions throughout the Fall or Spring semester. I had the chance to meet many amazing people and make new friends from all around the globe.

A smart communications major will give an equal balance to their verbal and interpersonal skills as well as to their research and written skills. I did just that when I got involved with SFPIRG. The Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Program (or just SFPIRG) is an on-campus student-funded organization that promotes social justice and environmental issues on a local and global level. They have several programs by which SFU students can get linked with and do research for major NGOs throughout the lower mainland. They also provide a space to hang out in their unique library, which carries up to 5,000 books and items that promote matters of public interest. With SFPIRG, I signed up to be an assistant librarian and maintained their lending catalogue. My involvement with SFPIRG was short, yet I did learn a lot about topics simply by shelving books, DVDs and magazines that you wouldn’t normally find in many libraries or chain bookstores.

My most recent experience with SFU Volunteer Services’ Engage Blog is a very creative idea: A group of SFU students who volunteer to scout, write about and promote volunteer openings and opportunities on and off campus. We announce forthcoming volunteer positions, interview youths who have embraced public engagement and discuss matters and causes that SFU students should be aware of. Through SFU Engage Blog, I furthered my writing, editing and time-management skills, learned more about groups and organizations that suit my interests and concerns and can applaud myself for having made a contribution, no matter how big or how little.

SFU Student

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... Community Engagement

Group of people with balloons in the sky
Accelerating Your Career Through Community Involvement

It may only be the start of the semester, but you’re probably already piled with work. However, there’s no better time to get involved within your community than now, especially with so many volunteer opportunities around with the new year. Find out how being involved can jumpstart your career.

volunteering
5 Tips for Volunteering Abroad

In 2011, five SFU students traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to support humanitarian projects. All five were supported by the C.A.R.E. SFU Global Travel Award, a program that funds SFU students participating in humanitarian work in developing countries with donated air mile points.

Picture of four girls
On the Ground: Department Student Unions

Wondering what a DSU is and what they do? Erika shares her story about her involvement in a DSU and how it has enriched her time at SFU.