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Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
Co-operative Education

Me on the right talking with one of my peers about the Burnaby Mountain gondola! I was enthusiastic about the project and engaging with the public.
I can surely say that there is no straightforward answer to the question that was nagging in my mind. Nevertheless, I know that the core of what I did in public relations was untangling complex ideas and information into something everyone would understand.

“What is public relations?" This question feels as vague as someone asking me what majoring in Communications studies leads to. I admit that I want to pursue a career path in this industry, but I have repeatedly asked myself this question throughout my academics. In my search to find out, my experience working as a Communications Assistant in SFU’s Communications and Marketing office has given me a clearer picture of public relations.

When I got the offer from SFU, I thought, “Okay, I have no idea what I’m doing other than the general description of the position.” However, I soon realized there is more to it than what public relations entails—from monitoring public sentiment to doing public engagements; I slowly realized the answer to the nagging question I’ve been trying to answer.

Throughout my time in SFU Communications and Marketing, I had the opportunity to write SFU News articles about subjects like institutional announcements, amazing work by emerging young researchers, and creative art installations. I went into writing thinking it would be easy—especially for students like me—but it wasn’t your typical run-of-the-mill essay writing. Copywriting is a skill that I’m still learning, and the support from the whole office on reviewing and suggesting edits helped me by pointing out the subconscious essay writing style that I fall back into.

The Gondola Street Squad! (Left to right: Communications & Marketing Co-op students: Ayo, Kobie(me!), Kayla, Dru and Erica.

I also had the opportunity to work on an extensive public engagement project with fellow Co-op students in the office—whom I became close friends with outside of work! We were out on the streets and around campus drumming up excitement over the gondola project, and that was when I realized that this is one aspect of what public relations is about—the face-to-face public engagement of the work that you put your heart into. Not only so, but my newfound Co-op friends and I planned a whole social media engagement campaign for the gondola project by creating an entertaining video and poll on Twitter and Instagram. With some notes and revisions by our colleagues, we built up an enthusiasm for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola project through our online engagement!

I can surely say that there is no straightforward answer to the question that was nagging in my mind. Nevertheless, I know that the core of what I did in public relations was untangling complex ideas and information into something everyone would understand. I am beyond grateful to my two supervisors and all my colleagues at SFU Communications and Marketing that helped me understand what public relations is about.  If you still are unsure about what it is to work in public relations, I would highly recommend going for a trial run by doing a co-op in the industry and experiencing what public relations are to you!

SFU Student Undergraduate
Co-operative Education

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A phone on the home screen where the apps for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be seen
Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing

When promoting events and news on social media on behalf of a club, service, or business, the main goal is to get as many eyes as possible on the content. One of my tasks in my 8-month Co-op position was to post updates on their social media accounts, which includes job postings, upcoming events, and special announcements. Over these months, I was able to find useful strategies and tools to help me manage these profiles effectively and efficiently.

Co-op students standing outside around a sign that says "SFU"
Event Planning 101: 3 Tips for Planning an Event even Gen-Z’s will Enjoy

Coming into this Co-op position as an Outreach, Promotion, and Engagement Coordinator for SFU’s School of Communication, I was not expecting to gain any sort of event planning experience. Creating an event for our incoming students for Fall 2023, was a brand-new concept that flourished this semester.

Abu standing next to a screen that says "Limitless"
Why Pursue a Career in Sales

This article is my take on why somebody would pursue a career in sales. I have never done sales in my life, and I like to take on new challenges. Therefore, it allows me to elaborate on the skills I have learned throughout my journey.

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picture of marlo in a lab, smiling
Student Spotlight: Marlo Shackleford

The 4th and final interview with the MBB co-op students. The OLC talks to Marlo Shackleford, a 4th year MBB student who worked 3 terms over the last year first with Welichm Biotech Inc. and then UBC James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Old magazine that reads, "Cool! English"
Doing Your English Degree? Be Ready fro Unexpected Career Opportunities

What can you do with an English degree? The wide range of opportunities may surprise you. Arts & Social Sciences Co-op staff and English Undergraduate Advisor offer tips on pursuing a career with a degree in English.

animated man being pulled down a hill an @ sign, underneath the words "take control of your reputation"
Enhancing Your Online Reputation

Your resume and cover letter impressed them… Your interview dazzled them… and you’re confident that your references will sing your praises. But, what else could factor into an employer’s assessment of you as a potential employee?

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Samaah Jaffer profile picture
@SFUVan Profile: Samaah Jaffer

Meet Samaah Jaffer, an Arts Co-op student who has worked at the US Consulate and SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Read about Samaah's experiences during these co-ops, and their invaluable advice for other students!

Wing of a airplane
New Co-op. New City. – Tips for Those Moving Away for the First Time

Moving away from home is a life changing experience. It is a combination of exciting and scary, happy and sad, and everything in between. Throw in a new city and a new job and everything just intensifies. One of the first questions that come to mind are what do you do and where do you start?

3 people sitting around a table with their laptops and laughing
How I Landed My Dream Co-op at a Large Tech Company

After completing 6 Co-op work terms, one thing I really enjoyed about my Co-op experience is that I had the opportunity to gain work experience from different types of organizations. I started with a 5-person non-profit organization, then to a 20-person start-up, and then landed my dream Co-op at a large 100,000+ person multinational tech corporation. One thing I’m thankful I realized early on in my Co-op journey is this: don’t be turned off from doing a Co-op with a small organization.