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Meet the SFU Director of Global Engagement: Gretchen Ferguson
By Daniel Hartanto
Gretchen Ferguson is a SFU Director of Global Engagement for Africa, Middle East and South, Central & Western Asia Sustainable Development as well as the Global Networks Refugee and Newcomer Program. Her role is to strengthen the SFU partnership with each country. Before that, she was a former executive member at the SFU Surrey TD – Community Engagement Center as Associate Director for Program & Partnership. Her role is to maintain the partnership with the youth and newcomers in Surrey by providing responsive programs. She is also a former Geography Instructor since 2014 at SFU as she had an education background (PhD) in Geography at SFU.
At the SFU TD-CEC her job is to develop new programs that respond to the community needs by communicating with different partners in the community such as Surrey School District, City of Surrey, and DIVERSity. “We just see how we could support things that they were trying to do at the community by bringing other SFU students into it or any other SFU resources”, Gretchen said. Some of the programs that she developed are “Youth Mentorship Café” to give an insight of what is look like to being a SFU student, this program is targeted for high school graduate students. As well as the “Farm to Campus” to provide a low-cost fresh produce to SFU Students.
When the COVID-19 Pandemic started to emerge and the lockdown has been initiated, it affects the whole program that has been held by SFU Surrey TD CEC. “Since March we have to shutdown the programs for a couple weeks since people can’t come. To cope with the situation, we are the first to pivot virtual program online to engage with the youth as an alternative way. And it turns out the youth and children are more excited engaging virtually, which is a good thing” she said.
“From my experience with the SFU TD-CEC, some of the experience such as maintaining partnerships within different communities it does really help her to enhance her experience to a whole different level as the Director of Global Engagement, she said”.