How can you contribute? Connecting your skills with the community

How can you contribute? Connecting your skills with the community

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He is a familiar face around the SFU Surrey campus–you may recognize him from banners on the SFU main page celebrating the fact that he was named Entrepreneurial Leader of the year by ACE (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship) and SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), or perhaps even from the Volunteer Services ad in the Peak this week that asks “how can you contribute?”

That is the question that we posed to Ashish Gurung, president of the SFU chapter of SIFE; and it was one he wasted very little time in answering.”You don’t always need a program or organization to join” he says. “As university students, we have the skills, the knowledge, the networks to create our own opportunities.” Gurung knows more than most about the power of the skills of students through his role as SFU SIFE president, where he has led a team of students through many inspiring projects in the community. 

According to Gurung, in the SFU chapter they are “dedicated to promoting the use of in class knowledge to help the community”, which is why, although they have programs for students revolving around microbusiness and entrepeneurship,  community development is their biggest portfolio.

One such project was recently featured on our blog, where a team of SIFE student consultants worked with the Kla- how-eya Aboriginal Centre and its Culinary Arts and Catering Services program to develop a new strategic plan, a venture deemed successful by both parties involved.

The work isn’t limited to business consultation, however. “We go out to an at-risk youth centre” he adds. “We do workshops on budgeting, resume building, cover letter building. We go into high schools where we reach over 400 students and teach them about business ethics, getting them to participate and be more aware of ethical issues in the world. We have also started reaching out to elementary schools with environmental sustainability initiatives”. 

It sounds like a lot, but for the Entrepreneurial Leader of the year, it is well worth the effort. “A lot of it is bringing our education out to the community and actually doing something good and having an impact” he says.

Have an answer to how you contribute? Tell us!

SIFE is a global network that spans across 52 university and college campuses across Canada. To put your skills to use, visit

Posted on May 20, 2009