Student Profile: David Weston on Career and Networking through Volunteering

Student Profile: David Weston on Career and Networking through Volunteering

By: Grace Chiu
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Students often don’t realize that on top of learning new skills and gaining work-related experiences through volunteering, it is also a great way to meet and network with potential employers as well as leading you to endless “hidden” career opportunities that you would never be aware of if you did not volunteer.

David Weston, an Arts & Social Sciences student, shares his on-campus volunteer experiences and how networking through volunteering led him to paid positions that he didn’t know about before he started getting involved on campus. Read on to find out more about why David strongly recommends students to start volunteering as early as possible…

Q: What organization(s) are you involved with and why/how did you get involved?
I began volunteering on campus through the Orientation Program as an Orientation Leader. I had a great experience as a participant and was looking for a way to connect with the SFU community, learn about the campus and make new friends. One day, I saw a poster advertising the program and I signed up to become a Team Leader.

I also started volunteering with Student Services, doing campus tours for SFU Super Tour dates and SFU Open House. Around the same time I was introduced to Claire De Lisser from the Faculty of Arts and Social Science Dean’s Office, and took a spot as a student representative on their planning committee for Arts Central. I then started to work with another student representative during recruitment events, hosting information sessions and doing campus tours. Arts Week allowed us to organize events to encourage student involvement among the Arts students.

This last summer I was asked by the faculty to be the student representative on the appeals committee and curriculum sub-committee, a volunteer role that I will hold until I graduate. I also worked this past summer as the Week of Welcome Coordinator for SFU Vancouver and a Student Central Senior Ambassador, both positions I found out through volunteering.

Q: How/what you are contributing?
When I begin a new volunteer position, I always bring my passion, enthusiasm and determination to represent SFU as best as I can. Also, because of my employment at Student Central, I have a vast and comprehensive knowledge of SFU both in its services and academic programs.

Q: What you are learning from your volunteer work?
Every new volunteer position that I took on, including my roles at Student Services and the Orientation, I learned something new about the student services available at SFU. Because of these volunteer opportunities, I have become more aware of what Student Services does and who works there.

Networking is one of the greatest benefits of volunteering because I had the opportunity to met faculty and staff from all over the university. Although I already had teamwork skills and experiences, I had even more opportunities and experiences working with people from different cultures and areas around the university.

Q: What does a typical “volunteer shift” look like?
Usually a normal shift involves a morning meeting with supervisors or colleagues to discuss the plan for the day and any problems or issues we are expecting to come up. Once the job has been outlined and the schedule for the day clarified, usually it is just up to me to complete the tasks and to make sure thing go as planed.

Q: What kind of people you get to meet/work with?
I had the chance to work with such a diverse range of people here at SFU. I have done speeches and conducted meetings with staff members as well as sitting on committees with faculty members and professors. I also worked with university students and even guests to the university, such as international delegates and high school students, for campus events.

Q: Why you are passionate about what you do and why do you continue to volunteer?
I will continue to volunteer because it is such a great way to spend my free time. I would be bored without the many volunteer work I did on campus and in the community. I continue to look for volunteer opportunities because I am passionate about SFU and enjoy working in a new environment with new tasks every day. I also enjoy meeting new people and making contacts that may be useful later in my career.

Q: What would you say to others interested in getting involved with the organization(s) you volunteer with?

I would recommend them to get involved as early as possible! I have made more friends through volunteering, and the skills that you learn through volunteering will definitely help you prepare for your jobs in the future. Volunteering also helps you make contacts that are beneficial to your career. As well, volunteering led me to many employment opportunities that I may not otherwise know about. And because my current employers may already know what my skills, experiences and work habits are like, they would think of me when a new employment opportunity comes up, allowing me to access “hidden” jobs that many may not be aware of if they did not volunteer.

Posted on March 15, 2010