Who are the Engagement Peers?

Who are the Engagement Peers?

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The E-Word Blog is a series that features a student perspective on SFU’s various engagement opportunities. Follow our blogger Christina as she tries all that SFU has to offer in her effort to become “truly engaged”.

In most areas around SFU, 6pm on a Tuesday is a pretty quiet time. 

However, on the bottom floor of Maggie Benston Centre, tucked away in a small Career Services classroom, you’ll find a scene that is completely different: a room abuzz with lively conversation and a constant swapping of quick jokes and enthusiastic ideas flying back and forth. “Puppies!” one person exclaims, while another suggests a Beyonce concert on campus. Welcome to a standard weekly meeting of the Engagement Peers.

Although I have been a part of this program since last year, I still thought it was an important engagement opportunity to cover because it is one that not a lot of students know about or fully understand. 

To briefly summarize, the Engagement Peer Education program consists of nine students from across various faculties, united in a goal to “foster a culture of respect, inclusivity and empathy by encouraging students to develop confidence, gain experiences, and build connections through involvement opportunities within and beyond the classroom.” Put another way, through one-on-one consultations with students and various outreach events, Engagement Peers hope to help students connect with SFU and create a valuable university experience beyond just going to classes.

What do Engagement Peers do?

1. Weekly meetings – As Engagement Peers, we meet once a week for an hour and a half. During this time, we not only plan our outreach events and discuss consultations, but also experience presentations and workshops that cover a diverse range of topics like career theory and social media.

2. Consultations – Throughout the week, we meet one-on-one with students to help them identify opportunities to get involved. Think of us as ‘involvement advisors’.

3. Outreach events – Lastly, we host many events whose overall goal is to enhance the student experience here at SFU and to raise awareness about the benefits of being involved. You might have caught us last year giving out bubble wrap during midterm season, setting up a photo booth in Convo Mall or inviting students to chat/make friends in a ball pit. Yup, those were all hosted by Engagement Peers.

The outreach portion of our work is by far my favourite. There are likely not many programs out there around SFU where your work consists of handing out bubble wrap and ring pops one day, then taking photobooth pictures with the President the next. What’s cool about Engagement Peers is that your work will always be different. You may be in charge of logistics and event planning one day, but then the next you might be tackling graphic design and social media. The flexibility of your role as an Engagement Peer keeps you on your toes and encourages you to continually challenge yourself. That’s what makes the program so much fun. 

Initially created as a pilot project in 2012, the program has grown a lot in just the span of one year. Here are some of the ways you can get involved with us:

1) Book a consultation.

We’re located in the Thelma Finlayson Centre for Student Engagement. If you want to get involved on campus whether it be through clubs, volunteering or social activities, get in touch with us. We’ll be happy to chat with you about the vast amount of opportunities available at SFU. Appointments can be easily booked online through MyInvolvement.

2) Attend one of our events.

You may spot us as that group of happy people who give out candy or the crew that sets up the ball pit every so often… Regardless of what we’re doing, feel free to stop by our events and speak with us anytime. You can stay informed about our upcoming events by following us on Twitter @EngageMeSFU or by liking the Peer Programs Facebook page.

3) Consider becoming a peer!

Becoming an Engagement Peer brings along a multitude of benefits in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling of helping others. With this program comes various opportunities for professional development, networking, goal setting and personal growth. The supervisors of our group are tremendously helpful SFU staff members who put their support behind you every step of the way. Applications for the program typically open in the Spring semester, with a time commitment of five hours a week for two semesters.

I’m in Year 2 of my Engagement Peer journey and it has probably been one of the coolest parts of my SFU career so far. For me, the late Tuesday nights are 100% worth it because somewhere between the meetings, the brainstorming and gorging ourselves on sugary snacks, we create something that’s really special. Whether we’re handing out bubble wrap to stressed out students or recreating childhood memories through ball pits, it’s a very cool feeling at the end of the day knowing you’ve played a direct role in making someone’s SFU experience a little happier and encouraging them to get involved in ways that are meaningful for them.

I guess you could say, to truly ‘Engage the World’, we need to start by engaging our students… And I feel incredibly blessed that the Engagement Peers program has allowed me to do just that.

Until next time,

Christina

Posted on November 13, 2013