S-PEaking Out

S-PEaking Out

By: Jamal Saad
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Volunteerism takes on many forms. It can range from manual labor, to education and medicine. I personally find writing to be the most fulfilling type of volunteering. Not only do I sharpen my communication skills, I also help in promoting an important cause.

The Peak, our student-run on-campus weekly newspaper, is the perfect outlet for those who want to gain volunteer experience, become better writers and build a solid resume; all while expressing themselves through writing.

On Friday, May 21st, I had the chance to meet some of the regular ‘Peakers’ to talk to them about their own experiences with the publication, as well as how one can help it evolve into its sixth decade.
Humour editor John Morrison III (emphasis on 3rd) revealed that his efforts for The Peak have opened up new possibilities and career options. He is now the western provinces’ representative of the Canadian University Press , a national newswire agency devoted to post-secondary press from across Canada. If you are considering a career in writing or journalism, Morrison firmly believes that “people who volunteer with student papers get more journalism opportunities”. And in the case of helping out this semester, he added that “the summer’s better because there are fewer people around and we need more people to help, especially the humour section”.

I was also particularly interested in the selection process of the articles that get published. I spoke with Features editor Stacey Maclachlan to find out more about the democratic nature of the newspaper. The Peak does provide a chance for students to voice their opinions. However, they must also keep in mind the feelings and opinions of other students. In another words, and as Stacey puts it,

You can’t be a student publication and be afraid of being controversial, but not to the point where you are hurting someone’s feelings. We don’t want to publish something that is racist, sexist or homophobic, but we are open to talking about those issues.

When I asked Stacey if they would consider devoting an entire section in the paper to volunteer activities and opportunities (on and off-campus), she hesitated because “a whole section is tricky to request because it requires a specialized person. And that [also] requires a lot of resources and allocated times per week”. However, they do occasionally include clubs and groups, such as Fair Trade Vancouver  and The Farmers’ Market that are looking for people to help out.
All, in all, The Peak is collective of volunteers that are looking for even more volunteers to give a voice and character to the university by promoting civic engagement.

If you have a few hours to spare this summer, try to get involved.
The Peak currently has high demand for regular and occasional contributors, a columnist, a photographer, an illustrator and a comic artist.
You can start by picking up a copy of The Peak anywhere and at any SFU campus, by visiting www.the-peak.ca or joining The Peak’s group on Facebook. You can also stop by the paper’s office in 2901 at Maggie Benston Center.
By Jamal Saad

Posted on June 22, 2010