Are You Involved at SFU?

Are You Involved at SFU?

By: Kyle Empringham
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When I came here in August of 2011, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I had left all of my family, friends, and connections in Ontario and embarked on a journey that was unpredictable and uncertain. The institution (and the scenery) is what drew me here, but it’s the new friends and networks that make me never want to leave.

It’s proven that getting involved helps you connect with the place you’re in, make new friends, and gain skills that employers are looking for. I love volunteering because of all of those reasons, and it’s those reasons that have helped me get employment when I need it.

If you’re having trouble finding ways to get involved, or don’t know what opportunities are right for you, I’ve made a list of methods for you to try. Give one or two or all of them a shot – who knows, it might lead you down a path that you never thought you’d enjoy!

  • Find a Mentor. Is there a professor, former employer, or SFU staff member that you look up to? If so, connect with them and set up a meeting. Like at our networking events, ask them how they got to the place they did and what volunteering (or career) opportunities got them to where they are today. Tell them what kinds of experiences you might be interested in – they might have a connection that will help you get your foot in the door at a cool organization. A part of my own job is to help volunteers connect with Sustainable SFU, and if you’re looking to do volunteering in this area, feel free to e-mail me.
  • Use SFU Resources. SFU is about engaging the world – and with that, they’ve funneled a lot of time and money into providing gateways for volunteering and career options. Check out SFU Simplicity  – it’s a great service run by Volunteer Services that posts volunteering positions as they arise. Also, check out the Peer Educator program  – a one-year commitment that helps you work on personalized goals while in applied contexts (there’s positions in Health, Learning & Writing, Sustainability, and more!).
  • Go to Networking Events. I know, this sounds like a daunting task. That being said, its how I got my current job and how I’ve been able to do most of the work I currently do. It’s worth investing time in going to events, dressing the part, and simply chatting with new people and seeing what they’re all about. Great opportunities are bound to arise!


Kyle Empringham is Sustainable SFU’s Director of Project Development. After receiving a degree in Honours Biology (Minor in Geography and Earth Sciences) from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), Kyle moved to BC to pursue a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management here at SFU. Kyle is no stranger to working with the non-profit sector, after taking prominent roles in Empowerment Squared, the Bay Area Restoration Council, and his volunteer-based news site, The Starfish. In his spare time, Kyle likes to read up on local environmental issues, watch TED talks (see his own here), and go kayaking.

Posted on January 31, 2013