Cultivating Civic Engagement in the Burnaby Community

Credit: Volunteer Burnaby Website

SFU Volunteer Services partnered with Volunteer Burnaby to bring this year’s Volunteer & Civic Engagement Fair. Over 40 organizations visited the Burnaby campus this year – and many of these non-profits heard of the event through Volunteer Burnaby.

At the fair, I spoke with Lee Faurot, Volunteer Burnaby’s Community Developer, to learn more about their organization and the various opportunities they offer students. Unfortunately the sound quality of my video interview didn’t turn out great; however, I have the next best thing. Here’s a transcript of that interview:

Q: Please tell us about your organization.

A: Volunteer Burnaby is the local volunteer centre for the Burnaby municipality. Our goal in the community is to promote volunteerism, lead in areas that are important for volunteerism, support organizations that require volunteers, and promote civic engagement.

Q: What kind of volunteer opportunities are available at Volunteer Burnaby for students?

A: There are many opportunities for students. Being a community developer, the process is more important for me than the end result.  And so I do a lot of work with local high schools. I recruit volunteers there, and when they reach the university age, they’re used to volunteering and being engaged and they will continue on with that.

On a practical note, we participate at events on BCIT, SFU, and Douglas College. We’re member-based, with over 90 organizations, and each of those organizations, independently, is able to post volunteer positions on our database. In turn, we promote these volunteer opportunities to students and to the general public through our website.

The hope is that through events such as the SFU Volunteer &Civic Engagement fair, people will visit organizations and we create buzz around civic engagement. They may not volunteer tomorrow, but maybe when they’re ready, they will.

We’re all about convincing the community to live better together and to contribute because each individual has power.

Q: How can students learn more about your organization?

A: Our website is at www.volunteerburnaby.ca. They can also visit our office: 203 – 2101 Holdom Avenue, Burnaby, BC.

From this interview, it’s not really hard to see why Volunteer Burnaby is one of our community partners. Many of the organization’s values and missions align with ours. By creating awareness around engaged citizenship, SFU Volunteer Services also hope to encourage students to be more active in their community. In many instances, that means volunteering, but it can also take the form of activism or political activity. Also, just like Volunteer Burnaby, SFU Volunteer Services connects non-profits with students by posting and promoting volunteer opportunities.

If you’d like to learn more about Volunteer Burnaby, please visit its official website. You can also find the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

By Kelvin Claveria