Community engagement enriches lives
Amit Bhagat can look back on his Simon Fraser University journey knowing that his community engagement has helped enrich many people’s lives — both close to home, and as far afield as Africa.
The Surrey resident, who is graduating with a bachelor of business administration, is on the TELUS Vancouver Community Board, a social initiative that puts financial decision-making for community projects in the hands of local leaders who best know their communities.
He is responsible for reviewing grant applications for initiatives that are often geared towards helping at-risk youth, and ensuring such projects have a lasting impact on society.
As the youngest board member – by some 20 to 30 years – he found the experience invaluable to both his personal and professional development.
“It’s a very rewarding role — the applications have to be socially and technologically innovative so I learn a lot from reviewing them,” says Bhagat.
“I have been exposed to some top individuals from the local business community on the board, including vice-presidents of TELUS, and former NHL players. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Bhagat landed the position based on his experience with social entrepreneurship at SFU, where he chaired the SFU Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Under his watch, the competition, which tasks student teams with raising funds to generate social impact in their communities, raised more than $8,000 for aspiring African entrepreneurs.
“I have been passionate about social entrepreneurship since starting my degree, and I’m very glad to have been granted opportunities through SFU to turn this passion into real-world results,” he says.
Aside from social entrepreneurship, Bhagat’s talent has seen him make a lasting impact on a number of SFU initiatives, including leading the Beedie School of Business’s 2013 JDC West team to the title of Academic School of the Year.
As the team’s co-captain, Bhagat helped restructure the entire preparation process, from recruitment through to training for the prestigious competition, which is Western Canada’s largest student-run, business-case competition.
“The experience taught me how to motivate a large team and solve conflicts. On a 50-person team there are going to be issues, so keeping everyone calm kept us on the road to victory.”
Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.