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Why Joining the CMNSU Was the Best Decision I Made at SFU
By: Kat Perez
When I look back on my first two years at SFU, I picture myself as a completely different person. With Burnaby campus being a two hour commute from my house, I was your typical ‘commuter student’. I did not stay on campus any longer than I needed to, I had little to no friends in any of my classes, and felt very unmotivated because of the social life I lacked at school. Being involved at SFU was not a priority of mine at the time, as I had no interest in filling up my calendar even more due to classes. I remember I attended a FROSH event the Communication Student Union (CMNSU) held in 2017, but didn’t really think much of the event or the team.
In my third year, a friend of mine who was in my CMNS 240 class asked me if I was going to attend ‘CIC’. Initially, I had no idea what she was talking about, as I never heard what CIC was, I thought it sounded like some sort of music festival. She sent me a Facebook invite that night, with the title reading ‘Careers in Communication (CIC) 2019’. When I looked more into the event, I was actually surprised that CMNSU hosted these types of events. I didn’t realize they held networking events aside from the little socials I had attended here and there. My friend and I ended up going to the first day of CIC that year, and ever since then my time at SFU had been completely transformed.
When I saw how professional and put together that year's team looked at CIC, I was instantly inspired. I remember coming home that day, reworking my resume, updating my LinkedIn, and asking everyone I knew how I could be part of the CMNSU. I couldn’t imagine hosting an event that was as successful and rewarding as CIC that year, but I knew it was something I needed to be a part of. When they announced they were hiring for the upcoming year shortly afterwards, I immediately applied. Fast forward, and I ended up getting the position I applied for: Marketing Coordinator! My first year of being on the team was a crazy adventure, and honestly felt as if it was a second job for me. My two other team members quickly became some of my closest friends, and not only did I learn so many tangible skills, the soft skills I gained during that first year still stick with me to this day. This was my first time handling an organization’s social media accounts, and marketing an event online which ended up selling out! I gained writing experience, I learned the ins and outs of Facebook ads and Hootsuite, and I transferred these skills to my first co-op job. I gained so many connections with many different organizations that sponsored Evolve last year, felt more connected with the faculty in our program, and had the opportunity to connect with industry professionals while planning CIC.
This year, as VP of Communications I am able to exercise my leadership skills by leading my own team as well as building this new role in the CMNSU. I started our blog cmnsYOU out of my vision for the union to be more active in student’s lives during the transition to online school. I’m able to really practice my writing skills, as well as publish some posts on our blog that I can use for my portfolio. Being involved in the union taught me the value of being active in the SFU community, which was something I overlooked a lot in my first two years. I’ve gained the confidence to make friends in my classes as being part of these organizations made me feel as if I were a valued student in Communications. It has also pushed me to work harder and smarter in my job and my classes. I feel as if now that I am surrounded by such smart, motivated team members it encourages me to do the same. I noticed my grades started to progressively improve once I joined the union. I think overall, being part of the CMNSU has drastically changed my outlook on University and has really changed me into a better student and a better person overall. I feel this wave of relief knowing that the experience I am gaining is only setting me up for success, and being surrounded by like-minded individuals with such a strong work ethic inspires me to become a better version of myself.
To think that I could have still been that same student I was in my first two years at SFU is such a strange idea to me. If it wasn’t for my involvement with CMNSU, I don’t think I would have achieved all the small and big victories I have ever since I joined. I highly recommend applying to be part of the team in April during our hiring season. If you were in the same boat as me, or are just looking to add something meaningful to your degree, joining the CMNSU is one of the best things you can do as an SFU Communication student.