Emeralde O'donnell


Where is your hometown, and which secondary school did you attend?

Abbotsford. Robert Bateman Secondary School.

Why did you choose SFU and the Faculty of Environment?

SFU was the only university I applied to because I felt that it was a good fit for me. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. I love the history, values, and campus (contrary to popular opinion. Seriously, though, how can you not love being on a mountain??). The faculty of environment programs are incredible and ranked highly; SFU acoomodates and encourages students to study variety of fields.

Whar program are you in?

I’m currently majoring in Resource and Environmental Management and minoring in English, but I’m planning on declaring a major in English and doing a double major.

How did you choose your program? Why is it/How did you know it was right for you?

When I first came to SFU, I was in the environmental science program. After a year of that, I made the decision to switch to REM because it is broader and more interdisciplinary, which is the kind of education I’m looking for. I know it’s right for me because it allows me to explore my passion for the environment while still keeping my toes in a variety of subject areas. And I get excited about all the courses I’m taking! 

Are you involved in any volunteer activities on or off campus?

Not as much as I’d like to be. I table for CJSF at events when I can. I also volunteer for various environment related projects when they come along.

Did you take part in Co-op?

I did! I’ve only had one work term so far, but it was amazing. I was a copywriter for the Faculty of Environment Dean’s Office writing, working on social media, and doing a number of other things. 

What message do you have for new students? What do you wish you knew then? 

Look at the upper division requirements for your major before you choose the lower division requirements – some lower division courses might be needed later on and it’s better to take them right away then realize that you have to after.

Work on an exam study sheets as you go along in a course so that it’s all ready once midterms and finals come around.

Seize as many of the opportunities that come your way as you can, and make conversation with everyone you encounter.  You never know what kind of doors will open from your involvement, or the connections you’ve made.

Do you have a favourite spot on campus? Why is it special to you?

I love studying on the sixth floor of the AQ at night on a weekend. I find views on the sides looking out at the mountains and city calming, and they’re extra pretty when the sun starts to go down.  If you’re there at the right time, the sun will shine through the windows at the right angle and the whole space glows.

Do you have a favourite class?

On the REM side, my favourite courses are always the ones that cover ecology related subjects. I love any English course.

What was the most interesting subject you've studied so far?

In my first term, I took an English course on writing and rhetoric (ENGL 114W) that I enjoyed a lot. It covered more persuasive writing and I’m used to focusing on literary analysis, so it was a nice change.

What are your plans for the future, be that the rest of your time at SFU or post-graduation?

I’m very much a go with the flow, focus on right now kind of person. I’m just thinking about my courses, co-ops, and volunteering semester by semester and I’ll worry about the future when it comes.