Meet the SFU Public Square Team: Rachel Dee

Tue, 06 Oct 2020

Chloe Sjuberg
Communications Coordinator, SFU Public Square

Meet Rachel Dee! Rachel recently joined our team as a Program & Events Assistant. She’s a co-op student in her fourth year at SFU in the Beedie School of Business, with a concentration in Human Resources and Marketing. She chatted with Chloe about her passion for student engagement and event planning, her wide range of experience with SFU student organizations, and the TV shows and video games that are getting her through the pandemic.

Chloe: What drew you to want to do a co-op at SFU Public Square?
Rachel: Before joining SFU Public Square, I worked at the Simon Fraser Student Society and with SFU Student Engagement and Retention. I’m really interested in event planning, and I’m excited to take my student engagement skills and apply them to the community side of things at SFU Public Square, focusing on how the university engages with external audiences.

C: What are you most excited to get to work on at SFU Public Square?
R: I’m most excited about the Peer Ambassador program. It involves a lot of what I want to do – working with students and impacting the greater community. I’m enjoying working with them every week, training them on different events and helping them learn how their actions can make a greater impact. A lot of them are early in their degrees, so it’s great they’re starting out earlier and getting involved, especially as we’re all navigating what school and work look like today. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn more about how SFU and Public Square work.

C: Tell us about your past work with student organizations. What were some of the highlights?
R: The big three student organizations I’ve gotten to work with at SFU are the Business Administration Student Society (BASS)CaseIT and Beedie LAUNCH (a multi-day orientation event for new SFU Beedie School of Business students). Through these I found out that I was interested in events, logistics and stakeholder management. For CaseIT, one of the biggest highlights was that I got to organize an awards banquet held at  the convention centre with 400 attendees, including international competitors and coaches. It really allowed me to display my own creative freedom while still being involved with such a big organizing committee. It was a very heartwarming experience – everybody was together and happy. We all got to relax a bit because the CaseIT competition was over, we’d done such a good job and now all we had to do was enjoy the event. It was one of those feelings that’s indescribable.

With Beedie LAUNCH I got to be a leader for incoming students. They’re fresh into university, so you get to coach and mentor them on everything you’ve learned so far on your Beedie journey. Being a LAUNCH leader was a really great experience of getting to be that role model for incoming students. I have gotten really involved with the student community in the later years of my degree, but it can really take a push to do that at the beginning of your university career, so it’s great to be able to encourage students to get involved and active early. I’m excited to get to mentor students in new ways through the Peer Ambassador program at SFU Public Square!

C: As a co-op student and someone who’s worked with a lot of student organizations, what do you think or hope SFU Public Square can do to engage the student community? (It sounds like you’ve got some great plans cooked up already with the Peer Ambassadors!)
R: I think it’s important to get involved with different faculties and departments, and to reach different student groups by hosting events about issues students are interested in that also interest the community. We need to be able to recognize and cater to our student audience correctly.

At one of our recent events, one of the speakers was a high school student and the audience seemed surprised to hear how knowledgeable she was, and it helped them realize that students do have a lot of insights to share. We can help bridge that gap, showing people that students are the next generation and we need to listen to them. When students are given opportunities to share, they can really flourish, and we can support that.

C: Imagine you get to host/organize your DREAM community event. What would it be like?
R: My mind is so much in the virtual space right now, but if it could be an in-person event, I love banquets, big gatherings and open networking events, where you can have a lot of people from different places come together and get to mingle about certain topics – like with CaseIT, where we had a lot of welcome ceremonies, opening events and open spaces for participants to chat with each other and be comfortable.

C: What are some of the things you’re watching/reading/playing/listening to these days?
R: I love 90 Day Fiancé and other TLC shows – although lots of people like Love Island and I’m not into that one. I really like video games – if I’m not playing GTA I’m playing Animal Crossing. I love all my Animal Crossing villagers so much. I have four friends playing on my Animal Crossing island so we have to have a lot of consultation with each other about our design choices!

Please join us in welcoming Rachel to the SFU Public Square team!