Ready for 2024 with SFU Ready Fairs!

Thu, 08 Feb 2024

By Silvana Martinez (SFU Public Square Events Lead) and Athena Samonte (Program Volunteer)


It was the second week of January. The top of Burnaby mountain was cold, and in the air, I could smell the snow that promised to fall at any moment. Under my SFU Public Square t-shirt were multiple winter layers, and in my hands, I clutched my warm tea. Smiling at the people walking past, a few people met my eyes and glanced at our decorated table, full of trinkets and an attention-grabbing spin-the-wheel. To those who stopped, I asked, “Have you heard of SFU Public Square?” 

There is nothing like starting the year by talking with students. At the start of each term, the SFUReady Fairs are held across all three SFU campuses. With the goal of connecting new and returning students to resources and services, these fairs and those of us who work them hope to enhance the students’ SFU experience in a variety of ways.

Working to bridge the university and community, SFU Public Square offers public events throughout the year. At these events, we bring people together to discuss important social issues of local, national, and global importance. At SFU Public Square, we also want to be a place for students to engage in important conversations about issues that impact their lives. For students interested in event production, communications, and community engagement, we work toward being a resource to help build their skillsets by providing volunteer, work-study, and co-op opportunities.  

As the Events Lead for SFU Public Square, one of my favourite parts of the role is engaging with students! I enjoy the energy they bring to our events, raising key questions as attendees and supporting the production teams as event volunteers. I also adore having students join us in our office, as Work Study, Co-op Students, or in-office volunteers, bringing in fresh Gen Z energy and sharing their creative ideas with the team.

To spread the word about these opportunities, I had the privilege of attending all three SFUReady Fairs this January. There, I got to speak with brilliant students who were eager to learn, engage with their communities, and try new volunteering opportunities. Along for the ride came Athena, our current Program Volunteer! 


As a student who has passed through the SFUReady Fairs many times, it was exciting to be on the other side of the table, engaging with students and building connections. Volunteering at the Fairs gave me the opportunity to meet so many students and hear about their interests. Many of these students had similar passions to mine, such as technology, policy, and media. We even bonded over upcoming SFU Public Square events such as the upcoming event with Kate Crawford, The Planetary Politics of AI, which I’m very excited for! 

Funnily enough, I also often found that after asking whether students had heard about SFU Public Square before, quite a few replied that they had already volunteered/worked with us! Many said that they stopped by our table just to say hello and to hear what the team was up to. A particular highlight for me was meeting Beng, a previous co-op student whose photo I had seen many times on the office’s Polaroid Hall of Fame. He was excited to hear that the revamped volunteer program, which I am now part of, had launched at SFU Public Square a few terms ago.

Whether people were drawn to our table by our infectious smiles, volunteer opportunities, or the array of fidget toys and stickers, they often stayed upon hearing SFU Public Square's goal of creating space for connection and conversation. This message was something I immediately connected with when I first learned about SFU Public Square. And so, to see other students’ faces light up in interest and sign up for our newsletters was incredibly fulfilling. It was truly an experience I hope to repeat in the future! 

Visit SFU Public Square + You to learn how to get involved with our office!