Co-op opportunities still provide work-integrated learning and experience during pandemic
At a time when student employment opportunities were scarce, Ancillary Services took advantage of government funding programs and on-line technology, enabling them to offer valuable co-op opportunities. Two were in the burgeoning esports field, and a third was in the SFU Fair Trade Campus program.
Nell Jedrzejczyk, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Environment, joined Ancillary Services out of a desire to learn more about social justice and fair trade. Jedrzejczyk is working on growing the SFU Fair Trade Ambassador program, one of many programs that was instrumental in securing SFU's Fair Trade Gold Certification. The pandemic shifted Jedrzejczyk’s community outreach online. She helps organize virtual presentations, movie nights, workshops and a hackathon.
“Joining the co-op allowed me to test out different fields,” says Jedrzejczyk. “It really gave me a lot of confidence in what I'm able to do on short notice and helped develop my confidence as an advocate. Going forward, I now know I definitely want to be working with people through advocacy in my community."
Former SFU Esports Association president Derian Chow, a fourth-year student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, has kept busy since accepting a co-op position.
A seven-year veteran of the esports community, Chow has been educating SFU administrators on esports and its value in enhancing the student experience. He has been creating a national esports directory to connect collegiate esports athletes and campus administrators across Canada. Chow hopes to establish a student gaming lounge within the new student union building, and a steering committee of faculty, staff and students to map out SFU's esports future, and achieve long-sought varsity recognition for esports at SFU.
"The co-op taught me a lot about working independently, as well as improving my presentation skills—especially in regards to an audience that might be foreign to esports,” Chow says. “There needs to be an influx of new and knowledgeable people to push esports forward. My co-op is helping me open the doors to a greater Canadian college esports scene."
Jennifer Seto, a fifth-year student in the Faculty of Science, is the current president of the SFU Esports Association. Seto has been busy managing several projects, including planning speaking engagements, managing casual gaming weeks, providing advice on anti-bullying and inclusion and working to accommodate the expanding demographics of the gaming community. Her goal is to become program director of a future esports program at SFU, and considers the co-op a training opportunity.
"I have a passion for gaming going back to my childhood, so working in esports with Ancillary Services is the fulfilment of a dream,” she says. “Through the co-op I've learned the importance of teamwork, but also how to stand my ground and work independently as an active member of my community. I want to grow and become more a part of the SFU esports initiative while we work towards our club achieving varsity status at SFU."