Happy Fall from SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement!

September 09, 2019
Community Engagement staff (from left) Rachel Wong, Fiorella Pinillos, and Paige Smith at the SFU Vancouver Welcome Back BBQ.

The new school year brings both new and returning faces to our university campus. As students and professors prepare for the start of their studies, we here at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement are preparing for a fall packed with public programming.

And with this new school year comes new and returning members of our team. We are pleased to introduce our Community Engagement team to you all!

Returning to her position as Program Coordinator, Fiorella Pinillos is an urbanist, community engagement specialist, organizer and mother of two. She is originally from Peru, where she worked as an architect. Fiorella moved to Vancouver in order to complete a masters degree in Urban Studies at SFU. She has a strong interest in the intersections of urban issues, social and environmental justice, and the arts, which brought her to the Community Engagement office as a co-op student originally. 

Now Fiorella has returned after a 14 month maternity leave, where she spent time organizing with her neighbours around issues surrounding Olympic Village schools, harm reduction and community building in the area. During these past months she held meetings with politicians and elected officials at playgrounds, built cardboard schools in parks, and organized a summer school at a formerly designated school site. She is excited to be returning to the office where she can continue to contribute to community engagement. 

Our new Communications Coordinator is Rachel Wong, who also was a co-op student who assisted with the day to day communications for the office. Outside of this role, Rachel is a Communication and International Studies student here at SFU. In this coming year she will complete her Honours thesis in Communication. Her interests lie in spatial and urban design, power dynamics and who has access to certain public spaces. Rachel has experience in digital marketing, social media management, versatile writing skills, and radio broadcast.

Having studied and volunteered extensively in the Downtown Eastside for many years, Rachel is excited to continue to build and foster relationships with community members and organizations to support our mandate of knowledge mobilization, creative engagement and public programming for all. 

Finally, our newest member of the Community Engagement team is Paige Smith, joining us as our Programming Assistant. She brings an expertise in communication and event planning from her array of arts organization experience, including formerly working with Vancouver New Music Society,  the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, and as a Front of House staff here at SFU Woodward’s. 

In addition, Paige also works as an experimental filmmaker, cinematographer, and film educator, with a BFA in Film from SFU. Her work has screened around the world, including recent pieces being shown at the Your Kontinent Digital Carnival (19), and the Victoria Short Film Festival (19). She has taught artmaking at VIVO Media Arts Centre, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and The Cinematheque.

Having spent her undergrad years studying within the SFU Woodward’s building, Paige has a connection to the Downtown Eastside and cares deeply about both the accessibility of art and its power to make social change. She is excited to bring her skill set and passions to the office, and is looking forward to learning more about social justice within the DTES.

Our past Community Engagement staff have included Maria Cecilia Saba, who was filling in during Fiorella’s maternity leave; Melissa Roach, who previously worked in Rachel’s position; and Jamie-Leigh Gonzales, who is currently on maternity leave and is being filled in by Paige. A huge thank you to all of them for their hard work throughout their time with the Office! They will certainly be missed and we wish them best of luck on their future endeavours.

And of course, leading the Community Engagement office as Director is Am Johal. The four of us are happy to welcome everyone back to school, and hope you are able to attend some of our public programming this Fall semester!

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