Every year, hundreds of students volunteer with the various peer education and peer mentorship groups, which help to provide services to the greater university community. There are currently over 700 students who give their time to these programs on top of their school work, and are a key component for the success and functionality of these programs.
Without students helping to run these groups, many of the resources and services would not be able to reach the number of students that they currently do.
One example of such groups include the Learning and Writing Peers, out of the Student Learning Commons, who help students with writing and studying better. The Health Peers are another example, and they lead workshops and do outreach on campus to help improve students’ physical and mental health. Along with these groups are the peer mentorship groups, which can be found in many of the faculties and programs at SFU. They help to engage first-year students early on, and ease their university transition right from the moment they start their undergraduate careers.
After completing two terms as a Career Peer Educator, Matthew Furtado reflected on how he almost didn’t join due to an already full schedule and an indifference to making friends. Furtado calls this experience “incredibly rewarding” and “an encouraging break from studying.”
“Over the past two semesters, I’ve met with dozens of students for resumé and cover letter consults, as well as interview tips and finding work on campus,” Furtado said. “I genuinely feel like I’ve made a positive and lasting difference in students’ work search[es].”
As a Learning and Writing Peer coach and past First-Year Learning Community mentor with the faculty of arts and social sciences at SFU Surrey, Ken Ip says that it provides students with an opportunity to “build up their portfolio of experience for the workplace or for professional development.” Ip has seen year after year how most of these commitments are structured flexibly around students’ schedules and also equips students with professional skills through training curricula.
Another Learning and Writing Peer, Robyn-Mae Deang, enjoys when the student she is helping is able to have the ideas make sense in their mind: “It’s truly a heartwarming feeling to know that I have facilitated in that self-guided process.” Alongside helping others, Deang has found that through helping students with their writing and seeing so many writing pieces, she herself has grown to become “a more conscientious writer.”
Beyond the students’ stories here, there are currently about 40 postings up on myinvolvement.sfu.com that are looking for volunteers. The full list of peer programs, as well as other opportunities to volunteer on campus, can be found on the Student Services “Get Involved – Build Community” website.