Tuesday, 14 October 2014

"Use Us!" And Other Advice from Students Working on Campus

Ah yes – the lower level of SUB. Newly decorated with a flush of neon chairs and ample couches, many a students of taken advantage of the rebooted basement SUB. What once was a maze of incredibly small rooms is now a very social space. But also housed in the basement are a smattering of student services, in a space now referred to as Student Life Central. 

Student Orientation and Recognition, InfoLink, Safewalk, Sustain SU, and Student Group Services are all located within the SLC. You’ve probably heard of at least one of those services before. Though – to be completely honest you’ve also probably never heard of any of them. But allow me help you kind stranger! You see – these services are mostly staffed by people like you. “Sarcastic and prone to procrastination?” No. Well – maybe. But they are students. While working away at their undergraduate degrees, they’re also working away to help make your university experience better. 

From left to right: Erin, Kaz, Alyssa and Jaquie.

To help you understand why they're doing this, I interviewed four students who work in the lower level services. 

YA (YouAlberta): What’s your position?

K (Kaz): I’m a coordinator with Student Group Services, or SGS.
E (Erin): I’m a coordinator with InfoLink.

J (Jaquie): I am the Safewalk Associate Director.

A (Alyssa): And I’m the student engagement coordinator for Sustain SU

YA: So what does your service do – in brief.

K: So SGS oversees, registers, and administers student clubs or groups. We also offer training, and grants.

E: In brief?

YA: Yes please.

E: Uh we do a lot, but we offer academic services, student life services, and general campus information. We do our best to connect students to their Students’ Union, as well as answer students’ questions on a Peer Advisor basis. We also do stuff like distribute U-Passes and tickets to events.  

J:  We patrol the campus. 

YA: Sounds dangerous. 

J: We’re really all about safety – so ensuring people get where they want to go: safely. 

A: We offer services… 

YA: I expected as much.

A: So for example, the reusable dish service, sustain exchanges, bike library, the farmer’s market. We’re all about promoting and educating sustainability across campus.
YA: What do you do for your service?

K: I run the granting program

YA: What’s that?

K: I give them money. 

YA: How much money?

K: Lots.

YA: Give me a number from 0 to 10 – in millions. 

K: Several. But actually we do have a good amount of money to help support groups.
YA: So what else do you do? 

YA: What do you do as chair?

K: I chair the meetings.
E: I’m the Academic Programming Coordinator, so I run the tutor registry, exam registry, and compile academic and advising related information. 

YA: Riveting. But those actually sound really useful. 

J: I sort of handle the overflow from the director. 

YA: What exactly does that entail?

J: Making training, going to committee meetings, among other things – it’s a motley of tasks. 

A: I manage all the volunteers, and run certain things like the Sustainability Summit. But I’m mainly just making sure volunteers have a good experience. 

YA: What’s one service you offer that you’d like to promote?

YA: Your what?

K: The video contest – get your group to make a video; it’s a great way to promote your student group. 

YA: What’s so great about it?

E: All the tutors go through our training, so you know they’re legitimate. There’s over 100 active tutors as of right now. 

YA: You have to keep your eyes out for those illegitimate tutors. 

E: Not if you use our services. 

J: Safe walks. 

YA: Hilarious. 

YA: Love the farmers. Last question – do you use your own services?

K: Ahh no. 

YA: That’s poor advertising. 

K: I’m not in any student groups, and I haven’t made any. But – it’s on my bucket list. 

E: Yep! I mean, I have my U-Pass, but I’ve also bought tickets from InfoLink. 

J: I do.

YA: Which one specifically?

J: I may or may not have been the first one to use our new intoxicated client policy.
YA: Like a drunk walk home?

J: Downtown gets sketchy. 

YA: I’m not here to judge. 

A: I actually use the dishes in SUB to get discounts from the vendors.

YA: What does that add up to? 

A: I think it’s like 25%. 

YA: That’s actually quite a bit. 

A: Actually – you know what… sorry - 25 cents... It adds up.

YA: Last question: why services? Why did you get a job in services?

J: I actually wanted to further my development with Safewalk – and grow professionally within the organization. 

YA: Wow. 

A: Yeah I’d agree with that – also it’s nice getting paid. 

E: I swear I got tricked into it. (nervous chortle) – but it’s a really rewarding experience.

YA: Kaz?

K: Yeah.

YA: Why – why do you work for Student Group Services?

K: For the kids. 

End of interview. 

Now - I also work for services – it’s a hoot. I directly worked on Orientation, and now am working on Student Awards, some other Orientation related things, as well as your Co-Curricular Record. “My what?” Exactly.

It really is rewarding, and got me involved on campus with some incredibly nice and committed people, including the four I interviewed. But seriously: come use us. Like, appropriately. Come appropriately use us. You can find more about us online at su.ualberta.ca/services, or if you really want, just lurk about the basement and peek through our massive windows – we don’t mind. Feel free to wave, because we’ll probably wave back. 

About The Author


Hey readers! My name is Shadi and I'm currently doing a double major in Mathematics and Economics - an amalgamation of the two most enjoyable fields fathomable.  

Now - pull up an ear and listen reader: there lives a thriving ecosystem of academia addicts and campus-culture aficionados throughout the U of A, and I'm hoping to get these stories to you. I'm hoping we can on some level create more pride in our university through what really matters: the students. Me? Yes - you! You matter. I want people to hear of what academic triumphs students are achieving, and what new initiatives leaders across campus are championing. Also, from time to time, I’ll try to make you smile with “humor”. I'm looking forward to the semester and being a part of this team, as well as learning more about what's happening across our campus!


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