FPA Ambassador Blog by Elizabeth Jones

The Faculty of Public Affairs hosted their first meet-up for new and old Ambassadors on January 19th, in the quiet and hushed Macodrum Library at Carleton University.  Everyone from nervous first years to experienced fourth years shuffled into the classroom, where the atmosphere was silent except for shuffles of paper and creaking of chairs as people sat down. People were quiet and nervous, not sure what to expect from the day’s activities.

The day began with greetings, introductions, and basic information. Then the students split into their chosen three groups: Outreach (dealing with recruitment) Events (setting up events and making sure they run smoothly), and finally us in Journalism and Photos, whose jobs were to cover this event and more. Those in Outreach were laughing and smiling when I took a seat just outside their group table, and the feeling was happy and friendly. High school visits and helping prospective students get a feel for Carleton are amongst the things Outreach volunteers are responsible for, and you could already feel the pride people were taking in their volunteer time.

Next on the agenda was a presentation from Jocelyn vanWynsberghe of the Paul Menton Centre.  This informative section of the training day taught us about the difference between accessibility and disability, what strategies we as volunteers could use to make others feel comfortable and welcome, and allowed us to share our experiences with disabilities, whether it be someone in our family or ourselves. The biggest idea to take away from that day? As volunteers, it is our duty to make events as comfortable and enjoyable for everyone, no matter what they need.

Lunch came and went, with talk and laughter filling the air as nervousness disappeared without a trace. After people had filled their stomachs and got their coffee intake for the day, we all reassembled into groups for team building exercises. These games were fantastic fun, as it let people be themselves and have a good time doing it. In the last activity, the classic “stranded on an island with only 5 things from the list shown”, two of the three groups just decided to party because survival was slim. These students really know how to make the most out of any situation.

Finally, we all gathered around for a final touch up on details and a generous thanks for attending today. But the pleasure was all ours, really; the day was amazing only because of the people who helped make it possible. The FPA Ambassador volunteer position holds a future of fun and enjoyment, and students of all years left knowing they had taken a great chance choosing to volunteer as an Ambassador.

Friday, February 8, 2019 in
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