Attend any Faculty of Public Affairs event and you will be greeted by one of our knowledgeable and enthusiastic FPA Ambassadors. These dedicated student volunteers represent the Faculty at public events, local high schools, and in one-on-one opportunities with prospective students through the Spend a Day with FPA program.
“We quickly realized that these students were offering more than just event support. They were also helping to inform decisions about student experiences, recruitment activities and more,” says Cassie Smith, Event and Outreach Coordinator for the Faculty of Public Affairs.
Over the past five years, 175 students, drawn from all of FPA’s undergraduate programs, have served as ambassadors.
“These students are truly our best ambassadors,” says André Plourde, Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs. “They help us fulfill our mission to bring public affairs to the public. I am incredibly proud to have these students represent our Faculty.”
During this volunteer experience, students have the opportunity to develop transferrable skills like verbal communication, empathy, customer service and more. Some are then taking these skills to work in the event industry. Jenny Giang (BA ’18) completed a post-graduate certificate in Sport and Event Marketing at George Brown College and has worked in that area of expertise with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Jam Van Inc. and Adidas.
“I have the FPA Student Ambassador Program to thank for that,” says Giang. “I enjoyed volunteering at the events, working with Cassie, and learning so much from this experience—I’m turning it into a career now.”
In addition to the student volunteers, the program has also offered four students the opportunity to gain part-time work experience leading volunteers. These staff have played a key role in designing and implementing training, conducting interviews, and managing the requirements of volunteer shifts. Carrie Cottreau (BPAPM ’19) was the FPA Ambassador Program Assistant for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Cottreau says, “The program attracts such high quality applicants that, for me, it provided a really interesting opportunity to develop a strong decision framework for hiring, and the chance to make connections with some really stellar students in the Faculty. The position really helped expand my work palette, as it were, and it was amazing to get to explore different aspects of the program.”
Applications to join the FPA Ambassador Program will be available for interested students in September.