SFU CMNS and CMNSU Evolve 2018

Let me just start off that I am so proud, grateful, and honoured to be in one of SFU’s largest and most popular faculties, The School of Communication. When I first enrolled as a Communications student here, I did not realize that I would be joining a faculty that would be so welcoming, inclusive, knowledgable, and provided tons of room and growth for further opportunities and success. In my first year at SFU’s School of Communication, I already got offered to be one of @SFUCMNS’s Brand Ambassadors on Instagram by promoting merchandise for the Communications student body, such as water bottles and tote bags (1, 2), became a Welcome Day Leader for SFU’s annual Welcome Day for students who are entering their first year studies (1, 2), representing Communications and the Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology (FCAT), while taking over @SFUCMNS’s Instagram account for the day, and lastly, joined the Communication Student Union (CMNSU) as a Creative and Multimedia Coordinator.

This year, the CMNSU wanted to scrap the whole idea of Frosh, which, if you are not familiar with what Frosh is, is generally a one-day event for first year college or university students that consists of running around and playing games, and winning prizes. Of course, you can make friends at Frosh too, but you are only restricted to making friends with other first years too. When I talked to some of my classmates in my CMNS 323W class that attended Frosh in previous years, they either said that they didn’t remember much about the event, or that they never saw the people in their Frosh group ever again throughout their time in university.

This is when the idea of a modern, upscale, back-to-school patio party came into place.
Enter Evolve.

The aim of Evolve was to gather not only first years, but also second, third, fourth and beyond students, transfer students, staff and faculty, and ANYONE who was remotely interested in what Communications is or what it has to offer to come join us for a fun night filled with music, food, activities, prizes, and making new friendships and connections. SFU is notorious for being a commuter school, and many of the clubs, organizations, and student unions here, including CMNSU, are tirelessly finding ways and possibilities to engage the student body of over 30,000 students by hosting events and ways to get involved on campus and in your studies. Surely that Frosh can offer everything that Evolve can, but as I mentioned, it is only an event that is really for first years to come out and attend, and also, probably 1 in 6 first years is really going to take advantage of club and extracurricular opportunities at school, or consider co-op or exchange later on in their undergraduate career. I mean, they’ll consider it, but the chances are that they might forget and remember again when they’re 4/5ths into their degree.

I would say that for an event that was created entirely from scratch, from the bottom-up, that Evolve was a tremendous success in its inaugural year. We managed to sell out of tickets, which was mainly due to early bird sales. We got some of SFU CMNS’s best-known and renowned staff and faculty to come out and speak to everyone on behalf of CMNS, including Peter Chow-White, the Director of the School of Communication, Grace Hui, the Digital Content Manager of the School of Communication, and Amrita Mohar, the FCAT Representative for the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) and former Vice President of Events for CMNSU. Some of the best, local talent from Vancouver and elsewhere sponsored Evolve, which includes a watch company, Lexton Harper Co., and one of Vancouver’s top sports teams, the BC Lions. The most fulfilling and hand-warming part of Evolve, and my most favourite, was seeing the new connections being made throughout the night. I was happy to see many of the first years and newly transferred students, and talked to them about my favourite CMNS courses, as well as my line of work inside and outside of school.

Although the team at CMNSU thought of the idea of Evolve entirely on our own, I actually hope that other student unions and clubs follow our suit and create similar types of events down the road. Another back-to-school related event that came to mind other than Frosh did include some sort of block party or a welcome back concert, but we stuck with Evolve as it would benefit attendees when it came to their own, personal academic, career, and of course, social endeavours long-term. (By the way, I will still never forgive SFSS for cancelling one of SFU’s best-known events, aka our annual Fall Kickoff…) If you’re looking for a way to get students to come out on a cold and chilly school evening, just before projects, assignments, and midterms start to kick in, this is how you do it.