BA: Major in Human Geography, Minor in Law & Society

Where did August work? 

Work Term 1 and 2 (8 months):

Special Events Assistant, Canadian Cancer Society (CCS)

What did August accomplish?

Main Tasks

In his role, August focused on the Daffodil Ball, which is the Canadian Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event, based around an annual dinner, dance and auction held at Hotel Fairmont Vancouver. Last year the ball raised $1.3 million and this year’s goal was to surpass that amount. August, along with two other CCS staff, took charge of the planning and execution of the event. During the first four months, his duties related to securing donations, coordinating auction ask mailout packages for the live and silent auction, tracking auction donation progress, and soliciting requests from potential auction donors. Once the majority of donations were secured, August focused on creating an auction catalog to be sent to event guests in advance to generate excitement for auction items. August was in charge of entering all auction images, details, and descriptions into the software, which was the online version of their auction.

Major Accomplishment

August believes his biggest accomplishment was the number of auction items he secured. Before he started, the target of 66 auction items was set for him. However, right before the deadline, it seemed as if CCS would have a significant deficit compared to the previous year. In order to address this, August expanded the CCS network to new donors. As a result, he was able to establish connections with many new donors and ended up with 99 donations in total. Additionally, having this new network setup was important because they could reach out to these new connections in future years. “I gained satisfaction knowing it would all benefit the wonderful work that CCS does,” proudly expressed August.

What challenges did August overcome? 

As part of his job, August had to be comfortable with making many phone calls with donors. Before starting this position, August stated that telephone communication was not something he did in a professional capacity. Additionally, he claimed that “being relatively introverted was not working towards my advantage in this case.” Although August was quite worried about phrasing information confidently at first, CCS assisted him. CCS makes sure that all employees go through a weekly coaching session to know what to do if a difficult situation on the phone arises. They also give feedback employees can incorporate in their calls. Through practice, this has helped August become more accustomed to following up with donors or reaching out over the phone. He states this training was a big factor in helping him overcome this challenge.

How did Arts Co-op Benefit August? 

Link Between Academics and Work

August’s degree in Geography does not have a direct link with his position at CCS. However, he claims his co-op term has been a much-needed break from his studies and will positively impact his academics overall. Through his position at CCS, August has improved his time management and organizational skills, which will help him achieve greater academic success when going back to school.

Preparation for Post-Graduation

August feels more prepared for post-graduation having participated in the UBC Arts Co-op Program. His work term at CCS has given him more technical and soft skills needed going forward, such as what it’s like to have a full-time job with revenue targets and weekly meetings to discuss progress. He states that it’s a relief to be graduating with a full year of professional experience that will give him an advantage over others in a competitive job market.

What is August’s favourite part of Arts Co-op?

Through his experiences, August has learned transferable skills and useful knowledge about working in a professional environment that he believes will stay with him throughout his career. The best part is “taking part in experiential learning that can’t be achieved in the classroom and would not have been experienced without co-op,” August revealed.

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