How To Get Involved in Student Leadership at Ryerson

Since I started here at Ryerson, I’ve been the type to get involved with student leadership and involvement activities. It’s just part of who I am–if my schedule isn’t packed to the brim, my life isn’t complete.

I get a lot of questions on Instagram and in person about this… “How do I get involved with leadership at Ryerson? How do I join clubs? How did you get your positions at Ryerson?”

When students ask me these questions, I give them a simple answer: getting involved at Ryerson is super easy. All it takes is a little motivation, some email tenacity and a positive attitude.

1. What’s your niche?

First thing’s first–you have to figure out what you want to do. This might be an easy assessment for some, but for others, figuring out what you like to do can be a major setback! Think about it in two ways: field, and activity. For example, my field of choice is media and communications, and my preferred activity is social media and design-based projects. This scope isn’t at all limiting. In fact, having a niche opens me up to new opportunities! For example, I worked among a bunch of business students at the RU Leadership conference as their graphic design coordinator. I brought my skills to the table as a creative and used those experiences to levy my position. Think about what your combination might be! For example…

Field examples

  • Science and technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Student engagement
  • Athletics

Activity examples

  • Photography/videography
  • Event coordinator
  • Organizational assistant
  • Copywriting/promotion

Once you’ve determined you’re niche, it’s time to…

2. Research

Research can happen by accident or with intention. For me, I tend to look out for opportunities that are sent to me through my faculty. Each faculty has a student engagement coordinator, and they send out emails to your Ryerson account with opportunities for getting involved!

My advice?

  • Read EVERY email, you never know what’s hiding in your inbox
  • If you’re remotely interested, do a deep dive on Google and social media on the company or student group
  • Respond quickly! Recruiters value prompt email responses and outreach
  • Have your resume or online CV prepared… keep your LinkedIn updated
  • Reach out to people on social media that you follow who inspire you, and ask them how they got where they are
  • Follow student groups on social media to keep track of job postings/keep a foot in the door

3. Stay involved as a participant

If you can’t be involved in the planning committee for an event or group you’re interested in, do your part to stay involved as an attendee. Lots of students who came to the leadership conference were from neighbouring student groups, and many of them were students who were looking to get involved in the future. By showing initiative and drive to attend the events and meetings of groups you’re interested in, you’re becoming a friendly face as well as learning about what the group does on a day to day basis. Most of these events are free for Ryerson students and even give out swag bags and promotional material to bring home!

4. When to say ‘YES’

The most common misconception about student leadership at Ryerson is that you need to be ‘special’ or ‘selected’ in order to fill roles. Seriously, student groups are desperate for volunteers and to bring new people and ideas to their organizations! If you see an opportunity arise and think to yourself: “I’m not cut out for this position, I’m not qualified.” Don’t be discouraged. Apply, and put yourself out there, because chances are, you’re far more prepared than you think you are.

5. Know when to say ‘NO’

Once you get used to saying yes, it can become difficult to turn down opportunities. You start to feel like you owe all of your time to volunteering and involvement, and the commitments begin to pile up. If you’re juggling two or more positions, take your time before jumping into a new role. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you have to step away from a commitment when you’re already knee-deep in it. Take stock of what you need for your own mental health, time for school, and what makes the most sense for you! There will always be more work.

Getting involved at Ryerson is so much easier than it seems, and it’s so worth the hustle. I vlogged my experience at the RU Student Leadership Conference this past November, check out a clip of what student leadership looks like and what it means to me!

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