SFU Residence (Communications and Graphic Design)
Communications and Marketing Assistant
Graphic Designer for SFU Residence Team
SFU Residence (Communications, Marketing, and Graphic Design Internship)
At SFU, I was an assistant to the Communications and Marketing Director of the Residence and Housing department. In this role, I was in charge of managing their social media channels, curating and creating content for said channels, setting up key communications between residents and the staff, and event planning for the Fall 2017 Move-In for incoming first-year residents. I also took on an additional role of assisting with most of the graphic design for the Residence website and social media channels.
Duration: 8 months (April - December 2017)
My Role: Communications and Marketing Assistant, Graphic Designer
Tools Used: StarRez housing software, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Adobe Creative Suite (inDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro), SFU AEM (web publishing system)
Social Media Outreach and Communications
During this internship I was tasked with managing the Residence Department’s social media (Facebook & Twitter) and e-mail communications between residence and prospective/existing residents and students. Because of the busy nature of the social media channels, Hootsuite was used to manage social channels and keep an eye on important matters.
During the time I was there, the department was beginning to rebrand themselves as opposed to their previous years of operation – understanding what people consider “home” and what people want to feel in a student community was taken heavily into account when moving ideas forwards. Initiatives, social media posts, and website content heavily reflected this change where we worked closely with the Residence’s Student Life section.
Over time at SFU, because almost all of the web information and social media was taken care of the Communications and Marketing team, over eight months I found myself beginning to work more on graphic design for the department.
I covered three main areas:
Using the updated brand guidelines, I designed numerous marketing material for internal and external department use, that found itself on SFU’s website and also in print at promotional events for the department. For example, the department conducted a photoshoot and I was tasked with using this material for marketing outreach. (Example)
Alongside the department’s social media and e-mail communications, I also created graphics to accompany posts for social media outreach, which included mostly important updates like news and reminders coming up for residents.
Lastly, working towards the Move-In event, which welcomed over 1000 students to Residence’s doors, I created print and web material which was used for the event, keeping in mind the department’s collaboration with sponsors and partnerships with third-party and in-school organizations. I created a Move-In Checklist that was supplied to new residents at the event and online that served to ease their anxieties of what they can and cannot bring to residence, but also what things they could purchase on their Move-In Day from SFU Residence’s partnerships.
Assisting in the update of SFU’s brand required their website to be redesigned structurally and content-wise. Along with key members of the department, the Marketing and Communications team worked together to consider key information for each page and how it could be used effectively to support the updated brand. Using this information I created and managed pages on SFU’s web publishing software, AEM, to keep them both in line with new brand standards (including photos) and design constraints. The main pages I tackled were the ones that were coming up and used the most, including Move-In, Move-Out, Homepage, Fees, and their subpages within.
Challenges and Reflection
This internship allowed me to gain confidence in my interpersonal and presentation skills; participating in major meetings across departments allowed me to overcome my fear of voicing my ideas. It was particularly interesting to assist in updating the department’s brand identity as previously they did not have a strong presence. I got to witness the roots of a brand being laid down, understanding what truly goes into understanding a department/company.
As I was tasked with multiple graphic design and web design projects, it also helped me understand the importance of responsive and smart web design that is understandable to not only the end user, the students, but also understandable to the department themselves.