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 day-to-day operations of the Residence Department’s social media (Facebook & Twitter) and e-mail communications between residence and prospective/existing residents. I learned how to effectively use Hootsuite to manage multiple accounts and keep an eye on important matters. During this time, the department was beginning a lengthy re-brand to understand what students think of their resident community and how many make relationships similar to that of family. Initiatives, social media posts, and website content heavily reflected this brand renewal where we worked closely with the Residence’s Student Life section.
Over my eight months at SFU, I found myself working more on graphic design for the department. I covered three main areas:
Using the updated brand guidelines, I designed marketing material for SFU’s website and also for print at promotional events for the department. For example, the department conducted a Summer photo-shoot and I was tasked with using this material for SFU Residence’s ‘Live Where You Learn’ campaign, which encouraged prospective students to consider living on campus alongside their learning environment.
Alongside the department’s social media and e-mail communications, I also created graphics to accompany posts for social media outreach, which included 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 online and at the event aimed at easing their anxieties of what to bring to residence, and what things they could purchase on their Move-In Day from SFU Residence’s vendor 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 Final Thoughts
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 identity as previously they did not have a strong direction for their brand. I got to witness the roots of a brand being laid down, understanding what truly goes into solidifying 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 (in our case, the students and parents) but also easily navigable to the department themselves. This was my first experience with an internship and I was able to touch upon many different intersecting areas, including communications, marketing, and design,