Student Calling Program creating opportunities
Aniqa Ejaz, second-year SAIT Hospitality Management student, knew when she was hired as a caller for SAIT’s Student Calling Program that she would be making calls to alumni, telling them about what’s happening on campus and even fundraising for various projects, but she didn’t know that it would help land her the perfect internship for her career.
Every year, SAIT students from the School of Hospitality and Tourism organize the HOSPO Career Expo, where dozens of companies in the industry come from across Canada to network with and potentially hire SAIT students. Ejaz attended the expo in the hopes of finding placement for her internship.
She walked up to the Royal Canadian Pacific booth and struck up a conversation with the woman behind the table. It didn’t take long for that woman to recognize Ejaz’s name and her story – they had met earlier that year when Ejaz happened to call her number while on the phones one night.
“It led to me getting a great position there,” said Ejaz. “I still had to interview and apply for the position, but I felt like I had already gotten my foot in the door.”
According to Jorge Torres, Coordinator for the Student Calling Program and former caller himself, being a student caller can help develop important life skills. “In putting themselves out there every shift, callers gain valuable skills such as networking, confidence, assertiveness and improved communication skills.”
The SAIT Student Calling Program is a team of nearly 30 students who call alumni to update their contact information, share news about SAIT and raise funds to support various programs. Each shift, one caller may call up to 200 people and Ejaz is quick to point out that not all calls go as well as the one she described above.
“It’s a difficult job,” says Ejaz. “But it feels good to be doing something to help.”
At the moment, the Student Calling Program is raising funds to support the SAIT Opportunities Fund but other projects have included e-Books for the library, Student Awards and the I.G. Lewis Student Emergency Fund. Last year, the Program helped to raise over $115,000.
“Not everybody knows my name or what I’m doing for SAIT, but I know what I’m doing here plays a big role in what we’re doing for our students,” says Ejaz. “It feels great.”