By: Raina DeBrouwer
A new academic year is upon us, and while Mount co-op has been around since 1979, new students, new co-op staff, new employers, and new programs have joined us in the years since. The last couple of years particularly have brought about many changes – some nuanced and others more pronounced. If you’re looking to keep up with the Co-op Office, check out some of the changes we’ve seen in staffing, website updates, social media developments, and Covid-19 protocols below.
The Co-op Office has ushered in not one but three friendly staff members over the past two years! Combined with the two long-established members of the team, this makes for a fresh, skilled, and welcoming group of staff ready to help you tackle your work terms.
Ying (Wendy) Wang, the Student Liaison, began working at the Co-op Office in November 2020. Prior to that, Wendy worked at the Mount in contract capacities as the Co-Curricular Record Project Officer and the International Student Employment Assistant. Wendy loves working at the Mount because of the focus on unique needs of each student to provide personalized student experiences. Wendy also loves how her co-op colleagues help her see her own value and potential, which enables her to do the same with students. Since beginning her work with the Co-op Office, Wendy has been busy helping students prepare for their work terms. If you’ve gotten an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, know that Wendy is on the other end of it, there to help you with all your co-op needs.
Shari Arsenault started her role as Co-op Office Employer Liaison in May 2022. Before coming to the Mount to work, Shari worked at one of our rockstar co-op employers, LifeRaft. Shari was drawn to the Mount because of the great atmosphere – she finds it to be progressive, with a solid sense of community. She also feels that there is always something happening on campus, so things never feel stagnant. Oh, and the deer. The deer we often seen outside the office window definitely contributed to Shari’s decision to work here! Shari is the main point of contact for employers looking to hire Mount co-op students. Come by the Co-op Office during interview time, and you’ll see Shari watching her carefully scheduled interview plan fall into place.
Raina DeBrouwer began working with the Co-op Office as Co-op Coordinator in October 2020. Before starting at the Mount, Raina graduated from the BPR program and worked in marketing in the public and private sectors. What ultimately drew Raina back to the Mount was the chance to work toward a cause she truly values: experiential learning. Working with co-op students and employers (not to mention the co-op staff!) is what makes her happy.
Courtney Davison is a familiar face around the Co-op Office. Soon after graduating from the Mount’s business administration co-op program in 2012, Courtney began working as the Student Liaison. In September 2020, Courtney became a Co-op Coordinator. Her favourite part about working in the Co-op Office is the ability to connect with students and hear about their positive work experiences during work site visits.
You can expect to hear from either Raina or Courtney for resume, cover letter and interview preparation. Once you’re in your work term position, one of them will be stopping in to visit you and chat about your experiences. As former co-op students, they’ve got your back through every step of the process!
Scott Daniels has been the manager of the Mount Co-op Office since 2012 and before that, he worked as Co-op Coordinator and Employer Liaison. Scott began his journey at the Mount back in 2000, when he embarked on his Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Scott still loves the Mount after all this time because he feels that if you want to be involved, there are lots of chances to be on committees that make an impact to the broader Mount community. Also, after nearly 20 years of being in co-op, Scott still gets so excited for co-op job offers each term and seeing students get the job they really wanted. You can get in touch with Scott for all things co-op policy. You may also hear from him when it comes to resume drafting time.
With a new team came fresh ideas for improving the co-op student and employer experiences when interacting with the Mount. One area we knew would make a significant impact on user experience was updating the Mount Co-op website. Prior to the update, the website was clunky and confusing to navigate. We often had to send students and employers direct links to webpages rather than sending them to the homepage. We decided that a refresh was badly needed, so we tackled this project in 2021 and launched the new website earlier this year.
Now, our website is organized into six blocks: Students, Employers, Awards, Get Inspired, Co-op Office, and Quick Links. The student block features everything co-op, internship and work experience students would possibly need while completing their work terms, including detailed information about each program; important dates according to the calendar year; student resources like important links, program guides, work term project guidelines, personal learning plan templates, terms and conditions, information about entrepreneurial work terms; and student FAQs. The employer block is similarly organized, with things like the hiring process, average salaries, and important dates front and centre.
Beyond this, we worked to simplify landing pages and make content evergreen. It struck us that it didn’t make sense to update webpages with every new co-op cycle, so we’ve condensed that work to just two pages: the Important Dates pages for students and employers. Those dates will continually be updated to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
Social Media Presence
While the Co-op Office has maintained a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn for years, it wasn’t until 2022 that Wendy decided we should meet our students where they are: Instagram. Since starting the page, Wendy has been providing steady updates on our people, plans, and activities. If you haven’t already, check us out at @msvu_coop!
Increased Meeting Flexibility
Not unlike the rest of the world, we had to shift gears often in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While we’re no longer working from home full-time or requiring masking in our office, we like to think the better aspects of our Covid approach remain. Interviews, work site visits, and student meetings are all more flexible given the use of Microsoft Teams. Although it’s great to meet with students on campus (drop in any time!), we recognize that things like scheduling conflicts and transportation logistics get in the way of this. On the other hand, some of our employers missed the ability to meet with students during the pandemic. We’re now once again offering employers the opportunity to come to campus for interviews. Ultimately, we recognize that providing flexibility should be a priority when interacting with our students and employers.
So, while you won’t notice many visible changes in our office due to Covid, we’ve definitely taken the opportunity to provide a better experience for the people we work with. Now, you can request to meet either in-person or virtually – the choice is yours.
You’ve officially caught up with the Mount Co-op Office! If you’ve crossed paths with us, you know that we’re an energized team that loves helping students and employers find their perfect work terms. If you haven’t met us yet, please feel free to drop in to the McCain Centre, Room 312 or follow us on social media. We’re excited to get to know you!
We hope to see you soon!
Raina, Scott, Courtney, Wendy and Shari