Learning and laughs: my experience as SAF’s competitions coordinator associate

Thursday, April 18, 2024
by Hana W., Competitions Coordinator Associate
Hana Whatmough

During the Winter 2024 work term, I had the incredible opportunity of being the competitions coordinator associate at the University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance (SAF). In this role, I helped to promote SAF related competitions across our social channels, created and updated SAF webpages, aided in the administration of the Financial Literacy Competition (FLC) and ran networking events for students. This position offers a flexible hybrid-remote schedule, and on my days in the office, I worked in the expansion building of Hagey Hall on the main campus. My office is shared with five other co-op students, which proved to be extremely convenient because it allowed us to work together in a collaborative space and combine our skill sets.

In this position, I had the chance to create dozens of posts that were published on the SAF social channels, including Instagram and LinkedIn. Most of these posts were to promote our students and the competitions they attended, congratulating them on their achievements or wishing them good luck on their endeavors. Each year SAF students attend over 20 external competitions, taking them to locations all over North America! Many of these competitions are subsidized by SAF, so students are given a variety of opportunities to network and practice their business skills outside of the classroom, challenging themselves with real-world scenarios.

Apart from that, I also worked on posts to showcase exciting news from the CPA Ontario Center for Sustainability Reporting and Performance Management (CSPM), which SAF is partnered with. It was great to learn more about this center and its members, as they’re conducting some very cutting-edge research!  

UWaterloo also runs a competition for high school students across Canada twice each year. The Financial Literacy Competition (FLC) sponsored by SagenTM was created to develop students’ financial confidence and competence to help them make smart decisions. I helped with the administration of the May 2024 competition, getting teachers prepared for the competition day when students will participate in the FLC online in their classrooms. I also made promotional materials for the competition to be published on SAF's social media channels and sent out emails to prospective teachers. The FLC is a great way to for high school students to build up knowledge about the basic ideas of saving and investing which will help guide their financial literacy for the future.

Much of my work in this role also revolved around maintaining and creating webpages. I had the opportunity to create entire webpages, like ones for past competition results and the current teams of the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund and Student Investment Fund. I built and updated plenty of webpages through the Waterloo Content Management System (WCMS), which is how all the UWaterloo websites are managed. Learning how to use this tool was immensely fun and interesting and it allowed me to be so creative when making web content while ensuring accessibility compliance. We commonly ask students to write blogs about their experience at competitions when they return, and I edited and published many of these on our website. The blogs give readers an inside perspective on what the competitions are like and how beneficial they are for SAF students. I also had the chance to write a couple of my own stories, like this one!

One of the best parts of this job was the chance to assist with events that SAF runs for their students. It was incredibly enjoyable serving them food, bringing in therapy dogs and facilitating networking events, especially because I got to do it alongside the other five co-ops, who have become my friends. I also had the great opportunity to plan all the logistics for a Women in Finance event, a club that many SAF students are a part of, working together with students and faculty to make the event run smoothly — and it was a great success as students were able to build stronger connections with their professors! 

Overall, my term as the Competitions Coordinator Associate with UWaterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance was an invaluable experience filled with lots of learning and laughs. I had a tremendous time collaborating with the other co-op students and staff on a wide range of projects. My time at SAF equipped me with incredible experience in digital communications, administration and events, and the opportunity was unforgettable!