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Collaborative campaign adds up to an award

"It All Adds Up collage"
The focus of the It All Adds Up campaign is to help students understand what they have already achieved, through their studies and int the community and how this can be applied to their future careers or education. (Supplied Photo)

When Career Services and the Alma Mater Society (AMS) first launched the It All Adds Up campaign for the 2014-15 academic year, the goal was to help Queen's students reduce stress about their futures by gaining a better understanding of what they have already achieved, both as part of their studies and in the community.

“It is so important to acknowledge learning both in and out of the classroom,” says Victoria Lewarne, Academic Affairs Commissioner for the AMS.  “With so many exceptional opportunities at Queen's, It All Adds Up is a great program for students to recognize how everything they do fits into a broader learning experience.”

Now, heading into its fourth year, the career health campaign is being used by 43 post-secondary institutions across the country and recently received the Excellence in Innovation (Student Engagement) Award from the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

The award recognizes all the participating schools, a first for this honour, explains Christine Fader, a career counsellor at Career Services.  

“This was such a unique project in that it involved so many partners across the country. We are really excited to share this award with 42 partner career centres at colleges and universities across Canada,” she says.

Students respond positively to the quick interaction as they start to see how what they are doing “adds up.”

“Students found reflecting on things really helpful,” says Ms. Fader. “We know that students stress about feeling they always have to add more and more to their schedules. We know they are doing a lot, and really it’s just that they need to take a minute and ask: ‘What am I doing? Do I want to keep doing these things? Does it makes sense for me, and how are they all adding up?’”

The strength of the campaign is its simplicity and that it doesn’t require much in terms of funding, points out Ms. Fader. It has been refined and primarily uses the social media platform Instagram. Career Services put together a toolkit and some webinars before sharing the program provincially, and then across Canada.

With so many career centres participating, the overall result is an incredible snapshot of the amazing things that students are doing across the country. 

“There are students who have directed a film, were working on a scientific project, contributed hundreds of hours to theatre, or volunteered every week for years at a seniors’ home,”  Ms. Fader notes. “I felt like it was such a great counterpoint to the perception that this generation isn’t working hard enough because, as we clearly saw, not only are they going to school, but when they are in school or outside of school, they are doing all these other things as well.”

Queen’s and schools across the country are gearing up for this fall’s launch of It All Adds Up in November. 

“We are all so excited to see how this initiative continues to grow and benefit students across Canada,” says Ms. Lewarne. 

More information about It All Adds Up is available online.

To learn more about Queen’s Career Services, visit their website.