Students invited to speak at study abroad conference in Ottawa

Group hopes to raise enough to cover trip costs and contribute back into the program

Aaren Ritchie-Bonar, Tatiana Gilbert and Madison Ellis will be presenting their work next month at the 50th annual Canadian Bureau of International Education conference in Ottawa.

Of all the high-profile attendees at this year’s event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General David Johnston are probably the most significant to the group.

This year, the group will be presenting a promotional video they created last year for the program, as a way to give back.

“Mostly we will be talking about how we created it, as well as other marketing strategies the ambassadors use,” Ritchie-Bonar said.

The video was created entirely by students and shows the benefits of the experiences students have while studying abroad.

“Personally I’m excited to go to give our presentation and showcase what the study abroad ambassadors are capable of accomplishing for study abroad programs,” Ritchie-Bonar said.

Everyone in the group is looking forward to the challenge of presenting at such a high-profile event and are excited to network and learn about other study abroad programs at different institutions across the country.

“I think sending students to this conference will bring back new perspectives on ways to improve the program,” Ritchie-Bonar said.

The group set a goal of raising more than $3,000 for their trip to Ottawa next month, and are coming close to the target but they will still need to do some more fundraising to reach it. Their GoFundMe page has raised $599 from eight donors so far.

“Fundraising, whether it be for CBIE or for the legacy fund is part of being a study abroad ambassador,” said Gilbert via phone from Montreal.

Last year she helped raise money for the group that went to the CBIE conference in 2015.

Last week’s Whiteout Party at CJ’s nightclub was one of the last big fundraising events before the conference, but it was not as successful as the group had hoped for. Though the previous event at the nightclub in September had a great turnout and contributed a significant amount to the fund.

The group promoted the event with posters around campus, as well as Facebook posts, but with midterms looming, Ritchie-Bonar believes there was just not enough motivation for students to come out mid-week.

Because of the partnership with CJ’s night club, there were not any costs incurred, but Ritchie-Bonar did say they will be “baking up a storm” for the next bake sale to try and raise the full amount.

To contribute to their fundraising efforts, keep an eye out around campus for TRU Study Abroad tables and buy some baked goods or donate to their GoFundMe campaign TRU Study Abroad to CBIE 2016.