Developing support for community causes can be challenging. Fortunately, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) alumna Jaya Dhillon is unfazed by this challenge.
Her dedication to supporting communities started as an adolescent, where Dhillon developed a strong passion for philanthropy. From feeding the less fortunate to volunteering with BC Children’s Hospital, Dhillon has “always wanted to give back.”
This dedication made KPU a natural choice for Dhillon, where she met “a lot of peers that were similar and helped each other out on projects and assignments in a more community-based environment.”
In addition to a positive educational experience at KPU, Dhillon developed new skills that allowed her philanthropic passion to flourish. Through a bachelor of arts in anthropology, Dhillon gained hands-on skills in communication and analyzing cultures; equipping her to connect and resonate with a variety of community audiences.
These skills proved to be powerful during her involvement with the student body, beginning as the inaugural students with disabilities representative for the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA). Dhillon used this appointment to advocate for increased parity for students with disabilities. This would involve voicing concerns and opinions for initiatives localized in Surrey alongside national level projects, which would be continued through her later role as the president of the KSA. Dhillon regarded both roles as notable experiences, since she “became more involved in the communities and academia.”
In addition to using her skills serving the student body, Dhillon applied them as a student intern through KPU’s office of advancement. As an intern, Dhillon contributed to the office’s Giving Tuesday campaign that focused on supporting KPU students who experience financial challenges. Through developing a theme titled “Mosaic,” Dhillon successfully portrayed the diverse range of students that cumulate to create KPU’s unique background in Surrey and beyond, while contributing to the $101,000 raised throughout the campaign.
Going forward, Dhillon is enthusiastic about a career in fundraising. Specifically, she’s proud to continue her contributions to the Surrey community through a fellowship placement at KPU’s Surrey campus. In March, Dhillon became one of two successful recipients of the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex Fellowship in Advancement provided by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE); a national award to support a professional starting a career in educational fundraising.
As a result of the fellowship, Dhillon will spend one-year receiving mentorship from the KPU external affairs team while building on her practical fundraising skills. This will include placements with KPU’s alumni affairs, advancement, and marketing and communications departments. By rotating through these placements, Dhillon will gain a complete understanding of how a variety of departments collaborate on philanthropic objectives.
“It lets me give back to KPU, which is the most exciting part as it is a great community that has done so much for me.”
With her strong dedication, Dhillon’s bright future as a next generation leader is fuelled through a unique KPU education, where thought meets action.