Yarezni Olvera, a junior studying communication, is from North Carolina and has been involved in Student Activities since 2015. She has served in many leadership positions since and next year plans on continuing her experience in leading roles in Student Activities.
Q: How did you decide to come to BYU-Idaho?
A: My senior year in high school, I decided to move to California when they had the fireside for the three schools, I just felt like it was the right place and I needed to be there. I did not grow up around a lot of members, so I was at a point in my life that I just wanted to surround myself with LDS people.
Q: How long have you been involved in Student Activities?
A: I have been involved in different capacities in Student Activities. I have been in two different sections: life skills, which is no longer around, and I also did Social Activities. I have been participating since 2015.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I remember my first semester I walked past a room, and I saw people dancing — and l love, love, love dancing — and I thought that it would be so cool to be involved. I would always go to Latin dancing, so I remember talking to a friend and they knew the manager. They got me involved as an instructor and I have been involved ever since.
Q: What do you do now in Student Activities?
A: I am a photographer for social section. I just take pictures of the events and help with booths, if the manager wants a booth at their events.
Q: What does work look like for you?
A: As a photographer,… (it’s) organizing with the other photographers for social activities. When events want to have booths there for them and working with the managers. Also, uploading pictures to the social media page and going to meetings and figuring out how to best serve the volunteer side of social.
A typical day depends on what your roll in activities is. You would come into the Student Activities office, gather your team and either plan for your event — by helping to make goals, execute your plans for the vision of your event and promote it — or work on leadership and how to help those in your stewardship be successful. Just getting all the nuts and bolts working. Whether that is working with your organization as a director or working as a coordinator with your director, which oversees the training, learning and teaching of everyone in the organization. This really helps the manager execute their plan.
Q: If other students wanted to volunteer, what other opportunities are there?
A: There is actually a lot of opportunities to volunteer. If you want to plan an event that is an opportunity if you wanted to coordinate managers, which is simply just helping them be successful in planning their events. If you want to do social media there is a place for you. If you want to be a dance instructor and if you want to get involved not only in social but on outdoors activities. They do outdoor events, sporting events and wellness.
So if you like to go to the gym and put on competitions, like triathlons, there are those events. If you want to do service, there are actually opportunities where they go out into the community and reach out to help those in need. If you want to help people get involved, there is an area for you. We can use anyone that wants to get involved. Brother Fay said that activities are kind of a laboratory for students to really use their skills and things that they are learning in the classroom. It is kind of like a place that you can really apply learning and really gain those skills that will help you in the future.
Q: So if someone wanted to be involved, what would they do?
A: There are actually many ways, and it actually depends on how they want to be involved in the different areas. There are Talent Activities which put on showcases, where they do a lot of Acoustic Cafe and they do a lot of workshops. There are Social Activities where they put on a lot of dances where people are actually socializing. They put on dinners and other things. Wellness does a lot of stuff in the Hart building. They do sports and help you stay fit. And the easiest way right now if you are not sure where you want to get involved it would be going through the involvement team. Come into the office and tell the involvement receptionist that you want to get involved. Another way is to go to the BYU-I website and search in the search bar “activities.” It will show the different areas and then just click “get involved.” It is not an exclusive place for an exclusive amount of students. Anyone can walk in and we will find a place for you.
Q: What has being a part of activities done for you?
A: Activities has really changed my experience in school. It helped me develop as a person and as a Christlike leader. It has taught me that even as insignificant as I may feel, that everyone has something to offer, everyone has a skill set that somebody needs and that leadership is not something that you are born with, it is something that you practice. So learning that you actually can take that into the workforce and influence your family, the community, and even the states and countries that you live in. It all starts with the influence that you have. So it has taught me the power of influence.
Q: How many people are involved in Student Activities?
A: Right now we have about 800 leaders, meaning they are either managers, coordinators, directors or area directors. Then we have about 1,000 volunteers this semester to help put on events. So together we have about 2,000 volunteers that give their time weekly, or daily, to help give an environment to the students so that they have things to do.