Familiar Faces: Orillia

Meet Sarena Favaro, Student Success Advisor

By: Zoe Dhillon, Orillia Bureau Chief

PC – Elana Weber

The Argus: As the Student Success Advisor, what does your job entail?

Sarena Favaro: Well, I work in the Student Success Centre where I help students with career advising and academic advising, so that would be anything skills-based that the student needs, which could include management, writing, note-taking… It could just be like “I don’t know what I want to do with my degree” and then we just have a conversation based on that. I also help students with their co-curricular record and I sometimes help students with their co-op applications, but most of that is done through Thunder Bay. I also do some different programming, including the Orientation Week programming for first-year students.


A: How long have you worked here?

SF: I’ve worked at Lakehead for a year and seven months, but I initially worked at Student Central. I began my new role in September.


A: What is rewarding about your job?

SF: There are so many things, honestly. The most rewarding thing is knowing that students can leave my office with a toolkit that I was able to provide for them. I know they’re leaving with something tangible to take them into the next stage of whatever it is they’re trying to figure out and that is really exciting. Also, hosting and organizing an event and seeing people enjoying it is amazing.


A: What is challenging about your job?

SF: Engagement, maybe. I know that what we’re doing in the Student Success Centre is really important and I know it is very valuable for students, but, of course, students are busy. They have chaotic schedules and planning a time to come to talk to me about time management or something similar isn’t always their top priority, which I totally understand.


A: What’s your favourite part of working at Lakehead Orillia?

SF: In my role here, I am able to help students transition into their life after university and I am able to help them as they shape themselves into whatever or whoever they want to be.  It is amazing to be an integral piece of someone’s journey and development. I also really love the other staff members in Student Affairs. The mutual understanding and the relationship we all have with each other is really unique and wonderful. We collaborate when we can and I think that is really, really important.


A: Why did you choose to work in Orillia? What do you like about our community here?

SF: Orillia is very quaint and underrated. We have an excellent trail system here and hiking is very accessible, and I like being near the water with Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. The community of Orillia is also really unique. When you go into Mariposa Market, you see all different types of people but you know so many of them. You’re really a part of the community. I like it. It’s a really interesting town with great opportunities.


A: What services or opportunities would you recommend for the average student?

SF: Well, come to the Student Success Centre! It’s tough being a student so at some point you’ll need help with the things we offer here. The Wellness Centre is also really important, as it allows students to have a comfortable and safe space to acknowledge anything they’re going through. I think getting involved with different opportunities on campus, like Aboriginal Initiatives, is also really great. Aside from that, get involved on campus, volunteer on campus, build up a co-curricular record, and keep building up a diversity of skills by staying involved.