By: Sarah Job
Many of us know him as the curator of all things Sauder, which he highlights through CUS Sunday. Beyond the weekly newsletters, though, Ben Chen is an outstanding Sauderite. As VP Marketing for the CUS, and founder of Blank Vinyl Project, the student-run record label that recently won Club of the Year, it is clear that Ben is no stranger to getting involved. Sitting down with The Cavalier, he sheds light on more of who Ben Chen is beyond CUS Sunday and also what he believes is key advice to incoming Sauderites of 2014.
Who is Ben Chen?
Let’s see, I am a fifth year marketing student here at Sauder. Not a direct-entry student actually. I used to be in biochemistry and sciences before I moved over to Sauder. I am also a huge music nerd to the point where I started a club [Blank Vinyl Project], which has been extremely successful in the past year or so. Other than that, I am following my other passion of marketing through the VP Marketing position of the CUS, and I am hoping to pursue a career in Brand Management.
What have been some turning points for you since you’ve been in Sauder?
There’ve been so many. Getting into Sauder was a huge turning point for me personally, just because I started to take interest in something I really wanted to do, and find out what I really wanted to do with my life. Sauder has always been so inviting, letting people into the community, and that has been one of those things that I treasure and cherish and I try to introduce it to other students as they come into the faculty. Other turning points: before I was in Sauder, I got involved in Bizzcomm, and I still treasure the times I’ve had being in that club and the relationships I’ve formed through it. Participating there really turned me toward business and this community of making things happen. Other than that, other big turning points have been of course Blank Vinyl Project. Also, becoming the VP Marketing of the CUS last year.
Can you speak some more about Blank Vinyl Project?
Blank Vinyl Project is basically a music community here on campus working on developing and introducing musicians to each other. We work with some of the amazing musicians who are on campus, and try and provide them with some shows and some opportunities, or maybe some recording – we try and get them in touch with some studios around town. This year has been the first year I haven’t been taking the helm. I’m no longer the president, that’s Dimitri Kanaris, but they recently won club of the year out of all the AMS clubs and I’m super proud of them.
How about your experience working on CUS Sunday?
I’ve taken on CUS Sunday and it’s actually been an interesting ride to go along with. The CUS Sunday’s been there for a long time, but it’s only really started developing recently. Last year, Riley Chow [previous VP Marketing] was actually one of the first people to start trying to make CUS Sunday more engaging. It used to be blocks of texts and, as students, we already read enough textbooks, so Riley really made it his own and put his own style to it. What I’ve done is make it into my own style as well really. In the past ten months or so I’ve been putting a lot of time into making it engaging so students are informed about what’s going on.
Through the newsletter, you’ve been a voice to a lot of first years. Do you have any advice for the incoming Sauderites of 2014/15?
The best advice I can give is to get involved. It’s a really simple thing but I’d say only about a quarter to a third of Sauderites really get involved in Sauder and we have so many opportunities, so get involved in whatever way possible. Personally, to each individual, I would say find what fits. For me, I was trying to find a music community on campus, but I couldn’t find it so I made it, and then decided to make that some place where people could go. As a marketing student, I have found countless opportunities to do with marketing. At the end of the day, it is so much more rewarding to be able to do work that you’re not going to be graded on but is something you just want to see happen and are passionate about. So get involved would be my advice. Also, for me, I’ve always thought a great word to live by is “create.”
Simple, yet inspiring. Ben Chen, one of Sauder’s best.