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Faculty of Arts rep Tomiwa Oje says arts grads can be entrepreneurial too

By Kristy Koehler, September 24 2019—

Students’ Union Faculty of Arts representative Tomiwa Oje wants students to know that students from the Faculty of Arts can be entrepreneurial too. She’s planned a panel to showcase exactly that.

“Side Hustle to Reality: Panel of Entrepreneurs with Arts Degrees” is Oje’s bid to incorporate the university’s ‘entrepreneurial-thinking’ catch-phrase into the largest faculty on campus. The Faculty of Arts, she says, largely gets ignored when it comes to the focus on entrepreneurship that is so widely-touted to other faculties.

Oje said she was inspired by going to the graduation ceremonies of her friends in other faculties.

“At the science grad and the Haskayne grad, the big topic was entrepreneurship,” she said. “For arts, that wasn’t discussed at all, and arts grads have the same potential to be entrepreneurial as every other faculty.”

The panel discussion features four individuals who have made their mark as entrepreneurs — after graduating with an arts degree of course.

Billy Friley, founder of Village Ice Cream, Neige Blair, co-founder Routine Natural Goods, Erynn Lyster, co-founder of The Commons and creative director and founder of Urban Motif Design Inc. and Hafiz Mitha, CEO of PlayCity, will be on hand to speak to students about their experiences.

What does Oje, the moderator of the panel, hope to learn from the discussion?

“I want to know the struggles they’ve gone through,” she said. “Being entrepreneurial comes with a lot of shortcomings and struggles and I want to know how they’ve worked through all of that to be successful. I feel like hearing people’s struggles is a good way to be inspired.”

Oje says the event fits in with the platform she ran on, of making sure that arts students are more career-driven.

“A lot of arts students are entrepreneurs, they just don’t know it,” she said. “If you’re an artist, you’re an entrepreneur — your art is what you’re selling. If you’re a dancer or singer, you’re selling your craft.”

“The Faculty of Arts is sincerely the best faculty,” she said. “You can take everything you learn, if you are willing to put in the work, from a linguistics degree, from a dance degree, from a history degree, and apply it to so many sections of your life.”

The panel discussion takes place in the Hunter Hub in MacHall on Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 3–5 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided.

Illustration courtesy of Students’ Union

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