Students at Trent University Durham GTA know how to rise to a challenge. Through a collaborative initiative known as City Idea Lab, part of the TeachingCity Oshawa partnership, local government asked Child & Youth Studies students for ideas to eliminate barriers to Oshawa Youth Council (OYC) participation.
As a culmination of their hard work this semester, students from Dr. Omar Lujan’s Career Development Through Service Learning course put their well-researched ideas on full display at the Fall 2019 City Idea Lab Student Showcase held at the Oshawa Civic Recreation Complex on December 4.
The audience of key city personnel and community partners were keen to listen to the students’ poster presentations outlining the use of online platforms, rights education, and the Ontario Civics Curriculum as methods to improve youth engagement with the OYC.
TeachingCity Oshawa brings together educational and research partners to address local urban issues, through innovation, collaboration, applied research and experiential learning. As the students worked with city staff and experts throughout the semester at TeachingCity’s downtown Hub, they mastered transferable skills, became youth advocates and implemented theories into practice.
“This partnership is like a dance,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter who opened the event, which featured several local, academic institutions. “It works with the brightest ideas and minds along with today’s issues that are facing our community. It enhances the post-secondary experience. That means your post-secondary educational experience in the city of Oshawa will be different than anywhere else. And to me, the city wins, the students win, our post-secondary partners and our community win as new ideas come up.”
Julie MacIsaac is director, innovation and transformation with the City of Oshawa. She familiarized students with local government and the city. She also listened to their formal presentations earlier in the term.
“From the city perspective, on so many levels, there is so much value,” said Ms. MacIsaac who leads the TeachingCity initiative. “As we go into the next decade, it’s important for all of us to be really engaged in government issues.”
Looking forward to community placement next semester and to careers working with youth, students are keen to take this knowledge and experience with them.
As for the city of Oshawa, fourth-year Child & Youth Studies and Psychology student, Hailey Rutherford said, “Universities are such a huge part of any town and for Trent University Durham to do something like this is really important.”
Mayor Carter feels that innovative ideas and partnerships are crucial.
“It excites me because these are the things that leading communities around the world do and they do well. I want (Oshawa) to be one of those leading communities.”
City Idea Lab is a partnership within TeachingCity Oshawa and includes partners Trent University Durham GTA, the City of Oshawa, Durham College and Ontario Tech University.