When given the opportunity to unpack real world challenges and cultivate solutions with local municipal staff, Trent Durham’s third-year Communications students were up to the task.
The project, part of CCTH 3000Y: Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone, offered students the opportunity to review City of Oshawa policies to help mitigate some of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The students then developed, and presented, proposals intended to provide scalable ideas to revitalize the City’s cultural economy.
Engagement, experience and expertise
The purpose of the semester-long assignment was to leverage partnerships built within the City Idea Lab framework and glean expertise from City staff who provided feedback on the presentations. The students brought several ideas forward, ranging from improving internet service gaps, developing a more robust downtown arts and culture hub and building out a more fulsome world showcase experience.
“The purpose of this project was to get comfortable with the ideation process and experience of developing a proposal rather than just focusing on an outcome,” said Brandon Tozzo, course instructor with Trent Durham. “The development of tangible presentation and public speaking skills are an incredible asset for communicators, as is engaging and making connections with municipal staff.”
City of Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter is pleased to see continued engagement by students who are proposing ideas that could provide a positive impact to the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Oshawa’s arts, cultural and heritage community, which plays an important role in contributing not only to our economic growth and tourism but also our identity and wellbeing as a city,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “Through City Idea Lab, Trent Durham students offer a fresh perspective on complex issues that we continue to work to address through the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force. We thank them for their hard work, collaboration and great ideas.”
Small, implementable ideas encouraged to make change
“Both myself and City of Oshawa staff stressed the importance of creating small and implementable ideas to make them actionable,” explained Mr. Tozzo. “The students truly are the highlight of the class—going through the process of research, ideation, creating a pitch and then delivering it. Their ability to present and receive live feedback to adapt their strategy affords them skills that will carry through their future careers.”
As for next steps, City of Oshawa staff will assess the ability to implement the proposals and develop a fulsome action plan.
Learn more about Trent Durham’s Communications program.