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Collaborative community

Grenfell Campus and City of Corner Brook partner with CityStudio

By Melanie Callahan

A new initiative will see Grenfell Campus students explore issues relevant to the city, while providing them exciting, applicable opportunities for experiential learning.

Grenfell Campus’s Engagement Office and its partner, the City of Corner Brook, launched the CityStudio project recently.

CityStudio is based on a model in Vancouver, B.C., that consists of a partnership between the City of Vancouver and six university and college campuses. CityStudio is an experimentation and innovation hub inside City Hall where faculty, students and city staff co-create, design and launch real projects that have a positive impact in our community. The goal of CityStudio is to find innovative solutions to complex problems while giving students tangible skills working on real projects.

Dr. Dr. Roza Tchoukaleyska, centre, is collaborating with Corner Brook's mayor Charles Pender and Colleen Kennedy from the city's planning department in offering Grenfell's first CityStudio course.
From left, Charles Pender, Dr. Roza Tchoukaleyska and Colleen Kennedy.
Photo: Melanie Callahan

“At Grenfell, we’re proud of the relationship we’ve cultivated with the City of Corner Brook over the last 40 years,” said Dr. Mary Bluechardt, vice-president, Grenfell Campus. “Grenfell and the City of Corner Brook are important institutions in the region; together, we will continue to build the socioeconomic and cultural strength of this part of the province.”

Create, not take

Some of the goals of CityStudio Corner Brook include bringing new energy to create a city that is healthy, green and sustainable; building on community engagement; launching new projects co-created by students, faculty and city staff; and providing opportunities for students to “create their course instead of take their course.”

In April, Vancouver’s CityStudio co-directors Duane Elverum and Janet Moore visited Newfoundland and Labrador’s West Coast to help kick off CityStudio in Corner Brook. The process began with consultations with city council and city staff in May to discuss possible ways of moving a pilot course forward. A pilot course at Grenfell began in September, with Dr. Roza Tchoukaleyska’s course Geography 3350: Community and Regional Development and Planning being offered to students.

Off-campus learning

The course is held at City Hall on Thursday mornings and on campus on Tuesdays when students discuss the ideas behind community planning. Topics may include health, well-being and decision-making processes. When students are at City Hall, they learn about Corner Brook, meet local community groups and work with individuals who have a vested interest in the vibrancy of the city, such as the planning department, local associations and community groups, and city council.

“The ideas students are coming up with are innovative, exciting, and will, we hope, infuse new ideas and add energy to the careful work being done by council.” — Dr. Roza Tchoukaleyska

“The ideas students are coming up with — while still in their beginning stages — are innovative, exciting, and will, we hope, infuse new ideas and add energy to the careful work being done by council,” said Dr. Tchoukaleyska.

“Through this program, we hope that CityStudio will become an innovation hub, a place where ideas can be generated and built up by students in collaboration with the city, a way to continue engaging Corner Brookers in the process through community activities, and a place where we can test out ideas that can benefit the city.”

Collaborative problem-solving

For its part, the City of Corner Brook supports the idea that collaborative approaches to problem-solving is key.

“We believe that looking at challenges and solutions together will make our city a better place.” — Charles Pender

“We are honoured and thrilled to be a part of an innovative course and pilot program,” said Charles Pender, mayor, Corner Brook. “We look forward to engaging, collaborating with learners and changing our future. This course will facilitate learners to understand the planning processes of our city and becoming innovative builders and creative critical thinkers. We believe that looking at challenges and solutions together will make our city a better place.”

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