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Academia and Activism : Students Partner with Community Organizations for Social Justice Projects

OTTAWA, Tuesday, October 25, 2023 — A new course offered by the Élisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation titled Social Innovation and Social Justice is bridging the gap between theory and practice by offering students an opportunity to apply what they learn in community-based activism.

In this undergraduate course – taught by Professor Amanda Wilson – students spend the first few weeks learning about social innovation theory, strategies and tools. Following this in-class period, students are split into groups of four and five to begin a term-long project in partnership with a local community organization.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to contribute creatively and collaboratively in real, ongoing social justice work in Ottawa,” said Wilson. “By working alongside community innovators, students also gain a better understanding of the social justice issues that are present in our community.”

In addition to the hands-on learning approach, this course is unique in that it provides each group of students with a budget of $500 to help them launch their projects. These funds are provided through the University’s stimulus fund, which supports innovative research projects and academic initiatives.

Tackling Local Food Resilience, Climate Action and Land Rights

The Coalition Against the Proposed Prison in Kemptville (CAPP) is one of six partnering organizations — along with Masculinity Under Construction, Food Sharing Ottawa, City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), Workers History Museum and Synapcity — that are working with student groups.

CAPP’s mission is to prevent the Government of Ontario from paving over farmland to build a prison — a decision that the organization believes will have long lasting, negative impacts on local ecology, food sustainability and future land back opportunities for local First Nations. By working with CAPP, students explore these aspects of social justice.

“We’ve learned a lot by working with CAPP. Not only about the issue they’re advocating for, but how to put together a grassroots campaign in your community to make change," said student participant, Amelia Theriault.

As part of their project, students have collaborated in planning a fundraising concert in support of CAPP’s work.

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to collaborate with students – they always bring fresh ideas and lots of energy,” shared Lisette Major, a member of CAPP. “Having students help out with our fundraising concert provides a big boost to our outreach efforts.”

The fundraiser also serves an opportunity to engage members of the community and to raise awareness on this issue. For anyone interested in attending the concert, please see the details below.


JOINING FORCES: A Fundraising Concert to Stop the Kemptville Prison
DATE: Friday, November 3
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 290 Lisgar St, Ottawa



All proceeds will support CAPP’s ongoing projects.


For more information, please contact:
Julie Bourassa
Communications Officer, Saint Paul University
613-236-1393, ext. 2310


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