Students in this year’s Arts and Science Global Citizenship Cohort stepped up to help out. Their projects included everything from volunteering at the Soup Kitchen to getting involved in the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) and signing a water charter.
“The theme for the Cohort was water, sustainability and social justice,” says Dr. Shelly Wismath, co-ordinator for the Global Citizenship Program and instructor for the Cohort’s seminar course, Lib Ed 2150. “They got to pick their project for the course. We had some environmental science majors who were keen on water issues. Others in the humanities and social sciences were really interested in social justice issues. They all got really got engaged and they bonded, too. One of the main goals of the cohort was to provide first-year students with this built-in support group from day one.”
One group created rain barrels for the Campus Roots Community Garden and another worked with the YWCA on an event called Attire to Inspire, which provides grad dresses to women who can’t afford the cost of a new dress. They also volunteered at the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, preparing and serving food.
Paris Ellis and her group were inspired by a speaker from the OWC. They met with the OWC, signed the Southern Alberta Water Charter 2017 and volunteered to survey the state of the Oldman River near Taber and take water samples to be tested for bacteria and pesticides. Ellis says the Cohort and project helped students connect.
“I definitely think it brought a lot of us together. The friends that I did my project with, four of us have the same major and we all have pretty much the same classes. It was nice because you could walk into class and know people,” says Ellis. “It was a lot of fun.”
Another group wanted to reduce the number of plastic water bottles being bought. Their project involved getting a water dispenser for refillable bottles in University Hall. They raised enough funds to buy the dispenser, which should be installed in Section C on the 6th floor stairwell sometime this summer.
Other student projects involved: calculating a water footprint; conducting a food audit comparing the cost and nutrition of food bought at Urban Market and at a grocery store; volunteering at an assisted-living facility; and volunteering with the Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association. Some students elected to write papers or create posters and they tackled subjects like social issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada and the threat of further development in the Jumbo Valley near Invermere.
For his project, Andrew Buckman delved into the reasons why people give to charities and how some charities operate.
“A lot of people are doing it just for show and they don’t have a practical way of accomplishing things. They want to make a difference but they don’t really know how to do it,” he says. “Others just add titles behind their names by joining a lot of things but it’s impossible to really be involved in everything.”