Royal Roads students national winners in Map the System competition

Lisa Weighton

Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies students Collin O’Halloran and Kevin Wattier are packing their bags.

They’re heading to the Map the System Global Finals at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford June 1 to 3. They will represent Royal Roads in a competition that asks university students and recent graduates to think differently about social and environmental change.

Earlier this month, the two competed at against 13 post-secondary teams from across the country in the Canadian Map the System competition held at Simon Fraser University. They were one of three winning teams selected to advance alongside Simon Fraser University and Mount Royal University.

O’Halloran and Wattier examined agricultural food waste using a systems approach, which is commonly used to identify multiple players in a problem to understand how they interact.

O’Halloran says food waste is troubling, especially since so many people in our communities suffer from food insecurity.

“That led to the question, ‘why do we waste so much food?’” he says. “We focused on the farms specifically because they are overlooked within the food waste sector.”

Wattier says he learned a lot about the benefits of using a systems approach.

“This process restricts quick fix solutions, allowing only for holistic and sustainable solutions,” he says.

Robert Mittelman, team coach and associate professor in the School of Business, says that’s the point.

“Students must think about global challenges in their wider context rather than jumping straight into solutions,” he says. “The goal is to present this issue back in a way that people can understand, share and learn.”

Map the System is cohosted by the McConnell Family Foundation and Trico Charitable Foundation in partnership with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford.