New course highlights community contribution


This spring, the Year One International Studies Program in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University launched its inaugural “Community Engagement and Service Learning” course. Students prepared, engaged and reflected on a variety of the organization’s mission, mandate, structure and intersection with civil society and overall impact on society. Students were welcomed into diverse organizations ranging from safety to sustainability to sports as they honed their writing, communication and interpersonal skills with stakeholders. Community reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

Four students contributed to the View Royal Fire Rescue event on May 7, 2017 where they met with the Emergency Preparedness Committee to understand disaster response, pre-event tasks such as postering and preparation for children's activities, set up of booths and outdoor sites for the safety fair, supervising children on the bouncy castle and Tom Thumb cars, traffic safety and post-event take down of equipment. Troy at View Royal Fire Rescue said, “Thank you and your team of four students for all your help the past few weeks. They really did a fantastic job today and their assistance was huge in making our event successful.”

Another four students participated in the Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) plant removal event held on May 6, 2017. The students were involved in pre-event office tasks such as postering, food preparation and trail restoration at Ruby Creek in Metchosin. During the event they participated in recognizing and removing invasive plants. They also conducted post-event clean-up of tools and contributed to a student-perspective article summary of the event with photos. Here is a link to student Sherry Guo’s short article: A nice day at Ruby Creek.

Wendy from HAT expressed appreciation of the students’ efforts: “Your students were fantastic and such good help, thank you very much for sending them our way. It was helpful to have them come before and after the event to help sort tools and clean up  - both tasks that take me many hours, reduced to a few thanks to the students.”

Another four students volunteered for the Mother’s Day Paint-In at RRU, an event sponsored by the West Shore Arts Council (WSAC). The students prepared the crafts and made flowers with the children. Kristi Hoffman of the WSAC remarked, "The students were absolutely wonderful. They were hard-working, patient with the kids, and seemed to have a lot of fun.”

Community engagement by RRU International Year One students continues throughout the month of May in the West Shore as well as Greater Victoria communities, and many students seem to be eager to contribute beyond the scope of the course. Kristi Hoffman noted that several students “seemed to be quite keen to be involved” in the Light up the Hills event in September that is hosted by the WSAC and Westhills BC.