Georgian student projects make big impact
May 05, 2015

A male student holds a large cheque made out to the Stand Up organization.Child and Youth Worker, Early Childhood Education and Social Service Worker students can add a new position to their resumé: changemaker. Fourteen teams of 39 students paired with local non-profits last semester to identify and address various social challenges and gaps in community service.

Through the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Orillia Campus, they organized workshops and events, developed marketing material, conducted research and designed new programs. The students also raised more than $6,775, supporting organizations such as Right to Play and the Stand Up! Orillia Couchiching Community Initiative.

An incredible 9,866 community members were touched one way or another by these collaborative student projects, with 109 businesses chipping in to provide moral support or a form of sponsorship.

“These student projects are going a long way to transform the local community,” says Suzie Addison-Toor, Manager of the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. “Many non-profits simply don’t have the resources to undertake the activities our students have. With a little bit of help and a lot of creativity, our students are providing them with lasting tools for change.”

Georgian’s centre is a model in the postsecondary sector. Rather than focusing on the creation of social enterprises, students work within existing organizations to strengthen and improve the services and programs they provide.

“We know the success of local entrepreneurs is vital for the growth and development of our region – and Georgian continues its great work on this front,” says Suzie. “But we also know that today’s employers are looking for intrapreneurs – employees with innovative skills and mindsets who can lead change in their organization and community. That’s where the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship comes into play.”

Since the centre opened its doors in 2010, more than 140 students have conducted 69 projects. Faculty and staff at the centre have also become a resource for institutions and agencies looking for an innovative edge. This year, the centre was honoured with a Strengthening our Community Award from the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.