Social Innovation Lab
Live discussion on Fridays, 2.30-4.30 PM
Weekly reflection guide
List of projects, goals, and methods
Submit milestone summary (video)
What it is // In this hands-on course, hosted by the CMU Centre for Resilience, a transdisciplinary cohort of students will co-design and implement ideas proposed by community organizations and businesses. This year’s theme will focus on two aspects of pandemic life: organizational adaptation strategies and local self-reliance.
How it works // Students will work with mentors and faculty members in small online teams. They will select a topic, draft a course of action, and produce a final product. The course is applied and competency-based, embracing a “problem-based learning” approach where students will share knowledge, peer support, and feedback on an ongoing basis.
In this iteration, the course will also offer students an opportunity to collectively process the emotional impact the pandemic has had on them and the surrounding community.
This year's organizational partners
Resilience: land, food, and energy
Land + space design // Mentor: Sue Mair
Partner: Rural Dharma Centre
This is a "design project" which offers students the opportunity to create ideas the maximize current spaces at a rural co-housing facility to enhance livability that supports good physical, mental, and existential health. The project will begin with a field survey of existing spaces (the house, the main building, and kutis), followed by the design of communal spaces to maximize function and social cohesion under pandemic conditions: how can we create indoor-outdoor meeting spaces where social distancing could be maintained (ie. a "contemplative garden" with space for benches and outdoor activities such as yoga).
As part of the project, we will ask students to consider the use of the land as well as energy and waste systems.
Elements might include:
Cooking outdoors using low-energy organic inputs, including:
Animal Rearing: Research and design low cost methods of using chickens and other small animals, such as goats or sheep, to enhance the permaculture design. Projects may include designing and building movable chicken coops for lawn and brush control (under hydro lines), creating a seasonal plan that includes costs, tasks (chores) and and hazards (such as working under the hydro lines).
Permaculture: Identify, design and build garden beds and other nesting systems, such as Hugelkultur, that can enhance the perennial and annual food production infrastructure of the property. This includes researching, planning hands-on work sessions, and finally engaging local Manitoban experts in developing a multi-year plan for the community to produce a good portion of their vegetable and fruit needs for the year.
Trail building: is the best way to create trails on a rural property? This would likely need to include a review the elevation of the land/ forest including "low spots" that might require a built up path, as well as research the best ways to do that. Ideally the trails would serve as walking paths in the summer and cross country skiing/snowshoeing in the winter. Also included in this project would be the creation of a direct path to access the land under a set of hydro lines, which maybe developed in the future for animals or gardening.
Energy system design: Investigate the energy needs (heating, cooling, cooking, washing, lighting, etc.) of a small contemplative community living on 60 rural acres. Potential inputs could be solar-electric, passive-solar, geothermal, wood-burning, or the processing of organic waste (food/plant/excrement). The focus would be on systems that could be built and maintained economically and efficiently independent of the traditional power grid.
MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT // FIREWEED FOOD CO-OP
Partner: Fireweed Food Co-op
This role would entail helping our Food Hub Coordinator consider the best ways of interacting with co-op membership and improving the market base. The food hub aggregates and distributes local, sustainably-produced food to its members, and needs to find new ways of working safely after COVID-19.
ev CHARGING FEASIBILITY STUDY // CMU
Investigate the quantity, type, and cost for the potential installation and maintenance of electric vehicle charging stations at Canadian Mennonite University. Are there organizational partners who might be helpful in evaluating these decisions? Should CMU purchase a new or used EV?
BUSINESS ADAPTATION // MENTOR: ANDREW BOARDMAN @ MANOVERBOARD
Student final report
REDUCE SPEAKING ANXIETY ONLINE // MENTOR: SUSAN KUZ
Co-create an organization and skills development program to help young adults who experience social anxiety or are uncomfortable speaking and presenting online. This program will help them overcome their fears and move through personal challenges in a safe and supportive online space while learning necessary skills to thrive in our new socially distanced world. Elements of the project might include:
business Adaptation // Mentor: Erin Keating @ Ruby west restaurant
Partner: Ruby West
The Ruby West is a new small restaurant focused on being a positive addition to the Wolseley community and to making a positive difference in the greater world. With restaurants already running at the tightest of margins (especially new ones), and having a traditional focus of socializing in tight spaces, the pandemic has made the future success of this business questionable. How can the business plan be transformed so that the space can provide the greatest benefit to society and the environment while still achieving financial sustainability?
Student final report
Politics, Society, & the Mass Media
Citizenship, Land, Economy
Social Innovation Lab
Democracy & Dissent: Intro to Politics
Susan Mair: MA in Social Work and lecturer at Booth University College. She has worked in healthcare settings for over 20 years.
Lama Gerry Kopelow: Has taught Dharma for over thirty-five years. In secular life, Gerry is an internationally published author, lecturer, photographer, and electric car technician.
Erin Keating: CPA, CMA, is the Manager of Corporate Responsibilty for IG Wealth Management, and owner of the Ruby West restaurant in Wolseley.
Andrew Boardman: is a designer, studio founder, artist and educator. He manages Manoverboard, a studio in Winnipeg with the mission of creating a better world by design.
Susan Kuz, BComm (hons), CAPP ACCP, positive psychology practitioner and coach, instructional designer, facilitator and e_learning specialist. Professional speaker and accomplished member of Toast Masters International. www.susankuz.com
With input from: Bonita Janzen, Daniel Cowan, Mike Millard, Allen Fehr