l-r: Bill Rempel, Blackwood Partners vice president and general manager; SFU students Danielle Kwok, Kyleen Lee, Harman Gill and Kishan Parekh; and Matthew Grant, SFU director of community engagement and outreach


Enactus SFU’s Media Minds nets Surrey student-community-engagement prize

November 23, 2016

By Allen Tung

An after-school program to ease young newcomers’ transition to Canada has won the annual SFU Surrey–Central City Student Community Engagement Competition, netting $3,000 from Blackwood Partners.

The program, Media Minds, is led by 20 students from student organization Enactus SFU in partnership with the SFU Surrey–TD Community Engagement Centre.

“Our objective is—through film—to give students a more effective transition into high school and the community by empowering them to speak up, share their ideas and think creatively to overcome the barriers they face,” says program manager Danielle Kwok.

Through a series of 10-week workshops, students in grades 6–9 at partner schools and community organizations with high immigrant populations, would learn videography skills such as storyboarding, character development, filming and editing. 

“As these students work with their fellow peers and assigned mentors, they’ll develop teamwork and interpersonal skills, and higher levels of confidence,” says Kwok.  

The cash prize will help Media Minds expand its program, and establish partnerships with more community organizations and schools to make a difference in more students’ lives.

Media Minds, represented by Kwok, Harman Gill, Kishan Parekh and Kyleen Lee, who are all third-year Beedie business students, was not the only winner. Two other SFU projects also took home cash prizes to help implement their ideas. 

l-r: Bill Rempel, Blackwood Partners vice president and general manager; SFU kinesiology student Ashley Kwon; and Matthew Grant, SFU director of community engagement and outreach

SFU kinesiology student Ashley Kwon’s Speed Friending project won the $2,000 engagement award, also from Blackwood Partners.

Kwon plans to organize three inclusive community events where participants complete speed-rounds—meeting and connecting with each other through a series of activities and conversations similar to speed-dating.

She hopes the project will create new and interesting connections between individuals, effectively addressing social isolation and improving intergenerational connection in Surrey city centre. 

l-r: Surrey mayor Linda Hepner; SFU students Tim Kong and Marc St. Pierre; and Matthew Grant, SFU director of community engagement and outreach

Compose the Space—represented by Marc St. Pierre, a communication student, and Tim Kong, an interactive arts and technology student—won the $2,000 place-making award from the City of Surrey.

Their project is a proposed installation at City Hall Plaza of a larger-than-life makeshift piano made from a thin, sensor-laden mat. It would encourage passersby to interact with the space to create rich and interactive music. The key engagement tactic: one person’s participation is not enough to create the full musical experience—it  can only be achieved through collaboration.

“Marc and Tim saw an opportunity to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in a creative way to increase public participation and engagement in their community,” says Matthew Grant, SFU’s director of community engagement and outreach. “They exemplify the spirit of SFU’s vision to be Canada’s most community-engaged research university.”

All of the student winners were recognized on Nov. 17 at the President’s Annual SFU Surrey Gala Dinner, an annual fundraiser for the Surrey Close to Home Entrance Awards Endowment.

The community engagement competition is organized by SFU’s Office of Community Engagement in partnership with Central City, Blackwood Partners, the City of Surrey and SFU Public Square. It encourages engagement and social innovation in Surrey City Centre.

“As we enjoy a close partnership with SFU, we wanted to find a way to engage with their talented and knowledgeable students for the betterment of the community,” says Bill Rempel, vice-president and general manager for Blackwood Partners.

“Collectively we came up with this unique opportunity that not only integrates student ideas into the community but also motivates and rewards our future leaders.”

Says Coun. Bruce Hayne, chair of Surrey's Investment and Innovation Committee: “SFU has been a major catalyst and partner in the ongoing transformation of Surrey city centre, and it’s really important to us to have SFU students be a part of it. We’re eager to work with Marc and Tim to implement Compose the Space and really activate City Hall Plaza to make it a vibrant and engaging community-gathering place.”