How it works

Register and assemble your team

Deadline: Friday, November 25, 2022

Teams can have from 1 to 5 students (for exact team requirements, see the Rules). You can work by yourself, or you can find up to four other people to begin dreaming about your idea.

Make sure everyone on your team registers for the competition and reads and agrees to the terms of Confidentiality and Conditions of Participation by Friday, November 25, 2022.

Now it’s time to dream! What will you do? Which organization in your community do you want to work with? Write things down and don’t worry how crazy they sound (the more you write, the more you can sift the good from the bad). You might want to look at step 2 to get some ideas for what you’ll have to submit.

Submit your idea

Deadline: Friday, November 25, 2022

When you’re ready to submit, choose one person from your team to act as your team captain and to fill out the idea submission form with your team’s answers to these questions:

  1. Briefly describe your idea, outline its goals, and describe how it will enable you to work together with community partners towards innovative and meaningful impact.
  2. If successful, what outcomes and/or impacts will your target community realize by doing this project with you?
  3. What motivated your team to enter the SFU Student-Community Engagement Competition?
  4. Where will your project take place, and how is your project specifically suited to that community?
  5. Are you competing for the Burnaby Festival of Learning Award?
  6. (If you answer “yes” to question 5.) Please describe the event/experience you’d host for the 2023 Burnaby Festival of Learning.

Make sure your team captain submits your team's idea(s) before the deadline: Friday, November 25, 2022 (the same as the deadline to register for the competition).

Note: if your team submits more than one “version” of the same idea, we reserve the right to choose which one we will evaluate. And remember – your ability to stay organized will say something about how viable your project is, so please attend to your idea submission with the care it deserves!

Has everyone registered? This is a good time to double check that everyone on your project team has registered individually and agreed to the terms of Confidentiality and Conditions of Participation. You can submit your idea before everyone registers, but everyone on your team must be registered by Friday, November 25, 2022 in order to be eligible to participate.

Once the Step 2 deadline has passed, all idea submissions will be reviewed by an internal team of jurors. Those teams whose project ideas represent the most promise and the best spirit of this competition will be contacted in mid-December and invited to submit a detailed proposal (next step).

We will attempt to provide feedback to those teams who are not invited to continue on to Step 3, but due to the work required to evaluate all idea submissions, we cannot guarantee this. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep trying to develop your idea! After all, we can’t accept every proposal (even if we might want to!) – don’t let us get in the way of doing something amazing in this world.

Submit a detailed proposal

Deadline: Friday, January 20, 2023

Now it’s time to get into the details. Teams will be notified of their results by early-to-mid-December. Successful teams will be invited to submit 3-page detailed proposals, and will be provided with specific requirements at that time.

Detailed proposals will are due by midnight, Pacific Time, Friday, January 20, 2023. If your team is invited to submit a detailed proposal, you will have about 5-6 weeks to prepare it before the January 20, 2023 deadline.

Detailed proposals should convey your ideas clearly and demonstrate that your plans and ideas have been thought through well. Above all, your detailed proposal must reflect the intention and spirit of this competition and should clearly demonstrate evidence that you have initiated a collaborative relationship with a partner in the community (hint: reach out to prospective partners early). You will also be asked to detail how you will follow any current or upcoming provincial health guidelines in your project.

You may want to start preparing this material with your team well before your initial idea submission is evaluated. Consider the evaluation criteria for project selection, consider past finalists, and think about the kinds of things you’ll need (and what you'll need to know) to both implement your project and evaluate its impact.

Present your idea to a panel of judges

Deadline: Early-to-mid February

Finalists will be invited to select a time to present their project to a panel of judges in early-to-mid-February, 2023. This panel may include SFU faculty, SFU students, competition sponsors and community partners. Winners will be determined after all teams have presented.

Winners will be determined as quickly as possible after all teams have presented, and all teams will be notified about their result.

Whether you win an award or not, every SFU student on your team will qualify for credit on the SFU Co-Curricular Record. Taking an idea from dream to presentation takes a lot of work, and you deserve recognition for it.

And remember, whether you win funding or not, you will have made connections with community partners and others who could help you develop your ideas even further.

Here’s where the magic happens

Working with your community partners, you engage in the wonderful, messy, magical process of co-creating projects that strive for meaningful impact.


This might take a month. This might take a year. Building strong, reciprocal relationships with your teammates and partners will help you respond to any challenges.

Don’t take our word for it – read about it here, and here.

Share your story and reflect on the process

Timing: September 2023

A condition of accepting an award is the creation of a post-project reflection. There are many (creative) ways you might do this. Whichever way you choose, next year’s award applicants will benefit from understanding your experiences, whether your project was successful or not. We will reach out to you during or after your project with opportunities for reflection that you (and your partners) can consider. Check out what other finalists have reflected on – you might pick up some valuable wisdom!

We look forward to reading through your creative and inspiring ideas for community impact! Good luck to all participants!


So... What would you  do with $3,000?

Up to $30,000* is available to fund SFU students who want to work with community partners to create meaningful impact.

Maybe you’re working on an existing idea for a class you’re taking, through a student club or another organization, or maybe you just have an amazing idea that keeps you up at night.... Whatever it is, we want to hear from you!

Start the process now by registering today – all you need is your passion and an idea. 


* Award amounts subject to change