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Recap: After the Pandemic: The Future of University-Community Engagement

February 10, 2021
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By Melissa Roach

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only been devastating to our communities, it has laid bare so many of the inequities that have been ongoing within our institutions and communities. 

It has also posed unique challenges to post-secondary institutions: to cope and adjust to the realities of a public health crisis; to leverage their resources to address the systemic issues it has exacerbated; and to find a way to continue to work with community partners that is meaningful, during and after the pandemic.

SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement partnered with SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative and SFU Public Square to invite our communities into conversation about these issues at the After the Pandemic: The Future of University-Community Engagement webinar on January 28, 2021.

We hosted community engagement scholars and practitioners from across Canada for a conversation about the path forward for university-community partnerships. The panel shared strategies for supporting and respectfully engaging communities through and beyond the pandemic. They also called for institutional changes in post-secondary to de-centre whiteness and Eurocentric frameworks, and to embrace a willingness to try new tactics.

The panel (in speaking order) included:

  • Susan Mide Kiss, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives in Community Engagement, University of Calgary
  • Ginger Gosnell-Myers, Indigenous Fellow, Decolonization and Urban Indigenous Planning, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
  • Namiko Kunimoto, Director, Center for Ethnic Studies, Ohio State University
  • Gaelle Mushyirahamwe, Research Assistant, National Association of Friendship Centres
  • Magda Goemans, Manager, Community Campus Engage Canada

Moderated by Am Johal, Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Co-director of SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative.

Charmaine Lyn, the Director, Changemaker Education at Ashoka Canada was unable to join us, but you can hear her give voice to so many of the above issues in this podcast interview for Below the Radar.

We similarly hoped to be in conversation with longtime community engagement scholar Barbara Holland, who was unable to make it that day. You can also hear from her in an interview she did for Below the Radar back in November of last year.

You can watch the full video recording of this event on YouTube, where you will find a list of linked resources discussed by panelists.

A screenshot from the Q&A at After the Pandemic: The Future of University-Community Engagement.

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