The University of Calgary partnered with the University of British Columbia’s Learning Exchange for Calgary Serves Canada 2009. A group of 15 students travelled to Vancouver to explore issues relating to the inner city, while volunteering with Lord Strathcona Elementary School. Participants also explored issues that plague inner city Vancouver and inner city Calgary while being exposed to some of the unique programs and communities working to improve life for city residents.
In preparation for the trip, the group participated in two pre-service events, including a day of service with the Calgary Drop-in and Rehabilitation Centre, and workshops spanning topics such as team building and collaboration, civic engagement, and the difference between charity and social justice. Participants completed a number of readings relating to the project, and contributed to online discussions on Blackboard.
As a ‘hands-on’ learning activity, students who participated in Calgary Serves 2009 explored their own role as citizens and how to become active citizens in the community. The 2009 learning objectives for Calgary Serves were:
- Explore the differences between charity and social justice
- Identify services or initiatives addressing critical issues in Vancouver, Calgary, and other Canadian cities
- Synthesize volunteer experiences, workshops and readings to develop a deeper understanding of issues affecting the inner city
- Relate experience in Vancouver to issues in Calgary
- Define ‘civic engagement’ for oneself and formulate a personal action plan