Community Development Students facilitate Community Events

Community Development Students facilitate Community Events
By Anne Steiger

Students, studying Community Development at Acadia University, facilitated three wonderful community events this past month on Social Entrepreneurship, Reconciliation, and Rural Economic Development.

On November 14, they facilitated a Pro Action Café on Social Entrepreneurship. This social entrepreneurship incubator event was organized in collaboration with Common Good Solutions, a consulting company for social enterprises. Under the theme “A Night of Peer Support”, it gave participants a chance to host small table conversations about their social change projects and get feedback and support from other event attendees.
 Projects supported here included The Spot Community Food Centre Kentville and a truly sustainable soap project initiated by Enactus students.

On November 16, another group of students facilitated an event on Reconciliation in collaboration with Horizons Community Development Inc. An introduction by Ray Ivany and Glooscap First Nation Chief Sid Peters was followed by small table conversations on the role of non-aboriginal people in reconciliation. Guests included community members; students; members of local First Nations; leaders from business, churches, politics; and many more. They explored what reconciliation means to them personally, what a successful reconciled future would look like, and which steps we can each take to make that future a reality. Chief Morley Googoo kindly shared insights on reconciliation efforts taken across Canada. All participants planted a seed and attached a note with a personal action step they will take – we hope these are flourishing on window sills now.

On November 22, a third group of students facilitated a conversation on Rural Economic Development with leaders from the business community. Ryan MacNeil, Professor in the School of Business, provided an insightful introduction to the topic and set us off on a great discussion of the current state of Rural Economic Development in the area, a vision for a strong future, and action steps to take towards it.

The students are taking “Introduction to Facilitation”, currently taught by Anne Stieger, a local professional facilitator. The course started in September and in only two months students acquired the necessary skills to plan the event, design the process, and facilitate a group of 40 guests. The Department of Community Development deeply values including community engagement in students’ learning, and this course was no exception.

All three events were very well received and were a big success – a tremendous achievement for the students involved.
 A special thank you goes to the Department of Community Development for sponsoring these events, Cari Patterson and Jean Robinson-Dexter from Horizons, and Lisa Lowthers and Andy Horsnell from Common Good Solutions!

For more information on these events or on future learning opportunities, contact Anne at astieger@acadiau.ca