Student projects look to impact London and area
April 26, 2021
King’s students from Sociology, Psychology, BMOS and the School of Social Work have completed and will present new research related to COVID-19 recovery, childcare reform, senior housing advocacy and reconciliation. They will be presenting their research projects that will benefit the city of London during the virtual CityStudio HUBBUB Project Showcase on April 29, 2021, 9 a.m. – noon.
CityStudio London is an initiative launched in 2019 as a collaboration between the City of London, King’s University College, Brescia University College, Huron University College, Western University, Fanshawe College and the Pillar Nonprofit Network. This initiative connects post-secondary intuitions with City of London staff to co-create applied projects and work towards a better city for all. Students are matched with city staff, learn about current issues in the city, and apply their knowledge and skills to research and implement creative solutions for civic issues.
Students gain valuable skills through their exposure to current real-world issues which enables them to understand the work that is needed in the world. This assists them with workplace knowledge and concepts to examine after graduation. The work that they do simulates the work they could do as working professionals. They also have the opportunity to tap into a larger network of working professionals, which puts them at an advantage.
For this term’s HUBBUB, King’s is contributing five projects:
- Advocacy Strategy for older adults’ housing needs - (Sociology 3369G) – Students worked with the Age Friendly London Network (AFLN) Housing group to develop an advocacy strategy to raise the public profile of seniors' housing needs related to affordability, suitability, accessibility, homeless prevention, and/or ageing in place.
“Students are calling on the Province of Ontario and City of London to put more resources toward rent-geared-to-income housing for older adults, highlighting the city’s ‘desperate need’ and urging all levels of government to provide funding for this important issue. This course offers an excellent opportunity for students to apply their research and analytical skills, network with community-based partners, and learn more about the policy context related to housing and healthy ageing,” says Dr. Jinette Comeau, Assistant Professor of Sociology.
- CDIS – Priority 1 – Reconciliation - (Social Work 9718B: 570) – Students supported the work of the Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (CDIS) Priority 1 Working Group: Take Concrete Steps Towards Healing and Reconciliation by working on the development of a poster campaign modelled after the City of Hamilton’s I AM AFFECTED and I AM COMMITTED campaign.
By participating in this project, Michaeline Falla, Foundation Year student in Master of Social Work says she, “gained a deeper understanding of my role and responsibilities in healing and reconciliation with Indigenous communities. Learning more about truth and reconciliation, as well as being aware of my social location as a non-Indigenous individual, this project acknowledges reconciliation work already being done within the City of London and recognizes that further steps are needed toward healing and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.”
- Impact of COVID on vulnerable communities across different aspects of health psychology – (Psychology 3330) – The students explored the impact of COVID-19 (levels of stress, physical and mental health and access to services) on three groups of Londoners: university students, single parents, and immigrants/newcomers.
“This information may help the City and organizations in London in addressing gaps and barriers in service provision in the city, to meet the needs of a specific subpopulation. Some of the gaps in services for students that may need improvement may be addressed by King's and Western; an example of such services is more mental health support (including referrals to services in the community),” says Dr. Natalia Lapshina, Professor of Psychology.
- Support for national childcare framework - (Sociology 3328G) – This project will provide information to City Council to be able to endorse a national childcare framework. Information includes the leadership of Child Care operators within London, the challenges currently faced by operators, the stories of educators, families and businesses.
“The Sociology students have researched best practices for the development of a National Childcare Framework. Their research over the term has helped them understand how a lack of childcare has exacerbated many areas of social inequality in London and more broadly. The students researched what it would take to address these challenges and came up with well supported solution. I’m really proud of their work and the ways that they were able to investigate this subject so significantly,” says Melanie Stone, Lecturer of Sociology.
- Re-Occupying Downtown London – (Management and Organizational Studies 2298) – The City of London and the Downtown Core Business Improvement Area are looking for a better understanding of the problem of vacancy in London’s downtown. Student group sub-projects may include assessment of the scope of the problem, analysis of causal factors and adverse consequences, or proposed initiatives to help motivate re-occupation of the downtown core in the post-COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery.
"A real-life case, as opposed to a structured one from a textbook was challenging, but remarkably rewarding. We have been able to creatively design a proposal to solve a genuine problem in our own city. There is a chance that our proposal will actually be used by the city, which is remarkably fulfilling on its own, never mind the application of the several data analysis tools that we have learned while building our projects,” says Michael Fernandez de Henestrosa, 2nd Year, Honours Specialization in Accounting with a minor in Analytics and Decision Sciences.
King’s students will join others from Brescia University College, Huron University College, Western University and Fanshawe College in the virtual gathering experience at the CityStudio HUBBUB. It will include booths, allowing visitors to discuss all of the projects with the student teams and a panel of VIP judges, as well as with the CityStudio team, City staff, students, faculty, and instructors from the partner schools, as well as local dignitaries.
Visitors can also vote for the Community Choice top project. As part of the City Studio Event in December 2020, students from the 270 section of SW3308: The Political, Economic and Social Context of Canadian Social Work Practice were awarded the Community Choice Award in the CityStudio Experiential education and civic engagement project for their poster based on the topic Building Community: Barriers to Employment for Visible Minorities in London.
Register online to access the event that will showcase the students’ hard work that will directly benefit the city of London.
For more information on King’s involvement in CityStudio, please visit:
- Students contribute to London’s diversity and inclusion strategy
- Experiential Learning at it’s finest with CityStudio London