Using lessons learned to generate real-world change
January 6, 2022
Committing Sociology has empowered students to generate social change. SOC 4485F: Committing Sociology is a fourth-year Sociology course developed by Dr. Jinette Comeau, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Dr. Tara Bruno, Associate Professor of Sociology. Students were offered a unique experiential learning opportunity that took learning outside of the classroom and into the public sphere.
Students produced original research that is of outstanding quality and rigor, spanning a range of contemporary topics, including gender- and sexual-based violence on campus, Indigenous water crisis, youth experiencing homelessness, and affordable childcare. Many projects explored topics directly relevant to King’s.
“We wanted to provide our upper-year students with the opportunity to apply what they have learned throughout their undergraduate degree in the real world and the results have been outstanding,” says Dr. Comeau. She is very proud of “these bright, talented, and passionate students.”
Trista Montgomery and Mackenzie Sewell say they “learned a lot through the design and execution of a project that addresses a current social problem with the goal of generating social and political change.” They investigated the water crisis in Indigenous communities. “Too many Indigenous communities lack clean drinking water. The Federal government has consistently overpromised and underperformed regarding reliable access to clean water,” say the students.
Four students led the Not Asking For It (NAFA) research project, investigating the existence of rape culture and gender-based violence at King’s. Their recommendations for a safer campus will be shared with King’s administration.
Daniel French, researching student activism, says such activism is restricted at King’s through policies regulating who can hang posters on campus. “It is important to amplify student voices about these topics in order to create meaningful change,” says French.
Jalen Jackson investigated policies designed to increase the representation of BIPOC head coaches in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) football. His research stressed the importance of a policy under consideration by the OUA, making it mandatory to interview BIPOC candidates for vacant head coaching positions.
“The morale of young BIPOC athletes is affected when they are led to believe that they cannot attain the most important leadership position on the university football coaching staff,” says Jackson.
Chantel Van Bommel and Sophia Isaac investigated Canada’s National Childcare Framework, which proposes funding for the next five years to make childcare more affordable for low-income families. The project asks why Ontario has yet to sign.
Nicole Rodriguez investigated the causes and consequences of gambling disorders, concluding that “between 2-3% of the population has a gambling disorder that can be directly attributed to the very loose gambling laws in Ontario that facilitate addiction.”
Over 6000 Canadian youth are without a safe place to sleep on any given night. Nicholas Saccoia and Cameron Wells focused on policies to prevent youth from experiencing homelessness. They are urging the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to enact a Housing First policy to improve living conditions for youth and their families in Canada.
The students’ projects, as well as their research findings and recommendations, can be found on the Sociology experiential learning webpage.