Community Engagement Day strengthens ties between McGillians and Montreal
By McGill Reporter Staff
On Friday, Oct. 5, about 250 McGill students, staff and faculty met on Lower Field before venturing off to events that extended well beyond the Roddick Gates, connecting with roughly 600 community members around Montreal.
McGill’s first ever Community Engagement Day, a collaboration between the Social Equity and Diversity in Education Office, the Students’ Society of McGill University and the Sustainability Projects Fund, celebrated the many collaborations between University groups and various Montreal community organizations.
Some 20 group community engagement activities on campus and around the city were highlighted, giving participants the opportunity to take part in various activities designed to bring McGillians closer to Montreal residents and communities.
One such set of events took place in the Milton-Parc neighbourhood, just east of lower campus. Hélène Brisson and Dimitrios Roussopoulos of the Milton-Parc Citizens’ Committee gave history lessons about the Milton-Parc community during a walking tour of the neighbourhood, before which participants took to the streets to clean up the area.
Another event, which brought together elders from the Yellow Door and youth from Hidden Gems radio play project, featured a free live performance by Chamber Music Without Borders in a local community centre. Chamber Music Without Borders is a student-run outreach program that makes music more accessible to everyone, particularly those who might not otherwise have the chance to attend concerts.
“McGill supports and encourages this event and similar events,” said Principal Heather Munroe-Blum who, along with Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) met with Milton-Parc residents and students following the historical walking tour and trash pick-up at nearby New Residence Hall.
“Events like these increase a sense of responsibility among participants toward the community in which they live and this is what university is all about – getting involved.”
Several Community Engagement Day activities applied this idea. For instance, half the participants who organized donations and prepared baskets at the NDG Food Depot on Friday signed up for regular, weekly volunteering shifts. And on Saturday, about a half-dozen students travelled to the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake to lend a hand with the Moccasin Walk fundraiser for the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre.
For a list of the McGill groups and Montreal organizations that collaborated on Community Engagement Day, see the Projects page on CEDMcGill.com.