by Colton Brydges, CFICE CCE Brokering Working Group RA

Portrait of Colton Brydges, Research Assistant for CFICE's Ottawa Table of the CCE Brokering Working Group.

Colton Brydges is the research assistant for the Ottawa Table of the CCE Brokering Working Group.

Having just returned from Ottawa this year, Colton Brydges recently began working as a research assistant with CFICE’s Community-Campus Engagement Brokering working group as part of the Ottawa Brokerage Table. After spending the past year and a half in Hiroshima, Japan as a children’s English teacher, Colton jumped at the opportunity to get back into academia with CFICE.

Colton is a graduate of Carleton’s Public Affairs and Policy Management program, where he specialized in Development Studies. It was here that he met Professor Bessa Whitmore, academic co-lead for the Ottawa Table of the CCE Brokering working group. Whitmore was the instructor for Colton’s 4th year Development Studies capstone seminar.

The Development Studies capstone was a unique opportunity for students to gain experience working with a community organization, and an excellent example of community-campus engagement. Colton and his peers had the chance to gain experience with two NGO’s: InterPares and the Canadian Cooperative Association.

“The work Colton did at InterPares was exceptional; he was clearly a leader of his team, and set a very high standard,” says Whitmore. “He, along with his classmates, contributed highly valuable work to the organization, and learned a great deal about the international NGO world in the process. Colton won the University Medal that year, one of the highest honours conferred on a graduating student.”

“When I learned that he was returning to Ottawa, I was delighted to recruit him as an RA for this CFICE project,” she added.

Having had such an excellent experience with community-campus engagement in his capstone seminar, Colton was excited to learn from Prof. Whitmore about the opportunity to work with CFICE. He is currently working with Whitmore and Jason Garlough, Executive Director of the Ottawa Eco-Talent Network (OETN), on a project intended to bring together Ottawa’s many post-secondary institutions and community organizations to address environmental issues.

A community-campus engagement broker helps to bring stakeholders together and facilitate communication and collaboration between them. With so many post-secondary institutions and community-based organizations operating in Ottawa’s environmental sector, a brokering table will be an excellent mechanism for bringing these groups together. The working group is currently undertaking a needs assessment, speaking to several organizations and institutions to determine whether there is interest in a brokering table and how it would operate. The goal is to have an initial meeting within the next few months, with the hopes of having the group meet regularly on an ongoing basis.

Colton is looking forward to connecting with the various stakeholders in Ottawa, and is excited about the prospects for the environmental brokerage table. Working with CFICE has been a chance to learn about the many ways in which community-campus engagement in Ottawa is benefiting students, faculty and community organizations.

Colton has recently started graduate studies at the University of Ottawa, where he is pursuing a Master’s in Globalization and International Development. He has received a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, and hopes to research the intersection of conflict and disability in sub-Saharan Africa while continuing his work with CFICE.