by Leigha McCarroll,  Research Assistant, Community-Campus Engagement Brokering (Ottawa) Working Group

Take a stroll through the echoing hallways of St. Paul University to find a hidden treasure: the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop – a gorgeous co-working space and innovation hub nestled in Old Ottawa East. It serves as a workspace for community organizations, including Synapcity and Le Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario, and provides a welcoming bilingual space for students, professors, and community members to come together to do good.

The Workshop is at the heart of a new and exciting initiative from St. Paul: The Élisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation*. During a meeting with Simon Tremblay-Pepin, assistant professor and director of the School of Social Innovation in early June, our team discovered a promising opportunity for community-campus engagement (CCE) in Ottawa.

Three members of the CCE Brokering (Ottawa) team pose smiling at the camera with

Visiting the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop. From left to right: Jason Garlough (OETN), Eileen O’Connor (University of Ottawa), Simon Pepin-Tremblay (St. Paul University), and Leigha McCarroll (Carleton University).

As of Fall 2018, the School will be offering an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Social Innovation, in addition to its existing certificate in Social Innovation and Graduate Diploma in Social Organization Development. The programs, which aim to offer theoretical and practical training in collective action and social innovation, are grounded in a local context, with various courses offering practicum opportunities in the Ottawa community. Through this program, students will have the opportunity to work closely with community organizations to design projects to respond to specific needs related to social innovation.

For Ottawa community organizations seeking partnerships with post-secondary institutions, this initiative holds the potential to foster rich new relationships to support their work and to build a strong network of people doing good in Ottawa.

For more information, please visit the School’s website here.

* According to the School’s website: “By ‘social innovation’ we mean not only social entrepreneurship and collective enterprise, but the entire network of initiatives, movements and experiments that arise in response to community needs, and that promote justice, democracy and social change.”