STEAM Community Studio is an experiential learning and civic engagement program using S.T.E.A.M. tools and techniques to explore issues and prototype solutions across a rural landscape. The program fosters collaboration between students and key stakeholders including academics, teachers, community members, business and political leaders to improve experiences of all kinds in St. Thomas and Elgin County. Where a viable solution can be prototyped, limited funding will be available to support those costs!
The initial projects were recently selected through an application process, followed by consultation with individuals and groups to identify persistent local issues that need to be addressed in innovative ways. The initial four selected projects are:
1. Reducing Waste: Finding reuse for items in a cluttered world. Students from Western University's Environmental Health Promotions are working to prototype a plan to create a reuse centre at the the City of St Thomas' Recycling Centre. -
2. Creating Welcoming Sensory Spaces; Students from Eagle Height's Elementary School Accelerator Group are collaborating with Grade 12 students from St. Joseph's Catholic High School to create modular sensory walls and tables with the Wellkin Child & Youth Mental Wellness Centre.
3. Creating a Virtual Marketplace to aid local business; Western University students from various programs including Ivey Business School are building a plan to help downtown businesses build stronger online connections.
4. Creating an Audio, Video Production Studio for Youth Skill Building; Visual Arts and Video and Design students from Oakridge Secondary School are working to design a creative space at the Ignite Youth Centre where every voice can be heard.
Sound interesting? Here's how YOU can contribute:
Get Involved - If you have a talent to share or a problem to address, get in touch! We will coordinate workshops with students, local groups and stakeholders to discuss innovative approaches and propose solutions to select local issues.
Get Together - We will match students and stakeholders to ensure a strong fit between needs, talent and expertise to form an action group for the project.
Get Exploring - Using design thinking, the group will research, collect data and brainstorm new ideas. We will explore persistent issues, evaluate potential solutions and develop recommendations for the benefit of the community.
Get Prototyping - The action group will produce a report for each project to spur conversation in the community. Where a pragmatic solution is identified, funding will be available to create a prototype!
This multi-year project is generously funded by The Estate of Donna Bushell within Elgin St. Thomas Community Foundation.