Individual Student Accomplishments
An English Conversation Club for Newcomers Examining the Legacies of Colonial Harm in Vancouver
Meekyoung Jeung's publication about her experience in the EfS program
Margarita Pacis's won the Change Making Story Contest Award for this story:
My CityStudio journey has come full circle. I am a CityStudio alumna, and now I have the privilege of collaborating with CityStudio cohorts through my work at the City of Vancouver. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, I realized that my passions exist at the intersection of science and engagement. I wanted to transform technical concepts about sustainability into action at the community level. The Master’s program in Education for Sustainability (through UBC, in partnership with CityStudio) helped me do this. Following the CityStudio model, we collaborated on projects that had real world outcomes. I worked with a team to create “rewilding kits”, which encouraged native species on private land. We sold the kits at the Park Board tree sale and were able to engage residents about biodiversity and ecosystem services. The kits sold out each of the three years they were available.
During the Masters program, led by Rob VanWynsberghe, Allison Earl and other instructors, we peeled back layers of Vancouver to learn about local sustainability challenges and opportunities. We became comfortable being uncomfortable by engaging in dialogue that disrupted our frames of reference and transformed our ways of thinking. We learned to trust the process, even if the process was messy. The program was place-based and experiential; we learned in canoes, in tree canopies, and on the seawall. Our projects involved place-making and had real world impacts on the city. As you create place, it shapes you too, and these real-world projects have helped form my path.
I connected with City of Vancouver staff during the program and I was so inspired by their work and their passion. These interactions informed my career goals, and I started to gear my experiences towards a career in policy or something similar. Before graduating, I was able to work as part of the City’s Sustainability Group on a temporary basis, and somehow six weeks has turned into four years.
I am always incredibly excited to collaborate with CityStudio (and all of the wonderful students and professors), and have worked on projects that investigate equity metrics in climate plans, urban greening, and sea level rise. These collaborations always inspire me to think in different ways and seek out ways to improve equity and justice in my work.
I strongly believe in creating spaces for youth to participate in civic processes; I have benefitted from the connections CityStudio has facilitated between local government and students, and I hope to create similar opportunities for youth.
While my CityStudio journey has come full circle, it is certainly not over. I am grateful for all of the connections I have made and lessons I have learned along the way, and I look forward to future collaborations with CityStudio!