Kennedy Murray and her classmates in the course Ways of Knowing are keen to curb the challenges in the right to safe and affordable housing. Murray was one of four students acknowledged for their leadership in generating pitches to community partners to address the shortage of housing.
They explored the housing crisis from various contexts including minority communities, unhoused men, young families, and university or college students. Suggested strategies included renovating shipping containers to serve as shelter and setting up non-profit land trusts to empower residents.
“We need to work at living together in ways that allow people to lead flourishing lives,” says instructor Tim Brunet. “It’s not enough to teach students skills, competencies, and theoretical knowledge. We need to connect them with peer networks, powerful knowledge, and opportunities to thrive.”
Students learned from guest presenters, including Colm Holmes of Family Services Windsor-Essex on housing first strategies, Lynn Charron of UWindsor Residence Services on student residences, city councillor Rino Bortolin on municipal housing challenges, and law student Princess Doe on community land trusts.
Murray, a student of drama and psychology, says she valued the approach.
“Professor Brunet’s class, Ways of Knowing, has been an integral part of my university experience,” she says. “I am so happy to have taken this class as it has acted as a stepping stone towards my future goals for community engagement.”
Murray is now enrolled in the EPIC Discovery program at the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre), joining three classmates in exploring ways to make life easier for the un-housed.
The four each received a $100 award from the EPICentre: Murray, Anna Anderson, Abdullah Smajlovic, and Olivia White.
EPIC Discovery co-ordinator Sydney Thompson introduced them to the concepts of social entrepreneurship.
“Social entrepreneurship welcomes changemakers to be strategic and creative in tackling social and environmental challenges,” she says. “They are known for implementing widespread improvements in society.”