By Aly Beach
The TeachingCity initiative is celebrating its first birthday early with the opening of the TeachingCity Hub downtown, and the addition of Trent University to the team of community partners.
“If you want to change the world, you educate young people and then you invite them to come and work with you, and that’s what this is about,” said Mayor John Henry.
The TeachingCity initiative brings together the City of Oshawa and its research and education partners including Durham College (DC), UOIT, University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, Canadian Urban Institute and most recently Trent University Durham.
Through a collaborative effort between the partners, they work to find solutions to developmental problems in Oshawa. Mayor Henry said the initiative has put “Oshawa on the map in urban research and learning.”
The new hub, located at 1 Mary Street, is a dedicated space for TeachingCity projects where educators, students, research partners, faculty and staff are welcome.
“The open-concept space is dedicated to facilitate city projects and will be used for TeachingCity partnership meetings, collaborative learning opportunities and co-design,” said Oshawa city manager Jag Sharma.
During the celebration of the new space, Trent University Durham officially signed on to become a partner. Trent University has been in Durham for 43 years, according to president Dr. Leo Groarke. Trent Durham focuses primarily on the humanities area of study.
“Durham College and Trent have been partnering for over 30 years now, so it’s nice to see them part of the club here and being part of this,” says DC president Don Lovisa.
During the first year of its creation, TeachingCity had its first successful Hackathon, an event where local students work to solve problems in Oshawa. The initiative also introduced Oshawa’s first Diversity and Inclusion plan, and participated in Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, which creates opportunities to create solutions to address local problems.
Moving forward, a few projects have been announced, including a second Hackathon, a two-year water quality-testing project in Oshawa storm water ponds, air quality testing which will monitor air quality related to traffic, a storm water initiative and what Lovisa has dubbed the “Lord Ridgeback project.” The latter is a collaboration between DC and UOIT and will be a disaster response exercise in Oshawa happening in February 2019.
“We’re so excited for the potential of this collaboration…I think we can achieve a lot together because there’s nobody I believe in more than our students and their rich ideas for how we transform Oshawa further than it is today,” says UOIT president Steven Murphy, “They’re always thinking about the future and we’re really proud to be a part of that.”