April 29, 2014 - 7:00am

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Tourism and Hospitality student projects exploring local food sustainability and opportunities for ethical giving through Nanaimo non-profit organizations have earned awards in the annual Project Change 3.0 competition sponsored by LinkBC.

The two winning projects originated from a third year Tourism class taught by Dr. Aggie Weighill, earning third and fourth prizes for the seven students involved. Prizes valued at $500 and $200 were awarded at a reception at the Vancouver Convention Centre Thursday, April 24.

Megan Dawson, one of three students attending the awards ceremony, represented the third place team and their project, titled “Change you can believe in.”

Along with students Natalie Drope, Bobbi Tetlock and Christian Meunier, Dawson set out to link students at VIU to local volunteer organizations, and at the same time involve them in a discussion on ethical giving. Her group invited 12 Nanaimo non-profits to an event on campus, and attracted 168 students to attend. Among the students who turned out, 88 per cent said they would be willing to donate time or money in the future, and Dawson said several students began volunteering right away with local organizations.

“We felt it was important to discuss the transparencies in relationships with non-for-profit organizations, when it comes to donations,” Dawson said. “Our event also focused on community building. So often when we donate, we tend to go outside our community, but a lot of the time we might not even be aware of the help needed in our home communities.”

The fourth place winning group – including Taya Mcastocker, Brent O’Brien and Megan Low – hosted an event on campus that brought together local food sustainability groups, provided education to VIU students on local food sourcing, and raised awareness about VIU’s on-campus garden. More than 100 students attended the event, with 80 enjoying soup made from local ingredients. Forty students signed a pledge to become more aware of food sources and make more local choices.

Project Change 3.0 was coordinated through LinkBC, a tourism education network in the province. The 2013-14 competition elicited 21 submissions from six universities and colleges in B.C.

Professor Weighill says LinkBC offers a valuable link between students and professionals in the hospitality and tourism industries.

While students completed their projects in her class, she says they entered Project Change 3.0 on their own initiative.

“Both of the winning groups did very, very well in the course,” she says. “Their projects were just solid, and they did a great job of highlighting what they did, how they did it, and the change that came about.”

LinkBC general manager Morgan Westcott congratulated winners at the awards presentation.

“Often we hear negative things about the next generation, and yet Project Change demonstrates that tomorrow’s leaders are hungry to make a difference,” Westcott said. “They understand that for BC to be a competitive tourism destination, we have to have healthy, welcoming communities, and are working towards that.”

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443 C: 250.618.1535 E: shari.bishopbowes@viu.ca T: @viunews


Tags: Student Success


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