At CivicAction, we understand the magic that can happen when rising leaders are supported & empowered. It’s one of the reasons we love CivicSpark – a pilot initiative launched last year by University of Toronto students Edwin White-Chacon, Sara Urbina, and Joe Becker-Segal in partnership with CivicAction targeted at engaging undergraduate students more directly in conversations that shape their cities.
So, what IS CivicSpark? It’s a group of students dedicated to empowering a new generation of city-builders across the region to develop creative solutions to real issues in the GTHA. Earlier this year, CivicSpark hosted an undergraduate Public Policy Case Competition where passionate city-builders were asked to design a solution to sticky problems around Public Space & PublicTransit in our city. They were judged by an all-star panel which included Daniel Fusca (Stakeholder Engagement, Office of the Chief Planner, City of Toronto), Danny Brown (Urban Planner, Urban Strategies Inc), Jake Tobin-Garrett (Manager, Policy & Research, Park People), Stas Ukhanov (Community Relations and Issues Specialist, Metrolinx) and Siva Vijenthira (Coordinator, Building Citizenship, Institute for Canadian Citizenship).
With no shortage of great ideas and enthusiasm from all teams, the inaugural CivicSpark Case Competition winnning team was made up of Rebecca Roach, Abbas N. Ali and Robert Tran who were then invited to meet with two of Toronto’s city-building champions, Margie Zeidler & Paul Bedford. Through these conversations, they were able to learn more about their individual leadership journey, and gained valuable insight & advice. As they embark on their own careers in Urban Planning, CivicAction was glad to play in role in connecting these rising leaders with established leaders that speak to their passion & interests.
If you’re an undergrad looking to get engaged, let us know! You can also find out more about UofT’s CivicSpark program by visiting their website: http://civicspark.ca/.