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Students engaging with community-based organizations

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Apr 12, 2019

Category: myUNB , UNB Saint John

On April 8, fourth-year sociology students from the faculty of arts at the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus presented findings from their research collaborations with community organizations to educate on issues of health, substance use, social inclusion poverty and homelessness.

The event, held in collaboration with Saint John Free Public Library, Romero House, New Brunswick Association for Community Living, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Avenue B, was part of a fourth-year sociology seminar course conceptualized, designed and led by Dr. Julia Woodhall-Melnik.

The students in the class worked with the community agencies to identify important research questions which they subsequently answered in reports that will be delivered to the agencies later this month.

The goal of the project was two-fold: to provide the agencies with much-needed information in order to improve on their services, and to give students the chance to engage with vulnerable populations and apply the skills and knowledge gained from their studies to real-world situations.

“The purpose of my group’s research with Avenue B was to gather the opinions of Saint John residents on the idea of a potential supervised consumption site in Saint John,” said Haley McLellan, fourth-year sociology student. “The ability to engage with community organizations and create meaningful research was such an amazing opportunity. It allowed me to learn hands-on outside of the classroom and apply my knowledge to real-world situations.”

“Opportunities for students to engage with outside partners in their coursework are some of the richest forms of experiential learning,” said Dr. Sarah King, director of experiential education at UNB Fredericton. “We hope that Dr. Woodhall-Melnik’s work will help others at UNB and in the community explore partnerships like these for students in all programs.”

Media contact: Angie Deveau

Photo: L-R: Courtney Brown-Pyrke, community services librarian at the Saint John Free Public Library, Rosella Mullin, Tori Hawkings and Precious Olumolawa, fourth-year students at UNB Saint John. Photo credit: Julia Woodhall-Melnik.