Metro Vancouver, B.C. - Every time a bell rings… a non-profit organization has a chance to get help.
“If speed-dating had an application in the charity world, this would be it,” says Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Larissa Petrillo, referring to the creative matchmaking service she launched this fall for faculty and local non-profits.
An anthropology professor and interim director of KPU’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research: Community Learning Engagement (CIR:CLE), Petrillo wanted to find a way to facilitate the university’s community service learning projects while helping the local non-profits, charities and service groups.
She came up with CIR:CLE Cycle, which invites equal numbers of faculty and representatives of non-profit organizations to come together for an initial meet and greet, followed by more private, one-on-one, three-minute conversations. During those three minutes, faculty and non-profits share key points about what each does, with the goal of finding some common ground in which they may be able to meet each other’s needs.
Once three minutes is up, a bell rings, and both parties move on to their next “speed date.”
Petrillo says she decided to use the speed-dating model because it’s the most efficient use of time, and most non-profit organizations are so busy, they have little time to waste.
At the end of the session, groups and faculty who made a connection exchange contact information for further exploration.
Petrillo says matches have been made between non-profit groups and faculty who can provide them with research, marketing and technical assistance, as well as project development. One student even designed a database for the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society.
Insight gathered from the sessions is also used to drive course content.
“Not many universities are doing this yet, so we’re really excited to be able to offer this to our community – the opportunities to learn and to help are endless,” says Petrillo.
She adds that KPU students will integrate theory with practice, applying their learning through experiential opportunities available in all KPU programs. This applied learning is key to bridging knowledge into practice and reinforces the role of a polytechnic university in building an inclusive, responsible and future-focused social contract.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses — Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley — offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 145 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.
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