Annual General Report 2019-2020

INTRODUCTION

 

Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, schools, students, and clubs alike faced unprecedented circumstances. Nonetheless QPID’s four branches-- Campus & Community; Internships; Marketing and; Finance & Sponsorships-- worked together to successfully run all of our events (COVID-19 permitting). A central goal for QPID this year was growth. In order to mark our growth as an organization, in addition to all of our regular programming, new internship locations and partner organizations were assessed and selected, the position of Marketing Director was created and filled, the Community Outreach Fall Event was introduced, and our executive team was expanded in order to accommodate these adjustments!

 

 

CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY

 

Portfolio: Community Outreach

 

The Community Outreach portofolio has historically been responsible for our annual 5 Days for Homelessness fundraising campaign. This year, QPID was able to expand our outreach within the community and implemented a new Fall Event which took place in November 2019. Our Executive team decided to plan this event in support of the 5 Days campaign. As such, the Community Outreach team worked very hard to create an evening where attendees learned about homelessness and food insecurity in Kingston. Taking place in the University’s well-known John Deutsch Centre (JDUC), all attendees enjoyed a bowl of vegan chili and listened to presentations by the Kingston Youth Shelter and Soul Foods. Additionally, non-perishable food donations were accepted for the Kingston Youth Shelter. It was a very successful, fun, educational, and delicious evening with a big turn out!

            Following the success of our Fall Event, QPID launched its annual 5 Days for Homelessness Campaign at the end of February. The 5 Days Campaign is an annual QPID-run initiative which seeks to financially support the Kingston Youth Shelter and raise awareness about youth homelessness in Kingston and Canada. With the help of over 30 volunteers, QPID raised $12,000 for the Kingston Youth Shelter! In the past, donations have been used to support the emergency shelter and transition home locations by contributing towards a renovated industrial kitchen, increasing bed numbers, library & study space, and annual food budget. This annual campaign demonstrates the importance of community development on a local scale, and reiterates QPID’s mandate to “approach development through engagement in critical thinking and informed action.”

 

Portfolio: Workshops

 

The Workshops team encourages students to think innovatively, creatively, and critically in order to expand their knowledge about development. Our workshops are all interactive in nature and their content is very diverse. We have workshops about sustainability, food insecurity, social media, agricultural practices, and more! This past year’s Workshops team mainly attended schools such as Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Frontenac Secondary School, and Bayridge Secondary School. These schools varied from grades and subjects taught in class. The students all participated in engaging discussions and activities held by the Workshops Committee. Over the school year, the Committee aimed to conduct approximately two workshops a month. The Workshops team was very successful in booking various sessions throughout the fall term. In the winter semester, however, there was a limited number of workshops executed due to a prolonged teacher strike and COVID-19 regulations. Nonetheless, students learned a lot about development and its intersections by engaging in development discourse at a young age, asking questions, and pondering solutions. Overall, the Workshops Portfolio enabled students in the Kingston area to become familiar with global development issues and the opportunities that exist to further study global development in their schooling.

 

 

Portfolio: Forum

 

Each year, QPID’s Forum team plans, organizes and hosts forums to discuss a variety of topics that are topical and pertinent to development. Forums are conducted in a multiplicity of ways, including speaker panels, presentations, documentary screenings, and many others. Our Forum team strives to evoke a development conscious from the Queen’s, and the broader Kingston, communities. Forums are open to all members of the public and are heavily marketed on social media in order to increase our audience size. This year, QPID hosted seven Forums, each with a large turnout!

 

Here is a brief summary of each of the forums held in 2019-2020:

 

  1. Forum 1: Federal Election Panel

  • Panel of 5 Queen’s students representing each political party in the 2019 Canadian Federal Election

    • Panelists:

      • Bruce Baker (Liberal Party)

      • Alex Cherry (People’s Party of Canada)

      • Maggie Williams (Green Party)

      • Aidan Scott (Conservative Party)

      • Alicia Eglin (New Democratic Party)

    • Moderator:

      • Tom Stanley (Queen’s Arts ’98 graduate, past AMS president, and produced the Rick Mercer Report)

  • Panellists each had a few minutes to discuss and debate various topics of student interest, including students debt, indigenous reconciliation, healthcare, foreign aid, and climate change

  • Audience questions were answered!

 

 

  1. Forum 2: Sustainable Investing

  • This forum was conducted in collaboration with the Queen’s Social Investment Initiative (QS2I)

  • QS2I had a presentation regarding the ethics of companies and what to look for before investing in their stock

    • Emphasis on environmental sustainability companies

    • Also brief introduction to personal investing and finances

  • Very interactive in its activities!

 

 

  1. Forum 3: Water Insecurity in Canada

  • Dr. Geof Hall did a presentation about water insecurity followed by an audience Q&A

    • Associate Director of Education and Outreach at the Beaty Water Research Centre

    • Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering & School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University

    • Multidisciplinary researcher (biology, engineering, public health)

  • Presentation

    • Overview of the Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC)

      • an interdisciplinary centre dedicated to furthering its key pillars of research, education, and outreach around water-related issues.

    • Water insecurity issues in Canada

    • Water governance (climate change, policy, and economy)

    • Water use (sustainability and human-water relations)

    • Water resources (lakes, rivers, watersheds, ecosystems, and biodiversity)

    • Water quality (health, ecotoxicology, and biochemical parameters)

 

 

  1. Forum 4 : Voluntourism/ Sustainable Tourism

  • Presentation by the Forum team, interactive break-out group activity, followed by audience Q&A

  • Covered pros and cons of global volunteer work, and how to volunteer sustainably

    • Positives:

      • Broadening cultural perspectives

      • Bringing money into the local economy and providing jobs

      • Fostering a development consciousness in volunteers

    • Negatives:

      • Damage to local communities, short-term trips generally don’t contribute to systemic change

      • Simplifying inequality

      • Poor intentions of the volunteers (i.e for resume boosters)

 

  1. Forum 5: Fast Fashion

  • Presentation and informational video clip followed by Q&A and clothing swap

  • Environmental and ethical impacts of the fast fashion industry

    • Environmental impacts:

      • Landfill, oil usage, water pollution, greenhouse gases

    • Ethical impacts:

      • Labour in locations with little to no human rights, low wages, minimal health and safety precautions or laws

  • How to relocate your spending to minimize contributions to the fast fashion industry

 

 

  1.  Forum 6: Canadian vs American Politics

  • Presentation by two guest speakers, followed by Q&A and interactive game

  • Guest Speakers:

    • Paul Gardner (Professor of Policy studies at Queen’s University)

    • Kim Nossal (Assistant Professor in Politics and Law at Queen’s University)

  • Discussed patterns in Canadian Politics as compared to American Politics, such as polarization and candidate archetypes

 

 

  1. Forum 7: DEVS Networking/UniCon Taster

  • Panel of professionals in local and global development and a career counselor

    • Discussed the field of Global Development and potential career options-

  • Panelists:

    • Joshua Zettel

      • Career Counsellor at Queen’s University

    • Tess Wittman

      • Community Engagement Specialist at Sustainable Kingston

      • Queen’s Global Development alumn

    • Jim Neill

      • Kingston City Council

      • Public Health Board

      • Retired Teacher

    • Jessica Baumhour

      • Master of Public Health

      • Global health experience in Nunavut, Kenya, and Rwanda

      • Research in innovation procurement, quality improvement, and health sciences education

  • Each panelist spoke about their education and careers, giving tips to students about their pathways

  • Networking opportunities followed

 

Portfolio: Youth Conference

 

The 2019/2020 QPID Youth Conference was originally to be a comprehensive introduction to “global development”: what it is, its many intersectional topics, how it affects us in our daily lives, and what youth can do to get involved, especially with Queen’s University. The aim was to bestow youth with the “think global, act local” activist mindset. The focal points of the conference were our speakers—David McDonald, a professor at Queen’s, who would be giving an introduction to the subject and common misconceptions, and Meena Waseem, a Queen’s Commerce student, who was going to give a talk on social media and how it can be used to generate movement and change within communities—and our workshops, which would further educate students on global development in an engaging and interactive manner. We were to provide catered food from a sustainability-focused Queen’s-student-run café.

Unfortunately, we learned that due to rotating teachers’ strikes, we would not be able to run our conference with our target demographic (students’ attendance at our conference would have been classified as a field trip, which was banned for the duration of the strike). At first, our efforts were focused toward attracting a student audience despite the strike. However, after discussion we decided it would be best if we rehauled our conference to cater to university students whose schedules were more amenable.

We wanted to make the conference as appealing to university students as possible. As a result, we shifted the focus of our conference from “education” to “networking,” and sought out many more speakers than we had originally planned in order to create a networking environment for students thinking about their futures after graduation. In order to broaden our target demographic, we also sought out speakers in various science, engineering, and business industries whose fields intersected with global development.

Ultimately, due to COVID-19, campus was shut down and classes were shifted to online learning, and our conference was subsequently cancelled. However, the experience was nonetheless eye-opening, revealing to our committee just what can be adapted in response to extenuating circumstances with dedication and perseverance, and many of our ideas for workshops and themes still remain to be passed down to the organizers of next year’s conference.

 

INTERNSHIPS

 

Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, QPID’s internship program underwent large structural changes. In spring 2019, QPID received a significant anonymous donation toward the internship program from a QPID alumnus. This donation provided our program with a long-term sense of financial security (currently have a 5-year plan and budget in place). Moreover, the donation stipulates that QPID is to offer increased financial aid for interns, as well as a renewed focus on expanding the program, specifically into southeast Asia and Latin America.

With these stipulations in mind, the Internship Director took the summer of 2019 to vet new internship locations and create a financial aid application and selection process. QPID was able to secure partnership with two new host organizations: Parabukas in Manila, Philippines and Starfish International in Banjul, Gambia. Both of these non-profits work in the development field and have established internship programs in place. The addition of these two locations, along with our existing partnerships with Ecology North (Yellowknife, Canada), VIDYA (Mumbai, India), and Travel for Impact (Maun, Botswana), allowed for QPID to hire five pairs of students (ten overall) to serve as interns at the respective organizations.

            QPID embraced a new hiring approach in order to ensure that the strongest applicants were hired for our positions. The internship also worked closely with the Finance Team to increase the transparency regarding all costs associated with the internship. The ten interns took to weekly learning sessions with the Intern Managers in order to prepare them for their internships. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, all internships were cancelled in order to ensure the safety of our interns and host communities and in compliance with government and university policy regarding travel.

            QPID has offered our interns the opportunity to complete their internship in the summer of 2021, COVID-19 permitting. However, only a handful of interns are able to complete their internships at that time, and so replacements will be hired this school year. Due to COVID-19, QPID, September 2020 will mark the beginning Year 1 of our financial plan (as opposed to September 2019)  in accordance with stipulations of the donation received. QPID is planning on hiring new interns by January 2021, COVID-19 permitting. If by that time travel is still mostly banned and/or unsafe, QPID will cancel the 2021 summer internship program as well. If that is the case, September 2021 will mark the beginning of the Year 1 financial plan.

 

MARKETING

 

This past year, QPID placed a big emphasis on our marketing efforts. We recognize that marketing is the most essential part of our organization in order to garner a strong turnout at events. Following our very successful marketing strategy this year, QPID decided to expand our Marketing Team and introduced the new position of Marketing Executive. This dedicated student will work closely with the Marketing Director to create and post all of our marketing materials.

 

FINANCE & SPONSORSHIP

 

QPID this year had a dedicated Finance & Sponsorship team. Having a more financially accessible internship program was one of the central goals for QPID this year and the Finance team was able to achieve that thanks to the donation received. A financial aid application and selection process for the Internship Program was created and utilized. The anonymous evaluation process allocated $2,500 between several applicants, with grants ranging between $100 to $1,000. Our sponsorship team successfully secured two sponsorships from the Engineering Society throughout the year which helped fund QPID initiatives. The Finance & Sponsorship Team dealt with all refunds and reimbursements following the cancellation of the internship program due to COVID-19.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Despite the challenges QPID faced with respect to the global pandemic, we had a very successful year as an organization. QPID continues to grow in size and in impact. We look forward to running all of our programming online for the 2020-2021 year!

© 2019 by Queen's Project on International Development.

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Office 3-A607,

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Queen's Project on International Development
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