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The following examples showcase the variety of ways that you, too, can partner with our faculty and students. Discover how Laurier is working with industry partners in our campus communities and beyond.
As Canada prepares to launch a robotic lunar rover in the next five years, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is investing in research and educational initiatives related to space science and technology. With funding from CSA, Laurier’s Faculty of Education is partnering with InkSmith to design and develop Mission on the Moon: An Educational Program for Canadian Youth, which will provide inquiry-based coding and robotics activities for students in Grades 6 through 9.
Over the past five years, InkSmith has worked with Laurier faculty members on a variety of projects aimed at strengthening coding and robotics competencies for Bachelor and Master of Education students. For Mission on the Moon, InkSmith will oversee the design and development of the learning resources, educational content and online curriculum platform.
Laurier B.Ed. and M.Ed. students will play a critical role in curriculum design and measuring the impact of the Mission on the Moon program, and their research findings will be shared broadly in order to inform future efforts to embed STEM competencies in teacher preparation and Master of Education graduate courses.
The project will be completed by March 2024 and is projected to engage nearly 300,000 Canadian youth.
Students experimenting with Mission on the Moon programming and technology
"Our team is proud to work with Laurier on this project, which will develop future-ready learners who are actively engaged in critical, creative and self-directed learning."
Michelle Valtas, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Sales, InkSmith
The IKEA Sustainability Challenge was created by Lazaridis School alumnus Michael Ward (BBA ’86), CEO and chief sustainability officer of IKEA Canada, and Assistant Professor Laura Allan to raise awareness about sustainability as an important business practice.
At the 2021 edition, teams of second-year undergraduate students sought solutions to the question “How can IKEA Canada kick-start immediate and substantive climate action, driving impact through our own business activities, and empowering other businesses to become more sustainable?”
Each team created a proposal and video submission, and five were chosen as finalists to present to a panel of IKEA executives and sustainability experts
Team IKEA Green Parking was the winner with their recommendation that IKEA create green parking lots for their stores. By repaving current lots with permeable pavement made from 100-per-cent recycled plastic and building rain gardens around the perimeter, IKEA would be able to make their parking space both functional and environmentally friendly.
Winners of the 2021 IKEA Sustainability Challenge
"We were so impressed by each team. We are at a key time regarding global warming and it will be a collective effort to get us to the place we need to be to live together in the limits of one planet."
Michael Ward, CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Canada
In 2022, Waterloo Brewing and Mammoth Mug co-invested in five new financial awards supporting equity-deserving Laurier student-athletes. The two Waterloo-based companies also signed milestone sponsorship agreements with Laurier’s Athletics and Recreation department. Together, these contributions totalled more than $500,000 in support for student athletics at Laurier.
Both companies were inspired by Laurier’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Their joint investment will help the Athletics and Recreation department’s recruitment efforts by providing increased supports to marginalized racial and socio-economic recruits, while also supporting off-season training and exhibition play.
The new sponsorship agreements make Waterloo Brewing the official beer, cider and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage sponsor and Mammoth Mug the official sideline bottle sponsor of Laurier’s Athletics and Recreation department.
"We believe access to education helps build strong communities, so we hope to help inspire Laurier’s student-athletes as they work hard at their post-secondary education, both on and off the field."
George Croft, President and CEO, Waterloo Brewing
Cody Drygeese, environmental officer at Cheetah Resource’s Nechalacho Mine, tests a water sample at the mine’s water settling pond. Photo credit: Cheetah Resources/billbradenphoto
Rare earth elements will play a critical role in the transition to a green economy. The group of 17 elements have unique properties that are useful for electric vehicle motors, wind turbine generators and energy-efficient screens, but the environmental impacts of mining are still unclear.
Jim McGeer, a professor of Biology at Laurier, is leading a three-year study at the Nechalacho mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada’s first producer of rare earth elements. Commissioned by the mine’s owners, Cheetah Resources, his team is investigating the elements’ potential effects on the aquatic environment. Mining activities can increase levels of rare earths naturally found in water, and it’s still unclear how much is too much.
“This data will ensure that decisions are made based on local conditions and not lab-derived estimates,” says McGeer.
Results of the study will support the mine and regulators in setting appropriate levels of treatment before any site waters are discharged.
"We are committed to being a responsibly-sourced supplier of rare earth product, and this will help everyone build confidence that the environment is being protected."
David Connelly, Vice-President: Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Cheetah Resources
Laurier awarded fourth-year Business Administration student Sophie Ziomecki (BBA ’21) its 2021 Co-op Student of the Year Award for workplace achievements while completing a work term at American Express in Toronto.
Ziomecki worked as a member of the consumer card product management team at American Express during the winter 2021 term. During her internship, she co-led a new bonus offer program for a group of consumer cardmembers and worked on creative agency briefings, stakeholder reviews, approvals and execution. Ziomecki also contributed to e-newsletters for cardmembers, created content, consolidated stakeholder feedback and reviewed analytics to refine campaign targets.
In addition to American Express, Ziomecki completed co-op work terms with Canadian Tire Corporation in product merchandising and Loblaw Digital in the internal strategy group. She graduated from Laurier in October 2021 and began working full-time at American Express as assistant marketing manager for lending capabilities, where she is managing the development of a new proprietary system.
"Sophie’s contributions to our team’s success continued well beyond her internship with us. Her diligence and hard work during a period of compressed timelines led to us being in market on time and within budget."
Jessica Brown (BBA ’07), Senior Manager: Early Engagement and Spend Enablement, American Express
In our data-driven society, we turn to data to understand, persuade and make more objective decisions. Laurier is fortunate to hold and provide free, open access to Canadian polling data through our long-term partnership with Ipsos Canada, championed by alumnus and Ipsos CEO of Public Affairs Darrell Bricker (BA ’83, MA ’84, Honorary LLD ’12).
Ipsos is a global leader in market research and public opinion, delivering reliable information and analysis related to the topics of society, markets and people.
Since 2008, Ipsos has donated more than 130 public opinion polling data sets to Laurier for use by researchers and the public alike. This data, managed by the Laurier Library and Archives, is available online, and has been downloaded more than 10,000 times for analysis by researchers and citizen-scientists since 2016.
“Ipsos’ gift to Laurier puts crucial Canadian polling data in front of researchers across Canada and beyond,” says Gohar Ashoughian, Laurier’s university librarian. “This is a very impactful partnership, through which Ipsos and Laurier are working together to bring rich data collections of tangible value to a national and global stage.”
"Ipsos believes it is important to share the information we have on the evolution of public opinion in Canada with a wide audience. This allows everybody to have access to the same high-quality information."
Darrell Bricker (BA ’83, MA ’84, Honorary LLD ’12), CEO: Public Affairs, Ipsos
The annual Live Integrated Consulting Exercise (ICE) is an impactful way for Master of Business Administration students to translate their classroom learning into real-world action.
In 2022, Friendlier, a Guelph-based start-up looking for growth strategies, partnered with the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics for the event. Friendlier reduces single-use plastics in the foodservice industry. Over its lifespan, one reusable Friendlier container can eliminate 100 single-use plastic containers.
Four finalist teams presented strategies and tactics to Friendlier co-founders to help sustain and escalate their growth. The winning team focused on strategies to recruit Ontario universities to adopt the Friendlier system and replace thousands of single-use plastics each year. The Friendlier management team was pleased to be presented with some new approaches that weren’t previously on their radar.
In addition to benefiting students, ICE helps industry partners like Friendlier gain access to fresh ideas and a talent pipeline. It can also be affirming to companies, particularly start-ups, when students see the value of their corporate vision and practice.
"Laurier students presented themselves professionally and came prepared with well-thought-out proposals and insights for our business challenges. It was incredibly valuable for us to hear different perspectives from this well-researched group of innovative students."
Kayli Dale, Co-Founder and CEO, Friendlier
The educational decisions people make when they are young can follow them throughout their lives. Laurier’s Lift Off to Higher Education program, supported by Manulife Financial, is a free, interactive online program that supports students in Grades 7 and 8 in identifying their interests and skills, introduces them to various pathways of education, and informs them about financial literacy.
Through the Lift Off program, Laurier’s professional facilitators lead engaging presentations that are accompanied by a workbook and independent activities for students. There are modules specifically designed for Indigenous youth as well.
Lift Off is also being studied by Laurier’s Poverty Reduction Research Group, part of the Centre for Community, Research, Learning and Action. Researchers are measuring the long-term impact of this program, with the goal of eventually incorporating it into the Ontario junior high curriculum.
As of January 2022, the Lift Off program has reached more than 30,000 students within the Waterloo Region District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.
“A post-secondary education can be the foundation of future financial stability for individuals and their families. Programs like Lift Off to Higher Education are a great way for Manulife to underscore this important message and help put young Canadians on the right track."
Michael Doughty, Former President and CEO, Manulife Canada
Evolv1, developed by the Cora Group, is Canada’s first zero-carbon office building. It actually generates more energy than it needs. But even with state-of-the-art technology, this green building cannot achieve its potential without the commitment of the employees who work there.
In partnership with Sustainable Waterloo Region, Laurier researchers Manuel Riemer, Noam Miller and Kai Reimer-Watts have turned evolv1 into a living lab where they are creating and evaluating an employee culture of sustainability. Their inspired research is modelling a sustainable workplace of the future.
Laurier is collaborating with the Business Council of Westchester and Iona University, both in New York, on a plan to transform Westchester County into a hub that attracts and supports innovative companies.
Laurier students are working with students from the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Iona University to create the Westchester Innovation Network (WIN) Implementation Guide. The guide will include recommendations for elected officials, municipal planners and business leaders to create an innovation hub in Westchester County.
Laurier student enterprises are also involved with WIN’s Match Program, designed to attract businesses to Westchester and pair them with local companies to test their products and services in real-world settings.
WIN matched Kuponya Innovations, founded by Laurier Political Science student Jordan Prentice, with Murphy Brothers Contracting (MBC) in Auburn, New York, to develop a green insulation prototype using industrial hemp. Through the match program, Prentice has presented at MBC events and networked with MBC contacts to gain feedback on her prototype and applications.
Laurier Political Science student Jordan Prentice at the Westchester Innovation Network Showcase
"This is a great opportunity for our students to gain an understanding of the needs of innovators and apply their learnings on an international level."
Laura Allan, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Laurier
COVID-19 revealed existing barriers and created new challenges for retirement and long-term care residents. Fairview Parkwood Communities (FPC) identified an opportunity to address these challenges while leveraging Laurier’s commitment to experiential and community-engaged learning.
With $374,000 in funding over three years from the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging as part of a project funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, Laurier is partnering with FPC to pilot the Virtual Village project. Laurier students are taking on placements to facilitate virtual recreational programming and social interactions for isolated residents. These placements are connected to courses with community service-learning components.
Students are leading the virtual Java Music Club, a research-based, peer-support program used widely in retirement and long-term care settings to foster connections and conversations among participants, some of whom live with dementia. Participants sing songs — such as hits by The Beatles and popular show tunes — listen to poetry and reflect on topics such as happiness, friendship and love.
Residents look forward to seeing the students on screen each week, while students gain meaningful and valuable work experience.
Laurier has many students, both domestic and international, whose lives have been impacted by the war in Ukraine. Some have relatives back home, while others are helping their relatives migrate to Canada. Some have experienced financial disruption which affects their ability to pay tuition, afford shelter and groceries, stay in school or even in Canada.
Laurier is committed to caring for the well-being of its students and recognizes the impact the war has on members of the student community. So does CIBC. As a long-time Laurier co-operative education partner, CIBC offered impacted students part-time and co-operative education employment opportunities to support their financial well-being amid the ongoing crisis.
Co-operative education and Laurier International staff match students with opportunities offered by CIBC and other community partners who have expressed a desire to help.
"Leaders require knowledge and understanding in order to identify the signs of someone living with MCI or dementia and be aware of the benefits and supports available."
Lindsey Simpson, Director of Ability Management, Alberta Health Services
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that causes problems with memory and thinking, is a risk for people as they age. With an aging workforce and more workers choosing to stay on the job past the traditional retirement age, accommodating people with the condition is an emerging issue.
Josephine McMurray, an associate professor of Business Technology Management and Community Health, is the scientific director of the national research network AGE-WELL. She and her colleagues are leading a project called Cog@Work, which aspires to help employers and employees adapt better to the challenges of MCI in the workplace.
“Ensuring that an organization is prepared for this is really important,” says McMurray. “As this is a non-visible disability, some employers don’t even know this is an issue.”
The project is raising awareness about MCI, compiling information about work-related best practices, and developing policies and advice for building more accessible workplaces. In line with AGE-WELL’s mission, it is also nurturing the development of technologies that can support people with MCI so that they can continue to work.
The project is benefiting from collaborations with some large employers who share a desire to create inclusive, accessible work environments for employees who experience mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
Connect with us to explore how Laurier can meet your needs.