Currently, I am a 3rd-year Geography student who will be going into my 4th year in the fall. Growing up in Vancouver, I never imagined that I would find myself studying Geography in post-secondary school, as I had spent my first year studying economics. I believe that since moving to Vancouver Island, the environmental sentiment that seems to be all over has rubbed off on me, hence why I have found myself studying Geography. I am passionate about the environment and keeping up to date with currents events, and I believe that my degree gives me the perfect tools in order to do this. Using the concept of the “Geographers lens” I am able to observe and analyze different events and perspectives and form a critical perspective of whatever it is that I am focusing on. Not only has Geography given me the tool needed to be successful in school and research, but I strongly believe that these methods and perspectives will stick with me for the rest of my life, and help me in the professional realm.
Overview of Project
This past semester, my group and I have been working with the HeroWork Society in order to create a platform for NPOs to share resources such as space, personnel etc… The initial part of this project took shape as conducting research on the level of interest the NPOs may have in this, as well as understanding the logistics/ethics that would need to be considered. Given the complicated considerations that this project entails, my group completed the initial surveying and set up the framework needed for this tool to be constructed. Our final project took shape as a very detailed and thorough report that gave a step-by-step tutorial on how the tool should be constructed, while also highlighting all the considerations and bumps that the next cohort may run into. Taking on this project turned out to be much more significant than originally thought; however, in the limited time we have had, my group was able to create the perfect segway into the next phase of this tool. Ideally, using our report, the next cohort could begin building the platform and introducing organizations to it.
Working alongside the HeroWork Society has taught me a variety of important lessons for later in my professional life. In order to make sure that work is done to the expectations of the people I have been working with, a constant stream of good communication was critical. This opportunity has also shown me how thorough work must be done when working in the NPO sector, as it is important to ensure that all considerations are thought out and reflected upon. While the final tool that will be produced is somewhat straightforward, the research gone into setting this up has been somewhat complex and has given me a greater appreciation for how difficult it can be to coordinate in the busy lives of NPO workers. Below I have attached a picture of our final deliverables table of contents as an example of the many different complexities that are involved in making this tool work. With all this being said, I strongly believe that by following our guidelines, the next cohort should be able to create an incredibly useful tool for the local NPO sector.
Figure 1: Table of contents from our final report/guideline for the tool. Report Created by Taya Lee, Olivia Delisle, and Grayson Howard. Screenshot taken from Google Docs 05/04/22.
What I’ve learnt from my community partner
Something that I have learnt from my community partner was the importance of being salient and concise. Many people working in the NPO sector also have full-time jobs working elsewhere. Due to their incredibly busy schedules, there often isn’t time for a whole lot of time for excess information, and when it comes to decision making, providing them with the most salient and concise information is key to helping the process move along faster. My group was able to translate this into our report by including screenshots of how we envision creating the tool. In doing this, we are ensuring that our information is conveyed in a quick and effective matter and that our steps are easy to follow along (example provided below). Determining which information is the most salient, and the best way to convey our point concisely may have been one of the most important skills taught to us by working with the HeroWork Society. This is a skill that we will be able to apply in our professional careers down the road.
Figure 2: An example from our report showing how we envision entering information into the tool/final deliverable. Map example created by Grayson Howard. Screenshot taken from Google My Maps 05/04/22.