The Connection Launch
The Connection is a new program offered by McMaster’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) designed to facilitate online, mutually beneficial partnerships between campus and local Hamilton community organizations.
As communities look for ways to adapt and rebuild in response to COVID-19 The Connection will make the process of addressing Hamilton community and University identified needs easier by providing online tools and resources. It’s a way for everyone who sees themselves as part of a collective community-campus effort to connect and respond to COVID-19 locally.
“It’s more important than ever for University and Hamilton community partners to have timely and effective ways to connect. The Connection provides flexible and adaptive approaches while maintaining the core principles of community engagement”, says Sheila Sammon, Director, OCE.
The Connection program starts this summer and will extend throughout the 2020/2021 year. Program features include an online intake form to match local community organizations and University partners, tools focused on online community engagement education and practice, a summary report of local COVID-19 issues, and proactive program support. By creating a suite of online resources, the important relationships between campus and community will be maintained and enhanced while allowing new ones to develop. It’s all part of OCE’s larger strategy to increase the number of community campus partnerships.
Since the onset of COVID-19, the Office of Community Engagement staff continue to meet with partners both in the Hamilton community and on campus to gather information on emerging priorities and needs. Unanticipated shifts such as social distancing, working remotely and preparing for a fall term online have changed the nature of work for faculty and staff still committed to providing quality curricular and co-curricular community-engaged experiences for students. Community organizations are also identifying and facing unprecedented challenges as they look for ways to shift to new service delivery models, often with limited resources. The Office of Community Engagement works to connect the dots between campus and community needs and build relationships. Our hope is that the resulting community engaged partnerships lead to positive, mutually beneficial outcomes for the Hamilton community and the University.
“OCE staff has always provided support to McMaster faculty, staff and students and Hamilton community organizations by brokering relationships for curricular and co-curricular projects, placements, research and volunteer opportunities, and by supplying resources and educational tools. We recognize the pandemic adds a layer of challenges to traditional methods of interacting to build relationships. Our goal is to ease the burden for campus and community partners,” says Sheila Sammon, Director, OCE. “The important work of building community capacity hasn’t stopped. The Connection is a platform and program designed so the work can continue seamlessly”.
Online Intake and Matching
An early core component of The Connection is a new online intake form to collect requests to match community needs with McMaster’s research, teaching and service needs in time for the fall term. It’s now available on the Office of Community Engagement website as an easy to understand, user-friendly way to submit requests and get matched with the right resources. The Connection’s online intake is designed for Campus faculty, staff or students looking to connect with a community organization or a local community organization looking for McMaster expertise or resources. Once you’ve submitted your request, an OCE Staff will follow up with you to ensure you get connected to the right resources.
Whether you’re McMaster faculty, staff or a student looking for a community-based research, educational or volunteer experience or a member of a community organization that could benefit from McMaster resources and expertise, the staff team at the Office of Community Engagement are available to support your community engagement efforts. For more information on The Connection and other Office of Community Engagement programs and services contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.