The McGill office for Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) is hosting their seventh annual Community Engagement Day (CED) next week. Despite its name, CED actually takes place over a number of days, starting on September 25, with most of the events scheduled for September 28. Programming for the CED is comprised of a variety of workshops, talks, and volunteer opportunities intended to facilitate community engagement.
SEDE emphasizes the importance of building relationships with local community groups as a pillar of diversity education. As the largest initiative undertaken by SEDE to encourage community involvement, CED requires support from the administration, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), and a long list of local groups who want to strengthen the relationship between McGill and the wider Montreal community.
Monika Barbe, the CED Program Coordinator, spoke to The Daily about the importance of the event series and what to look forward to in the coming days. Barbe stressed that one of the most valuable things about CED is the opportunity to do hands-on volunteer work.
“[CED] is going to be a chance for people to see the everyday reality of a community organization and the importance of […] the manual work and [to see] that […] change happens there,” said Barbe. “Yes, it’s [CED] very interesting to sit down and reflect and criticize, which I think is super important, but there’s a lot of people working in the community organizations with actual physical jobs […] and interacting directly with the people who benefit from the different organizations, and I think that’s a powerful thing to focus on in terms of social change.”
“There’s a lot of people working in the community organizations with actual physical jobs […] and interacting directly with the people who benefit from the different organizations, and I think that’s a powerful thing to focus on in terms of social change.”
Barbe also described some of the workshops being organized, including the “Equity 101” event hosted by Shanice Yarde, an Equity Educational Advisor at SEDE. According to the CED website, the workshop “is designed to give participants a ‘101’ understanding of equity, and how society is shaped by power and oppression.”
“In a very introductory way [Yarde] is going to present […] the main issues that the office works on, so in that sense I would say that if you’re in any way interested in what SEDE does, that is that workshop is fundamental,” Barbe told The Daily, before finishing with a call for participants from the entre McGill community.
“In a very emphatic way I invite everyone to be part of Community Engagement Day,” she said. “Not only students, because I think with the profile of a student, […] the interest and the initiative to be part of this thing [follows], but also to faculty and staff, because McGill is not only students.”
SEDE has a website listing all the events taking place during CED. People can access the time, location, and description of the events, as well as register for the events they find interesting. The program covers a broad range of topics, from an outdoor movie screening of Demain, a film about the ecological and social challenges posed by climate change, to food distribution for the Welcome Hall Mission food bank. The events are happening all over Montreal and there are still spots available for many of the events.