Creating a fourth space for social impact collaborations across boundaries

March 16, 2021

By Faith Valencia-Forrester – Director Service Learning Unit; Samia Ahmad – Sprint Team. coordinator; Louise Ascough – Partnership Officer; Sabrina Forlin – Partnership Officer; Lara Davenport – Partnership Officer all of Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

Join us on March 30, 2021, 4-5:15 pm ET to discuss how the next generation of leaders can create a measurable impact in the world through a global social impact collaboration. Members of the Collaborative can register here (by Friday, March 26th).

T2 2020 Social Impact Project: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Our Social Impact Projects are designed around creating a fourth space where students, academics and community partners come together to address complex social justice issues and work towards creating change. In designing Service Learning experiences that prepare students and partners for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we believe it is important to understand that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is much more than advanced technology.  It is about creating workspaces and practices where individuals and communities of ALL backgrounds (first peoples to all abilities) can develop employability skills in a healthy and sustainable environment and have a positive impact on the wider community. The fourth space created by the inclusive university-led WIL model recognises different ways of knowing, that people with lived experience are experts, and that creative collaborations and linkages between students, industry leaders and policy makers is a space for change. It is the converging of life and technology in one space. 

In 2020, we set out to fast track our plans for the implementation of a virtual workspace giving student interns, partner organisation and the community an opportunity to co-design and co-create a project through a Design Innovation Sprint Series.  Leaning on philosophies of ‘build back’ and ‘regenerative sustainability’ we set out to create an online work environment that maintained mental health and wellbeing. 

WE delivered five Social Impact Projects over 5-weeks, with over 600 multidisciplinary student interns, informed by experienced voices, industry professionals and people of lived experience. 

Our vision for these virtual Social Impact Projects is they establish a model for a more inclusive virtual workspace leading into the Fourth Industrial revolution. These inclusive and equitable workspaces for a distributed workforce are defined by collaboration, creativity, flexible agility, solution-focused design and critical thinking as evidenced by student interns, universities, and communities collaborating on solutions for positive social change and challenging systems of exclusion and oppression. 

Homelessness, People of All Abilities, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Digital Inclusion for Education and Employment and Environmental Sustainability all intersect and interconnect and are issues that are misunderstood, under-supported and in urgent need of addressing. I am sure the benefits of participating in these internships will last long into the Interns professional careers. I have witnessed their passion for justice transcend their original interest in gaining experience. I know they will continue to work across disciplines towards solutions to these complex social issues.

Join us on … to discuss how the next generation of leaders can create a measurable impact in the world through a global social impact collaboration. Members of the Collaborative can register here (by Friday, March 26th).

 

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