Matt Santos, Shane Cote and Radwan Yuusuf (left to right) at the Map the System Canada event in Toronto.

Finding solutions for existing social and environmental issues

June 3, 2019 | Business

A team of MacEwan University students applied a socially entrepreneurial approach to the topic of “Suicidal Recovery Outside Hospital Doors,” and in early May, they took their idea to Toronto for the nationals of the global Map the System competition that asks participants to identify gaps in an existing system.

Canada’s Map the System event challenged post-secondary students and recent grads from across the country to “demonstrate a deep understanding of a pressing social or environmental issue by mapping out the landscape of the current solutions and identifying missing opportunities for positive change.” For the team of third-year Bachelor of Commerce students — Shane Cote, Matt Santos and Radwan Yuusuf — that meant identifying gaps in Alberta’s health-care system in working with suicidal patients. One of those gaps is the strain on health-care facilities.

“We looked into the release of suicidal patients and patients struggling with mental illness, and their post-treatments, in the hopes of understanding ongoing solutions and to relieve the strain,” explains Radwan, a third-year Bachelor of Commerce student.

Matt says that they took on the project as part of their BUSN 312: Introduction to Non-Profit Management course, but through the Social Innovation Institute and Assistant Professor Dr. Leo Wong, they were able to get additional advice and guidance. “This included everything from scoping down to a specific topic area, developing research and interview questions, case competition strategies, and even last-minute presentation advice.”



Driven by collaboration

MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Institute aims to create partnerships and connect the university as a whole to the community at large — take a look back on its past year.

“Participating in Map the System was incredibly valuable for our students to understand how social issues are addressed by different stakeholders, organizations, businesses and governments before they start developing solutions on their own,” says Leo, founding director of the Social Innovation Institute. “Seeing themselves as part of a larger system of actors is an important perspective and skill to gain, in order to become effective changemakers.”

Matt also says it was incredibly valuable to meet others who share similar beliefs related to societal issues and change.

“This has inspired me to continue pursuing my interest in social entrepreneurship,” he says.


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