The Student Community Engagement Grant helps students help others
Traditionally, a university campus is its own community – expansive and at times isolated. But because of MacEwan’s position in the heart of the city, its students find themselves integrated into the rhythms, successes and challenges of downtown Edmonton and the surrounding neighbourhoods.
This often means that our students find themselves looking for ways to help the community outside the university’s doors. This was the case when music student Mark Romero had a desire to bolster the live music scene, and a drive to bring entertainment to an audience that had been overlooked. Here is how he used MacEwan’s Student Community Engagement Grant to achieve both goals at the same time.
Last summer I went to the Boyle Street Community Centre to audition for a local music festival. It was a rainy day, and the centre was packed full of people in need. It really opened my eyes. What hit me the hardest was realizing that the people there often don’t feel welcome at shows, and sometimes aren’t even allowed in the venues. That broke my heart.
It made me analyze my own privilege. I realized I was taking for granted the opportunities I have to be part of the music community and go to shows every week. Music brings people so much joy, and everyone should be able to experience that. I knew I needed to do something about it.
I had this idea to launch a music club to create paid opportunities for local bands, and build awareness of the live music scene in Edmonton. I applied for MacEwan’s Student Community Engagement Grant to help me get started. Now we host a few events every month, including biweekly shows at Boyle Street Community Services. For those shows, we also prep and serve meals for the audience.
This grant has enabled me to apply my skills in order to give back. It supports opportunities for everyone in our community – from music students to Boyle Street residents – and helps us all grow together. I still can’t believe this is actually all happening. If you have the drive and the support, anything is possible.
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