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Fostering student futures

by Karl Usakowski February 3, 2015
Fostering student futures

Canadian Club advised on how to create opportunities

On Monday, Feb. 2, Concordia President Alan Shepard gave a talk to the Canadian Club of Montreal at the Hilton. Entitled, “Today’s youth, tomorrow’s global citizens,” it emphasized on the need to create opportunities in order to let students develop ideas while preparing them for a globalized society and job market.

Shepard presented three key opportunities which would allow academia and society to come together in order to help ready students for the challenges of the world they will face upon graduation. The first opportunity, said Shepard, is to provide “more hands-on work experience while students are in their course of study.” The second was to enhance the general contributions towards the public good in Canadian society. The third was to “create more intentional pathways for future leaders to engage globally during their formation.”

While elaborating on his first proposed opportunity, Shepard expressed support for a proposed change by the provincial premier in the laws on the way companies with payrolls of over $1 million must spend one per cent of it on training for current staff. His envisioned

changes would allow for the creation of more co-op opportunities for university students.

He also emphasized why it was important for opportunity creators not to be biased towards purported jobs of the future and allow for all fields to flourish from the creation of student opportunities.

His second proposed opportunity centered around micro-philanthropy, which calls on many people contributing to society by taking part in small instances of charity.

“It would add mostly informal learning experiences, and would validate those experiences for university degree credit,” Shepard said.

The last proposed opportunity was to create more programs in which university students would have access to a greater amount of exchanges in order to offer experiences which would help them enter the job market with a competitive pedigree.

“We are shortchanging Canada’s future when we don’t send our students out to explore the world,” Shepard said.

During his talk, Concordia’s president informed the crowd on the recent activity surrounding the university’s student-driven incubator, District 3, such as the Spoil project which has finished a preliminary financing round with a Silicon Valley accelerator fund. He also urged guests to create incubators in their perspective organizations or companies which help with the development of ideas and “would put Montreal in the Vanguard of innovation culture.”

He concluded by stressing that these proposed opportunities will only come to reinforce Canada on the international stage and that the network of incubators was growing in the city. The bilingual talk was received with enthusiasm by the assembled participants at the Canadian Club.

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