In spring 2012, 75 students from three schools in Verdun and Lasalle took their first steps as reporters, exploring McGill’s downtown campus and recording what they found. With cameras in hand and iPads to check their facts, they compiled their findings in journals. It was also an opportunity to share their own views of McGill.
My Day @ McGill was organized by McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office in collaboration with McGill’s Enrolment Services. During its pilot phase, it was tested with the children from the Homework Zone After-School Program, which works with the Lester B. Pearson School Board. “They both encourage exploration and discovery,” says Lauren Thurber, Homework Zone project coordinator, “as well as breaking down barriers to access to education.” Many of the kids are from communities that tend to face obstacles to post-secondary education.
Built around a ten-stop tour, the field trip started at the historic Roddick Gates. The budding journalists, aged 7-13, were then divided into two teams – one to explore the treasures of the Redpath Museum, and the other to follow the rhythm of the Schulich School of Music.
The tour took them through the Humanities and Social Sciences Library before swinging east to the Frostbite, a student-run ice cream parlour in the McConnell Engineering Building. But no one would get ice cream until a big mystery was solved: how many ice cream flavours does Frostbite offer?
Our intrepid explorers stopped by the Arts Building — McGill’s oldest, dating back to 1839 – before winding down with a dance lesson and a short session on the history and culture of aboriginal peoples, courtesy of the First Nations and Inuit students at McGill’s First Peoples’ House.
A great time was had by all – so great that organizers are hoping to turn My Day @ McGill into a weekly or bi-weekly event as of fall 2012, to give students from a wider range of schools a chance to explore McGill.
Want to know the answer to the ice cream question? The children’s investigative reports are online on the My Day @ McGill website.