Café Collab: Student Services is a project that seeks to build community, identify well-informed recommendations for Student Services, and build capacity with staff to better support different student communities.
Specifically, this project aims to connect students experiencing systemic barriers to accessing support services with motivated staff in positions to effect positive change, creating spaces to collaborate on ideas for more equitable support systems.
This project is funded by the Student Services Innovation Fund, and is put on in partnership with the Scholarships and Student Aid Office (SSAO), Student Services, and the Participatory Cultures Laboratory in the Faculty of Education.
Café Collab: Campus Dialogues is a new initiative that seeks to create alternative spaces for community members to share their stories and for the community to learn from these experiences in order to effect positive changes.
Through arts-based story telling workshops, community dinner discussions, and consultations, Café Collab: Campus Dialogues connects different actors to advance equity on campus, identifies well-informed recommendations to participating units, and creates feedback loops between community members experiencing issues such as exclusion or isolation with individuals and units motivated to effect positive responses.
How does Café Collab work?
Consultations: Various student and staff stakeholders help identify a particular student community that is experiencing issues related to accessing campus support services and a focus for the sessions.
Media-making workshops: Students from these communities are invited to discuss their experiences accessing support services on campus and synthesize their feedback and ideas into short media pieces (i.e. short films, memes, fairy tale stories, and other media).
Community dinner discussions: Staff in Student Services, students, faculty, and other community members are all brought around the table (literally), building person-to-person connections for future collaborations around equity and collectively-identifying opportunities Student Services can take to build increasingly equitable support systems.
Follow-up Consultations: Coordinators present the media and a detailed report directly to Student Services Directors, and work with various stakeholders in Student Services to ensure the identified opportunities translate into achievable goals and implementation strategies. Additionally, the outputs of the process feed directly into ongoing and future educational initiatives, such as SEDE workshops, awareness-raising strategies, and other equity work on campus.