2023 Closing date – February 28 @ 11:59 PM
Back in 2020, the McMaster Okanagan Committee decided that a positive avenue for promoting health and well-being at McMaster would be through a special project fund. The special project fund allows staff, students and faculty to design and implement their own projects on campus to increase health and well-being dialogue, action and involvement at McMaster.
The McMaster Okanagan Committee is looking for unique, creative and impactful project proposals to improve the well-being of our campus and wider community. Applicants can apply for up to $5,000 in funding.
Looking for ideas? Look at the tabs above to see previously successful projects that received funding back in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Have questions? Look under our FAQ’s page at our extensive list of questions with answers. If you don’t see an answer to your question there, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Want to preview the questions before you apply? Click the button below to download a copy of the application questions. Do not fill out this document, as it is for reference only. You must complete the application through AwardForce.
MOSPF in the News
In 2022, the McMaster Okanagan Committee launched the third annual McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding competition. Students, staff and faculty were invited to apply for up to $5,000 in funding to launch their health and well-being project ideas. 11 projects were chosen and are currently underway.
You can learn more about each of this year’s ongoing projects below.
Information Box Group
AccessAble Workplace Accommodation Platform
AccessAble aims to increase accessibility and inclusion in the workplace. One of the greatest challenges that individuals with disabilities face is the process of requesting reasonable accommodation in the workplace. The process for requesting Reasonable Accommodation, as guaranteed by the Ontario Human Rights Code, is often quite long, different for each organization, and involves multiple stakeholders. This creates additional barriers for the individual, as well as added costs and productivity loss for organizations. Our project will redefine the reasonable accommodation process through a platform which streamlines this process to enable greater ease and efficiency.
AccessAble is a streamlined platform for providing workplace accommodations. It empowers greater accessibility for employees requesting accommodations. The current process is unregulated and exhausting for the companies that have it. And some companies do not have a formal process yet. Employees who seek accommodations could be people with temporary disabilities, permanent disabilities or invisible disabilities or people with general accommodation requests. Our solution looks to solve the problems associated with requesting accommodations from both the perspective of the employee and their employer. The end goal behind this project is to make the process of requesting accommodations easier, less convoluted, and therefore more accessible.
Coffee, Create & Connect - Therapeutic Art Group
Coffee, Create & Connect Therapeutic Art Group is a wellness option that helps support staff and faculty members who are feeling overwhelmed, burnout or struggling to find time for self-care.
This 5-session pilot program for staff will provide an open and relaxed space for you to reflect, decompress, and help build more meaningful connections with others.
Using a mix of mindfulness tools (meditations and art exercises), the program will help you to develop more compassion and empathy for yourself and help boost feelings of well-being.
No art experience or art skills required. An interest in mindfulness is helpful but not required. Previous Mac Mindfulness participants are welcome.
Dates & Times:
1st session – Online: August 3, 12-12:50pm
2nd session – Online: August 10, 12-12:50pm
3rd session – Online: August 17, 12-12:50pm
4th session – Online: August 24, 12-12:50pm
Final session (reunion): September 22, 10-11:15am
Location: Online with the possibility of an in-person final session.
Art material that you may want to have handy: Scissors, tape, pens and coloured pencils, crayons or pastels/chalk.* A creative journal will be provided.
These are closed sessions with space limited and capped at 15 participants. Commitment to the 5 sessions is encouraged and registration is required by completing the following: https://forms.office.com/r/LpTCZAEgjM
Empowered: A Black Male Support Group
Black students sometimes report feeling isolated on Canadian university campuses and for Black male students, that isolation can be heightened. Run by the BSSC, the Empowered program provides an opportunity for Black male students in any program and level of study to meet and build connections with one another. Through the program students will have the opportunity to participate in facilitated discussions about the impact of harmful stereotypes on their lives and share strategies for navigating them effectively.
Home-Cooked at Mac
Home-cooked at Mac is an initiative by the McMaster Student Wellness Centre, funded by the Okanagan Committee, that celebrates the diversity of our community through highlighting individuals and balanced dishes from cultures across the world. Home-cooked at Mac consists of a series of recipe instructional videos and corresponding articles that will be released monthly throughout the year. Accompanying the release of each recipe, meal kits are available to be picked up for participants to cook along.
The universal medium of food carries rich stories, memories, and emotions. By sharing these connections through authentic recipes, we hope to support community members in reconnecting with their culture or learning about new ones. We envision that Home-cooked at Mac can help build an inclusive and thriving community where all are afforded equitable opportunities to appreciate cultures through healthy, balanced dishes.
Library Sustainability Committee
We are aware that many members of the McMaster community have dearly missed the opportunity for in-person interaction over the past couple of years. As we continue to chart our way forward, the Library Sustainability Committee will be aiming to provide ample opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn and share new skills and engage with conceptualizations of sustainability together. Above all, our mission is to mirror and support McMaster University’s Sustainability Commitment. Our projects all dovetail with the Key Pillars of McMaster’s approach to sustainability: Natural Resources, Reducing Environmental Impact, and Student Learning and Research.
During the ‘22-’23 academic year, McMaster University Library’s Sustainability Committee will host monthly drop-in Repair Café sessions in the Thode Makerspace, along with other sustainability-related events in the library throughout the year. These events will provide an inclusive forum for adopting valuable repair skills; practicing waste diversion and resource sharing; learning more about sustainability research and projects by students, staff, and faculty; and connecting with members of the broader McMaster community. Library resources in support of sustainability-minded events and projects will be highlighted throughout the year, and opportunities to learn about reusing tech, engage in hands-on projects (e.g., building bat boxes), and participate in a reciprocal seed lending library will be facilitated.
McMaster Community Fridge
The McMaster Community Fridge is an outdoor fridge, freezer, and pantry that is accessible 24×7, located behind Mills library facing parking lot B. Students and other members of the McMaster and surrounding community can take food from the fridge for free at any time, or leave a donation if they are able.
Two in five Canadian university students experience some degree of food insecurity. The McMaster Community Fridge was created as a response to this need, taking inspiration from several community fridges started across Hamilton over the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to bring together the campus community in a spirit of mutual aid, and tackle the stigma associated with experiencing food insecurity.
The MCF began as a student-led project through the SUSTAIN courses, championed by the MSU Food Collective Centre and the Student Wellness Centre. Many different McMaster students and departments have come together to support this project in different ways, making this a truly collaborative campus-wide initiative.
Donations of fresh produce, packaged meals, frozen foods, pantry items, and toiletries are welcomed, and if folks aren’t able to make a food donation in person, the fridge also accepts monetary donations. To learn more and keep up with donation requests made by the community, follow the fridge on Instagram @McMasterCommunityFridge
Students, staff, and faculty are also welcomed to volunteer to help keep our campus community fridge running!
The volunteer application form can be found here: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=B2M3RCm0rUKMJSjNSW9HcnU9gd_xqGpFg94mZgNJXblUNDQ5MlY4QjVQNFdaMTYyRzU3U0NDTktLSS4u
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact email@example.com.
McMaster Community Garden
Too many of us are fundamentally out of touch with our relationship to the land and where our food comes form. Many of us also face various obstacles to accessing fresh healthy produce. As much as we may try to promote healthy eating though education and other programs, there is nothing like pulling a carrot out of the ground and composting the leftovers to change the way we think about food and our relationship with nature. According to FoodShare Toronto, “Those involved with community gardens are more likely to eat and continue in the off-season to eat more fruits and vegetables.” Community gardens are a site for connection, a place to form community, and a way to gain experience and skills (DeMuro, 2013). Currently located in the McMaster Teaching and Community Garden, the OPIRG Community Garden seeks to grow a thriving garden space where folks in need of fresh produce can access it, and all members of the McMaster community can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of gardening as well as the beauty of an urban garden. Students and faculty are welcome to volunteer at the garden, join the various workshops that are hosted, and harvest the fresh produce we grow.
OPIRG McMaster is a student-run organization that seeks to empower students and community members to take action on diverse social justice and environmental issues by providing funding, training, resources, and support.
Bring Your Own Bottle
The Bring Your Own Bottle initiative aims to reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles by encouraging the McMaster community to use the water bottle filling stations located throughout campus.
Current and Proposed Projects:
- Creation of an interactive map of water refill stations on McMaster’s Westdale campus
- Installation of signage throughout campus
- Communication to incoming residence students through Residence Life
- Hosting of events and engagement campaigns, such as an expert panel discussion and a plastic bottle free pledge
Click here to be redirected to the Bring Your Own Bottle website.
The Challenge Mindset: Expanding Career Possibilities
The nature of work today is fast-paced and ever-changing. Narrowing down career options isn’t always as easy as matching interests to a career. The Challenge Mindset encourages students to think creatively, foster connections between their interests, and consider options based on purpose and meaning. In this way, students can learn to grow and adapt to new environments and roles, better preparing them for the future of work.
The Digital Challenge Cards
You probably have questions about your future. We’ve got a tool to help!
The Soc Sci Drop By
Student wellness is intimately tied to a sense of community, and more than ever, people are seeking meaningful connections on campus. The Soc Sci Drop-By is a bi-monthly event for Social Science students to come together in a relaxed and social environment. Each event is organized around a different theme so come out and laugh, write letters to loved ones, roast smores over a campfire, win prizes, and more! Our goal is to foster a vibe that foregrounds relaxation, connection, and fun for all. As such, the Soc Sci Drop-By organizers are committed to creating a space that is free of racism, sexism, classism, queer and trans*phobia, ageism, and ableism. Drop-by for an opportunity to build friendships and have fun!
In 2021, the McMaster Okanagan Committee launched the second annual McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding competition. Students, staff and faculty were invited to apply for up to $5,000 in funding to launch their health and well-being project ideas. 12 projects were chosen and are currently underway.
Please note that due to the pandemic all 2021-22 projects were required to be virtual.
You can learn more about each of this year’s ongoing projects below.
Information Box Group
A Preventative and Proactive Approach to Employee Well-being During COVID-19
The pandemic has changed many aspects about how we work, including the kind of workplace well-being supports employees need. The need for virtual employee well-being programs has spiked, and the programs currently offered are more popular than ever. In order to meet the growing demand for new, creative, digital employee well-being programming, new initiatives will be implementing to enhance the work of the small employee well-being team. These resources will include monthly newsletters on timely health topics, e-campaigns, virtual wellness webinars for employees and their family members, digital educational materials and virtual monthly individual and team wellness challenges.
Comparing open-access programs to mitigate student stress: Experiences of students and instructors
Levels of stress and anxiety in Canadian undergraduate students have increased in recent years (Booth, Sharma, & Leader, 2015). A survey by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (2020) suggests the stress typically experienced by undergraduate students has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, students need strategies to succeed in stressful academic situations.
In the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, Drs. Ayesha Khan, Michael Wong (McMaster University), and Dr. Heather Poole (University of Ottawa) plan to implement various open-access mental health and academic resources into their undergraduate courses to support students. These include elements from  Growth and Goals Modules (http://www.flynnresearchgroup.com),  Guided Mindfulness and Relaxation Exercises (https://wellness.mcmaster.ca), and  Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review Method (https://www.khanacademy.org). Currently the team is reviewing these tools because they are all open-access; have benefits for the student experience; and can be implemented in large-enrollment, online, and face-to-face classes.
The project aims to bring mental health and academic support directly to students by embedding a menu of open-access mental health and academic resources into academic courses. If the project is successful, it may offer a promising avenue to support students on a larger scale and reach students who may not otherwise seek campus resources.
Learning in Colour
This project intends to build upon work initiated by United in Colour, a student-led peer support group for Black, Indigenous, and students of colour in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. After collecting and analyzing data through dialogues and focus groups with racialized students about their experiences over the past few years, this project aims to develop an informed series of webinars on creating safety in the classroom that could be integrated into a variety of course outlines and formats across the academic institution. These webinars would intend to establish standards of engagement in discussion-based courses by including dialogues around tokenism, intent versus impact, and how students can check in with each other and their instructors to facilitate safer spaces. The overall goal of this project is to create an interactive webinar that (1) integrates the perspectives and ideas of marginalized students and (2) supports instructors, TAs, and students in initiating conversations about how the classroom can be a safer learning environment for everyone. To view the project’s website: https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/learning-in-colour
Creative Writing for Mental Wellbeing among Youth
“Writing is not life, but I think it can be a way back to life”. – Stephen King
Mental wellbeing is one of the most important pillars of health. However, the ongoing pandemic, which has greatly threatened our physical health, has also negatively impacted our mental health. The studies and polls that have been conducted during COVID-19 highlight the progressively increasing stress levels and worsening mental health statuses of the Canadian population, especially that of the youth. Thus, maintaining a good mental state during this period of isolation, unrest, and uncertainty is very important. As we all know, some activities and practices that can be utilized for this purpose are journaling, meditation, and exercise. However, in recent years, creative writing has also garnered attention as an exciting and innovative approach to managing stress and cultivating the wellbeing of the mind. This is in part because it provides a creative way forward to self-expression, reflection, and exploration.
As such, this project will provide a platform for the McMaster community to reflect and express their thoughts and feelings through creative formats. This can include formats like short stories, drabbles, poems, proses, haikus, songs, and accompanying artwork. The Mighty Networks platform that will be created for this project will allow all interested students to actively participate in learning and exploring the topic of creative self-expression for the purposes of mental wellbeing. Additionally, to provide a scientific basis for this project and encourage further discussion, the website will also provide information about the latest research and published works that address the therapeutic uses of creative writing. The goal of this project is to thus, encourage all of us to dive deep into our minds and use creative writing as a tool that fosters self-expression, self-exploration, and self-growth.
Disclaimer: This is not for therapeutic purposes nor a substitute for any form of treatment. This is a community for students to come together and share in their love for creative self-expression and self-discovery.
To join the community, access the link below: https://creative-writing-for-mental-wellbeing.mn.co/share/9yw6N1G25Hzj6M8h?utm_source=manual
Cultivating Change: A Food Collective Centre Webseries
Cultivating Change: A Food Collective Centre Webseries is a monthly webinar series that will be hosted on the FCC’s website for the 2021-22 school year. The series will address systemic issues of food security, sustainability, and sovereignty through a variety of community speakers and workshop leaders. Cultivating Change aims to raise awareness about the larger inequities of the food system beyond the short-term food services that the FCC typically provides. The series comprises recorded educational videos, each accompanied by a free-to-attend, interactive workshop offered to the McMaster community. The live workshops will teach tangible skills and actions corresponding to that month’s topic of interest: for example, growing and cultivating your own food, anti-black and anti-Indigenous racism in the food system, and the intersection between climate change and food insecurity.
Host Your Own Book Club (Pilot)
The Health Sciences Library will be piloting a campus employee book club, Host Your Own Book Club. The book club will focus on topics in equity, diversity and inclusion. Each kit will include multiple copies of a single book title, appropriate packaging for transport, and materials for facilitated group discussion. Audio and large print copies will be purchased as needed to ensure materials are accessible for all participants. The project planners, in consultation with stakeholders, will select titles representing a cross-section of diverse voices and cultural experiences. Fiction and non-fiction titles will be included. This project aims to provide employee groups with opportunities to come together to explore complex issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in a safe peer-to-peer learning environment. Books will be selected specifically to uphold the priorities of the Okanagan Charter and careful attention will be paid to employee wellness. Library staff will be available to assist employee groups with organizing events and if requested, attend sessions and help facilitate discussions. After the first year, the project will be evaluated. If successful, the project will continue and more titles will be added.
Description coming soon.
McMaster PACE Move Well Program for Students, Staff and Faculty
Thanks to support from the McMaster Okanagan Charter, McMaster PACE will offer FREE exercise and wellness classes for McMaster faculty, staff, and students all summer long! Our team of highly trained and qualified health care professionals will provide classes that focus on strength and aerobic training, mindfulness practice, and “desktivity” breaks for improving home office health.
The McMaster PACE ‘Move Well Program’ aims to promote and elicit positive health behaviour change among McMaster students, faculty, and staff. Increased physical activity, stress reduction, and social support can help to make McMaster learners and workers both healthier and more effective. The program supports the Okanagan Charter’s holistic integration of multiple health dimensions and aims to have a positive impact on participants’ daily lives.
Participation in the program will be entirely virtual: students, staff, and faculty will enroll and participate online, receiving weekly schedules and links to join via email. Free exercise and wellness classes will be provided by Registered Kinesiologists and Physiotherapists using McMaster-licensed Zoom accounts. Our plan is to reach McMaster folks who are working and learning from home, right where they are: in their desk chairs!
Register here: https://forms.office.com/r/Ft5k6XCV8Y and get moving with us starting June 7, 2021.
McMaster Speak-Up Advocacy and Allyship: Framework for Engagement against Racism (SAAFER) Initiative
We are excited to announce to launch of the McMaster Speak-up Advocacy and Allyship: Framework for Engagement against Racism (SAAFER) Initiative. This initiative is funded by the McMaster Okanagan Special Projects Fund and aimed at Faculty of Health Sciences learners, staff, and faculty to recognize and speak up against racism and discrimination. There is extensive research demonstrating the damaging effects of racism and discrimination on the psychological and physical health of Black, Indigenous, and other Persons of Colour (BIPOC individuals). Racism reduces the quality of care provided and contributes to health outcome inequities. It also creates unsafe environments for learners, trainees, and healthcare professionals. This inaugural skills-building and issue-focused workshop series will be offered to students of the Faculty of Health Sciences programs. Our goal is to enhance participants’ confidence in their ability to recognize and combat structural racism at individual, community, and institutional levels through the use of effective communication strategies and institutional resources. This program ultimately aims to promote the emotional health and wellbeing of patients, students and staff by empowering BIPOC students and staff as well as allies to voice any concerns regarding witnessed racism or discrimination with knowledge of how to communicate safely and effectively.
Mindful Self-Compassion – (Short Course) * (SC-MSC)
Mindful Self-Compassion – (Short Course) * (SC-MSC) is for McMaster University employees who are in a helping professional role or a role in which you directly support students who wish to add another skill to the self-care toolkit.
MSC-SC is an empirically-supported training program that combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing.
Participant Eligibility: Must be in a role in which you support students. Must have approval from supervisor to participate in the entire program. Must be a current employee of McMaster University.
Registration: Maximum of 23 participants in an online version adapted version of the course. Staff must register (1st come, first serve basis) to reserve their spot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the session commences, the group is closed to new registrants.
- What is Self Compassion? Tues. Sept. 14th, 3:00pm-4:30pm
- Practicing Self Compassion Tues. Sept. 21st, 3:00pm-4:30pm
- Discovering your Compassionate Voice Tues. Sept. 28th, 3:00pm-4:30pm
- Self-Compassion and Resilience Tues. Oct. 5th, 3:00pm-4:30pm
- Self Compassion and Burnout Tues. Oct. 12th, 3:00pm-4:30pm
- Making it Count Tues. Oct. 19th, 3:00pm-4:30pm
- Retreat Sat., Oct. 2nd, 9:00am-11:30am
Return to on-campus work training
Fostering a Psychologically Safe Workplace Throughout the Transition to a Hybrid Work Environment
As the economy re-opens and we contemplate an increased presence of workers on campus, we understand that some employees may experience feelings of anxiety, fear, stress or overwhelm. Anxiety and apprehension about returning to previous or new ways of working and engaging with others is natural and expected. One way that we can support the psychological health and well-being of our employees is by preparing managers and supervisors with the skills to effectively support and assist their teams with the transition to a hybrid workforce – where some employees will work on-site, while others will continue to work remotely, in some capacity. Through education sessions and resources, leaders will enhance their understanding of the personal and environmental factors that can have an impact on employees’ mental health during times of change and uncertainty, and gain valuable tips and tools for navigating a changing workplace in ways that promote psychological well-being at McMaster
MOSPF Projects 2020
In 2020, the McMaster Okanagan Committee launched the first annual McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding competition. Students, staff and faculty were invited to apply for up to $5,000 in funding to launch their health and well-being project ideas. We received over 50 applications and 11 projects were chosen.
Note that due to the pandemic some of the 2020 projects were given time extensions to complete their project.
Please click on a project below to read more about the project and its outcomes.
Information Box Group
Proactive Wellness: Online Group Music Therapy PhD Student Rachael Finnerty, Supervisor Dr. Laurel Trainor
MOSPF provided funds to bring online group music therapy to McMaster University undergraduate students as a means to proactively manage stress and anxiety. As of October 2020, online group music therapy became a proactive wellness option and data has been collected to explore its efficacy in managing stress and anxiety.
Project Performance and Outcome
The project has successfully made online group music therapy available to undergraduate students at McMaster University.The sessions were delivered online opposed to the original application which proposed in-person group music therapy. Online group music therapy has been provided to a total of 26 undergraduate students, and a total of 22 online group music therapy sessions have been facilitated. A total of 11 online verbal therapy groups were facilitated as part of this project. As a result of funding later received from the Milne McGrath Hamilton Community Foundation, we were able to cover additional costs and the cost of the analysis of the cortisol. Data collected from students in the music therapy groups were compared to data from the standard of care and to 12 students in a control group (no interventions). Our preliminary results thus far indicate that online group music therapy reduces the experience of stress and anxiety as measured by standardized psychometric tools and cortisol. Additionally, attendance was the highest in the music therapy groups in comparison to the verbal-based groups.
We are grateful for the support of McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding. As students transition back to campus, and we continue to navigate the fall out of the pandemic, proactive mental health supports will continue be paramount.We plan to continue offering online group music therapy in the Summer and Fall semester, 2021 and to continue gathering data.
Financial Reality Expo
The Student Success Centre and Mac’s Money Centre hosted a Financial Reality Expo as part of Financial Literacy Month in November. The objective of this event is to educate students about financial planning, including issues such as budgeting, credit, identity theft prevention, investing, saving, student loans, financial aid, awards and more.
- Financial Wellness Webinars: Finding Ways to Save, Coping with Financial Stress, How to Deal with Debt, How to Build a Strong Credit Score, How to Use Credit Cards Effectively.
- Money, You and COVID-19 (Instagram Live): November 12, 11:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Instagram Live on @MacSSC hosted a candid conversation to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted your finances over the past eight months. What have been some of the challenges? What have we learned about our relationship with money? Our guest host, Rubina Ahmed-Haq, personal finance expert and news personality, will answered questions live and helped us discover how we can improve our relationship with money.
- Financial Goals for 2021 January 7, 11:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Instagram Live on @MacSSC with guest Rubina Ahmed-Haq, personal finance expert and news personality talking about all the ways to deal with holiday debt and how students (and all of us) can better manage our money in 2021.
Project Performance and Outcome
Events supported student health by providing students with resources to reduce financial stress and gain confidence in their financial decision-making skills. The project saw 39 attendees.
Grad-Visory-Participatory Action Team for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Graduate School
The Grad-Visory-Participatory Action Team for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Graduate School’s goal was to organize a stakeholder advisory group with/of/and for graduate students with disabilities and other diverse, intersecting identities. The ‘Grad-Visory’ intended to build community and mobilize change by informing equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies and student experience programming. The group collectively produced a set of Five Key Take-Aways and Action Steps to support the university’s EDI implementation strategy, which summarizes the primary concerns, perspective, and recommendations from the graduate students involved.
Health Walks and Talks for the McMaster Community
Just Walk: Hamilton-Burlington is a not-for-profit McMaster led community walking program led by local healthcare professionals and McMaster University staff and students. Since September of 2018, Just Walk has facilitated free, fun, and supervised weekly walk events in both Hamilton and Burlington, where each walk begins with a an informative 5-minute health-related discussion delivered by a healthcare professional, followed by a walk led by student volunteers. By pairing health education with supervised walking opportunities, Just Walk: Hamilton-Burlington aims to make credible health information and safe opportunities to exercise more accessible to individuals living in our area.
The McMaster Okanagan Special Project Fund was able to provide money towards the creation of McMaster hosted website for our Just Walk program.
The Just Walk website as a stand-alone resource has allowed us to get information out to the McMaster community and the public regarding the befits of active living; and specifically walking and hiking. However, since the COVID virus restrictions were initiated in March 2020 we have been unable to plan and host walks and hikes.
McMaster Student Sustainability Ambassadors Program
The Student Sustainability Ambassadors Program (SSAP) was born in January 2020 when it was identified that McMaster student sustainability initiatives co-exist in silos.Through funding from the Okanagan Special Project Fund, SSAP was developed jointly by Hospitality Services and the Academic Sustainability Programs (ASP) Office. The mission of SSAP is to support student leadership, action, experiential learning, personal and professional development, and collaboration focused on sustainability.To achieve this mission,SSAP provides a virtual platform (a private Facebook group) where students can come to connect, collaborate, share and gain resources, and grow as sustainability leaders in their communities.
To learn more about the program, click here.
McMaster University Library Sustainability Committee
During the ‘20-’21 academic year, McMaster University Library’s Sustainability Committee hosted monthly events with the goal of involving our campus community in learning about and taking action to live more sustainably. These virtual events were a way to meet new people and connect with the McMaster community, even when we could not physically be on campus. We offered opportunities to learn about Indigenous environmental activists in Canada, practice habits for sustainable lifestyles, to learn about historical conceptualizations of environmental action, and learned about the impact of growing a native plant garden, as well as taught participants how to get started with their new seed packets.
Project Performance and Outcome
Our goal was to provide opportunities to learn about sustainability and climate change, and through highlighting library resources such as documentaries, experts ranging from professors, archivists, and PhD candidates, through live workshops and events as well as through the creation of resources that could be interacted with at participants leisure though social media, library guides, and more, we met our goal.
Music- The Neglected and Forgotten Pillar of Mental Health
Resident Affairs and Concerts in Care Ontario joined forces create a series of professional development events under the banner “Music – The Forgotten Pillar of Mental Health.” Dr. John Miller of McMaster Resident Affairs developed the concept to address ongoing stress and mental health issues among his constituents.
- To expose the medical community and especially resident learners to the concept that music has a central role in our social network, our social growth and fundamental as to how we communicate. Music has an impact on our mental health, our trust, our memory, and our mood.
- To develop a model for future interaction amongst involved partners promoting research and interest in this field.
The concert-lecture format was chosen to showcase both expert speakers and select musicians who would work together to demonstrate current strategies that combine music and medicine.
The series was to take place in person, in both McMaster’s LiveLab and in clinical settings in the Spring 2020. Covid-19 ended that prospect. However, five concert-lectures were presented online via Zoom in November 2020 and February-March 2021. Three of the concert-lectures were recorded and are posted on both the Concerts in Care Ontario website and on the PGME- Residents’ Affairs website
Speakers and musicians reported positive experiences and excellent learning, and the series took advantage of new technology to overcome restrictions on musicians performing in the same space with each other and speakers working simultaneously.
Project Performance and Outcome
This pilot project successfully presented 5 aspects of music as a pillar of mental health. Expert leaders in the field discussed their clinical programs where music had been integrated into patient care programs.
We drew on our personal and professional connections to bring together presenters from provincial and national programs, as well as talented well-known musicians who worked well with the presenters to create a musical setting for a broad exchange of ideas and discussion. The sessions offered personal experience for the residents, as the experts shared how they had created programs for communities and for clinical environments.
Supporting Active Transportation at McMaster University
The project was designed to encourage and support students, staff, and faculty in adopting an active and sustainable transport mode for trips connecting McMaster, surrounding neighbourhoods, and other Hamilton destinations. The project was led by McMaster’s Multi-Modal Transportation Advisory Committee which is comprised of a broad range of campus stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff representatives, and community partners. The Committee’s aim is to encourage active and sustainable mobility among students, faculty, and staff through education, programming, and policy change.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered programming on campus, with the suspension of in-person non-essential or extracurricular activities being in place as of March 2020. Furthermore, few students were living on or near campus since both terms had complete remote learning.
Project Performance and Outcome
Most of the project’s intended goals were successfully achieved. It is important to note that these goals are multiyear and ongoing. MOSPF enabled the Multi-Modal Transportation Advisory Committee to accomplish important progress towards promoting active and sustainable travel at McMaster, which laid the foundation for continued work in years to come.
Create and disseminate an active transportation map: The Multi-Modal Transportation Advisory Committee’s Vice-Chair (Elise Desjardins) mentored a student group through SUSTAIN 3S03: Implementing Sustainable Change. The students surveyed other students to identify popular destinations that students want to reach by bicycle. They then developed several online cycle maps to those destinations through Ride With GPS, which are featured on the Student Wellness Centre’s website.
Revitalize an active transportation website as a hub of information and resources: Information and resources related to active transportation is scarce on McMaster’s webpages. Therefore, the Multi-Modal Transportation Advisory Committee identified a need for a “one-stop shop” where students, faculty, and staff could access information about cycling. The website was developed using MOSPF and features a variety of topics related to cycling (e.g., benefits, safety, bike handling, cycle routes and maps, and local/provincial resources). The online hub is currently featured on the Student Wellness Centre’s website.
Offer cycling education programming: The project completed one virtual bike repair session with New Hope Community Bikes in November 2020. This workshop helped 7 students develop knowledge for ongoing bike maintenance. We also offered a subsidy for bike tools, which 1 student purchased. Although attendance was significantly lower than outlined in the initial application, the Multi-Modal Transportation Advisory Committee was impressed by interest in this virtual session given that most students were not located in Hamilton over the past year or were not cycling regularly.
Supporting Transition in Healthcare at McMaster - Learn More
Further details coming soon.
Special Project Funding FAQ’s
Below is a list of FAQ’s about the application process and general expectations of the McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding. If you have any further questions feel free to email us at email@example.com.
The Okanagan Charter resulted from the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges in Kelowna, British Columbia. The charter was crafted by representatives from education and health institutions from 45 countries, and the World Health Organization.
The purpose of that meeting was to create a plan for how to improve global health and well-being. This led to the understanding that in order to improve the world, we should start with postsecondary institutions. This led to the creation of the Okanagan Charter and its calls to action.
The Okanagan Charter calls to action are:
- Embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations, and academic mandates.
- 1 Embed health in all campus policies.
- 2 Create supportive campus environments.
- 3 Generate thriving communities and a culture of well-being.
- 4 Support personal development.
- 5 Create or re-orient campus services.
- Lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.
- 1 Integrate health, well-being and sustainability in multiple disciplines to develop change agents.
- 2 Advance research, teaching and training for health promotion knowledge and action.
- 3 Lead and partner towards local and global action for health
In 2017, McMaster University signed the Okanagan Charter. The university has developed the McMaster Okanagan Committee, which is a group of individuals from across campus dedicated to enhance health and well-being at McMaster University.
If you would like to read the full charter, click here.
In recognition to the importance of health and well-being in higher education, the McMaster Okanagan Committee has developed the McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding. The purpose of this fund is to encourage creative and impactful projects focused on health and well-being to benefit McMaster students, staff and faculty.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as temporary efforts to create value through unique products, services, and processes.
The McMaster Okanagan Committee encourages creative and out-of-the box thinking when it comes to new health and well-being initiatives. We do not want to limit any ideas. It is important to notice, though, that all projects from the McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding must be:
- Intended for members of the McMaster community as the target audience (can also benefit others but the McMaster community has to benefit)
- Managed by a current McMaster student, staff or faculty member
Also, projects cannot be:
- Part of a research study
If you are concerned if your idea might not fit, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your idea.
Applicants are responsible for all areas of development and operation of the project. The McMaster Okanagan Committee will provide guidance when required but ultimately the day-to-day function of the project will lie with the applicant(s).
Each project must have at least one active student, staff or faculty member to act as the contact person throughout the life of the project. Graduating students may be part of the application process but the contact person must be a currently enrolled student (full or part-time).
We encourage creative and impactful ideas. Below are some examples of projects that you may be thinking of:
- More benches / picnic tables / Yellow benches
- Meditation rooms on campus
- Yoga class in downtown Hamilton
- Hire a student to help develop a new well-being initiative
If you are looking at a hosting a conference / talk we encourage you to look at utilizing on of the many McMaster experts available before bringing in a speaker outside of McMaster.
Please explore the above tabs to read what projects were funded in 2020, 2021 and 2022 for further inspiration.
The McMaster Okanagan Committee believes that all areas of our daily lives influence our health and well-being. People often think of well-being as simply physical or mental health but there is much more to sustaining ones well-being. Well-being is a holistic integration of physical, mental, social, and environmental health.
For that reason, the McMaster Okanagan Committee has adopted the use of The Eight Dimensions of Well-being for the classification of our health and well-being programs, services, and educational opportunities.
The eight dimensions include physical, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual, financial, environmental and occupational.
In your application you will be required to choose up to 3 dimensions that you would like your project to be reviewed under.
We want to ensure that the selected projects are representative of the vast array of well-being. Therefore, applications must indicate what dimensions it would like to be assessed under. Each project can choose up to 3 dimensions.
All current McMaster students, staff and faculty members are eligible to apply. Applications can be submitted by groups or individuals.
NOTE: If you are a student graduating or an employee leaving the year of your project application, you must have a plan for who will take over the project in your absence. Let us know this in your application.
The application form is run through the Award Force software. Applications will only be accepted online through this website.
Applications must be completed online through AwardForce.
Funding is available up to $5,000 per project. Projects must submit a detailed budget request along with the application outlining how the funds will be used.
Expenses that will NOT be approved for McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding include and are not limited to:
- Staff or faculty salaries
- Primary research costs
- Small equipment purchases that are not ergonomically safe or effective
- Office renovations, office furniture, artwork
- The purchase of stereo or electronic equipment for entertainment purposes
- Individual monetary reimbursements for gym memberships/ fitness classes/ assessments
- Charitable donations
- Alcohol or illicit substances
- Any expenses not directly related to the project
If you are still unsure if your expense will be covered, email us at email@example.com.
There is no limit to the number of applications an individual or group is allowed to submit. However, each project must have its own application.
Yes, every applicant can re-apply the following year when the application re-opens. Applicants can re-apply with the same project but the McMaster Okanagan Committee recommends applying with a new project.
Funds will be transferred to a project-specific account via Mosaic.
All projects will be required to submit an end-of-project report and financial report. Applicants will be given a three-month time period to submit their final project report after their project ends.
Application Opens: January 9, 2023
Application Closes: Feb 28, 2023 @11:59pm
Evaluation Period: March 2023
Results Released: Spring 2023
Once approved, the projects from the McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding will have 12 months to develop their activities. If necessary, extensions can be negotiated case by case.
Any questions regarding the McMaster Okanagan Special Project Funding can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Project Funding Testimonials
Unsure about applying? Watch/listen to the below testimonials from previous funding recipients for inspiration!