Working Group Year End Report 2011-12

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WORKING(GROUP(YEAR(END( REPORT(201132012( Ontario(Public(Interest(Research(Group(McMaster( prepared(by(Randy(Kay,(Coordinator(of(Volunteers(


WORKING(GROUP(REPORTS( 1. Adaptive Design 2. Community Volunteer Action 3. Food For Life 4. Freeskool 5. Guatemala 6. Hamilton Students Community Initiative 7. Hamilton Students for Social Justice 8. Hamilton Womyn’s Bike Collective 9. Just Stop 10. McMaster First Nations Student Association 11. McMaster Initiative for Water 12. Threadwork

No(Report(Filed(

1. 2. 3. 4.

Body Equity Hamilton Haiti Action Committee McMaster Green Roof Initiative Save More Students

Appendix( • Working Group Year End Survey Results

NOTE(FROM(OPIRG(McMaster(COORDINATOR(OF(VOLUNTEERS( Each year OPIRG McMaster invites applications for volunteer Working Groups on issues of concern in the public interest, with a focus on the environment and social justice, and each year we are rewarded with fresh ideas and approaches to many of the issues facing society. OPIRG McMaster is a place where ideas and action combine, and by working together, students and community members can make contributions based on


flexible time-commitments, but always in a supportive atmosphere of consensus based decision making, and anti-oppressive organizing. Working groups benefit from diversity, as volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds and programmes come together to work for the greater good. OPIRG McMaster provides support in the way of finances, and by providing room booking and advertising for each group’s initiatives. We also have infrastructure to enlarge their impact, from a data projector to a buttonmaker, but OPIRG also connects students at the campus to the wider community, using an established network of contacts with agencies and other community groups. Each year we have Working Groups who succeed in holding numerous events and achieve a level of success that other groups strive after, and every year there are groups who struggle to make headway. This is a fact of life in the world of competing interests, and demands on our attention. Yet persistence can bring rewards, as groups learn from mistakes, and importantly, from each other in periodic Working Group networking meetings. The report that follows is an insight into the process based on a year’s experience, with some groups finding their way in their first year of working group status, and others with several years as a returning working group. You will see, through it all, the energy and spirit of cooperation that makes me proud to be part of OPIRG McMaster’s ever increasing circle of influence.

Randy Kay August, 2012





Community Volunteer Action 20112012 End of Term Report For

OPIRG McMaster

New Working Group Contacts: Name

Email Address

Position in CVA

Student or Community Member Student Community Member Student Student

Laura Crump lauravcrump@gmail.com Facilitator 2012-2013 CVA cva@mcmaster.ca CVA Intern Intern (TBA) Camilla Emmanuel camillae6@gmail.com Facilitator 2012-2013 CVA cvaadminassist@gmail.com CVA Work-Study Programs Assistant programs assistant (TBA) List of Meetings: 6 Bi-Weekly Meetings for Facilitator Development each term (CRAFT-Creative Reflection and Facilitation Team) o Offered 3 sessions per week for facilitators to attend (36 options throughout the year) – each facilitator required to attend one of three meetings, bi-weekly o Average attendance rate of 87% overall o 40-50 student facilitators participating at each session series throughout the year Event Planning Meetings throughout the year (description of events listed below) Weekly Groups: 32 Weekly Groups at 13 different agencies Over 300 students volunteering weekly Student facilitators lead 15 minutes of reflection after every service experience to help volunteers improve their service, to reflect on why their service is needed and how it connects to larger societal issues and structures.


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 Placement

Description

Day/Time

Adventures in Art

Mentor Gr 6-9 students as they explore and create with a wide variety of art forms

Thurs. 6-8:30pm

Afterschool program (Eva Rothwell Resource Centre)

Help facilitate the afterschool program for children aged 5 to 13.

Mon. 4-6:30pm Wed. 4-6:30pm

Thurs.4-6:30pm

Fri, 4-6:30pm Homework Help at Eva Rothwell

Help students from a variety of grades and backgrounds with homework.

Tuesdays 5-7pm

Bennetto Public School

Help teacher in classroom, working 1-1 or in groups. May also choose to help with class prep and admin

Thurs. 1:00-3:40pm

Dr. Davey Breakfast Program (Beasley Community Centre)

Engage children in positive conversation during breakfast, teaching respect, playing games, helping with cooking and clean up

Tues. 8:00 – 10:30am Wed. 8:00 – 10:30am

Thurs. 8:00 – 10:30am

Fri. 8:00 – 10:30am

Conway Opportunity Homes

Interact with people living with developmental disabilities

Reading Buddies- Gaming and Literacy – Frontier College

Read with high risk children and youth , one on one and/or in groups, and incorporate literacy video games into the activities.

Inasmuch Women’s Shelter

Facilitate crafts, games, and movies for infants and children

Friday, 1:30-4:00pm

Tues. 3:30-5:30pm

Mon. 6-8:15pm


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 Fri 6:00-8:15pm LAF(Learning and Fun) Afterschool Program (Welcome Inn)

Work with at risk kids in small groups and one-on-one using creative and fun tools to teach academics Choose from Mon-Thurs (3pm–5:30pm)

Mon: Gr. 1-4

Tues: Gr. 5-8

Wed: Gr. 1-4

Thurs: Gr. 5-8 Drop In Afterschool program with LAF

Interact and play games during a drop in program for students of the LAF program.

Fri: 3-5:30pm

Community Gathering (ON March of Dimes)

Assist adults with physical disabilities in a community gathering group to communicate and interact while providing a support setting. Help plan activities.

Mon. 1:30-3:45pm

Homework Help Club (YMCA)*

Provide assistance to recent immigrant youth while completing their homework. Interact with youth and respond to their needs as required.

Tues. 4:00-6:15pm

Thur. 4:00-6:15pm

Pathways to Education (North Hamilton Community Health Centre)

Provide academic tutoring/role-modeling to Gr. 9 students in a group environment where learning (through homework, projects, and other avenues) is preserved and appreciated.

Tues. 5:00-8:15pm

Peer Support Program (ON March of Dimes)

Assist adults with physical disabilities (using augmentative and alternative communication devices), learn skills as a communication facilitator

Thurs. 1:30-3:45pm

Family Night (Eva Rothwell)

Play games, engage in crafts or sports, provide movie and snacks for the whole family

Mon. 6:15-8:30pm

Soup & Staff at Wesley

Help work in a soup kitchen to prepare lunch, as well staff the employment office.

Thurs, 10:00-12:15pm

Thurs. 5:00-8:15pm


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 Seniors Program, Welcome Inn*

Help organize and prepare/serve lunch for seniors at Welcome Inn. Socialize/get involved and help set up/clean up the afternoon activity

Tuesdays, 11:45am-2:15pm (Group size, 4 people including facilitator)

HARRRP Afterschool Program*

Help facilitate an afterschool program for youth in grades 68. Act as a positive role model, friend and mentor to the youth. Participate in activities such as crafts, sports, cooking, etc.

Mondays, 3:00-6:15pm (Group size: 4-6 including facilitator) – Jamesville

Shalom Village, Visiting and Assisting with Seniors*

Visiting with residents, taking them for tea/coffee, assisting during mealtimes (with feeding), reminiscing with residents, organizing games, cards, etc.

Wednesdays from 4:00-6:15pm

Youth Reflection, Bereaved Families of Ontario**

Help facilitate children and youth discussion groups as young participants discuss and deal with loss

Fridays from 6:00-8:15pm

Mondays, 3:00-6:15pm (Group size: 4-6 including facilitator) – Dr Davey

*Yellow represents new volunteer groups added to roster this year (2011-2012) **Purple represents potential volunteer groups being added to roster for next year (2012-2013)

Overview of All Work throughout Budget Year: As always, CVA had a very busy year and was involved in planning a number of different events, while also focusing on volunteer recruitment, coordinating weekly groups of students to volunteer at local social agencies, guiding students in reflecting on social issues, and strengthening relations with the community/volunteer agencies. The following is a list of events/activity descriptions as completed by CVA throughout this budget year (Please note: each event was advertised for in a similar manner – using social media, OPIRG/McMaster events calendars, posters, RIS screens, CVA weekly emails, word of mouth): Recruitment Events

Volunteer Fairs (3 events over 2 terms) At the beginning of each term, CVA hosts drop in Volunteer Fairs in order to recruit volunteers for our weekly groups. This year, we held 2 volunteer fairs in September 2011 and 1 in January 2012. Approximately 250 people attended over both terms. McMaster Volunteer Fair (2 day event) Planned and hosted a 2 day Volunteer Fair in collaboration with Student Success Center, Volunteer Hamilton, and Experiential Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences. These Volunteer Fairs brought over 60 agencies to campus to expose nd students to volunteer opportunities in the community. The 2 day was also the startup of the McMaster United Way Campaign, drawing McMaster staff and faculty to the event. Clubsfest (September 2011) During Welcome Week, Clubsfest was an excellent opportunity for recruitment, expanding our mailing list, and raising awareness about CVA Pirgtopia Participated in PIRGTOPIA in first and second term; visited by numerous students throughout each event Facilitator Recruitment/Orientation In both first and second term, it is necessary to replenish our group of facilitators with new students interested in facilitating CVA volunteer groups – we held


Community Volunteer Action 20112012

Awareness Events

Appreciation Events

Other Activities/Events

recruitment/training events in both December and April for interested students (attended by approximately 30 people over both terms) Tech Free Day, October 2011 Hosted by CVA, in partnership with Open Circle and Cootes Paradise Club – this was an all day event which was aimed at raising awareness about society’s reliance on technology. Planning committee (consisting of CVA, Open Circle and Cootes Paradise members) met weekly for about a month in order to plan this event. We offered a tech free space where students could engage in other activities (games, writing workshops, cupcake decorating, etc.) and planned workshops (discussion about technology in society, yoga, etc.), to ‘unplug’ from other distractions and reconnect with the world around them (attended by approximately 40 people throughout the day) Tech Free Weekly Zone (weekly from September 2011-March 2012) This is a weekly zone which is planned in partnership with Open Circle – offering a tech free zone every Thursday for 2 hours. Forwarding the same vision as Tech Free Day on a weekly basis Good Food Cooking Workshop (November 2011) Planned in partnership with Open Circle, this event allowed students to take a trip to the Jackson Square Farmer’s Market to learn to shop locally for cheap and healthy items. Then, using the items purchased at the market, students were invited to learn how to cook a healthy meal. (This event was attended by 10 people) Climate Change Documentary Discussion (February 2012) Planned in partnership with Open Circle, this event offered students the opportunity to view a few short documentaries relating to issues of climate change and food security. Documentary viewings were followed by an educational discussion about similar topics. (This event was attended by 8 people.) Volunteer-a-thon (March 2012) Took place on March 10, 2012 as an all day, volunteering event. The CVA planning committee, working in partnership with Open Circle members, met bi-weekly for about 2 months in order to plan this event. To prepare and raise money for the charity, Student Open Circles, we tabled in the MUSC Atrium, held a bake sale, and collected sponsors in the Westdale and downtown Hamilton neighbourhoods. This event encouraged students to get out in the community and help out a number of not-for-profit (NFP) organizations while also helping to raise money for a local charity. Volunteering mostly consisted of manual labour and maintenance jobs which many NFP’s are unable to keep up with due to budget constraints or lack of staff. This event allowed us to strengthen relationships with NFP agencies in Hamilton and also build new connections. (This event was attended by 12 people). Drop-in CVA End of Term Party/Volunteer Appreciation One event held each term in order to thank our volunteers for all the hard work they put in each week (These events were attended by approximately 30 people over both terms) CVA Volunteer Orientation Held in September of 2011, the CVA volunteer orientation was held as an opportunity to introduce new volunteers to their group facilitators while also providing more detailed information regarding CVA’s vision/values/etc. (This event was attended by approximately 50-60 people) Facilitator Training Meetings (12) Meetings held bi-weekly (6 per term) to address any issue/concerns CVA group


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 student facilitators may be having with their volunteer group; train in leadership, consensus based decision making, and reflection skills, plan events, introduce facilitators to social justice issues. etc. This year we brought in guest speakers on Poverty in Hamilton and on Local Human Trafficking. (These meetings are attended by 40-50 facilitators on a bi-weekly basis) Study Space Planned in partnership with Open Circle and St Paul’s Church. The study space is available for 2 weeks each term during the exam period. It provides students with a safe, quiet and comfortable place to study off campus and also provides free snacks/beverages such as fair trade coffee/tea, home baked goods, etc. (This event was attended by approximately 80-90 people over 2 terms) Newsletters CVA writes and compiles a newsletter each semester allowing CVA participants the opportunity to talk about their experiences with CVA groups, learn about CVA activities and events, and to discuss socio-economic/social justice issues in Hamilton CVA Weekly Email One email sent each week to our mailing list to keep our members updated and informed about CVA events, groups in need of volunteers, etc. Volunteer Group Development This year CVA welcomed 3 new agencies and 6 new volunteer groups to our roster reaching out to new demographics and helping to fill the gap left as a result of SISO’s closing last year. We were extremely excited by our expansion, and our volunteers reciprocated this by providing a ton of support for these new groups! We’re also in the process of recruiting yet another group, hopefully to be starting with CVA next year. The new agencies/groups included YMCA’s Afterschool Homework Help, HARRRP’s Afterschool Program, Welcome Inn Senior Program, Shalom Village Seniors Program and Bereaved Families of Ontario Youth Reflection Program). See above for a list of our current groups (yellow highlighting new groups added this year; purple highlighting potential new groups for next year).

Successes (Evaluation of CVA): Each volunteer group has a 15 min. reflection at the end of every weekly service experience, led by the student facilitator. Our bi-weekly student facilitator meetings have assisted facilitators in building strong and meaningful reflection on social justice issues in their groups this year. This has been a significant component towards creating a transformative experience for the student volunteers. Here are some comments from CVA volunteers about how these experiences have influenced them: o This experience has helped me realize the importance of volunteering and the great impact that can be made through such small acts, especially in improving the lives of those in underprivileged communities.


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 o Before my experience I didn't realize that so many children are sent to school hungry. It has really opened my eyes to the state of poverty in Hamilton and has encouraged me to keep volunteering. o This experience has broadened my views of issues right here in Hamilton. It has made me appreciate what I have more. o I learned that food security is an issue even right here in Hamilton. o You don't have to go to another country to make a difference and help solve poverty. CVA has now completed the third year of using Group Scrapbooks to represent the individual success of the groups; each facilitator is responsible for adding to their scrapbook over the year. Has provided some very creative results, demonstrated a lot of initiative on the part of the facilitators and led to the development of new reflection activities and icebreakers. CVA has introduced the use of reflective journals in interested volunteer groups – offered the option to use these journals to document your time as a volunteer and reflect upon topics which are brought up through discussion and/or service visits Had some new facilitators attend both Consensus Decision Making and Anti-Oppression workshops (2-3 people), but would like to increase this in coming year Continued using Consensus Decision Making in event planning committees, allowing groups to work cohesively as a unit while also determining the main strengths of each committee member – has been very successful and is extremely helpful when discussing and divvying up tasks Over 300 students volunteering weekly - this is approximately the same as what we had last year. CVA is still working on finding new ways to advertise for the groups, which is always an area to continue to expand. In the Hamilton community, there are hundreds of groups which would love a weekly group of volunteers, but we are still working on perfecting our advertising methods to try to attract more students to join a group. Addition of 3 new agencies and 6 new volunteer groups to our roster of weekly volunteer groups helping to reach out to new demographics (now offer 2 groups working with seniors) and helping to fill the service gap left as a result of SISO’s closing. Continued introducing students to the local community and its social issues through various events; Volunteer-a-thon was extremely successful in building connections with additional volunteer agencies not on our weekly roster. Opportunity for new group development as a result. All agencies we are currently working with have reconfirmed their interest in continuing with CVA for next year, with a few groups hoping to expand to include additional


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 groups. We are reconnecting with one or two agencies to re-establish a strong connection and better group organization. Potential to expand to include additional 3-5 new groups for September 2012. Each and every agency has been amazed with the commitment and engagement of the volunteers CVA recruits. Through OPIRG networking meetings, I believe that the relationship between CVA and OPIRG has been strengthened this year. There have been great attempts made to get to know and help support other working groups in their efforts to advertise events, help expand their recruitment, etc. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to become more connected with OPIRG and its respective working groups! The caliber of these groups is outstanding and the creativity and leadership demonstrated by these groups throughout the year has been incredibly inspiring! Goals for Next Year: Maintain and strengthen relations with current placement agencies, considering adding new groups addressing new demographics/needs if the current groups have a strong number of volunteers Continue to create and expand reflection tools to prompt groups to engage deeply with social justice issues related to their volunteer work Encourage more groups to utilize reflection journals in their volunteer groups and/or biweekly CRAFT meetings Expand our advertising measures to attract more volunteers; investigate new advertising methods to renew our efforts Have approximately 6 facilitators attend the OPIRG endorsed workshops Maintain and continue to strengthen relationship with OPIRG through networking meetings, collaboration with other working groups, encouraging volunteers to attend OPIRG events and workshop on Consensus Decision Making and Anti-Oppression, and strongly encourage facilitators to promote the OPIRG name within their volunteer groups.


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 Photos: Learning and Fun (LAF), November 2011

Dr. Davey Breakfast Club Reflection, November 2011


Community Volunteer Action 20112012 CVA End of Term Party – December 2011

Volunteer-a-thon, March 2012



Activity' Community'Cooking'Event'#1' (Saturday'October'29th,'10AME 1PM)'

Major'goals' To'learn'how'to'make'proper' pasta'dough,'sauce,'and' toppings.''

Community'Cooking'Event'#2' (November'28th,'10AME1PM)'

To'learn'how'to'make'Chicken' curry'and'Naan.'

Community'Cooking'Event'#3' (January'28th,'12PME3PM)' '

To'learn'how'to'make'Mapo' Tofu'and'Hainan'Chicken'

Community'Cooking'Event'#4' (Saturday'March'3rd,'12PM'–' 3PM)'

To'learn'how'to'prepare'crepes' and'crepe'fillings.'

Community'Cooking'Event'#5' (Feburary'11th,'2012)'

To'learn'how'to'make'Perogies' and'Cabbage'Rolls'

' ' ' ' ' ' '

Brief'Summary' Our'first'event'was'free'and'had' about'6'people'in'attendance.' We'were'fortunate'since'one'of' our'members'in'attendance'had' grown'up'making'pizza,'and'so' we'learned'how'to'properly' knead'the'dough'to'the'right' consistency'thanks'to'his' expertise.'Photos'can'be'found' on'our'website.' ' This'event'was'influenced'by'Sri' Lankan'culture.'Members' learned'to'cook'the'spices'first'in' the'curry'so'that'the'flavours' would'come'out.'Naan'also' turned'out'to'be'a'very'simple' recipe.' This'event'had'6'people'in' attendance.'There'was'a'general' consensus'that'the'Mapo'Tofu' was'really'good,'simple' vegetarian'dish,'albeit'very'spicy.' The'third'event'required' individuals'to'bring'an'ingredient' for'the'crepes'and'had'10'people' attending.'Members'learned' how'to'create'the'crepe'skins,'as' well'as'the'wide'diversity'of' toppings.' Due'to'underwhelming' attendance,'the'event'was' cancelled'the'morning'of.'It' turned'out'that'this'was'right'in' the'middle'of'midEterm'season.'


Please&provide&a&self.evaluation&of&the&Group's&work,&including&a&fair&assessment&of&the&Group's&ability& to&complete&its&goals&as&outlined&in&its&Application,&and&identification&of&areas&of&strength&and& weakness.& ! This!year,!Food!for!Life!only!held!4!events!despite!starting!earlier.!Though!we!would!agree!that! these!events!were!of!better!quality!than!our!past!year’s!events,!there!is!without!a!doubt!a!sense!that!we! have!failed!in!making!our!classes!more!available!to!the!public.! ! The!events!that!we!held!this!year!were!better!than!last!year!in!that!they!not!only!allowed! members!to!share!valuable!information,!but!the!dishes!we!chose!to!create!allowed!for!a!wide!range!of! creativity!with!the!ingredients!at!hand.!In!our!first!community!cooking!event,!we!made!pizza!and!had!a! base!of!chicken,!basil,!cheese,!pineapple,!eggplant,!zucchini,!and!other!vegetables.!Individuals! experimented!with!making!thin!crust!and!deep!dish!pizzas!as!well!as!a!variety!of!topping!combinations.! Even!meat!lovers!were!converted!when!a!member!made!a!vegetarian!pizza!with!an!interesting!deep! dish!pizza!of!eggplant,!zucchini,!basil,!and!cheese.!Unlike!last!year,!where!we!were!set!to!a!strict!recipe! (ex.!beef!noodle!soup),!this!year!we!provided!the!basic!ingredients!and!allowed!members!to!even!bring! their!own!ingredients!in!our!second!community!cooking!event.!In!this!second!event,!we!made!crepes! with!strawberries,!blackberries,!ricotta!cheese,!and!bacon.!The!last!two!were!ones!chosen!by!Howard! that!we!thought!would!be!used!to!push!people!to!think!outside!of!the!normal!dessert!crepe.!The!result! was!both!disastrous!and!delicious.!Bacon!and!strawberries!with!whipped!cream!and!chocolate!sauce,! bananas!and!bacon,!etc.!Lots!of!fun!was!had,!and!we!found!that!the!combination!of!bacon!and! chocolate!wasn’t!that!bad,!albeit!quite!unhealthy.! ! A!positive!point!for!this!year!was!the!fact!that!we!were!able!to!charge!members!a!small!fee!for! the!ingredients.!Our!events!averaged!about!$5!a!person,!which!did!not!seem!to!deter!them!from!coming! to!our!events.!The!main!reason!for!our!lack!of!events!was!a!lack!of!time!and!an!aging!member!base.! ! A!new!change!this!year!was!to!push!back!our!event!times!from!10AM!to!12PM!so!that!more! students!would!be!able!to!attend!the!events.!Though!we!scheduled!our!events!ahead!of!time!with!set! themes!and!dishes,!we!realized!far!too!late!that!the!times!were!not!conducive!to!both!our!and!our! members’!schedules.!Moreover,!we!were!unable!to!find!times!where!we!could!meet!to!reRdevelop!our! website!and!a!new!promotional!plan.!We!had!a!new!logo!ready!and!website!to!launch,!but!as!exams! were!around!the!corner,!our!efforts!were!redirected!to!our!academics.!We!are!hoping!to!launch!the! website!this!summer!in!preparation!for!the!new!season.! ! Our!main!weakness!right!now!is!that!we!have!not!done!enough!promotions!or!advertising!to!the! general!public.!Our!event!system!has!been!worked!out!and!we!have!event!themes!ready,!but!we!do!not! have!the!members!to!fill!out!those!events.!It!will!be!the!focus!of!our!next!year!to!create!a!more! prominent!and!widelyRdispersed!brand!for!ourselves.! ! !


Please&provide&a&vision&for&the&Working&Group's&future,&including&any&plans&to&re.Apply&as&a&Working& Group&in&future&budget&years,&any&proposed&future&work,&and&any&new&opportunities&for&OPIRG& McMaster&to&support&the&Working&Group& ! The!future!of!the!working!group!will!be!to!recruit!more!members!and!generate!awareness!of! our!group.!While!we!already!have!around!70!members,!only!maybe!10%!of!people!are!able!to!come! every!time!we!had!an!event!due!to!academics!and!other!scheduling!conflicts.!We!see!welcome!week!as! a!good!time!to!make!our!presence!known!across!campus!and!recruit!freshmen!with!new!ideas!that!can! make!our!group!more!successful.!Furthermore,!we!seek!to!find!people!who!are!genuinely!interested!in! promoting!our!cause!of!sustainable!cooking!and!eating,!so!that!they!can!continue!to!run!the!Working! Group!in!the!future.!Thus,!it!is!imperative!that!we!reach!out!to!the!student!body!to!find!people!who! share!our!interests.!Our!vision!for!the!working!group!is!to!showcase!it!as!a!model!for!future!community! kitchens.!In!fact,!we!had!a!community!kitchen!from!another!University!contact!us!this!year!because!they! had!questions!on!how!to!run!such!events.!We!were!thus!able!to!help!them!with!logistics!and! promotional!ideas.!We!hope!to!make!it!easier!for!others!in!the!future!to!start!sustainable!community! kitchens!even!when!lacking!in!funding.!We!are!therefore!trying!to!limit!our!use!of!funding!as!much!as! possible!so!that!we!may!better!inform!future!clubs!on!how!to!work!with!limited!funds.! While!we!have!not!gotten!this!working!group!completely!set!up,!our!goal!is!to!one!day!inspire!a!second! group!that!can!function!independently!so!that!we!can!have!two!events!held!every!week!by!different! members.!It!would!be!more!conducive!to!people’s!schedules!and!aligns!with!our!goal!of!spreading! awareness!and!gathering!interest!in!our!cause.!It!will!also!develop!in!our!members!the!skills!necessary!in! running!community!kitchen!events.! We!also!see!in!our!future!a!more!concerted!effort!in!focusing!on!local!organic!foods,!which!we!had!been! doing!this!year,!but!think!more!emphasis!on!this!point!would!be!valuable.!Additionally,!nutritional!and! dietary!information!should!be!incorporated!more!fully!into!our!community!kitchen!events.! !

!


' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Event'#1'Pictures:'




FREESKOOL YEAR END REPORT MAY 2012 1. Description of working group FreeSkool was created in response to un-met needs in this city. We need forms of learning that nurture community, that are egalitarian, and that, more than being merely tolerant, are radically inclusive and thrive on diversity of perspective and identity. We have been an OPIRG working group for 3 years. Each year consists of 3 semesters, with a range of 5-10 classes offered each semester. Each class is facilitated by a volunteer who helps promote the class and creates a safe space for people to share their knowledge. Instead of focusing on teaching or hierarchical learning, we encourage our facilitators to liberate knowledge. Through our classes we function as a stepping-stone for new groups to form, offering space to work and support from like-minded people. In addition to running classes, we also offer workshops, film screenings and ‘unexpert’ lectures. We aim to work in solidarity with a number of other community groups such as Hamilton Womyn’s Bike Cooperative, Hamilton Copwatch, Knowing The Land is Resistance Collective and many others. 2. Please provide a comprehensive overview of all work (research and/or action) completed by the Working Group throughout the budget year 1a) This year, Hamilton Freeskool was driven towards our goal of “liberating knowledge in our community.” We maintained and/or expanded our actions and connections, including the following work. • Obtained media coverage: o Article on Freeskool as the first steps toward resistance submitted to PIRGspectives Newsletter in Spring/Summer 2012 o Submitted a picture with quotations to the PIRGspectives Newsletter in Fall/Winter 2012


• Updated the Freeskool Website (run through Wordpress) consistently over the term, and taught interested facilitators how to maintain their own page • Built local partnerships, including with: o Corktown HARRRP- a new space to hold Freeskool classes o Hamilton COPWATCH o Other OPIRG working groups, especially Threadwork and Body Equity o o o o o o

o o o o o

• Maintained partnerships with: Skydragon Community Development Cooperative Jamesville Community Centre Hamilton Centre for Teaching Peace St. Peter’s Church – a new and growing community centre welcomes Freeskool into its space for classes Womyn’s Bike Cooperative – cohosting events and cross-pollinating promotion Knowing The Land is Resistance – working together to encourage reconnection • Promoted Freeskool/ Freeskool classes: Class talks with Randy from OPIRG Posters for each new semester and for individual classes Regular e-mail updates Tabled at Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair (June 2011), Pirgtopia (January 2012), MayDay 2012, and on McMaster campus. Created Hamilton Freeskool promotional material such as t-shirts, buttons, bookmarks and handbills • Sought out new facilitators, found them space to hold their class and supported them throughout their class • Sought out and trained new organisers for the upcoming year


1b) Hamilton Freeskool’s classes this year included the following: Summer Semester (May 2011-August 2011) Emo-Yoga History and Revolution Art Flow Circus Creative Writing Practical Indigenous Solidarity Internet Security and Hacking Qigong for healing Musicbox Workshops Yoga Knowing the Land is Resistance Sharing Perspectives: Cross Generational Dialogue Mind Games- role playing and strategy games Fall Semester (September 2011- December 2011) Qigong for healing Yoga History and Revolution Sharing Perspectives: Cross Generational Dialogue Flow Circus Fermentation Winter/Spring Semester (January 2012-April 2012) Qigong for healing History and Revolution Flow Circus Yoga Bucket List- Practical Dreaming North Hamilton Raccoon Walks by Knowing the Land is Resistance Special Events


Skydragon’s Mayday Event- May 2011 Hamilton Anarchist Bookfair- June 2011 Pirgtopia- January 2012 3. Please provide a self-evaluation of the Group's work, including a fair assessment of the Group's ability to complete its goals as outlined in its Application, and identification of areas of strength and weakness. The main goal of Hamilton Freeskool is to empower community members to take learning into their own hands and mobilize resources in the community. The main ways we intended to accomplish this goal was by enabling community members to offer classes and workshops for free. Hamilton Freeskool has stuck closely to the Manifesto and tried to set up egalitarian and safe learning environment. Our influence on a grass roots level is tremendous. However, we have yet to maximize our full potential. We had very ambitious goals from last year, such as developing tool-kits for organizers, finding more spaces to hold classes, having a lot of well-attended classes and events, connecting with other Freeskools across North America, etc. We found it hard to accomplish all of these goals with only 4 part-time organizers. Our strengths: • Helping to create and strengthen communities • Dreaming big and really believing that we can change huge societal structures through grassroots organizing • Having frequent organizer meeting • Delegating tasks among the 4 organizers • Word of mouth advertising • Sustained participation in a number of classes (History and Revolution, Yoga, Flow Circus) • Having our values and goals be passed on through other working groups or organizations such as Knowing the Land is Resistance


Our weaknesses: • Strained relationships with key volunteers • Sending out weekly updates to the listserv • Posting classes and events on OPIRG calendar • Having Frequent Meetings with class and workshop facilitators • Taking on too much, which resulted in difficulty completing all tasks • Losing momentum on new projects or workshops • Losing fringe members (i.e. them wanting to be removed from the email list) Our main goals were to sustain courses from previous terms and bring new participants to our courses. We feel that we were successful in all of these goals, as we had a substantial number of classes carry over from one term to the next (see the class listing in Section 1 above). During the summer term, we had a lot of classes but few participants in each class. To address this concern, we had fewer classes in the fall and winter terms and focused on making these classes a success though promotion and facilitator support. Another goal of Hamilton Freeskool was to encourage dialogue in the community and bring people from diverse backgrounds together to learn in an egalitarian way. We feel that we accomplished this goal by offering a diversity of classes in different areas of Hamilton (mostly downtown and East-end). People of different age groups, ethnicities and perspectives, attended our classes and we will continue to value this diversity. We considered it essential to maintain good relationships with our community partners, including OPIRG, Jamesville Community Centre, Corktown HARRP and St.Peter’s Church. Our relationship with OPIRG was especially important to us, which is why we designated one organizer as our OPIRG lesion. We participated in class talks with Randy to inform McMaster students about our current classes, tabled at McMaster, attended OPIRG working group Networking Meetings, attended PIRGtopic and contributed to PIRGspectives. One area where we fell short is posting our events on the OPIRG calendar. This


is a weakness that we are committing to improving upon next year. Our main weakness was pushing our limits of sustainability. We put most of our energy into finding new facilitators, promoting classes, and starting up new classes, and we can be at risk of losing sight of details needed to maintain classes. Part of this is due to our organizational structure, which involves rotating organizers at least once a year. During these change-over periods, it can be difficult for facilitators to have a consistent contact person and get their needs met as reliably as they could be. Also, some organizers that continued at times when others left ended up taking on the vast majority of organizational duties. This may contribute to organizer burn-out and threaten consistency. We need to consider having more than 4 organizers and/or only hiring organizers that are able to contribute more than 10 hours a week. 4. Please provide a vision for the Working Group's future, including any plans to re-Apply as a Working Group in future budget years, any proposed future work, and any new opportunities for OPIRG McMaster to support the Working Group. Hamilton Freeskool looks to re-apply to be an OPIRG working group every year, and we believe that Freeskools should be imbedded in every PIRG around North America. Freeskool positions itself as a threat to the modern industrial education system first and foremost. We will continue our work and help sustain the work of others working toward change. Our main goal is to continue being a threat to the system merely through our existence while creating an alternative to the capitalist education system. Freeskools vision for the future includes hiring 3 new organizers to infuse energy and excitement for everything Freeskool does! We want to adhere to a value of mutual aid where each project will be completely beneficial to the organizer, the project facilitator, and other participants. We hope that organizers and facilitators will feel fulfilled by their work with Freeskool, helping to prevent activist burnout. Having a space filled with like-minded


people where ideas can be shared and nurtured may stand in juxtaposition to the world of fighting politicians to get your voice heard. We hope that participation in Freeskool will serve as a type of self-care where community organizers can attend free classes such as yoga and meditation to help them grow as individuals. Our future work includes beginning a summer semester with new classes and new organizers. These new classes may include a survival skills workshop, book club meetings, and the continuation of history and revolution and as well as Freeskool yoga. In order to train new organizers, we will be adding to our existing organizer tool-kit package, as well as the tool-kit package we give to new facilitators. We will be planning an improved orientation session for new facilitators that will include skill sharing (website page creation, poster creation, promoting, creating safe spaces, etc.). We are really grateful for all of OPIRG’s support over the past few years. We would greatly appreciate continued support by continuing to offer table space on campus during school years and to provide us with OPIRG materials to pass around. Since the members of OPIRG have such strong backgrounds in activism, we would greatly appreciate you brilliant humans sharing your experience and skills (I.e. great places to promote online, how to organize big events, making zines, etc.) In addition, it might be great to present our year end reports to other working groups to share our strengths and weaknesses and to brainstorm how to improve together. It would also be great to have a working group skill share where each group teaches all of the other groups a specific skill (i.e. screen printing, contacting high schools, using photoshop, etc.).

5. Please provide an up to date list of key contact persons in the Working Group. This list must include, at a minimum, the two reliable contact persons named in the Working Group application.


Report for the Guatemalan Solidarity Working Group- 2011/12 The GSWG consists of students and community members. We saw our group expand in the Fall 2011 and are excited about potential new members joining us in organizing the upcoming Guatemalan tour.

Summary of Event, Issues, Future Plans: Film: The Business of Gold: The Chronicle of a Conflict Foretold – Nov. 16, 2011. Hamilton Students for Social Justice along with GSWG planned this event – the film was well received, with thoughtful follow-up discussions. Film outlined the abuses of Canadian gold mining company in Guatemala, and the human and environmental havoc is has been creating with impunity. Mining in Guatemala has been a focus of the GSWG over several years. This is an important film since we believe it is imperative that Canadians are aware of this (1) the dirty business, and the effects on Mayan/Indigenous peoples (the majority of Guatemalan population) (2) The resistance of the affected communities (3) The repression that results; and (4) actions - legal and solidarity - that are happening in Canada and Guatemala. Film: Looking for Justice, March 28, 2012 Film outlines the realty of coffee: the cost for a Guatemalan peasant spending her/his life on an industrial plantation. Film discuses fairtrade and fairtrade plus – The CCDA's coffee project. We chose this film to encourage interest in Cafe Justicia and the Campesino Committee of the Highlands because of our long-term solidarity relationship with the CCDA. The GSWG, along with OPIRG has over many years hosted CCDA tours, fundraising emergencies and support. Three of our group members have a personal connection to the CCDA in Guatemala.

Cafe Justicia Sales: As in previous years the GSWG has offered Cafe Justicia to university/general public with information about the social justice mandate connected to Cafe Justicia in Guatemala. This year, we have focused more energy in the sales of coffee, retaining profits for the CCDA. Much time has been dedicated to promoting Cafe Justicia (publicity, ordering, delivering coffee, etc.)


Guatemalan CCDA Tour returns: Our late Spring focus is coordinating logistics for the June CCDA tour. The Campesino Committee of the Highlands returns on a Canada-wide tour. We've garnered support and interest for a public event, including Development and Peace, the Unitarian Church, OPIRG, and publicity and interviews from CFMUs Latin American program. Event: Mayan Rising: Fair trade, Land Reform and Remilitarization of the Guatemalan Countryside – June 4, 2012, Unitarian Church @ 7pm Future Plans: Upcoming event (July) with Alianza (Health and Wellness NGO) and guest speakers from Guatemala.








The Hamilton Womyns’ Bike Collective ::::::: Statement of Radness! ::::::: Who we are and what we do!

\\ Our Identity // We, the Hamilton Womyns’ Bike Collective, want to foster a community of bicyclists committed to challenging patriarchal systems of oppression. We exist because we are devoted to actively engaging and transforming our Hamilton community. We want to recognize and validate all of the ways that womyn and trans people encounter barriers in accessing a male-dominated cycling community. We want to replace bullshit systems of domination with safer spaces -- spaces that allow each one of us to feel empowered, encouraged, fearless, and unstoppable! // Our Values \\ Feminism Equality is an integral part of our feminism. Our community -- our friends, our families, and our selves -- would be way better off if we got rid of all forms of domination and oppression. We want to call attention to the ways in which oppression works, how it makes people feel small, and how it disempowers us all from reaching our full potentials as human beings. We want to expose oppression in all of the many shapes it takes: sexism, heterosexism, cisgenderism, classism, racism, colourism, ableism, lookism, sizeism, ageism, nativism and colonialism. We strive daily to better understand the ways patriarchy, white supremacy, unshared affluence, and other unchecked privileges, are absolutely ingrained within us all. Mutual Respect Having respect for every one is the main foundation of anti-oppression. We can learn from each other -- hearing each other’s truths, struggles, stories of survival, and hopes for a better community. Every person is equally entitled to be seen, to be heard, and to be validated. Unified tightly together, we can do anything! Consensus Decision Making Consensus decision making is a powerful and dynamic way of reaching agreements between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting for an item and having a majority of the group getting their way (often to the dismissal of the concerns of others), a group using consensus is committed to finding solutions that everyone actively supports, or at least can live with. The consensus model ensures that everyone in the organizing collective is heard, and that their ideas are incorporated into the group’s decision making process. Consensus decision making is based on the concept that people should simultaneously have full control over their own lives, respect the


autonomy of others, and equally share power with all (rather than have it concentrated in the hands of a few). Do-it-Yourself Our collective is based on a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) ethic. We want to do things for ourselves because we are sick of being made to feel like we can’t handle bike tools properly or being given the message that we are not good enough to look after our own problems. Our DIY philosophy means that we are finding ways of educating ourselves about bike repair -- and solidarity. We are learning how to fix our own bikes, rather than watching someone else do it for us. We are actively nurturing our own communities, building from the grassroots up. Together, we are learning how to put our values into action. CommUnity Togetherness We want to be connected to our Hamilton community. Keeping in touch with and supporting other groups that have complimentary goals is something we value. We want to build relationships that encourage our collective to grow bigger and braver -- to stretch out into a larger community of rad feminist cyclists! We acknowledge that there is enormous strength to be utilized when diverse groups work together.

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\\ Goals// Facilitating an environment that is both welcoming and encouraging, where folks can get together and learn how to fix their bikes without pressure and judgement. Promoting both cycling -- a sustainable and healthful alternative to motorist culture -- and social awareness. Creating more-reliable, dynamic and trustworthy spaces for continued dialogue and discussion. Networking with individuals in our Hamilton community and becoming a growing cycling presence in our city!

//Working Group Status\\ The Hamilton Womyn’s Bike Collective is currently a working group of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at McMaster University. This relationship helps us to do awesome things by providing access to resources, such as: funding, helpful workshops, encouragement, and support with getting the word out there about our events. Our link with OPIRG also comes with a set of responsibilities. These include: attending mandatory anti-oppression and consensus decision-making workshops, and attending periodic meetings with friendly OPIRG board members. \\ Game Plan // Advocating, promoting, engaging, creating and fostering can all take up quite a lot of time and energy. Here are the ways we plan to turn these goals into realities:


1. Advocating -- By promoting cycling as an alternative to car culture, we are

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asserting a means of environmental welfare that has the power to decrease toxic and harmful emissions that damage our selves and our planet. Our process includes actively addressing problems that have been shown to negatively affect our physical environs, our bodies and our mental states. Promoting -- We arrange lots of group bike rides and workshops. Some folks see cycling as an unpleasant alternative to driving a motor vehicle. Through accessible and fun practice and application, we are trying to change their minds. Engaging -- the HWBC likes The Internet. We made sure to get ourselves online early in the game so as to maintain connections in ways that are unavoidably prominent (via online communications, etc). OPIRG has a lot of opportunities for us to come out to their events and stay in touch with friendly contacts, as well as making new connections. We have our own email account, maintain a Facebook profile, and have a blog. We also get out in the world with posters, handbills and bike decorations to get folks’ attention. Creating -- One of the first things a new working group of OPIRG must do is take Anti-Oppression and Consensus Decision-Making trainings. These are invaluable skills for us! We strengthen our theory by reading, reflecting and discussing amongst ourselves. Most importantly, we apply our knowledge of antioppression by trying to keep our privileges in check and encouraging others to do the same (regardless of where we go, on bikes and on foot). Fostering -- As you’ve just read, we work toward our goals through action. Fostering is the part that happens when we take our ideas about feminism/antioppression and actively use them to encourage growth in the world around us. ||||| Want to be Involved?? |||||

If you’ve gotten this far, it seems safe to assume you’re at least a little bit interested, curious or enthusiastic. Do you get the sense you can identify with the HWBC? Are our values similar to your own? Do you share many of the same goals we do? Want to put your values into gear? :) Let us know! (Or ask questions if you want further clarification.) Send us an email (no facebook msgs, please): womynsbikefixin@gmail.com Tell us a bit about yourself, your thoughts, why and how you want to get involved with us, and how we can best be in touch with you!


Sept 2011- Apr 2012

Year-End Portfolio of Just $top! Three main events took place during the time period indicated: Event 1: Just $top! Freeze

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Event 2: Story of Stuff Movie Screening

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Event 3: Green Loving

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Event 1: Just $top Freeze th

Date of event: Objective:

October 19 , 2011 Rather than overwhelming the students with facts and statistics regarding the current environmental state, we wanted to introduce our Working Group in a creative way. As the name of our Working Group suggests, you need to stop what you’re doing and think about the consequences of your action. By freezing in MUSC during a busy afternoon for 10 minutes can grasp the attention of many bystanders. The plan was to free in a flash mob style with the help of many student volunteers.

Success:

Although it was difficult to collect so many students and have them freeze at the same time, the cooperation of these volunteers made this challenging task possible. We may not have grasped the attention of every passerby; however, we were successful at informing those who were involved the cause and value of the flash mob. In short, having taught the importance of taking an action for our current environmental state to even 70-80 students was a successful story. We even got an article published in the Silhouette for the following week to introduce our Working Group and the goals, along with an explanation for the Freeze.

The students that were frozen in MUSC are displayed in the first picture above. The second picture illustrates the article published in the Silhouette.


Event 2: Story of Stuff (By Annie Leonard) Movie Screening Date of event: Objective:

November 14th, 2011 This was a collaborative event with ThreadWork during their Clothing Swap. While the movie was playing in the background, the objective was to allow students to be exposed to this wonderfully documented film. Even though the film is quite long (20 minutes), even if the students watched 2-3 minutes of the movie while passing by, they were being introduced to the current issues.

Success:

Even though the event turned out to be slightly expensive, it truly enabled the Just $top! team to lay out the basis of the working group. While students were having their lunch or simply passing by through MUSC, they were able to catch glimpses of the movie playing and come discuss their views. Whether the students discussed the movie among their friends, or to the representatives of our working group, the main purpose of the movie screening was fulfilled.

The first picture is of our model Just Home, created by our team to display the goals of the working group. The second picture depicts the movie screening event.


Event 3: Green Loving Date of event: Objective:

February 14th, 2012 Valentine’s Day is a day to express your love for one another. However, this love filled day has been known to transform into consumption oriented holiday. Therefore, Just $top! wanted to take this opportunity to spread the message of some Green Loving. We wanted to inspire the students to make their own Valentine’s Day gifts by using home-made tricks to impress their loved ones. We also wanted to encourage the students to plant their own flowers by handing out free flower seeds and tips for plant care.

Success:

This event was a successful one. The students of McMaster really took an interest in the new approach of celebrating the Love Day. Many students even took the flower seeds and were asking questions about flower planting techniques and such. By speaking to the students about doing some Green Loving allowed the team of Just $top to understand that many students share similar views.

The “I Love Earth” banner was created by our team to be as an attraction for the students at the Green Loving event. The second picture shows the flower seeds that were distributed the students.




MFNSA Events Clubsfest- September 3rd MFNSA took part in clubsfest but unfortunately it rained that day and MFNSA had to relocate their spot to the Indigenous Studies Program’s office since we were not able to host our elder in residence in the rain, and our materials would have gotten ruined. Still there was interest from students and potential members which was beneficial. Pirgtopia- September 12th MFNSA also participated in pirgtopia and was able to spread awareness of our group on campus and connect with other working groups under OPIRG. Welcoming Pow-Wow- September 30th This was MFNSA’s big event of the year. Around 200-300 people attended as it was hosted on the lawn of JHE. Throughout the day there was traditional dancers, there was traditional singing and food samples. This was a great event in which education was a key component as well as fostering a welcoming and familiar community for Native students and people on campus. Toy Drive- October/November/December MFNSA hosted its annual toy drive, in which toys were collected from various offices and departments across campus, all toys were delivered to the Native Women’s Center. Attawapiskat Clothing Drive- December In light of the recent media coverage and horrible situation on Attawapiskat reserve, MFNSA held a clothing drive to rally clothing and blankets together from people all across campus that could be sent. There was an overwhelming swell of support and many things were collected that were sent to Attawapiskat. Film Night, “Reel Injun”- February 9th MFNSA did a screening of the film Reel Injun for those who were interested and Professor Rick Monture held a discussion afterwards. We also had food available and were abl to foster connections for those who attended. The Native Women’s Center Conference- March 6th Some students were able to attend a conference featuring Jane Middleton-Moz which focused on loss and grieving. This was a great opportunity for students to be exposed to attending a conference, connecting with various community stakeholders and service providers and to learn about grieving and loss in Indigenous Communities. MFNSA bake sale and info table- March 15th and 29th


These were to spread awareness about MFNSA as a group on campus and to raise funds towards dialysis machines for the Six Nations White Pines Wellness Center. We successfully raised over $300 and it was a great success. Harry Snowboy Event- April 8th Author, Harry Snowboy came to McMaster to do a reading from a chapter of his latest book and to perform a book signing. Social- April 8th MFNSA members helped and took part in the ISP Year End Social, this had dancing, singing and food samples and was a celebration of the end of the year. MFNSA also presented a baby gift to one of the faculty of ISP in celebration of the new addition to his family.

Description+of+group++ MFNSA+is+an+association+on+campus+for+native+students+and+non+native+students+to+meet,+work+together+ and+connect.+We+aim+to+provide+a+support+system+for+new+and+returning+students+at+McMaster+ Uiversity.+We+welcome+all+people+within+our+group+and+aim+to+crate+alliances+and+allies+across+campus.+ We+also+particularly+focus+on+taking+part+in+indigenous+cultural+events+on+campus+for+students.+We+also+ aim+to+spread+awareness+of+Indigenous+people,+culture+and+issues+that+exist.+We+have+hosted+cultural+ workshops,+talks,+taken+part+in+conferences,+and+worked+collaboratively+with+other+groups.+The+ executive+of+MFNSA+also+act+as+advocates+for+the+needs+or+Aboriginal+students+at+McMaster+with+the+ Indigenous+Studies+Program+and+various+administrative+factions.+ Overview+of+workG+see+attached++ Self+evaluation++ The+group+was+very+successful+this+year+at+advocating+and+present+the+needs+of+Aboriginal+students+this+ past+year,+we+were+a+part+of+very+important+focus+groups+and+meetings+with+administration.+We+also+ were+able+to+meet+many+of+the+member's+desires+to+host+certain+events+(for+example+a+film+night+and+ the+PowGwow).+There+also+was+a+lot+of+new+students+this+year+that+became+new+members+of+MFNSA,+ which+was+important+to+expand+the+membership+and+ensure+that+there+would+be+students+to+fill+the+ roles+of+execs+in+the+future+and+to+continue+the+work+of+MFNSA.+++ Future+of+group++ MFNSA+hopes+to+continue+their+work+with+OPIRG+McMaster+and+to+continue+to+be+a+working+group+ under+OPIRG.+MFNSA+has+hopes+to+continue+to+be+able+to+expand+their+membership+and+hopefully+be+ able+to+host+more+workishops+and+events+which+spread+awareness+of+indigenous+culture+(for+example+ drumming+and+drum+making)+across+campus.+MFNSA+would+also+like+to+do+a+knowledge+retreat+with+it's+ members+to+Mohawk+Valley+to+gain+an+education+about+traditional+indigenous+knowledge,+history+and+ community+work.+MFNSA+also+hopes+to+be+able+to+do+larger+events+on+campus+and+create+linkages+ between+community+members+and+students.+++