Photo display aims to ‘connect to the heart’ of George Brown students
“Research shows that when students feel well connected they’re more likely to thrive at college,” says Alison Burns, research and development associate in academic and student affairs at George Brown College (GBC).
For this reason, the Connect to the Heart of GBC initiative, which launched in September, aims to build community and encourage student connection. “The goal is to encourage the development of meaningful human connection on campus by making visible some of the individuals who are already actively engaged in connection and community-building,” said Burns.
Profiles pairing a photo with a statement drawn from the person’s insights and experiences are currently being displayed on screens on all three GBC campuses. New profiles will rotate monthly. “The first phase of this initiative takes its inspiration loosely from the Humans of New York concept,” said Burns.
The initiative was developed by the Committee as part of the Student Persistence and Retention Strategy, created in 2013.
Burns believes that a culture of support for students already exists at GBC, but that it’s not always immediately visible to incoming students. This project attempts to enhance students’ experiences, including during their transitions into college and throughout the first year of study. It does this by creating more welcoming spaces, promoting community building, and showing by example individuals who “really go the extra mile for students,” said Burns.
The profiles include a mix of students, staff, faculty and administrators. “The idea is that this be representative of the dynamism of our community. Hopefully people will see themselves in some way reflected in the diversity of the images, statements and experiences,” said Burns.
In future phases of the initiative, the college hopes to “provide more of the context around people’s experiences.”
The Connect to the Heart of GBC initiative will also be rolled out on social media channels, Burns said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified George Brown College professor Tenniel Rock as a student. In fact, Rock has been a professor at GBC for 10 years. The Dialog deeply regrets the error.