University of Sherbrooke unites disciplines for post-COVID-19 projects

By Michael Boriero – Local ­Journalism Initiative Reporter

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across Quebec in early March, shutting down everyday life for months, the University of Sherbrooke decided to reach out to students to understand the situation through their eyes.
According to Clément Moliner-Roy, the university’s conseiller aux initiatives à impact, after several weeks of interviews with students from a variety of disciplines, the most common theme was that they felt helpless.
They wanted to get involved and do something positive for people struggling through the pandemic, which is how the Tribu Co-Vie program came to life. The university sent out a call-to-action in mid-April and by early June, 22 students were collaborating on projects.
“What was really wonderful to me is the fact that we had students apply from all the different faculties, just about every faculty at Sherbrooke University,” said Moliner-Roy.
The program was created by the Accélérateur Entrepreneurial Desjardins (AED) de l’Université de Sherbrooke in partnership with Enactus Université de Sherbrooke, a student club focused on developing social and environmental impact projects.
Moliner-Roy explained that the program, which was completely online due to the circumstances caused by COVID-19, has two tracks: exploration and action. Students in the exploration track focus on fleshing out projects in its earliest stages.
The action track is more advanced. It’s for students with a more concrete plan in mind seeking advice from “coaches.” According to Moliner-Roy, the extracurricular program featured students from nearly every discipline offered at the university.
“I believe profoundly that in order to create solutions to the complex problems that we’re facing, we need to break silence, we need to unite disciplines and that’s what the program was all about,” he said.
One team, Uni.d, aims to offer a platform to connect students in the health field with people in hospital to break isolation. Another, Éco-motion, addresses the issue of eco-anxiety by helping people channel their climate change emotions into positive action.
In its first iteration, Tribu Co-Vie developed several standout community projects. Other teams focused on managing food waste, rethinking NGOs, and creating an eco-friendly clothing line. However, the message goes beyond the student-led initiatives.

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