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Oak Tree Project to pair local charity with U of G students

There will continue to finals, and the winning team will win $7,500 to implement their project for a local charity
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This fall, a new partnership between the Oak Tree Project and the University of Guelph ICON program will offer students the opportunity to collaborate with a local charity. While doing so they will strengthen their teamwork and problem-solving skills, respond to real-world challenges, and earn a course credit.

ICON is a hands-on course that recruits students of all levels and disciplines to work in teams to create solutions to real-world challenges. Oak Tree Guelph is a charitable funding program that builds organizational capacity in Guelph and Wellington charities and encourages strong community participation through online voting. Today the Oak Tree Project announced the seven semi-finalists who will be going on to the next phase of the 2020 competition:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Guelph to support their virtual match program
  • Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington to grow their peer support program for their Integrated Youth Services Network
  • Chalmers Community Services Centre to support a yearlong study of the impact of their work around food insecurity
  • The Guelph Arts Council to support their one-on-one consulting and communications services for local artists
  • The Guelph Black Heritage Society in support of their #ChangeStartsNow Campaign in support of the #BlackLivesMatter
  • The Career Education Council in support of centralized hub for career exploration, resource sharing and training
  • Wyndham House to support the enhance, repair and upgrade of their Bellevue site

While both the ICON and Oak Tree Guelph are active community leaders, this is the first time they have partnered. The Community Engaged Teaching and Learning program run by the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) at the university played a key role in connecting the ICON team with the Oak Tree Project and will continue to support students’ work with charities in the fall.

“We were so excited when CESI introduced ICON with the Oak Tree Project,” commented Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs ICON co-creator and instructor and an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology. “Our goal as a program is to give our students unique, practical and inspiring educational experiences that create opportunities for them to collaborate with ideas and leaders who are not on campus. We can’t wait to see what the ICON students co-create with their charity partners.”

A judging panel made up of university leaders and community members will review the seven submissions over the summer and choose three submissions to continue on to the finals. In the fall, the three finalists will be paired with teams of students from ICON to collaboratively develop a pitch for their idea. These pitches will happen in late November and the winning team will earn $7,500 to implement their project.

Learn more about The Oak Tree Project at and CESI at