Calling all third-, fourth- and fifth-year Lions! Are you interested in solving real-world challenges that impact communities across the globe while you’re studying, but not sure of how to do it? Have you heard of the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom (C4)? If not, this #YUBlog will tell you everything you need to know.
What is the Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom?
Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom – or ‘C4’ for short – is York’s new initiative that enables students to collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams made up of students from different Faculties. C4 students work on year-long capstone projects pitched by non-profits, start-ups and businesses to address “real-world” challenges.
To understand more about the C4 Program, watch this video:
Not sure what a capstone is?
Capstone courses are designed to “cap” off a degree by giving students opportunities to apply the knowledge they gained in their prior courses. They often do this through different kinds of hands-on learning, like placements and projects. In this way, they prepare students for the “real world,” where they will be expected to not only know something but also know what they can (and can’t) do with it.
How is C4 different from other Capstone programs?
Supported by a team of York professors from several Faculties, C4 students work together to mobilize and hone their critical, creative and strategic thinking skills, in collaboration with their teammates, by researching and designing effective solutions to their chosen challenge. It is an experiential education course intended to uniquely prepare students for the next phase of their career and the diverse work-life that awaits them.
In 2019, students in the C4 program received an international award from Airbus and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC). Some of the projects that students collaborated on were:
- Building Financial Sustainability through Volunteerism with ArtHeart Community Art Centre.
- Women’s Youth Network with the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES).
- GreenGo: A Rideshare Footprint Tracker with YuRide.
To find out more about what kind of projects you can work on if you take part in the C4 program, take a look at this in-depth 2019-2020 By The Numbers infographic.
Did you know? While seven Faculties participated in the C4 Program last year, all Faculties at York are participating this year.
Belinda, a fourth-year Environmental Studies (soon to become Environmental & Urban Change) student who took part in the program found working with students from other Faculties very beneficial. “We get used to being surrounded by people who think the same way and have the same interests as us,” she said. “What makes C4 different from regular courses is that you are working with students from other disciplines.”
Megan, an International Studies Alumnus from Glendon Campus said, “I worked on the Solar Floatie project created by Dr. Thomas Cooper and CooperLab at Lassonde. It is an inflatable solar concentrator for remote communities in Chile. This helped me experience working in the “real world” and apply the knowledge I gained from the program to address social issues”.
The Pitch Day
Collaborative projects begin with a pitch. Pitch Day usually happens with students, faculty and partners together (virtually, when necessary) where partner organizations pitch their projects.
Danielle Robinson, director, co-founder and co-curriculum lead at C4 said, “We spend the summer looking for the most exciting, open-ended, relevant projects for students to work on. Pitch Day will be virtual, synchronous, and asynchronous this year, which means we are designing a website that will acquaint students with the projects that are available and the partners that are behind them.”
Students who express interest in the C4 program will be given access to the Pitch Day website and event. If you are interested in participating in the C4 Pitch Day event, let the C4 team know by filling out the C4 Student Sign-Up form by September 4.
How to apply
Students need permission from their programs to participate in the C4 Program. Any prerequisites are determined by their programs.
Students can sign up for the C4 Program through a two-step process:
- Fill in the C4 student sign-up form to get more information
- Register for C4 by choosing one of the gateway courses listed here: capstone.yorku.ca/c4-linked-courses/
If students want to choose a C4 pathway within their major, but don’t see a course from their program listed, they can contact the C4 team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will the C4 program help students after graduation?
C4 prepares students for the diverse work-life that awaits them after graduation. It brings students together with partners who can serve as professional mentors and provide career advice.
Here’s what students say about how the C4 Program helped them:
Belinda also feels like the program has prepared her for her career beyond York. “Having to solve problems with people from different educational backgrounds is something to look forward to in our careers and I’m very thankful to C4 for introducing me to a similar setting with guidance from the professors,” she said.
Megan’s C4 project helped lead her to a new role as a Sustainability Intern for an environmental non-profit organization. “I would definitely recommend the C4 program to students who are interested in a challenging project and social impact-based work,” she said. “It’s a unique experiential education opportunity that pushes you to be adaptable and to think outside the box. I think these are crucial skills to have when working in innovative fields and when working to address social and global issues.”
To learn more about the 2019-2020 projects, check out: capstone.yorku.ca/projects/
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