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President’s Student Leadership Program works with local organizations

Participants of the fourth cohort implement lasting impact projects

November 21, 2022 — 

The fourth cohort of the President’s Student Leadership Program (PSLP) recently completed their 2022 summer community leadership projects. A fundamental experiential learning element within the program, the projects allow participants to gain hands-on experience in project design and implementation, working in diverse interdisciplinary and multi-level (diploma to PhD) teams.  Providing a deep level of engagement, the projects immerse participants in a complex learning environment; working with local organizations or independently to tackle current social issues and aim to make a positive and lasting impact in the community.


A Listening Ear  

  • Thilini Dissanayake. The University of Manitoba, Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science
  • Saeid Maghsoudi. The University of Manitoba, Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Aman Mir. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance
  • Kevin Prada. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

The objective of A Listening Ear project was to provide Winnipeggers with human connection through the availability of an open and listening ear. Throughout the summer, the team offered the opportunity for passersby in high-traffic areas to connect anonymously and spontaneously with a caring and empathetic stranger. With a quick prompt or a simple hello, individuals were invited to share the good, the difficult and anything in between with these team members. In a total of eight languages, A Listening Ear provided a source of informal support to nearly 400 people throughout the summer. An online services directory was made available with information on resources throughout Winnipeg for those in need of professional or social services.


Bridge 204

  • Bunmi Afolabi. The University of Winnipeg, Master’s in Development Practices: Indigenous Development
  • Kimmy Chau. The University of Manitoba, Diploma in Dental Hygiene
  • Deidre Dewar. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources, and Industrial Relations and Indigenous Business Studies
  • Don Nguyen. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Education in English and History

The Bridge 204 project aimed to unify and bond diverse cultures with knowledge, understanding and inclusivity through sharing information about the significance of different cultural celebrations in Winnipeg. The team worked in collaboration with the René Deleurme Centre, which serves individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. René Deleurme Centre and Bridge 204 identified key stakeholders through studying the community demographics focused on cultural and religious background information. Based on this information, Bridge 204 created eight infographics of cultural and religious days observed or celebrated by community members: National Indigenous Peoples Day, Red Dress Day, Diwali, Ramadan, Black History Month, Kwanzaa, Truth and Reconciliation Day, Orange Shirt Day and Lunar New Year. The goal was to raise awareness and educate the public about the significance of cultural and religious days for those who reside in their shared community.

The Community Closet

  • Dulce Rocio Medrano d River College, Diploma in Business Technology Management     
  • Samuel  Ogunsola. The University of Manitoba, Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Jessica Plett. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology         
  • Erin White. The University of Manitoba, Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology

The purpose of the Community Closet project was to provide clothing to the Victor Mager school community, where 73 percent of the students are from families new to Canada including refugee families and others in need. The team used effective communications to help provide clothing security to the community, establish a good relationship with school staff and other community resources to optimize their contributions and raise awareness of the needs facing students and their families. The team and the school were overwhelmed by the positive response and intend to continue to hold an annual donation drive.


  • Katherine Rempel. The University of Winnipeg, Master’s in Development Practices: Indigenous Development
  • Nooshin Noshiri. The University of Winnipeg, Master of Science in Applied Computer Science and Society
  • Denise Huang.  The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing
  • Dominic Audette. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Arts – Advanced in Psychology and History

Through a partnership with Mount Carmel Clinic (MCC) the Wellbeing4Winnipeg (W4W) team addressed MCC’s need to create a safe space to empower community members in the North End to discuss barriers of accessing mental health services in Winnipeg. W4W developed a partnership agreement that provided a detailed description of the project’s intent and values, ownership and control of knowledge, and consent protocols to engage in consultations with community members. The team facilitated four community engagement sessions with participants currently using programs provided through MCC. Information collected from all the sessions was then gathered to create a final report for MCC. The knowledge and findings from this work, which are currently under review, belong to the community and will inform future actions of the MCC

Without Borders

  • Jennifer Cook. University College of the North, Bachelor of Arts and Education in History and Sociology
  • Pauline Tayag. Red River College, Diploma in Graphic Design
  • Vivian Umeohabike. The University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Nursing
  • Md Nazim Mahmud. The University of Manitoba, Doctor of Philosophy in Education  

The project aimed to share the stories of immigrants within Manitoba who are faced with several challenges and lived experiences that Manitoba residents more generally do not necessarily understand and may not be aware of. Without Borders was designed to bring their stories to the public in a creative way, allowing participants to be a part of the process. Through participants’ perspectives, the focus was on breaking down barriers such as discrimination, racism and misperceptions that immigrants are unjustly subjected to. In collaboration with other organizations, the stories are shared on the team-created website.

Open to students from all faculties and Manitoba post-secondary institutions, the President’s Student Leadership Program (PSLP) is Manitoba’s premier leadership program. The program is funded through a visionary investment from Power Corporation, Canada Life and IG Wealth management to create the James W Burns Leadership Institute at the U of M. Selected students are funded through a fellowship to participate in the program.

Applications for the next cohort of the President’s Student Leadership Program will be open in January 2023 and close on February 19, 2023.

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