Power Your Passion for Public Interest Action

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McMaster University Student Centre

Hamilton, ON L8S 4S4


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Event description


Making a positive impact is hard work. OPIRG McMaster wants to help you develop skills that make success more likely. Workshops on Consensus Decision Making, Anti-Oppression, Scrum Project Management, as well as Working With (News) Media, and Talking to Politicians are included in this term's offerings.

  • This series of workshops are free but pre-registration is required. PLEASE ONLY REGISTER IF YOU ARE GOING TO ATTEND as space is limited.

  • Choose which workshops you are interested in (see below) and use the "register" button to reserve space in each (you can take individual workshops)


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Consensus Decision Making
10:30 am - 12:30 pm
with Baghael Kaur

MUSC 206/207

This introductory workshop will cover simple, concrete ways to implement the practice of consensus in meetings with small to medium sized groups. A sample process will be provided that can be adapted to the needs of any meeting. Other topics will include the importance of consensus to social change, and common barriers that are encountered.

Baghael Kaur is passionate about the importance and power of living consensus – in meetings, in relationships and in political spaces, too. After ten years facilitating workshops on consensus, she still receives so much expansion and joy from the learning process that occurs during workshops.

(for those attending Consensus and also registered and staying for the afternoon Anti-Oppression workshop a light vegetarian lunch will be provided free of charge from 12:30 pm - 1 pm)

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
with Sookie Bardwell

MUSC 206/207

Being a person is really hard, and being people together is even harder. While there are so many wonderful ways to be a person, many of us learn that some ways of doing so are inherently better than others and that if we or those around us are having a hard time being people, it’s because we’re/they’re doing it wrong. The thing is, the only way to do it wrong is to fail to treat ourselves and those around us with the value and respect we all deserve. In this
introductory workshop, you are invited to come together with others in order to build our collective capacity to better engage in positive and respectful ways with ourselves and one another. Together, we’ll come to an understanding of our individual social locations and the way in which the identities we hold within ourselves affect both the way in which we move through the world, the experiences that we have as we do so, and the way in which these experiences are influenced by the many systems of oppression that structure this social world.
We’ll also have the opportunity to collaboratively build our capacity to intervene in these systems as they play out for us individually, interpersonally, and at a systemic level in order to work toward a world in which we can all have a much less difficult time being people, together.
Sookie Bardwell loves to work with other humans to figure out how to be better people for ourselves and each other. She has been working as a social justice educator for over a decade in a variety of settings, and is excited by the opportunities that arise every day to build our capacity to have more just and respectful relationships with ourselves, one another and the world of which we are all an important part in service of our collective liberation.

Friday, January 26, 2018

SCRUM PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Setting and meeting goals using Lean/Agile

6:00-8:00 PM with Harjot Atwal (PMP)

MUSC 311-313

Often meetings are too long and you get far too little actually accomplished. Projects are drawn out, even when you come into them with the best of intentions.

That's why we want to share with you an alternative model on how to get things done called Scrum. Scrum is considered a Lean/Agile project management method that helps your group focus on the most important things, and get them done! By being open and transparent, everyone in the group can track where the project is at any moment in time, and it ensures you have a team that is engaged and empowered to act.

In this very hands-on work session, you will be able to apply scrum methods to your project so you actually learn by doing! If you don't have a project, someone will need your input, so you can contribute and leave knowing you have helped and know more about this fun, visual, and fast project management style. We ensure you'll leave with a new toolset under your belt, that will help you not only manage your current group projects but help you think of creative ways to tackle future initiatives.

OPIRG will provide a light meal before the workshop at 5:30 PM

Harjot Atwal (PMP) is a Project Manager with over five years of experience. She graduated from McMaster University in 2011. Most of her experience in the field was garnered by working in the Software industry. As of last year, she has been moving her career toward utilizing a more progressive approach to managing projects known as Agile. Managing a project life cycle with Scrum methodology has more benefits than traditional ways of managing projects. She hopes to share this approach with you and inspire a more collaborative and iterative approach to getting things done.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Media Attention: how to get it, what to do with it
6:00 -7:30 PM with Kelly Bennett, CBC Hamilton

MUSC 318

A workshop to help participants understand and practice:

  • what elements of their work might make a story in the media (and what doesn't make the grade)
  • how to frame the issue when communicating it to a reporter
  • best way to get media to take notice (media release? social media? etc)
  • how to prepare to be interviewed - distilling key talking points, learning what details to share

Kelly Bennett is an award-winning investigative reporter who's worked in digital, print, radio and television journalism for 11 years. She has investigated a plummeting housing market and uncovered controversial policing practices in diverse communities. She finds human stories to illustrate and illuminate complex systems, to question clichés and conventional wisdom. Bennett grew up in Victoria, B.C., and lived and worked in San Diego for 12 years before moving to Hamilton, Ontario, in 2014. She's currently a reporter at CBC Hamilton. Previously, she helped grow the award-winning online nonprofit news organization Voice of San Diego and appeared regularly on NBC and PBS/NPR affiliates.

OPIRG will provide a light meal before the workshop at 5:30 PM


Registration opens in January 2018 once details are confirmed.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Talking to politicians: how to get support for your public interest work

City Hall with Matthew Green

11:30 AM Hamilton City Hall

Do you feel that politicians don't care? That your issue won't be taken seriously?
Find out how municipal politicians can align with your project to generate impactful outcomes in the city. In this candid discussion, you will hear from one of Hamilton's city councillors about ways to move a project forward and the interplay between grassroots movements and the most local levels of government.

Hop on the HSR and head downtown to 71 Main West. Join Matthew Green Hamilton City Councillor and activists for a discussion on engaging City Hall on your issue to bring about change.

Whether or not you have a specific cause or issue you want to see changed in Hamilton, all are welcome to participate!

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McMaster University Student Centre

Hamilton, ON L8S 4S4


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