It’s a common challenge faced by university students; how do you shake the feeling that your academic work exists in a bubble, seen only by you and your teachers, never making an impact other than on your transcript?

At the Trent Community Research Centre, we help to overcome this problem by providing opportunities for students to do for-credit research projects in the service of local community groups. Non-profits, arts organizations, government agencies and other groups in Peterborough come to us with research questions, and we help to develop projects that students can do to find the answers. Students get academic credit, while contributing valuable research that can have an impact in the community. Often, students finish their
projects saying that it was one of the highlights of their University career.

This year has been one of the busiest ones ever at the TCRC, and soon you’ll have a chance to learn about all the great community-based research projects students have been working on with us. Our annual Celebration of Community Research is March 31, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Champlain College Great Hall. Over 75 students will be there presenting their original research. This is an opportunity for students to share their work with their peers in the Trent community, as well as the Peterborough community at large.

In community-based research, the questions come from the community itself. This means the projects on display at our celebration will reflect the diversity of Peterborough; students have partnered with organizations like Peterborough GreenUP, the New Canadians Centre, the Youth Emergency Shelter, Camp Kawartha, and the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre to produce a wide range of research projects in many different academic disciplines. These projects all answer questions that the people working to make our community a better place are asking right now.

The event will also feature a keynote address by Brianna Salmon, executive director of Peterborough GreenUP. Brianna will speak about the value of community-based research in Peterborough at 11:30 a.m. Following Brianna’s talk, we will present awards to students for outstanding work in community-based research.

You’re invited to join us for this event to see what research looks like in action. We hope the projects on display will inspire you to get more involved with your community, and maybe even to sign up for a community-based research project of your own.

Most students connect with us through a community-based research course offered in their home discipline, but it’s also possible to do a project independently under the supervision of a faculty member (similar in structure to a reading course). If you’re interested in earning academic credit while contributing to the life of the Peterborough community, visit our website www.trentcentre.ca to browse a list of the projects we currently have available. If a project catches your eye, fill out an application form and you could be producing crucial research that your community can really use.