Marcus previously worked at the OCE for eight months under the work-study program, and the grant allowed him to extend his mandate into the summer and to expand his role through the development of a series of profiles highlighting Concordia’s efforts to advance community interests with a focus on relationship-building. "By applying what I learned through my studies in journalism, I was able to build on my storytelling skills through writing and reflection while contributing to the office’s mission as a facilitator of community engagement at Concordia."
The OCE's mandate is to develop and support meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships between the university and the diverse communities of Montreal. The office cultivates and nurtures these relationships while also working with staff and faculty who share its goals and vision for a community-centred approach to partnership. Marcus was able to meet with internal and external partners whose approaches to research and community organizing seek to challenge the power dynamics that conventionally underlie the deployment of institutional resources. "My goal in writing these pieces was to highlight communities not as accessories to university-anchored research but rather as equal partners in the pursuit of social change. This means, among other things, recognizing that communities do not inherently benefit from being studied. Instead, questions and solutions must flow from community-identified needs."
A news article written by Marcus. Tap/click the image to read it.
For each article, Marcus interviewed stakeholders in the community before identifying a main topic and determining the best structure for its expression. He had success finding anecdotes that functioned to draw the reader into the perspectives of the communities, organizers, faculty and students that were central to some of the most important work being done at Concordia.
"I became familiar with a range of exciting projects underway in Montreal’s diverse communities and had the satisfaction of drawing attention to them to the best of my ability. In this way, I found the work deeply rewarding. At each step of the process, I had autonomy and the patient support of my colleagues, whose sensitivity and community knowledge anchor the authenticity and value of our work. I selected topics, conducted interviews and constructed narratives that I thought could best promote the Office of Community Engagement’s community-first approach. Each phase of these projects contributed to my growth as a journalist by providing real-world tests of my skillset. If my experience is any indication, the opportunities offered by the Experiential Learning grant can empower Concordia students to find new outlets for the development of their academic skills while pursuing interesting, satisfying work that can be of benefit to everybody involved."
Marcus enjoys applying his studies in Journalism to his work adjacent to the community sector because it offers the chance to have a meaningful impact against inequality. Read his news articles online.