Have a global impact and become a catalyst for meaningful change by getting involved in the Calgary community!


Applications are now closed

How does it work?

It may be hard to imagine doing something locally that has an impact across the world. Calgary has a thriving global community and there are plenty of organizations having that type of impact already. 

So where do you come in? 

Now more than ever, organizations must demonstrate the ability to pivot and respond to issues and needs as they arise. They may be facing new challenges as a result of the pandemic and other recent international and local events. The Global Community Challenge (GCC) creates opportunities for you to work in cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary teams to identify solutions for issues faced by these organizations in Calgary. In doing so, you will develop skills in teamwork, creativity, problem-solving, and communication while building your intercultural capacity and positioning yourself to become an innovation catalyst for meaningful change in approaching real-world challenges. 


Level/Year of study

Undergraduate students in any year of study and students currently obtaining a masters a degree

Domestic & international students

University of Calgary students as well as students from any one of our partner institutions abroad are welcome to apply

Teams composition


5-6 students per team

Chosen or assigned

Teams will be assigned

Sorting criteria

  • multidiciplinary
  • varied global perspectives
  • survey responses

Important details

All students will be added to a Desire2Learn (D2L) site to connect with group members, receive program reminders, and access program content. Your mentors will also be added to the D2L site to access your work and provide feedback when needed.

Each team will have an assigned mentor(s) to support them in the development of their proposed solution. You are expected to have 3-4 meetings (1.5 hours each) with your mentors across the span of the challenge between October to mid-November over zoom.

Some suggested themes for your meetings should be: 

  • 1 initial meeting for introductions and brainstorming 
  • 1 meeting to finalize narrowing down problem scope and ideas for solutions 
  • 1-2 meetings for follow up and finalizing ideas

It is your responsibility to reach out to your mentor for introductions, ask for support via email, and to set up meetings. If your mentor has not been responsive to your outreach by mid-October, or in case of any questions or issues, please contact the program coordinators at and we will follow up to make sure you are supported.

We will be running 5 separate workshops across the 6 weeks of the challenge. All sessions will be held virtually on zoom. The links and passwords to enter sessions will be posted on D2L.

You can find the themes, schedule, and more details about each one in the schedule below. 

Students are strongly encouraged to attend all workshops live as workshops are highly interactive in nature will provide maximum benefit if you participate with your team. If you are unable to attend, please let us know and we will do our best to provide alternate arrangements.

We expect that participating in this challenge will require students to commit approximately 30 hours of their time. This would include, workshops, meetings with community partners and mentors, working with your team, and the final presentations.

Choosing a challenge

As part of your application, you will identify a community partner and challenge that you would like to mentor students in addressing. Click the image above to see the full list of challenges.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Judging criteria

Wondering how you'll be judged in the competition rounds? Click the picture above to see the judging rubric.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

What's in it for you?

While this program does not count for academic credit, it will help you develop skills that will be relevant to both current and future educational and professional opportunities. There are many benefits that the GCC will provide you with, which include (but are not limited to): 

  • Gain hands-on experience addressing real-life issues related to a global issue or problem of interest  
  • Develop new skills in research, entrepreneurship, problem-solving, and team-building while spending time working with students from different disciplines and countries, learning different approaches to the chosen problem 
  • Gain experience preparing and presenting compelling arguments in front of academic and community leaders 
  • Earn recognition among your peers and local university community  
  • Make connections with others who have a passion for changing the world 
  • Expand your professional development network through collaborations with local and global peers, mentors, and expert panelists 
  • Participate in a series of custom workshops designed to help you feel confident planning and executing your project 
  • Receive Co-Curricular Record recognition for your expected 30 hours of engagement and participation
  • Participation in this challenge will boost your graduate/professional school application, as well as your CV/resume  

Challenge Timeline

Oct 2, 2020

Application deadline for student participants

Oct 6, 2020

The challenge officially starts!

Teams, mentors, and community partners announced and connected.

Oct 6, 2020

Mentor Training with Victoria Hirsche and Kevan Coyle

*This session is for mentors only

2PM-3PM on Zoom

Check your email for details and the link to attend

Oct 13, 2020

Workshop of the week: Innovating for Impactful Projects (Mandatory)

11AM-1PM MDT - Zoom

5PM-7PM MDT - Zoom

Zoom links to be provided on D2L


Oct 19, 2020

Workshop of the week: Strengths and Teamwork

11AM-12PM MDT - Zoom

Zoom link to be provided on D2L

Oct 26, 2020

Workshop of the week: Intercultural Competency

3PM-4PM MDT - Zoom

Zoom link to be provided on D2L

Oct 28, 2020

Workshop of the week: Fostering Inclusive Communities

1PM-2PM MDT - Zoom

Zoom link to be provided on D2L

Nov 3, 2020

Workshop of the week: Professional Applications of Challenge Work

11AM-12PM MDT - Zoom

Zoom link to be provided on D2L

Nov 6, 2020

Feedback round presentations

More information to come! 

Nov 19, 2020

Final Round of Challenge

*Check back for the final schedule

Nov 20, 2020

Challenge Winners Announcement