Community Partnerships and Social Change

Community Partnerships and Social Change

At UCalgary we are committed to supporting mutually-beneficial and reciprocal partnerships with community. It is through these collaborations that our research and creative activity has social impact and contributes to positive social change.

Dr. Penny Pexman

Associate Vice-President (Research)


EnviCore team

UCalgary GreenSTEM: changing the sustainability game

The GreenSTEM program is a pan-Alberta pilot to provide funding and support for technology company creation and high-tech entrepreneurial development. These companies are exploring new ways to treat oilsands tailings, produce carbon nanofibers from carbon dioxide and methane, and converting carbon dioxide into marketable products.

Light bulb in hands

Social innovation: creating positive change

Enabling faculties to mobilize their academic experience and transdisciplinary expertise into solutions for complex social problems. Social innovation as an idea generated through collaboration that renews existing structures and processes and has the potential to improve the quality of life by building capacity for academic social innovators.

Group of people working together on a new project while sitting at the table in the office by Dean Drobot

Interdisciplinary working groups

By bringing together faculty members and graduate students from different disciplines, UCalgary encourages the exploration of common research interests that supports collaborative research projects within the community. In 2021-22 there were ten interdisciplinary working groups exploring new pathways for interdisciplinary partnerships to tackle topics from social justice to religion to food studies.

Over 1000 Community Partnerships and Social Change publications.
Group of people work around a table in the community garden

Teaching, learning and student experience

Drone shot of City of Calgary

Certificate in Pluralism and Global Citizenship

The series of courses embedded within this certificate introduces concepts, issues and advancing techniques associated with pluralism. It aims to develop values, habits and practices that foster responsible global citizenship. This certificate guides learners through a process that helps them know themselves, understand others, recognize global connections and practice responsible global citizenship.

Students sitting in a circle discussing

Embedded certificate in entrepreneurial thinking

The embedded certificate in entrepreneurial thinking launched in fall 2021 and provides UCalgary undergraduate students with an entrepreneurial thinking toolkit and opportunities to solve social problems, create technology and build new businesses. Entrepreneurial thinking is a way of creating value for others, inspiring change, finding solutions and achieving goals.

Black and white mountains and trees

Creative Destruction Lab — Rockies

The Creative Destruction Lab — Rockies (CDL-Rockies) is enabling innovators and ventures to commercialize science and technology-based breakthroughs by offering professional mentorship, guidance and advice. With three program streams: Prime, Energy and Ag, CDL-Rockies alumni companies have created more than 950 jobs, raised $570 million in capital; $308 million of which were raised by Alberta-based companies.

82 Sustainability Start-ups in 2020-21
Left to right: David Atkins-Apeldoorn, Daniel Sieben, Roger Hull, Tanner Ober, and Rajiv Parmar. Oberon Technologies, a venture of five current and former UCalgary students, is working to provide a smart solution to one aspect of electric vehicle maintenance: the battery. The two founding members of Oberon Technologies, Tanner Ober and Roger Hull met through Team Zeus (Zero Emissions UCalgary Superbike), a UCalgary club that is focused on electric motorsports. The club typically attracts engineering student

Campus and community impact

Kiara Johnson

A more Indigenous-friendly business world

Business student Kiara Johnson, sets out to create a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming work environment for Indigenous peoples that want to belong in the business world. Johnson says that "a big part of what we’re missing within business is that connection to Indigenous knowledge and an understanding of what has and continues to happen to Indigenous peoples."

Dayna Wiebe Solar phone charger

Student-led group enabling local solutions to global issues

UCalgary's Sustainable Development Goals Alliance collaborates with students, faculty, staff and the larger Calgary community to tackle global sustainability challenges. Through the Sustainability Leadership Innovation Program, student Dayna Wiebe, worked on a pilot project to have portable, solar-powered phone chargers. These are available for use at a self-serve kiosk in the Taylor Family Digital Library.

Event at Faith and Spirituality centre

Religious Pluralism

Religious pluralism in action is rooted in a reciprocity of relationships. It utilizes a method that is rooted in speaking from one’s experiences (not as a representative from within a tradition) which fosters contextual and intersectional methods. Examining and dismantling Christian privilege and working towards reconciliation with Indigenous communities are two examples of how religious pluralism can effect social systems and structures.

Did you know?

UCalgary is part of an international university alliance to address global issues.


The Hunter Hub provides access to resources to support entrepreneurial initiatives.


UCalgary is part of the Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification.


UCalgary has contributed over $3.2M in the past five years to the United Way of Calgary.