Community Engagement on Street Party Culture
Large unsanctioned street parties and high-risk party culture, fueled by social media, are a growing issue in communities across the country. In terms of mitigation, there is no short-term fix, nor is there a single solution. This complex issue requires sustained cooperation aimed at addressing the root causes of this growing trend and finding alternative ways for students to feel connected to each other and their community.
Dalhousie has been researching other jurisdictions, meeting with our community partners, and hearing from students and community members. Many have expressed the desire to have a forum for regular dialogue for creating shared understanding of the problem.
We are deeply committed to bringing the same innovative and creative thinking that takes place in our classrooms to supporting our collective efforts to create positive outcomes in our shared Halifax community. Earlier this year, Dalhousie and partners began convening a multi-stakeholder collaborative framework to address unsanctioned street parties in our shared neighbourhood. This work is supported by a dedicated team of Dalhousie staff and an external facilitator.
About the Multi-stakeholder Collaborative Framework
This framework is specifically designed to bring forward multiple stakeholders from different sectors to develop a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Sometimes this is called a collective impact framework. Generally, the core elements are:
- the development of a common agenda;
- using shared measurement to understand progress;
- building on mutually reinforcing activities;
- engaging in continuous communications; and
- providing a backbone to move the work forward (a dedicated team).
Inspiring Communities, a not-for-profit organization based in Nova Scotia that works to build collaborative relationships for social change in Atlantic Canada. Their team leads collective impact frameworks in several communities across Nova Scotia where they engage with community to identify shared priorities of focus, and to convene residents, community organizations, government and business around these priorities.
Process to date & report
Two reports have been produced to date:
Report 1: Inspiring Communities' Report on Addressing Street Party Culture at Dalhousie University [PDF 503 kb]
Report 2: Inspiring Communities’ Report on December Convening [PDF 2.1 mb]
This process began in spring in 2022 with:
- A literature review
- Media & social media scan
- Survey: 183 completed responses
- 13 interviews: Dalhousie security, DSU, a researcher from Queens, staff from HRM/HPD, and five community members (Dal neighbours)
- A two-day Community Strategies Lab on June 24/25
We want to thank Inspiring Communities for their tremendous efforts on this project and to all the stakeholders for giving their time and participating in this process.
What resounded through this process was that while students are welcomed members of the community who bring diversity and vibrancy to the neighbourhood, there is a growing concern, particularly over the last 5-10 years, that party culture has become increasingly toxic, uncivil and destructive. Unsanctioned street parties are the pinnacle of this behaviour with serious risks for both student and community safety and wellbeing. While there have been many attempts and initiatives to help make progress on this front, the recent conversations facilitated as part of this process centered on ideas for doing things differently moving forward. Of particular focus was how to establish a more coordinated approach in our community and across the country.
Students’ voices are fundamental to this process. Student representatives will be key stakeholders at the table of this process to ensure that students are part of the solutions and alternatives that support our entire community. In addition, a multi-year student engagement process led by Dalhousie in partnership with the DSU is underway. This will create deeper conversations with students about strengthening harm reduction tactics and identifying alternatives to unsanctioned street parties.
We will keep our community informed through this website, community updates distributed in our neighbourhoods and our Dal channels (web, social and Dal news).
Please contact email@example.com with questions or comments.