Community Engagement on Street Parties


Large unsanctioned street parties 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 high-risk party culture 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. 

Moving forward, 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. Starting in March of 2022, Dalhousie and partners will be convening a multi-stakeholder collaborative framework to address unsanctioned street parties in our shared neighbourhood. This work will be 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 activites;
  • engaging in continuous communications; and
  • providing a backbone to move the work forward (a dedicated team).

Facilitator

An independent facilitator is key to establishing ground rules, a common agenda, and a collective roadmap forward. The chosen facilitator is 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

This spring, work has kicked off with interviews and a community survey. This input will inform the co-design of a two-day initial Community Strategies Lab where stakeholders will create an overarching roadmap for moving forward. This roadmap will help define roles and responsibilities that will guide community conversations and efforts moving forward, with regular check-ins to monitor progress. This framework will complement the many efforts of staff and partners who are forwarding efforts in their own area of specialization (harm reduction, programing, policy, etc).

Student Involvement

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 to this process, Dalhousie is also leading a multi-year student engagement process in partnership with the DSU that will hold deeper conversations with students about strengthening harm reduction tactics and identifying alternatives to unsanctioned street parties. 

Timeline

Cultural shifts take time. This framework is recommended for its ability to support collaboration over a number of years.  In the shorter term, Dalhousie hopes to incorporate some recommendations for the Fall 2022 semester.

Get Involved

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 community.engagement@dal.ca with questions or comments.