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Jennifer McRae

Seattle & Portland Social Innovators: Vancouver Changemakers want to meet you!

By | Events, Social Innovation | No Comments

RADIUS is gearing up for its first ever Cascadia Social Innovation Tour and we could not be more excited.  Next week, 55 of us — including our inaugural cohort of RADIUS Fellows — are hoping on the Amtrak to come visit Seattle and Portland and we want to know all about what makes your cities so awesome by meeting YOU, the folks who make it so.

We’re only in each city for a very short time and to better facilitate meeting all the awesome local innovators we’d like to connect with, we’ve rented out some pubs where you can join us.

This is our invitation to you: If you live in Seattle or Portland and want to connect with a diverse group from Vancouver that includes makers, movers, shakers, micro brewers, social entrepreneurs, politicos, city builders who are united in our interest in all things local and new economy, social innovation and impact entrepreneurship, please do come out! 

Seattle Details 

Friday June 19, 6pm – 8:30pm at Elysian Fields, 542 1ST AVE S. SEATTLE, WA 98104

RSVP here so we can manage numbers.

Portland Details 

Saturday June 20, 7:30pm – midnight at The Oregon Public House, 700 NE Dekum St. Portland, OR. 97211

RSVP here so we can manage numbers.  


We can’t wait to meet you!

Dr. David Helfand to do opening keynote at ReSchool: transform the future of learning!

By | Events, RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

“If we are to address the daunting problems that face our planet today, we need a radical transformation of our educational system…a student-centered, hands-on, inquiry-based, collaborative model in which all the capacities of the marvelous machines we have in our heads are fully harnessed in an engaging enterprise of discovery…”

 David Helfand, The Globe and Mail, 2014

RADIUS, Groundswell, and Ashoka Canada are proud to announce that Dr. David Helfand, founding president of Quest University Canada will be the opening keynote speaker at ReSchool: transform the future of learning, May 29 & 30 at SFU Surrey.

There are few educators in North America that have done more than Dr. Helfand in moving the needle to not just rethink education, but demonstrate what it could be. Bold and relentless in his pursuit of innovation in education, the New York Times summarized some of his greatest accomplishments in transforming higher education :

Dr. Helfand had his share of crusades at Columbia: he waged a long campaign to have a science class added to the core curriculum (he won); he declined tenure, arguing that senior professors’ performance should be reviewed every five years by an ad hoc faculty committee (he won for himself, but Columbia kept the tenure system for everybody else).

At Quest, he is playing out an even bolder agenda: creating a model to attack the ennui that plagues so much of higher education. Quest has no departments, no tenure and no classes larger than 20. It uses the block system, in which students take one course at a time for a month. Students get a grade, plus a faculty assessment of whether they are “contributing to, and benefiting from, the intellectual life of the classroom.” And students spend their last two years focused on a single question of their choosing.

We are thrilled Prof. Helfand will be joining us to share his wisdom, insights and hard won lessons in creating the future of education and learning.

Be sure to join us on May 29 and 30 at ReSchool to be part of a national effort to build 21st century models of learning and doing and connect to an international community of education innovators. Reserve your space now.


About Prof. David Helfand

IMG_7766A leading doer in the radical reform of higher education, David J. Helfand has served on the faculty of Columbia University in New York for thirty-eight years, for nearly half that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy. He has also spent three years at the University of Cambridge, most recently as the Sackler Distinguished Visiting Astronomer, and was a visiting astronomer at the Danish Space Research Institute and the University of Copenhagen. At Columbia, he taught primarily undergraduate courses for non-science majors, including one of his own design that treats the atom as a tool for revealing the quantitative history of everything from human diet and works of art to the Earth’s climate and the Universe; this course was released as a 24-lecture set by The Teaching Company. Ten years ago, he finally succeeded in implementing a vision he began working on in 1982 that has all Columbia first-year students taking a science course as part of Columbia’s famed Core Curriculum. He received the University’s 2001 Presidential Teaching Award and the 2002 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates.

In 2005, he became involved in the effort to create Canada’s first independent, non-profit, secular university, Quest University Canada. He served as a Visiting Tutor in the University’s inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and was appointed President & Vice-Chancellor in the Fall of 2008; he is now on a long-term leave from Columbia to devote full-time to this innovative experiment in higher education.

In 2011, Prof. Helfand was elected President of the American Astronomical Society, the professional organization of astronomers, astrophysicists and planetary scientists in North America.

A decade ago, he appeared weekly on the Discovery Channel’s program Science News, bringing the latest astronomical discoveries to the US television audience. More recently, his television appearances have been limited to more serious matters on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and the National Geographic channel series, The Known Universe. He believes he is a better cook than astronomer and, ambiguously, most of his colleagues who have sampled his gastronomical undertakings agree.

All Aboard! RADIUS is hosting Canada’s first Cascadia Social Innovation Train Tour! YVR-SEA-PDX

By | Events, Fellows, Social Innovation | No Comments

We’ve got some big news to share! We’re hosting a train tour to Seattle and Portland and we want you to join us!

Clear your calendars and pull our your favourite west coast plaid, because from Friday June 19 through Sunday June 21, you’ll be on a private train car* with the RADIUS Fellows and team touring the best of Cascadian social innovation and entrepreneurship. We’ll be hosted for a night in Seattle and a night in Portland, with tours during the day and local food and drink in the evening.

We anticipate spots on this tour will go quickly. Be sure to reserve your space. Pre-Registration with a non-refundable $100 deposit is required to secure your spot. Deadline to pre-register is April 14th, 2015 at 4pm. Full payment will be due by June 1st, 2015.


Tickets (includes: round trip train (YVR>SEA>PDX>YVR), local transit, and accommodation in both cities):
$375 (student/emerging young leader)
$450 (senior leaders and professionals)

Departure (from Pacific Central Station): 6am Friday June 19
Return (to Pacific Central Station): 11pm Sunday June 21

Registration: Reserve your ticket here!
Invite your friends
on Facebook.

Please note that all participants are responsible for their own health insurance and any required visas or other documentation they require to travel to the USA.

*Seriously, Amtrak is hitching up extra cars just for us. You won’t want to miss this.

This trip is made possible by RECODE, SFU Sustainability Office, and the BC Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.


What is the Cascadia Social Innovation Tour?

The Cascadia Social Innovation Tour is a journey through the Cascadia region to connect, learn, and shift our thinking towards new approaches within the social innovation sphere. We’re packing up our excitement and enthusiasm to build some cross-border connections!

This tour is being hosted by the RADIUS Fellows, a group of 20 high potential emerging changemakers living and working in greater Vancouver. It is open to the entire social innovation community in Vancouver. If you’d like to know more about our fellows, you can check them out here.

We hope that upon our return we continue to rethink our own approaches and continue to foster and strengthen the connections that have been formed.

Our goals for this tour are threefold:  

  1. To connect young social entrepreneurs from Vancouver to other like minded individuals and communities in Seattle and Portland.
  2. To discover similarities and differences between and within the changemaking communities in Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland.
  3. To host a meaningful experience, that is both fun and memorable, and deepens connections between the Fellows and within Vancouver’s social innovation community.


Why do you need my passport number in the registration form?
Amtrak regulations and American border crossing requirements stipulate that we must pre-submit traveller’s information for all international train travel. You can read more about Amtrak’s policy here. This is the only reason we are collecting this information.

Why do you need me to register by April 14 if the trip isn’t until June 19?
Because we are renting entire train cars exclusively for our use, Amtrak requires confirmation of attendees in advance of travel. If we do not sell out the cars, they require us to cancel the reservation and we lose the right to ‘exclusive occupancy’. They have provided the final deadline to confirm how many seats we need.

Can my deposit be refunded if I pay it but can no longer come on the trip?
No, deposits are non-refundable.

Am I required to go on the tours you are arranging for us?
No. Once we are in Seattle and Portland, you are welcome to choose your own adventure. We will be working with local hosts to coordinate a number of different tour options, but if there is something else you would like to see or do, that is entirely up to you.

Am I required to stay in the accommodations you arrange?
No, you are not required to stay with us, but the ticket price does include accommodations. We will not refund you if you choose to stay elsewhere.

Am I required to take the return train trip back to Vancouver with you, or can I make my own way home at a later date/time?
Absolutely! Stay and enjoy Portland or carry on elsewhere. However, like accommodation, the costs are fixed for a return trip and we will not be providing refunds should you choose a different way home.

Who else is coming on the trip?
This trip is open to the general public, and we are specifically inviting the broader social innovation community in Vancouver. The RADIUS fellows and the core RADIUS team will be on the trip and we invite any of you who are interested to join us!


Seeking SFU Student: RADIUS Student Social Innovation Fund

By | RADIUS Edu, Social Innovation | No Comments

RADIUS and Sustainable SFU are proud to be partnering on a Student Innovation Fund to support early stage impact projects and ventures being led by SFU students. It will launch in a few weeks – stay tuned! – and we are currently seeking one SFU student to serve on a Grants Committee to adjudicate these awards.  

Interested students – undergraduate or graduate – are asked to send a short statement (max 100 words) to RADIUS Edu Manager Jennifer McRae ( by Friday November 7th indicating why they would like to serve on this committee. 

Responsibilities in Detail:

Along with other committee members, this student representative will collaboratively assess the merits of applications as they arrive, and make final decisions regarding allocating funds. Committee activities will happen primarily virtually, though some in person meetings may be required.

Compensation: Volunteer (unpaid)

Commitment: apx. 5 hours per month

Application deadline: November 7th 2014

Start date: November 24th 2014

End date: June 30 2015