What is engagement?

By: Heather Fisher

As a member of the McMaster community, I have prided myself over the last few years in being an engaged and informed Hamilton citizen as well.  But, as I continue to challenge myself to learn more about the city that I now call home I am discovering how little I really know.  Please don’t take that the wrong way my fellow Hamiltonians – I don’t think I knew much about the town I moved here from either.  Actually, I know that I didn’t; because I never took the time to learn about or experience my hometown.

So what’s the difference?  Where has my sudden interest in feeling invested in my city come from?  The answer, I suspect, is UNIVERSITY.  I recently participated in the filming of a video on campus where we were asked a series of questions about responsibility, participation and respect.  Since then I have been considering how my opinions on those three topics have changed since I stepped foot onto the McMaster campus (I won’t say how many years ago).  I realize now that it is the people, events and programs that I have encountered here on campus that have helped me grow into what some would call an “engaged citizen”.  I have been encouraged to explore the Hamilton community and to challenge my preconceived notions about the city through experience and that made all the difference.

One of the questions I answered in the video was “How is a university campus different than a high school campus?”  I think becoming an engaged citizen is just one aspect of what makes a university campus truly unique and I feel especially privileged to have had the opportunity.

So, here is my challenge to you –

If you feel that in your time at McMaster you HAVE NOT become an engaged citizen:
GET OUT AND EXPERIENCE HAMILTON!  There are so many great ways to get involved in the community.  Once you start to build a relationship with the people and the places in the city, I am sure that you will feel more invested in Hamilton, just like I did.

Not sure how?  Email us at servicelearning@mcmaster.ca or comment below and we can help you get started!

If you feel that in your time at McMaster you HAVE become an engaged citizen:
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES!  Tell your friends, families and colleagues all about what made you feel engaged.  Word of mouth is the best resource for getting people excited and sharing your experiences will help others to try new things in the community.

Best of luck from all of us at PTB!