Game Changers

Fall 2023

No Upcoming Lectures

Past Lectures

Dignity in a Tiny Home: How a Better Tent City is making a difference one tiny home at a time

Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023

It is hard to open a paper or listen to a news cast today and not hear about the issue of homelessness. You don’t even have to read the paper – just drive down our streets by wooded areas, under bridges and you will see tents and encampments. Walk down King Street and you will see people sleeping in doorways and panhandling for cash. The Region of Waterloo’s Point in Time count, released in 2021, reported that we have almost 1100 homeless people in the region and of those 1100, over 400 are completely unsheltered.

By every measure, we have a growing crisis on our hands and rather than looking the other way, a growing number of people and organizations are making a difference – one tiny home at a time. A Better Tent City (ABTC) is one of those organizations.

In this presentation Marion Thomson Howell will tell the stories of ABTC – stories about how it was formed, stories about the people who have made it their home, stories about the people who keep it running, and stories about why they keep going.

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Artificial Intelligence: What it is and Why does it Matter

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? How are people different from computers? Can computers think? Such questions have been thought about from the earliest days of computers. In this talk Peter will present some of the recent successes of AI and why there is so much current excitement around it and why there may also be reasons for concern.

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A Circular Solution: Addressing the Single-Use Plastic Crisis

Tuesday, Nov 21, 2023

The single-use packaging industry is in crisis as countries, including Canada, enforce bans. By 2050, more plastic than fish is expected in the ocean, largely due to single-use food packaging. The root cause of the problem with single-use is the linear supply chain on which it is based. By redesigning the supply chain to create circularity, traditional waste can become an input stream and the environmental impact of the packaging industry can be significantly reduced. Kayli Dale will share her inspiring journey of launching a business to address this crisis, from graduating in April 2020 to scaling a cleantech venture during the pandemic.

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Listening First - Doing Politics Differently

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2023

Mike will speak about why before being elected he made the commitment to do things differently, what that means to him, and how he’s been able to use that mentality to make more progress on the priorities of his neighbours than he would have been able otherwise. This includes his commitment to science-based action on the climate crisis, to racial justice, to completing the country’s social safety net through programs like a Guaranteed Livable Income, and to electoral reform.

Mike will talk about how his focus is to work on behalf of his community rather than his party, listening first, then collaborating to find and promote solutions, and will share examples of work he’s been able to fast-track by using his unique approach. From the Canada Disability Benefit to Electoral Reform, Mike has chosen to find common ground across party lines in order to tackle some of the issues impacting Waterloo Region, without worrying about who gets credit as long as the work gets done.

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Learning from the Past, Shaping the Present, Igniting the Future

Tuesday, Nov 07, 2023

In this thought-provoking lecture, you will embark on a journey through the rich tapestry of First Nations history, gaining a deeper understanding of the personal stories that exemplify the lasting and current impacts of the Indian Act and see how First Nations are rising through to reengage their sovereignty.

The lecture provides a brief overview of First Nations history prior to contact, acknowledging the profound impact of colonization, and systemic oppression for many First Nations. Through personal narratives, attendees will hear poignant examples of how the Indian Act has affected individuals and families, shedding light on intergenerational trauma, cultural loss, and socioeconomic disparities.

As we transition to the current realities understanding the complexities of contemporary issues that are a result of historical challenges, is essential for fostering productive relationships and igniting the future. All this shared while anchored in examples of resilience, brilliance and the steadfast desire to have a positive influence and foundation for our future generations.

The latter part of the lecture focuses on actionable steps that attendees can take to support and engage with First Nations communities, individuals and organizations. From promoting cultural sensitivity and inclusivity in the workplace to advocating for policy changes, amplifying voices and opening metaphorical doors, participants will be equipped with practical strategies to build bridges and dismantle barriers.

Throughout the lecture, there will be a strong emphasis on cultural humility and active listening, recognizing the importance of reciprocal learning and the value of First Nations knowledge.

Join us as we embark on this transformative journey, sparking meaningful conversations and inspiring positive change in our personal and professional lives. Together, we can bridge the gaps and forge a path towards reconciliation and mutual respect.

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The Evolution of Vehicles

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2023

In this talk, we will delve into the remarkable evolution of vehicles, tracing their journey from traditional gas-driven engines to the revolutionary era of electric-driven propulsion.  Furthermore, we will explore how vehicles are transitioning from being human-controlled to becoming machine-controlled with the advent of autonomous technology.

By examining the historical significance of gas-driven vehicles, we will review their impact on transportation and the environmental challenges they posed. We will uncover the motivations behind the shift towards electric-driven vehicles, exploring the benefits they offer in terms of sustainability, reduced emissions, and enhanced energy efficiency.

Additionally, we will discuss the latest developments in autonomous driving and the pivotal role of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning in enabling vehicles to operate autonomously. We will delve into the advantages and challenges associated with autonomous vehicles, including enhanced safety, improved traffic management, and the ethical considerations surrounding their deployment.

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Seeing the World in New Ways

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2023

Like so many areas of health care, vision care is also changing rapidly. Technology advancements come from drug delivery modes, changes in pharmaceuticals, laser, refractive technologies, new diagnostic instrumentations, gene therapy, computer assisted changes, monitoring, diagnosis, artificial intelligence, as well as micro instruments through quantum and Nano technology. An optometric exam will look very different in the future than it does now.  This lecture will explore how technology is already affecting us now, but also our children and our grandchildren going forward.

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Creating Generational Change Through Arts Education

Tuesday, Oct 17, 2023

Join Artistic Director and CEO of Drayton Entertainment, Alex Mustakas, along with Director of Education and Disability Advocate, David Connolly, to hear about the goals of their new performing and technical arts training facility, The Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy.

Drayton Entertainment is a registered, not-for-profit charitable organization, and one of Canada’s most successful professional theatre companies. The company’s latest expansion comes in the form of a 10,000 square foot, state-of-the-art performing and technical arts training facility located in Waterloo called the Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy. There, a daily, concerted effort is made to help dismantle the systemic constructs that have served as cultural, financial, emotional and physical barriers to representation and participation in the arts. Year-round, all-ages programming is rooted in belonging and designed to create community and generational change.

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