10 ways McMaster students made the world brighter in 2023

A person with their back to the camera taking a photo of three students posing with large lettering that spells out 'MAC

From helping the most vulnerable in our community to addressing local sustainability issues, our students worked hard this year to make our world brighter.

From helping the most vulnerable in our community to addressing local sustainability issues, our students worked hard this year to make our world brighter.

Here are some of the top student stories of 2023, all about how McMaster students contributed to communities on and off campus.

Thanks for making us proud, Marauders!

1. Student volunteers welcome international students at the airport

A warm McMaster welcome starts right at the airport for some international students. Every year, students volunteer as part of the Airport Welcome Program, helping students — some landing in Canada for the very first time — access supports and navigate their way to campus. Learn more about the program and the personal reasons why some students chose to get involved here.

2. McMaster student, recent grads win Hamilton Environmentalists of the Year Awards

McMaster played host to the Hamilton Environmentalists of the Year Awards for the first time since the pandemic forced a pause on the annual event. A fourth-year student and three recent graduates took home the top prizes in new youth categories. Learn more about the award winners and the ways they addressed environmental and sustainability challenges in our local community here.

(From left to right: McMaster student Armaan Kotadia, and recent graduates Abdullah Mumtaz, Herleen Sambhi and Sama Hameed have been recognized for their contributions to the environment by the Hamilton Environmentalists of the Year Awards. Photos courtesy Armaan Kotadi and Peter Rukavina/McMaster University).

3. ‘Stronger together’: Health Sciences student designs Every Child Matters t-shirt

Ethan Michalenko, a Métis student and undergraduate in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program, designed the Every Child Matters t-shirt sold at the McMaster Campus Store ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Proceeds from the sales of the shirts, which includes Michalenko’s artwork representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, was donated to the Survivors’ Secretariat and Indigenous student support programs on campus. ⁠

4.Students help create nesting garden to boost population of native bees

A new nesting garden on McMaster’s campus will give native bees, which are important pollinator populations, spaces to lay their eggs. Students, with the support of staff, faculty and community partners, designed and planted the garden. They hope the site helps boost the population of native bees so the pollinators can continue to play an important role in preserving ecosystems.

A person wearing a t-shirt with writing that reads, 'Nature @ McMaster,' working in a garden

5.Engineering grads’ capstone project named runner-up in national James Dyson Awards

A cycling safety device designed by three recent McMaster Engineering graduates for a capstone project was named the runner up in the 2023 Canadian James Dyson Awards. The trio designed Cyclops Ride Assist, a multifunctional system that uses advanced car safety features after all three had close calls while on their bikes. Learn more about how the system works and their efforts to get it to market here.

Three young people sitting on the ground smiling.

6. Students planting trees by searching the web

The adoption of Ecosia, a free search engine that donates its ad revenue to reforestation projects, started to take root on campus this year thanks to the efforts of a sustainability-focused student group. Members of the group, Zero Waste McMaster, helped launch a pilot project that saw Ecosia used as the default web browser on some campus computers. Learn how you can get involved in the tree planting efforts here.

Two McMaster students holding up a sign advertising the Ecosia browser

7.Student startup wins Survivor pitch contest for app that makes ERs easier on kids

A student startup that helps educate children and their families about health and medicine when they’re in the emergency room took home the top prize at Forge business incubator’s annual Startup Survivor pitch competition. Learn more here about how TechMedic is aiming to streamline emergency room bedside education to reduce touchpoint time.

Shania Bhopa holds up a giant cheque for $15,000 that she won as Startup Survivor winner.

8. Word of mouth: Club promotes healthy smiles for all

When two kinesiology students noticed an absence of oral health clubs at McMaster, they took matters into their own hands. They launched the ‘Healthy Smiles Club’ and are now working to get dental hygiene hits into the hands of some of the most vulnerable in our community. Learn more about how they are advocating for equal access to oral health supplies and education here.

9. Earth Day tree planting marks new phase for McMaster Carbon Sink Forest

Students helped push the McMaster Carbon Sink Forest — a forest that stores more carbon than it releases — into a new phase this year. A fourth and final planting in April brought the total of planted trees at the site to 1,000. Learn more about how those trees will be used as a tool to better understand a forest’s resilience as we face the ever-growing threat of climate change here.

Two students planting a tree

10. Students find connection in food through Taste of Home initiative

The Taste of Home initiative sees international and exchange students, as well as McMaster alumni, find connection through food and dishes from their home countries. Learn more about the dishes shared this year and what they mean to the students who submitted them here.

Two students, one with their back to the camera, seated in front of a plate of food

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