York students can choose how to change the world together during C4 Pitch Week


The international award-winning course C4: The Cross-Campus Capstone Classroom is kicking off its second year at York University with a Pitch Week, running from Sept. 8 to 14.

C4 is open to all York students at the end of their degrees and enables students from different faculties to work in multidisciplinary teams focused on solving pressing, real-world challenges posed by organizations operating in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds – and to get credit for their work.

Danielle Robinson

“York student are being offered a chance to customize their final year and impact the world at the same time,” said Danielle Robinson, the co-founder and director of C4 as well as an associate professor in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design.

C4’s interactive website enables hundreds of students at York to explore potential projects that engage with challenges that have the power to transform people’s lives, including their own.

This year, the program is showcasing more than 75 projects from a wide range of partners, who are eager to mentor the interdisciplinary teams of students on their project journeys.

Community partners involved in this year’s projects include the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Markham Arts Council, Jobster, Centre for Free Expression, TechConnex, the Canadian Language Museum, University Women’s Club, StoryPlanet, Peel Community Climate Council,  Toronto Region Immigration Employment Council, Electronic Recycling Association, For Youth Initiative, YuRide, Barnes Management Group, MaRS Discovery District and Nascent Digital, in addition to several on-campus partners.

Students will only be able to preview the projects during Pitch Week, when the community partners pitch their challenges to the student teams, by pre-registering for C4 at: https://ampd.apps01.yorku.ca/machform/view.php?id=94302

Some of the exciting, big-picture questions students can expect to engage with include:

  • What would a collaborative community-integrated and industry-based loop waste system look like that is engaging, affordable, scalable and effective?
  • What does a community-driven approach to celebrate and support Afro-Diasporic heritage and promote paths to further learning look like?
  • Which policies and structures in Ontario and Canada would we revise to address anti-black and systemic racism, and how?
  • How can student learning and well-being be supported by reaching out both locally and globally, in the wake of the challenges from COVID-19?
  • How can design and use of AI be reframed to ensure more equitable benefit for all?
  • How would we reimagine city and rural spaces to make them more equitable, sustainable and healthy to live in?
  • How can we imagine repairing the cracks, tears and vulnerabilities in society that have been exposed through the challenges of social distancing?
  • How can countries better support their newcomers, to feel welcomed, supported and successful?
  • How can we support community efforts to enhance their own mental health and wellness?
  • How can interdisciplinary approaches to medical research and design speed innovation as well as accessibility?
C4 makes it possible for as many as eight students from different to come together to engage in problem-based learning, with the potential for each group to have a completely different disciplinary makeup.

The good news is that these challenges aren’t only for C4 students. After Pitch Week, any remaining projects will be converted into a Capstone Project Bank for the whole University to make use of, which will be managed by the York Capstone Network. To learn more contact ycn@yorku.ca.

Faculty, staff and students can learn more about getting involved with C4 by joining a Zoom Townhall on Sept. 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and pre-registering at: https://yorku.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYvdO-rrDssGNA4UVJUgAuYKDFIA1bOWPw0.

Want to get involved? Write to c4class@yorku.ca.