Three students honoured for work in Kingston community

University hopes new award will dispel stereotypes

Ryan Quinlan-Keech
Ryan Quinlan-Keech

A new civic responsibility award has been created to allow the University to show pride in its students, said Vice-Principal (Academic) Patrick Deane.

“It was created because events like Aberdeen 2005 gave rise to a perception that students, when in the city of Kingston are more of a liability,” Deane said. “And anyone familiar with students knows that’s not true.”

The awards, consisting of three $2,500 awards, were conferred last month to Ryan Quinlan-Keech, Melanie Bedore and Aislinn McCarry.

The money for the award came out of the civic responsibility fund which was founded last fall as part of an ongoing effort to reward students for helping to create better relations between the University and the Kingston community.

Nine people were nominated for the award. Deane said the three students chosen were all nominated by both someone from the community and from the University.

Quinlan-Keech, ArtSci ’07 and last year’s municipal affairs commissioner for the AMS, was recognized in part for the work he did at Homecoming this year.

“Ryan’s contribution is perhaps the most easily understood [of the recipients],” Deane said. “I think the way the community sees the students has improved and I think the way students see themselves in relation to the city has improved.” Quinlan-Keech said he has enjoyed seeing the results of his efforts.

“It’s been gratifying to see the warming in the relationship between Queen’s and the Kingston community,” he said. “I hope the impact of the work I did was to improve relations between the [Queen’s] community and Kingston for some time to come.” Bedore is a PhD candidate in the geography department.

She has been working with the Kingston branch of the John Howard Society, a collection of organizations dedicated to addressing social issues surrounding crime. She has been working to gauge the impact of the closure of an IGA grocery store in Kingston’s north end, producing findings that the community is suffering from a lack of food retailers.

“I guess it’s recognition I wasn’t really expecting,” Bedore said of the award, adding that it means a lot to her.

“The monetary part is a big financial support. It means a lot that the University is willing to help financially to further my studies.” Bedore said it’s important for community members to volunteer to learn more about their city.

“I was raised in Belleville, so I have seen income disparities and class disparities. North Kingston is deprived, class disparities get ignored, and the media doesn’t really show or pay attention to issues in this area.”

Betsy Donald, a geography professor at Queen’s, nominated Bedore for the award.

“She organized 11 other student volunteers, both graduate and undergraduate,” Donald said. “She managed the whole project from start to finish and it wouldn’t have happened without her dedication.” Donald said Bedore went above and beyond her research and academic duties.

“This is exactly the kind of thing we should be rewarding our students for.”

Aislinn McCarry, Sci ’07, was the project coordinator for the 2006-07 Green Scheme, a project focused on urban renewal.

“To me, this award symbolizes not only a great deal of time and hard work, but it also reflects upon the good nature and character of Queen’s students,” McCarry said in an e-mail to the Journal. “It is not often that the good deeds of students are publicized in the community; as a result, this award symbolizes a positive step forward for the town-gown relations in the city of Kingston.”

With files from Lindsay Webster

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