Map the System finalists address issues of excess and scarcity

Friday, April 8, 2022

listing image

On Thursday, April 7th, 2022, the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement hosted the University of Waterloo’s Map the System campus finals for the fourth time, welcoming undergraduate and graduate students from all faculties to explore some of the world’s most pressing issues using systems-thinking methodologies. More than 60 students from 23 teams entered the competition this year, addressing social or environmental issues through the wider contexts in which they arise.

From the many impactful written submissions received this year, six standout examples were selected to showcase their research in the University of Waterloo’s 2022 campus final. Topics analyzed included Ontario’s nursing shortage; Multi-residential food waste systems in Southern Ontario; Climate resilience in Ecuador’s Amazon; Food and nutrition security in Dominica; Housing Affordability in Northern British Columbia; and Greenhouse gas emissions from Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in Ontario’s residential building sector.

Following the virtual judging session, Centre for Peace Advancement Director, Paul Heidebrecht, reflected that “in the midst of a challenging semester we were really impressed with the extent of engagement from students in multiple faculties.” All of this year’s participants deserve a round of applause for the dedication and hard work that brought them to this stage.

"Campus finals is the culmination of a big process, but also the beginning of a larger opportunity for those students who go on in the competition."Paul Heidebrecht

third place finalists

After much deliberation, judges Christine Moffat, Jacob Crane, Laura Schnurr, and Muhammed Ahsanur Rahim revealed the University of Waterloo’s top three teams for 2022:

Third place finalists Monika Mikhail, Cassandra Sherlock, and Melanie Issett received $500 donated by the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) for their investigation into greenhouse gas emissions from HVAC systems in Ontario residences.

Students Aisha Sada, Duncan Chalmers, Elham Mohammadi, Madina Kane, and Nazek Quteishat won $1,000 donated by Owl Practice for their analysis of the many factors that caused and continue to sustain food insecurity on the Caribbean Island of Dominica.

Second place finalists

Finally, Waterloo’s first-place presentation addressed the lack of affordable housing available for families in Northern British Columbia. In addition to taking home $2,000 donated by Kindred Credit Union, Calyssa Burke, Yawei (Selina) Han, Alex Petric, Janet Song Cornett-Ching, and Ayesha Zerin Tasnim will be moving on in the competition to compete against other universities at the Map the System Canadian finals in May!

First place finalists

The Map the System experience offers students the chance to investigate the world’s greatest challenges using systems thinking frameworks and models they otherwise may never have encountered. Campus finalist, Winnie Yi Yang Huang shared that in preparing for the competition, “it was a challenge and great experience to work together to tease out the true gaps among so many layers of problems.”

"The Map the System competition is a great chance to look at your scholarly research from a different perspective than traditional academics. Looking back, learning how to use so many new tools has completely changed my way of thinking about the world.” – 2022 Campus Lead, Leah Feor

Learning how to assemble system maps was part of what attracted first place team member, Selina Han to the competition. “Figuring out the key points of impact in a system and where people can intervene is the reason we wanted to do this. We want to know how to solve these big problems!”, shared Han.

Visit the Centre’s Map the System web page for updates about the Canadian Nationals and systems mapping resources available for you.