Waterloo students take up Oxford’s “Map the System” challenge

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Winners Stephan Hogg and Nicolas Werschler presenting their pitch about food insecurity in Northern Ontario Stefan Hogg and Nicolas Werschler presenting their pitch "Food Insecurity in Northern Ontario."

On April 8, the University of Waterloo’s first ever Map the System campus final was held at Conrad Grebel University College. The culmination of a process that narrowed 46 applicants down to five finalists, an interdisciplinary team composed of Stefan Hogg (Peace and Conflict Studies) and Nicolas Werschler (Applied Health Sciences) was selected to represent Waterloo at the Canadian finals at Ryerson University in early May.

Initiated by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University, Map the System is a global challenge that encourages students to focus on exploring and understanding the underlying problem and solution landscape of a social or environmental issue. Now in its fifth year, more than 1,000 teams from over 30 universities in eight countries have applied to enter, more than ever before.

University of Waterloo finalists explored challenges in education, waste management, clothing, and food systems. More specifically, the winning team demonstrated their grasp of the complexities of food insecurity in Northern Ontario.

Ilona Dougherty, Paul Heidebrecht, Oscar Nespoli, and Majid MirzaIlona Dougherty, Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement Director Paul Heidebrecht, Oscar Nespoli, and Majid Mirza.  

Participation in Map the System for Waterloo students has been facilitated by the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement at Grebel, in partnership with the Conrad School for Entrepreneurship and Business, the Faculty of Environment, and St. Paul’s GreenHouse. Judges at the Waterloo final were Ilona Dougherty (Managing Director of Waterloo’s Youth & Innovation Project), Majid Mirza (Senior Project Manager at MEDA), and Oscar Nespoli (Faculty in Waterloo’s Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering).

In addition to competing against other student teams in Toronto for one of two entries representing Canada at the global finals at Oxford in June, the Waterloo team will be eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in “Apprenticing with a Problem Funding” in order to continue with their research.