University of Waterloo
Environment 3 Building
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
Tel. (519) 888-4567
Dr. Amelia Clarke, University of Waterloo, Canada
Ilona Dougherty, Youth advocate, public policy innovator and co-founder of Apathy is Boring
The overarching goal of this research project is to enable environmental and social change through youth-led social ventures (or initiatives).
One recent study explored how youth have created social change in Canada from 1963 to 2012. The objectives of the research included defining youth-led engagement in Canada, understanding youth's role as a change agent, and mapping the paths between successes and strategies used.
Our results show that youth-led social entrepreneurship has a positive impact on young project leaders and on society as a whole. Additionally, impacts from youth-led engagement can be seen from micro to macro levels - creating lasting effects that can be felt from individual to international levels. Achieving impacts are based on a number of factors including: strategy used, scale of impact, type of engagement, and type of organization.
Future recommendations for young leaders include which strategies are likely to be most successful, what type of engagement is most effective, and how to have the greatest impact. Young leaders need to recognize their strengths and limitations in order to overcome obstacles when launching their own project.
- Ho, E., Clarke, A., & Dougherty, I. (2015). Youth-Led Social Change: Topics, Engagement Types, Organizational Types, Strategies, and Impacts. Futures, 67(March): 52-62. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2015.01.006 (open access)
- Ho, E. (2013). Mapping Youth Led Engagement: Impacts of Youth-led Engagement in Canada over the Last 35 Years. Master's thesis. ERS, University of Waterloo, Canada.
- Glor-Bell, J. & Clarke, A. (2011). Community Engagement in University of British Columbia’s Climate Action Plan (pp. 39-60). Leal Filho (Ed.) World Trends on Education for Sustainable Development. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Scientific Publishers.
- Clarke, A., & Dougherty, I. (2010). Youth-Led Social Entrepreneurship: Enabling Social Change. International Review of Entrepreneurship. 8(2): online. (View pre-publication version)
- Helferty, A., & Clarke, A. (2009). Student-Led Approaches to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Canadian Colleges and Universities. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.10(3): 287-300. (View pre-publication version)
- Segger, M., Clarke, A., Dougherty, I., Alexander, K., Marcolongo, M., & Duplisea, B. (1997). The Youth-Friendly Guide--The Youth Guidebook to Policy Change for Inter-generational Partnerships (PDF), Ottawa: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.