Be Purposeful

What makes St. Paul's GreenHouse different?

GreenHouse innovators are concerned with social innovation and social entrepreneurship. Our interests and ideas go beyond commercial success to look at creating meaningful and measurable environmental and social impact.

The GreenHouse program guides you to understand the root cause of problems, craft workable ideas, collaborate with others to develop real-world solutions, and achieve financial sustainability. We can help you with the change you want to make. It might take the form of a not-for-profit social enterprise, a for-profit social-purpose business, or a one-time activity or project.

What value does GreenHouse bring?

GreenHouse brings students together into a community of environmental and social development innovators. You'll have access to events in the form of discussions, workshops, seminars, and networking opportunities. It's an innovation community for the exchange of ideas and for the execution of those ideas.

Who can join GreenHouse?

St. Paul’s GreenHouse is open to undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo who are in their second year or above. Students from all faculties are welcome. We strive to have a diverse student community with members who can complement each other’s interests and strengths. You can also be enrolled on a co-op term.

What if I don’t have an idea? Or what if my idea isn't good enough?

Whether you have no idea what you want to work on, you have an idea, or you have already started something, GreenHouse is a place to explore your interests and develop them as you are ready. The program is designed to support you at whatever stage you are at. All you really need is dedication and a desire to make a difference. 

Why is GreenHouse a live-in program?

When someone wants to learn a new language, the most effective way to succeed is to immerse yourself in the culture and language. It’s the same with social innovation. Living in the same community with like-minded students enhances learning, networking, and problem-solving opportunities.

In other words, the community is designed to support participants in many ways: from a formal perspective with weekly workshops, but also in an informal fashion by interacting daily with your neighbours.

What is the time commitment?

How much time you need will depend on your project and how fast you want it to move forward. Regular seminars and workshops are scheduled weekly, and there are one-on-one meetings with the GreenHouse team. There are also occasional events (e.g. the Social Impact Showcase at the end of the term). Ultimately, the time you invest into this program is up to you. You will likely want time to work on your initiative outside of the weekly sessions if you want your idea to come to life.

What do GreenHouse innovators actually do?

We investigate various issues around generating ideas and how to bring them to fruition so they create a meaningful impact. These could include: 

  • Problem identification / Design thinking
  • Idea generation / Creative thinking
  • Social business canvas
  • Market research techniques
  • Idea validation / Idea testing
  • Storytelling / Making the pitch
  • Fundraising: Grants, crowd-sourcing, angel investing
  • How to use a network / How to use a mentor
  • Measuring social and environmental impact

GreenHouse is a very personalized experience. Every person in the program will have a unique experience, based on their interests, their ideas, and their ventures.

Where does GreenHouse fit in my academic career?

You can choose to take GreenHouse as an extracurricular activity after first year to supplement your academic courses, or as a for-credit course. The application process is the same. You can also take the program earlier, or later, in your academic career. The advantage of starting earlier is that you can figure out what you are passionate about and get started on it right away in a supportive environment. The benefit of starting this program later is that you bring more experience and clarity to your project. GreenHouse supports both pathways.

What are the living accommodations like?

As of Fall 2017, you will live in a private room with an ensuite bathroom in our brand-new wing, with 12 other GreenHouse innovators on each floor. Learn more about the accommodations here. Until Fall 2017, innovators live in shared suites with other GreenHouse members. See the floor plans and photos here.

Can I live with my friends? 

If your friends are also interested in GreenHouse, you can apply together and let us know so we can try house you on the same floor. At St. Paul’s GreenHouse, you’ll meet new people with the same passion for social change that you have. 



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