Reading Time: 3 minutes

ASH and U of O create off-campus involvement awards

Illustration by Devin Beauregard

THIS SEPTEMBER, THE Good Neighbours Committee, initiated by the University of Ottawa, created awards for off-campus student residents to encourage those living in Sandy Hill to be good neighbours. Granted in April, the awards for property improvement and community involvement will recognize students who have been nominated by a community member based on their contributions.

“The university, a couple years ago, founded the Good Neighbours Committee,” said Alastair Mullin, a director of external relations at the U of O. “That committee is a grouping of people from Action Sandy Hill (ASH), the community at large, our municipal councillor, as well as various people from the university. It is a forum where people can exchange ideas.”

The awards, which feature a total of $1,200 in prizes, will reward students who have participated in their community by improving their own property visually or who have taken part in community initiatives.

“We have three categories: The overall best off-campus student rental property, the best-kept off-campus student rental property garden, and the community involvement award,” said Marcia George, treasurer on the board of directors for ASH.

“[The final award will go to] someone who is actively involved in the community, whether it be tending to the outdoor rink in the winter or volunteering at the Halloween party at the community centre,” said George. “There are wholehearted examples in our community of exceptional students and we want to start to identify those individuals.”

The awards encourage students living in the community to be better neighbours, a goal many tenants have already achieved.

“Last year some [students] assisted in helping clear the community hockey rink and have helped with clean up the park day,” said Mullin. “We also have students volunteering over in the homework club at Strathcona Heights. There are a lot of places where students are doing an awful lot of good and we need to recognize that. We are trying to encourage people to put a good face on a neighbourhood and improve the quality of life.”

Though there has been tension between students and other residents of Sandy Hill over the state of properties in the past, organizers are confident this program will bring positive change and improve the Sandy Hill community.

“Occasionally there will be some issues, as this is a campus of 40,000 students living close to a residential neighbourhood,” said Mullin. “More often than not, there are people telling us [about the] wonderful impact students have on the community. It’s a small group [of students who help], but it’s a growing group and we hope it will continue to improve relations in the neighbourhood, as well as the reputations of Sandy Hill and the University of Ottawa.”

Many residents recognize the student population in the neighbourhood as an important part of Sandy Hill.

“At the end of the day, these are our baby sitters, our neighbours, and we have to start identifying [their good work],” said George. “Action Sandy Hill is very aware that there are a lot of exceptional students. It’s time we started to show the positive light [in] the community.”

To nominate a student resident, view the complete list of regulations, or learn more about ASH, go to

—Christopher Radojewski