OutsideTheY and the Neighbourhood Hub awarded SFU Social Innovation Seed Funding

The SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Fund is a joint initiative of RADIUS and Embark Sustainability that supports radical change endeavours with social and environmental impact at their core. The Fund allocates sums ranging from $200-$2000 to SFU graduate and undergraduate student social innovators.

Recently, two remarkable student initiatives were awarded funding in the first round of the 2019-2020 Social Innovation Seed Fund.


The Social Issue:  The team behind OutsideTheY noticed that most of the material regarding feminism and gender equality has females and members of the LGBTTTIQA+ as their core audience, with limited materials focused on the male audience. They believe that the message is important for all to hear and are passionate about creating a platform that is accessible for all people.

Their Solution: OutsideTheY is a platform where people can be inspired or share, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status, their stories of feminism and gender equality. They seek to use empathy and the power of storytelling to provide information and help spread the message. The value of this platform is that it is meant to have a neutral and realistic tone so that the audience can build their own stances on the matters, rather than being told what and how to feel.  

The Neighbourhood Hub

The Social Issue: As folks living in the Lower Mainland, we always hear that Vancouver could be hit with “the big one” anytime soon. Through research and conversations with earthquake survivors, emergency response personnel, and City of Vancouver staff, The Neighbourhood Hub team learned that a large gap in disaster preparedness is at the neighbourhood level; It is at this level where there is a need to foster social cohesion between neighbours in order to share resources when the infrastructure for our electricity, running water, and means of communication will most likely be damaged (for anywhere between days to weeks).

Their Solution: The Neighbour Hub is a structure and public art piece designed to engage the City of Vancouver and local residents in disaster preparedness. The structure responds to the implications of a crisis by offering energy, water, and communications – all independent of the city’s existing power and water supply. The Neighbour Hub’s features, accessible for daily use, familiarize residents with the resources available to them and spark conversations in the neighbourhood around disaster preparedness. The Neighbourhood Hub will be equipped with these major components:

  • 2 bike docking stations and a hand crank where people can pedal to generate electricity and charge their cell phones
  • A catchment area for water that can collect 1,600 gallons of rainwater each year, which is stored in an underground cistern. A  full Neighbour Hub cistern has the capacity to provide one gallon of water for 3 days for 473 people
  • A one-way radio that is powered by the structure’s three solar panels and kinetic energy to combat the potential loss of communication infrastructure such as cell towers and internet
  • A community bulletin board for information sharing between community members, and the City of Vancouver to disseminate important information post-disaster

Website: www.neighbourlab.com

Congratulations to these two incredible projects! SI Seed Fund Cycle 5 Round 2 applications have recently closed, but stay tuned on our social media for Round 3 applications!