Garrett Richards, a postdoctoral fellow with the School of Environment and Sustainability.
Garrett Richards, a postdoctoral fellow with the School of Environment and Sustainability.

Creating community connections with campus

U of S researcher is launching a Speakers Bureau.

Garrett Richards is looking to bring the campus to the community.

The University of Saskatchewan researcher, along with his student assistant Naomi Carriere, are developing a Speakers Bureau at the U of S, designed to offer free-of-charge presentations to local community groups by campus experts on a wide spectrum of topics.

“At the university we have all this research going on and all this expertise being built and sometimes in academia that stuff sort of stays in the university,” said Richards, a postdoctoral fellow with the School of Environment and Sustainability. “So a Speakers Bureau is a chance to take that knowledge and information and connect it to the broader community so that people who are interested in it can access it in an easier way.”

Funded by the U of S Office of Community Engagement and Outreach, the initiative is a one-year pilot project that Richards hopes will become a permanent feature of the university.

“That is the hope,” said Richards. “Once it’s established, it shouldn’t take too much effort to maintain, basically just having the information updated on the website.”

The initial target is to sign up 100 U of S faculty members, instructors, researchers and grad students to give educational talks each year to groups outside of the university. The speaking engagements will give campus experts an opportunity refine their public speaking skills, while promoting their research to a broader audience and building community support for the interesting work being done at the university.

Richards first got involved in public speaking at debate competitions in elementary school and continued through high school and university here at the U of S. He went on to join the Speakers Bureau at the University of Victoria while working on his PhD, speaking to a seniors group about citizen science.

“I found it to be a great experience and I wanted to bring that back here to the U of S,” said Richards.

To register as a speaker, or for more information, visit the U of S Speakers Bureau website at: http://www.usask.ca/engagement/speakers-bureau/.

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