Barend is passionate about building a sustainable society that does not rely on fossil fuels and that promotes healthy, sustainable life-styles. He understands that the problems we face in society are multi-dimensional. With the Earth’s population surpassing 7 billion people, 1/3 of these people living in poverty and growing, and the world un-able to control present rates of consumption, there exist very obvious reasons to drive change.
Barend realizes change through his work with Engineers Without Borders in the Corporate Engagement Team; coordinating the Urban Energy Diet Challenge as part of the Energy Diet Challenge Program in partnership with Canadian Geographic and Shell Canada; and promoting the bicycle as a primary mode of transport in Calgary through the Tour de Nuit Society.
Taking a leap from Calgary to Africa, The Run to End Poverty is Barend’s biggest investment in energy yet. The run is aimed to engage with the active running community in Calgary, linking international development, fundraising and behaviour change in one exciting event. Barend looks forward to leading this event through to a second successful year.
In his spare time, nothing comes close to the feeling of awe and adventure in the great outdoors. Hiking, backpacking, cycling (and bike touring), rock, ice climbing, ski touring… you name it, he does it. Barend is a trip leader with the Alpine Club of Canada and thoroughly enjoys sharing his experiences outside.
Barend is excited to work with all of the NextUp participants to make this world a better place starting with local initiatives that drive global change.
Kyle is a newcomer to Calgary, moving to the big city from Edmonton at the beginning of 2011. Social worker, yogi, feminist, activist, and mother – there are many hats Kyle wears and tears, labels they reject and accept, and social constructs Kyle bends and breaks.
Kyle attended the Social Work Program at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton in 2009, and is currently working towards a certification in traditional Himalayan style yoga through Sunshine Yoga Academy in Calgary. In Fall 2012, Kyle will return to Edmonton to continue working on her social work degree, and be closer to family.
Through Kyle's experiences in volunteering with a variety of organizations specifically directed towards working with at-risk women and populations, kyle has become passionately involved in the process of women helping women, promoting the idea of acceptance and celebration of sexual health and human sexuality, and the importance of creating space with in these conversations for the development of intergenerational learning.
Kyle‘s guiding principle in life comes through a positive piece of graffiti Kyle spotted in the downtown core that suggested, “be optimistic it feels better”. Kyle parallels this inspirational muse to the words of one of their personal idols who passionately stated, “Optimism is better than despair”. She believes positive thinking leads to positive action, which in turn, leads to positive and progressive change – socially, environmentally, and economically.
Kim loves both art and anthropology, so she is a creative mix of creativity and intellect herself. She loves art & design and seeing people commit their emotional and physical energy to creative expression. Anthropology introduced a way to examine society and the world, but it was her community experiences that got her hooked on developing her skills as an active social agent. She sees art and anthropology as always connected; two lenses shaping her worldview (like one left eye and one right eye). Two Community Service Learning courses had a significant impact on her. The first was a course on artistic representations of the energy economy in Alberta, where she worked in collaboration with an advocacy group called Friends of the Lubicon. Here she became committed to learning about how the energy economy affects First Nations. In the second course, she worked with the Office of Sustainability at the University of Alberta, where she developed a research project outlining why and how sustainability and design education go hand in hand. Kim has travelled extensively and her recent adventure was a student exchange in Brazil. She was attracted to Brazil’s thriving art culture which is strongly connected to social movements and community development. While Brazil is very different from Canada, there are parallels between resource development issues in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest and Canada’s tar sands. Her experiences in Brazil confirmed that she wants to continue to engage with social movements and explore what making a better world looks like to her. She sees Next Up as a great opportunity to explore action projects and organizations to continue growing and developing her role as an active citizen.
Well-travelled, inquisitive and friendly, Chris is an eager contributor to the Next Up team. Since participating in a Canada World Youth program that led him to an eye-opening stay in China, Chris has been interested in social justice. He pursued a formal education in the field, first at York University and then at Trent University, where he graduated with a BA in International Development and Environmental Studies. Along the way, Chris stumbled into journalism. After writing an article for a local Edmonton magazine, Chris became involved with the Trent campus newspaper, where he eventually worked as associate editor before moving on to intern with CBC for 4 months in Toronto. Happily, Chris’s interest in journalism continues to thrive. Chris passionately believes that creating dialogue to allow individuals to feel empowered to be good citizens is important in moving towards environmental and social justice, and ultimately hopes to use journalism to obtain this goal. For now, Chris’s time is spent enthusiastically working for the U of A’s Global Education office and volunteering with campus radio.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Tim was raised in southern and northern Alberta. He has called Edmonton home since 2007, after teaching English abroad in China. He is a passionate individual who is constantly eager to learn as much as possible about social justice issues and always brings enthusiasm into his work.
While living in Calgary, Tim was an active union member with the Telecommunication Workers’ Union promoting the importance of workers rights. He has been active in political campaigns, willing to knock on doors and dedicate his time and energy to volunteer organizations working for much needed change.
He is always excited to talk about the ways that we can come together, assert our rights and stand united. His positive hope for the future is intoxicating and palpable. He is convinced that each person has the ability and skills within themselves to change the world.
He works at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1118 helping workers to prevent abuse and exploitation and to improve their rights and quality of life in their workplace.
Melanie was born and raised in Edmonton. She has always had an inclination towards progressive activism and this led her to becoming active in a collective that hosts the new feminist radio show Adamant Eve on CJSR radio station at the University of Alberta.
She is involved in many local feminist activism initiatives. In May of 2012 as regional mobilizer, she organized a delegation of woman to attend the RebELLes Pan-Canadian feminist gathering in Winnipeg.
Her thoughtful and considerate nature pairs well with the work she does with survivors of sexual assault and her involvement in anti-rape activism. Passionate about transformative change, she loves community gardening and the power it has in bringing people together.
She cares greatly about the importance in navigating her role as a consensual ally to indigenous struggles. Melanie is an extraordinary ally within the progressive community as a whole and brings knowledge, ability and dedication to her work.
Melanie is an enthusiast of making vulva cupcakes, paintings and crafts.
Kate is passionate about using theatre and the arts as a mode of social change. Kate strongly believes in theatre and the arts as something everyone should be able to access and use to tell stories and explore storytelling. She is passionate about working with people who experience disability, creating a paradigm shift towards being able and fully participating in the arts. Currently in her third year of Drama Honours at the University of Alberta, she is a part of the Fine Arts Collective on Campus, which gives a voice to the arts on campus and educates the university community about fine arts. She is involved in facilitation work, currently co-facilitating and directing a fringe show based on communication and the way we communicate with people around us.
Alix is a very passionate and active member of multiple communities. She is currently in her third year of Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta, where she plays a large role in the U of A chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) as VP Advocacy. Through her work with EWB, Alix desires to encourage Canadian aid to other countries which is more effective. She believes this can be done by increasing and enabling Canadian engagement. Besides her work with EWB, Alix is also interested in gender and queer studies, feminism, as well as citizenship. Alix strongly believes in systemic change, which is strongly reflected in her advocacy work. In her spare time Alix enjoys reading, biking, and playing the ukulele.
Frédrique (Freddi) MacDougall came to Nextup with a background in community environmental sustainability work in her home town St. Paul. This and the fact that she grew up in close proximity to a First Nations community accounts for her keen interest in social justice and community awareness work. Freddi believes good intentions alone aren’t enough and thus tries to seek interventions that prioritise facilitation of positive impact at the community level. When she moved to Edmonton where she is currently in the third year of her BA majoring in Political Science and Sociology, Freddi was excited about the prospect of active collaboration with likeminded individuals and organisations. This aspiration led to Nextup which Freddi hopes will be a launch pad towards greater and more meaningful engagement in social and environmental justice work. After completing her undergrad, Freddi intends to travel and develop her interest in peace studies, mediation and conflict resolution into a career anchored by social justice and community awareness. Outside the world of social and environmental justice, Freddi is committed to semi-professional jigging, singing in her band and playing social soccer.
Robyn loves to smile. Her smile and enthusiasm for life are rooted in her sense of place. Alongside family, neighbours, and admired community leaders, Robyn has grown up hiking in alpine meadows, playing in backyard leaf-piles, exploring pacific beaches, and attending film screenings and festivals. Robyn’s experiences in her community and in the natural world have served to deepen her connection to community, enhance her process of reflection and care, and energize her passion for sustainability.
Robyn obtained a bilingual degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Simon Fraser University. At SFU, Robyn also participated in the Semester in Dialogue, was a director of the student non-profit organization Sustainable SFU, and served as a Residence Community Advisor. These experiences allowed her to explore the roles of politics, community engagement and public dialogue in effecting social change.
Most recently, Robyn co-founded Shift Urban Cargo Delivery, a social enterprise that seeks to replace cargo trucks with pedal-powered cargo trikes in the goods delivery market in downtown Vancouver. Shift is organized as a worker cooperative, and Robyn is particularly excited about the opportunity to work with a dynamic team of young people, applying their ideals in a realistic and creative way.
Through it all, Robyn maintains that having fun is key, and to that end she loves to share food, discuss politics, hike, sing, bike and play.