Introducing our wonderful volunteer

Emma Sheppard

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18 December 2017

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We’re pleased to introduce Synapcity volunteer, Emma Sheppard. Using social media, Emma connects diverse communities online, and empowers citizens to imagine a better Ottawa.

Emma moved to Ottawa three years ago, and has been a wonderful CityMaker ever since. You can keep up with her on IG: @emsheppardd.

What’s your background?
I’m currently in last year of my undergrad at the University of Ottawa where I’m studying Economics and Public Policy. Throughout my degree I’ve taken on a number of work placements within the federal government, including a summer at the Public Health Agency of Canada which introduced me to the importance of developing partnerships across sectors to foster change at the community level. Initiatives related to the built environment particularly sparked my interest, and I gained a strong understanding of the ways in which our physical surroundings can impact health outcomes and drive social action.

What’s your favourite thing about Ottawa?
My favourite thing about Ottawa is how it can feel just like a small town one day and like a bustling big city the next. I never quite believed this little anecdote when I first moved to the Capital, but here we are!

What change would you like to see in Ottawa?
I’d like to see Ottawa continue to develop in a way that gives alternatives to residents who’d like to explore nature nearby since, as it stands right now, this can only viably happen with access to a car. Transforming our public transport systems to accommodate the urban nature-lover in all of us could foster new opportunities for learning and improving our physical health. Gatineau Park shuttles year round? Why not? The way Canadians value nature should be reflected in our transportation planning! I could go on all day!

Why Synapcity?
I’d just spent a semester living Helsinki, Finland and I was profoundly affected by my exposure to Helsinki’s culture of urban innovation. With that, I began looking for ways to get involved with urban development and civic engagement initiatives back in Ottawa. I’d heard of the 100in1day festival before so I thought I’d see if I could find any local organizations or projects that were similar. Of course, I then found out that Synapcity would be running Ottawa’s event so I reached out and I’ve had a blast volunteering ever since!

As someone who has always been fascinated by the ways cities are connected (by way of urban infrastructure or social connections), it has been incredibly meaningful to help out an organization of passionate people to inform community members about all of the events and initiatives going on in a place as dynamic as Ottawa.

Emma, we thank you!