Step Up Project

The STEP UP Project aims to encourage and recognize students who work in teams to explore and research pervasive problems impacting urban areas and their communities. Through STEP UP, students will practice teamwork skills and apply the knowledge they gain in class as they explore the unique challenges of urban environments. Students will gather data and create group projects about challenges such as traffic congestion, homelessness, affordability, sustainability, poverty, crime, social inclusion and/or inequality, among others. Students in the groups may participate by presenting their findings to their class, members of the Douglas College community, and others.  Group projects may also include the submission of a written document or alternative forms of conveying findings. 

Students who are enrolled in a STEP UP course and who successfully complete a group project and the course will be eligible for STEP UP Recognition funding. Students who participate in an end-of-the-semester mini-symposium will be eligible for an additional funding in the form of a STEP UP Studentship. Funding for STEP UP awards and scholarships is generously supported by the R. Howard Webster Foundation and the Douglas College Foundation.

STEP UP Recognition

Students who successfully complete a STEP UP course and course project and meet the eligibility requirements below will receive a Recognition award. Students do not need to apply for this award. Instead, instructors should submit their list of eligible students to the STEP UP Coordinator once final grades have been calculated. Students will receive between $200 to $500 each, depending on the total overall number of eligible students each semester. Students enrolled in more than one STEP UP course at the same time may receive a Recognition award for both classes but may only receive one Studentship (see below) per semester.

For students to be eligible for the Recognition award, they need to:

  • Earn at least a C+ on their group project
  • Earn at least a C as their final course grade


STEP UP Studentship

Students who participate in a mini-symposium will be eligible for additional funding in the form a STEP UP Studentship. The goals of the mini-symposium are to allow students to share ideas and network with each other, faculty members, and invited guests. The format of this event will vary by semester, but in general, an event and reception will be held either after the final exam period or early in the following semester. Students who wish to participate may be asked to share their final projects in digital format (written paper, video presentation, poster, etc.) or to give an in-person presentation on their work. They will also have the opportunity to answer questions from guest panelists and other student participants about their projects. Student participants will receive between $500 to $1000 each, depending on the overall number of participants each semester.

For students to be eligible for the STEP UP Studentship, they need to:

  • Earn at least a C+ on their group project
  • Earn at least a C as their final course grade
  • Receive approval by their course instructor/faculty member to participate
  • Submit their projects in digital format to be shared with guest panelists and other student participants; or give a presentation on their work (this will vary by semester)
  • Participate in the STEP UP Mini-Symposium


Participating Courses

The STEP UP project has been incorporated into the curriculum of designated sections of the following courses. To verify whether a section has been designated as STEP UP, please contact the course instructor.


CRIM 3385        Community Crime Prevention – C. Pawlychka

GEOG 1130      Human Impact on the Environment – M. McPhee

GEOG 1150      Geographies of Metro Vancouver – R. Sumartojo and R. Crowley

GEOG 2213      Urban Sustainability – M. McPhee

GEOG 2311      Social Geography – S. Paynter

GSWS 1101      Contemporary Issues in Gender, Sexualities, and Women's Studies – S. Paynter

HIST 1105        Global Issues in Historical Perspective – J. Brooks and C. Beninger

HUMS 1400      Urban Challenges – E. Rossiter and R. Sumartojo

PHIL 1102         Values and Contemporary Issues – E. Rossiter

PHIL 1122         Business Ethics – E. Rossiter

PHIL 2360         Philosophy and Feminist Thought - C. Sabourin

PSYC 3341       Drugs and Behaviour – N. Vittoz

  • ENGL 1130 Academic Writing  Available in future semesters 

How do I register?

STEP UP participating courses are all open enrolment. Register for any of the above courses through myAccount during your assigned registration period.


Want more information?

For more information about the STEP UP project, please contact Rini Sumartojo at or contact the individual course instructors.
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