Applications for the 2023-24 program are CLOSED!
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about getting involved in the future!
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MacChangers is a co-curricular (students do not receive course credit) experiential program at McMaster University that pairs multidisciplinary teams with community members to propose innovative solutions to local challenges facing the Hamilton community, as well as the global community.
Over the school year, MacChangers teams will develop their professional and transferable skills through workshops on a variety of topics, such as human-centred design, the financial viability of solutions, prototyping, communication, teamwork, leadership and problem-solving. Students will utilize these new skills to develop unique and robust proposals to solve local challenges.
In March, teams present their proposed solutions in front of an audience consisting of students, staff, and faculty members from McMaster University, as well as stakeholders from the Hamilton community.
Our vision is to offer experiential learning opportunities to students and to propose collaborative solutions to the most complex and pressing problems confronting society in the 21st century as identified in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Think Global) and Our Future Hamilton (Act Local) long-term community vision.
Why join MacChangers?
“MacChangers has been more than an astounding experience for us, it is a journey filled with personal development, hands-on learning, methodologies to tackle the issues of today, and most importantly a platform for us to define our future adventures.”
– Ali Hamdy, fourth-year Electrical and Computer Engineering
“MacChangers was an opportunity to work with a strong, diverse team who taught me about thinking differently to solve problems. More than that, it was an opportunity to see just how involved and committed the McMaster and Hamilton community are in supporting student growth and success.”
– Harshini Ramesh, fourth-year Health Sciences
“My favourite part of MacChangers was all of the mentorship we received from Student Partners and MacChangers faculty and the relationships they helped us build with members of the community to really build effective change.”
– Andrea Chang, first-year Arts and Science
Develop many of the professional and transferable skills that employers look for such as communication, teamwork, project management, entrepreneurship, leadership and problem-solving in an experiential learning environment.
Build valuable connections with subject matter experts from the McMaster and Hamilton communities and work closely with mentors and like-minded people as you build your professional network.
Propose innovative solutions to community stakeholders that could result in positive change in our community.
The Challenge Areas listed are in alignment with the Our Future Hamilton – Community Vision – the City’s 25-year community vision that helps us to envision how our city will move forward over the next 25 years. It is a result of the culmination of a community visioning process that engaged nearly 55,000 Hamilton residents.
This year we will focus on the four challenge areas below. Read our HMWQ (How Might We Questions) and click on the links to each challenge area below to access our challenge guides to be informed on the specific projects you could work on before applying to MacChangers.
2023-2024 Challenge Areas
Read the report or view team videos below:
- C1 – Gamification: A Fun Way of Sharing and Preserving the Bruce Trail
- C2 – Book a Date with Mother Nature!
- C3 – BTC Information Campaign
- C4 – ECO PAL: A Tiered Solution to Improve Accessibility within the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System
- C5 – City of Hamilton App – Parks Extension: Encouraging Proper Park Etiquette
- C7 – Reducing Levels of Pollution in Hamilton Harbour Through the Use of Bioremediation
- C8 – Reducing Conflict on Multi-Use Trails Through Accessible Information
- C9 – Promoting Trail Education and Etiquette Through Accessible Advertising
- C10 – EcoLight: Achieving Sustainability in Fifth Point while Ensuring Current Users Have Access to the Space and Enjoy their time During their Stay
Read the report or view team videos below:
- E1 – Connecting Famers to Customers
- E2 – Buy-namic: A Digital Solution for COVID-19 Business Burnout
- E3 – FEED (Farmers Education, Enrichment and (crop) Diversification) Program
- E4 – Prioritizing the Elderly: Increasing the Convenience of Car Side Pick Up
- E5 – Hamilton Farmers’ Marketplace: Improving Virtual Accessibility to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market for Consumers of Locally Farmed Goods
- E6 – Fresh Food Farmers Market: Implementing Online Sales Platform for Local Farms
- E7 – Handcrafted Hamilton: Themed Gift Baskets from local Hamilton Handicraft Small Businesses Promoting Consumers to Shop Local
- E8 – Designing a Communication System for Centralizing and Delivering Health Protocol Information to Small Business Owners on Barton Street
- E9 – BIA Takeout Campaign: Restaurant and Hospitals Sponsorship
Read the report or view team videos below:
- H2 – WellHub: The Student Wellness Centre Nexus
- H3 – A Plastic Barrier to Improve Physical Activity/Socializing during COVID-19 in Senior Retirement Homes
- H4 – Stay Home, Stay Fit Bundle: The COVID-19 at Home Senior Fitness Program
- H5 – Automated Public Washrooms: Safer For your Peace of Mind
- H6 – Pop-Up Hamilton Public Toilet: Improving the Accessibility of Public Washrooms in Hamilton
- H7 – MacUVC: Improving the Sanitization and Accessibility of Public Bathrooms for the Hamilton Community
- H8 – Tribubble: Addressing Isolation & Group Physical Activity during COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Homes
- H10 – Mental Health at Mac Day
- H11 – Sanitracker: Real-Time Updating Map of Publicly Accessible Sanitation Facilities
Read the report or view team videos below
- I2 – Smart Shelter: Protection from Theft and Weather
- I3 – Bus Station Heater Innovation and its Response to the Hamilton Community Happiness Index
- I4 – Bottlenecked Bikes: Rethinking Cyclist Safety on York Road, Hamilton
- I5 – Developing an Accessible Real-Time Winter Google Maps
- I6 – Schedulize: A Software for Safety, Scheduling, and Supporting Small Businesses during COVID-19
- I7 – Riding the Wave: A Revolution in Safer Micro-Mobility and Active Transit Infrastructure
- I10 – Battered to Beautiful: Providing Arts Students Opportunities to Beautify Local Construction Zones
- Fenband: A Detection Approach to Fentanyl Overdose Prevention
- Addressing Public Restroom Overdoses in Hamilton
- Implementing Automated Access to Harm Reduction Resources for Opioid Users
- Developing an Accessible Real-Time Emergency Room Wait Time Platform
- Sprout: Hamilton’s Information Hub for Prenatal Services
- Menstrual Equity Pilot Project in Hamilton
- The Hamilton Homeless Hub: The Go-to Resource Hub For Housing Needs
- A Web App to Alleviate Social Housing Issue for the Hamilton Homeless Population
- Out Safe: A Website for Women in Hamilton to Access Domestic Violence Support
- InSight: Visualizing Care Networks for Youth in Hamilton
- Walkpool: A Walk Home Program to Increase the Perception of Safety in Hamilton
- Designing a New Bike Lane on Cannon Street
- Breadalbane, Baker, and Bicycles: Closing the Gaps in the Cycling Path
- Using Non-Newtonian Fluids to Increase Cyclist Safety
- RouteSure: Improving the Accessibility of Real-Time Bus Information for HSR Transit Users
- NiteLite: Improving HSR Transit Stops
- Pilot for Accessibility Mobile Application “Shovel NOW (SNOW)”
How to Join
Step 1: Information
Before you apply for the MacChangers Program, be sure to:
- Review the Challenge Areas to learn more about the kinds of projects that students will be working on.
- Read our one of our reports to see the quality of innovative ideas that our students generate.
- Join our Mailing List to be notified about upcoming Information Sessions, promotional events and about when our application goes live!
Step 2: Application
Once you have decided that MacChangers is for you, you may apply to be in the program through our Application Form. We will accept as many students as we can, and unfortunately, this means that sometimes we must turn away students. If you are applying with friends, your friends must also complete the application form. Priority will be given to individuals and smaller groups of friends.
Step 3: Admission
Once applications close (September 22, 2023) the MacChangers team will review all applicants. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their openness to learning, creative thinking and purpose for joining the program. Successful applicants will be invited to our Preview Night (Note: We aim to accept 200 students, so please apply early!)
Step 4: Orientation
Once you’ve RSVP’d to our Preview Night the team will walk you through the fundamentals of the program to get you familiar with our process. Meet some folks, confirm your participation in the program and get ready for an awesome year!
MacChangers must commit to:
- Up to 3 hours of work per week.
- Attending regular workshops.
- Consulting with the program lead(s) at least once a month (and as many times as needed!)
- Completing program deliverables in order to further their projects.
- Managing their own team’s work schedule that includes research, project management, information sharing and presentation development.
- Communicating with their team
Our Program Foundation
The MacChangers Program is rooted in experiential learning and based on research methodology and inquiry through the principles of Design Thinking, The Lean Startup, The Design Sprint, Project Management, and Systems Thinking.
You will develop your research project in 2 distinct phases:
During the Fall term, teams work together to identify and define the problem they want to solve and the specific users they want to help. The focus of your work will be choosing the right problem to solve. Students will also meet with our community partners at our Fall Community event.
During the Winter term, teams work together to develop a potential solution to the problem you identified. The focus of your work will be testing the feasibility of your solution. Students will also meet with community partners at our Winter Community event.
Information Box Group
Community partners are the heart and soul of our program. We have worked with hundreds of passionate community partners in delivering the MacChangers Program for the past seven years.
If you are a community member looking to suggest a topic for our students to work on, please send us an email and we will get in touch with you as soon as we can!
Frequently Asked Questions
No! MacChangers is an official McMaster program, open to ALL McMaster students regardless of their academic background or level of study.
By default, students do not receive course credit for completing MacChangers. Students enrolled in MacChangers are eligible for a complimentary elective credit by enrolling in ENGINEER 3CX3. More information can be found on the experiential learning page.
Students are expected to attend in-person sessions on Tuesday evenings from 17:30-18:30. It is expected that students commit an average of 3 hours per week in total to the program.
Yes! Please make sure that each of your friends applies, and that you indicate who is in your group.
We have three information sessions happening on campus on September 14th, 19th, and 21st! All information sessions will be hosted in MUSC 318 from 10:30 – 11:30 am EST. Of course, you can always e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Applications close at 23:59 on September 22nd, 2023.