Students available to assist with community events research projects

By Jenn Watt

Published July 24 2018

U-Links Centre for Community Based Research has expanded its capacity for research and volunteer projects and is asking anyone with proposals to get in touch as soon as possible.

The organization matches students at Trent University and Fleming College with community organizations businesses and individuals who have a need for a researcher or assistance with a project.

This year increased funding is allowing for five to seven more research projects and U-Links is also promoting the Community Service Learning projects which matches a student volunteer with a short-term task.

“Structured volunteer service: that’s usually one to three days in duration” says Amanda Duncombe-Lee projects co-ordinator with U-Links. “It can involve a single student or group of students. And it can involve one or multiple projects. And it’s an opportunity for the student to make direct impact toward meeting an organization’s goal. Often it’s a human resources goal so completing an event or an activity or a survey.”

U-Links program director Sonja Addison initiated the Community Service Learning projects to “both increase the number of students working on projects for Trent and to ensure a timely benefit for host organizations” Duncombe-Lee said. U-Links already matches students to one such volunteer service with students assisting the annual Children’s Water Festival in the fall.

Community Service Learning can help the community group but it’s also of great benefit to the students.

“Trent and Fleming College are looking for students to get more practical experience to help them in the workforce and help them increase their knowledge of rural communities” Duncombe-Lee said.
They also receive course credit for the work.

U-Links is mostly known in Haliburton County for the longer-term research done by students often paired with not-for-profits or municipal governments to look into matters of public interest. However you don’t need to fall into one of those categories to submit a proposal. Businesses and individuals can also approach U-Links as long as the project addresses a social economic environmental or cultural need in the community and is in the public interest.

“Traditionally we’ve completed an average of 17 to 20 research projects annually and now we’re able to complete an additional five to seven projects. That means we have increased capacity to deliver research that’s focused on the specific issues that organizations here need help with” Duncombe-Lee said.

“This year we’ve appealed directly to the lake associations in the county to help them with research questions around lake health and the surrounding environment.”

U-Links is always accepting proposals but for those wishing to have their topic addressed this fall the timeline is tight. It’s best to get in touch with them sooner than later.
You can contact U-Links at 705-286-2411 or email program director Sonja Addison at or Amanda Duncombe-Lee at