Internship Allows Robyn Metcalfe to Help Spearhead Inter-Generational Housing Project at The Ville

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Robyn Metcalfe is working to see inter-generational housing succeed in Fredericton.


The fourth-year student from Halifax, NS, is working on a two-year pilot project as part of an internship at The Ville Cooperative. The project aims to find 10 students to live with senior citizens in their own homes.


“I’m really excited about it because ageism is something I’ve always been passionate about fighting against,” Metcalfe said. “The fact that we could lower housing costs for students and combat loneliness for seniors in the community is very exciting.”


The first year of the project is dedicated to research. Metcalfe is putting together a literature review to analyze what’s worked in the past, what hasn’t worked, and how current projects in Ottawa and Halifax compare to theirs. She’s also been tasked with promoting the project and working to gain support from organizations in the community.


They hope to begin the housing portion of the project in September.


“The hands-on experience and getting to talk with older adults to see how this project can combat loneliness, combat mental illness, and keep them in their houses is really rewarding,” Metcalfe said.  “Knowing there are people in the community that are excited about the project makes the work worthwhile.”


Building the project from the ground up has been a valuable learning experience for Metcalfe. It’s given her a deeper appreciation for the work that went into creating the organizations, clubs, and societies she’s involved in.


Connection to Class Learning


The internship has also helped prove the value of her in-class learning.


“I’m taking a couple Gerontology classes, so that helps in creating an atmosphere where I’m really learning in the classroom and learning in the workplace,” Metcalfe said. “My knowledge from the classroom has definitely helped me understand the true problems and benefits of the project.”


Her background in Psychology and Sociology has also been helpful.


“As a Sociology and Psychology student I’ve looked at development, which is important because loneliness is one of the developmental issues in older adults living on their own,” she said. “Mental illness is also a huge issue for students and older adults, so I’m also focusing on that. I’m looking at going into a work field involving mental health when I graduate, so it’s really helped with what I want to do after school.”


After completing her Bachelor of Arts, Metcalfe plans to either stay in Fredericton or move to Ottawa for post-graduate studies. Regardless of where she ends up, she hopes to stay involved with the project.


To learn more about internships and experiential learning at STU, visit STU.ca/EL