STEAM Education Centre

About the Week

This program will connect you with STEAM Education Centre in St. Thomas. The STEAM Education Centre has partnered with the Young and Free Press to implement 30 Railway City Little Free Library boxes in the community.  They have become wildly popular and have built online communities of supporters.  These supporters would like to see the project expanded to create a community pantry, fruit cart, fridge share option or another service/program where equity diverse populations can access fresh goods outside the hours of the foodbank and other community service providers.

Western's Mechanical Engineering Design class is proposing a vending machine model as one possibility. STEAM would like to engage a group of Impact Experience students to explore this and additional possibilities. This will include exploring what is currently offered in the community and providing recommendations to best support food security in the community.

Considerations for design would include weather elements, vandalism, safety, pests and wildlife, and overall logistical operating structures. Practical and social aspects of how to engineer the solution to encourage appropriate use through the entire user journey will also need to be considered. The final deliverable will be to pitch a design idea that works through all these considerations.

Day one will be spent on campus getting to know your fellow Western team and learning about each of your strengths. The afternoon will be spent with the STEAM Education Centre team, learning about the community and exploring existing food security systems.

Day two will be spent in St. Thomas (bussing provided) in a design jam outlining critical points of consideration and exploring innovative ways to share food.

Day three will be your team's opportunity to present your idea and celebrate your experience.

About the Organization

STEAM has a mission to educate, equip and empower learners to imagine and create the future through play, ingenuity and innovation using science, technology, engineering, art/design and math (STEAM). They focus on the future and help students learn the essential skills and competencies required to excel; they encourage students to innovate, fix what is broken and inspire youth to create and not just consume. Whether virtual or at the Centre in St. Thomas, the STEAM team introduces learners to an extensive library of hand tools and emerging technologies, including professional audio, and video production equipment, wood-working, leather-working and metal-working tools, 3D printers, CNC routers, Epilog laser cutter, Cricut machines, graphic design tablets, and more.

STEAM believes there are many ways to be creative and has the tools to make your imagination come to life.

Program Dates

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - Thursday, November 3, 2022

Participant Numbers

  • 8-15 students
  • 1 student team leader
  • 1 staff leader

Learning Outcomes

At the end of your Impact Experience you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to explore ideas, issues, and viewpoints other than your own, through reflective practice, group discussions, and program activities
  • Work under conditions of ambiguity or uncertainty by engaging with community partners and community members and working as a team
  • Explore and design a community pantry that equity diverse populations can have access to fresh goods after hours.

Ideal Participant

If you are looking for a community problem-solving service experience – this is for you. This experience would be ideal for participants excited about design, food security, and communication. You will be challenged to find your voice and work as a team. If you are hard-working, team-oriented, and want to learn more about the rural community outside of London, then this is an excellent opportunity for you.


Impact Experience is a cost recovery program, we strive to ensure student fee transparency.

The cost of the program is $130 and will include the following:

  • STEAM Education facilitation fees 
  • Daily team lunch
  • Bus to and from St. Thomas 
  • CliftonStrengths Workshop 

Preliminary Itinerary

Tuesday, November 1 - On-Campus 
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM  Team Building and CliftonStrengths The CliftonStrengths assessment will give you and your team an opportunity to understand each other's unique talents. 
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Team Lunch
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Steam Centre Project Explanation The STEAM team will provide key project parameters and give you an opportunity to explore the food security systems in St. Thomas.
Wednsdaey, November 2 - STEAM Education, St. Thomas 
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM  Bus to STEAM Education in St. Thomas 
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM STEAM Design Jam The STEAM team will lead you on a community tour followed by a Design Jam focused on community food insecurity, existing systems, and community need.   
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Team Lunch 
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM  Team Work Time  Your team will take this opportunity to meet, research, and explore key considerations for designing a community cupboard that can be accessed 24/7. 
Thursday, November 3 - On-Campus 
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM 

Team Work Time

This will be your opportunity to meet as a team and develop a presentation based on your recommendations. 
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Team Lunch

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 

Presentations and Reflection 

You will present your presentation to the STEAM Education Team. This will be followed by a group reflection on your Impact Experience. 

 Your team is encouraged to organize social evenings throughout the week such as evening events and/or dinners.



Accessibility: Please contact us if you have any accessibility considerations we can address that would support your learning.