Munk One, Munk School

2020 Devastating Fact screening

Each year, Munk One students produce a video and feature story on something they find disturbing, inhumane, and solvable — a devastating fact — as part of Professor Joseph Wong’s MUN101H1F: Global Innovation I: Issues and Perspectives course. 

The devastating fact video project is at the centre of MUN101H1F: Global Innovation I with Professor Joseph Wong. By the end of their second week in the course, students present a devastating fact – something students find “disturbing, astounding, unbelievable, inhumane, and solvable” – which they “live with” throughout the semester.  Munk One students use the remainder of the fall term to produce a 5-minute video and a New York Times-style feature story all about their fact, its context, and a proposed solution.

The final lecture period of the semester is an opportunity to screen the videos, with upper-year and faculty guests from the Munk One community. This year, the screening had to take place remotely via Zoom.

Frequently, devastating facts are related to course themes, such as development, poverty, and inequality. This cohort was no exception, bringing awareness to the fact that 13.4% of India’s population lives below the poverty line of $1.90 USD per day, and that 235, 000 Canadians are homeless in a given year. Interventions like Conditional Cash Transfers for enrolling children in school and Housing First approaches, respectively, were proposed in response.

Other research projects went in new directions from the course material, which was encouraged by Professor Wong. For example, some projects explored child trafficking, land mines, and pollution from fast fashion.

This opportunity to investigate complex problems and highlight solutions at work is well-aligned with Munk One’s overarching goals. During the second semester, students will apply these skills – together with research methods studied in the fall semester of MUN105H1: Global Problem Solving – to their Sustainable Development Goals lab projects, which will require presenting a novel solution to a challenge in poverty, justice, biodiversity, health or education. In some cases, students’ devastating fact projects can inform the direction of the lab projects and offers an opportunity to delve further into the research.

Students entering Munk One can look forward to this project as one of many opportunities to investigate global challenges that pique their interest and come to understand them at a deeper level.