Community Outreach | Frontier Poetics

A focal point of my teaching practice involves mentoring undergraduate students in the English major program at KPU. I always find a way to build experiential learning opportunities into the curriculum, whether I am teaching diasporic, Canadian literature or film studies courses.

Most recently, I have had the opportunity to manage a duo of rapping English majors, Calvin "Kalvonix" Tiu and Rick "Big Love" Kumar, as part of a high school outreach program known as Frontier Poetics. The talented twosome, who began as students in my ENGL 4350: Topics in Film Studies course, became my grant-writing partners. Securing funding from Coca-Cola and the Faculty of Arts, we went on to produce a professional music video, "Hello Farewell" (Tetrafilms 2015) and launched the Frontier Poetic program out in the catchments KPU serves -- Surrey, Richmond, and Langley.

Since the fall of 2014, the Frontier Poetics team has visited 16 high schools to deliver its message about the power of language, anti-bullying, lifelong friendship, and community service. Over 700 students have participated in the interactive workshops. Due to their exemplary work on this community project, Calvin and Rick were named as two of the Surrey Board of Trade's Top 25 Under 25 for 2015. Rick also delivered the graduand address at his May convocation ceremony, where he and Calvin performed for the Arts graduates. They continue to be newsmakers both on campus and out in the community.

View a Storify-ed summary of the entire project here.