New CityLAB Staff: Randy Kay, Director of Outreach-Semester in Residence


After two decades working with McMaster student volunteers at OPIRG McMaster, I am thrilled to join an engaged and supportive team working with upper-year students at CityLAB Semester in Residence. The same sense of adventure is evident as these students take action on real issues with the support of city staff, community groups, and the guidance of semester instructors; it is a fast-paced, lively and fun environment that is buoyed by a clear purpose and real-life challenges, all taking place in the heart of Hamilton.

My role is to support student learning in the various hands-on projects and to assist with identifying and connecting community resources to enhance student's learning experience. 

Some highlights from the term: working with students to create CityLABSIR social media accounts, getting the students on SOBI bikes, exploring the downtown (finding the Universal Gemini portal in a chocolate glazed doughnut at Granddads!), the re-purposed pizza boxes that became signs for the Climate Strike, and the many ongoing and evolving conversations as the students bring their authentic and individual personalities to the team.

I’ve done some recent reading that I have found handy with the SIR, so I’ll share some here: 

  • Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, by Jeff Sutherland. 

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. 

  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler

  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Kolbert, Elizabeth

  • Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, by Charles Montgomery