Connects at Robson Square

UBC Connects at Robson Square is a two-year pilot program aiming to provide more equitable access to knowledge created by the university and burst notions of the “Point Grey bubble” through the activation of UBC’s downtown site.

To meet its goals of bringing innovative, engaging, public programming to UBC Robson Square, the program provides free space and support to engaged faculty members and their community partners.

The program is currently in year 2 of its pilot period, funded by UBC’s Academic Excellence Fund and housed in UBC Community Engagement with support from UBC Robson Square.

Program Update

Due to the overwhelming response and popularity of this program, all available funds have been allocated to support various events and activities scheduled until March 2024. Therefore, as of August 2, 2023, we are pausing our new application intake.

Table of Contents

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Program Testimonial

“UBC Connects at Robson Square played a crucial role in bringing the Cinema Thinks The World series of film screenings to life at UBC. Being located downtown, UBC Connects managed to bring a series of six films, as well as the scholarly discussions that surrounded them, to a wider Vancouver public.”

— Dr. William Brown, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Film

Program Testimonials from funding recipients

“We often hear that audience members from downtown feel UBC is too far out for them to travel to attend concerts. By demonstrating the quality and range of music making that takes place on campus, we begin to develop recognition for the work that we do and encourage new audiences to come out to campus to attend events. […] We feel that this is an impactful outreach that should be continued. Moreover, we have many ideas for future collaborations.”

— Dr. T. Patrick Carrabre, Director and Professor of Music, UBC School of Music

“UBC Connects provided the Transformative Health and Justice Research Cluster (THJRC) an opportunity to host a community event that brought together voices from intersecting departments, organizations and universities. THJRC values this opportunity, as many community organizations do not have the funding to put on these events, but would like the ability to reach a wider audience and connect more with the community of Vancouver and beyond.”

— Samantha Young, Project Coordinator of UBC’s Transformative Health and Justice Research Cluster (THJRC)

To date, 60% of funding has been delivered to faculties, with the remaining 40% awarded to community partners. For every event, applicants receive assistance from a dedicated Public Engagement Specialist, who provides support in planning, program delivery, communications, and on-site coordination.

UBC departments and units:

  • Faculty of Applied Science
    • School of Nursing –Transformative Health and Justice Research Cluster (THJRC)
  • Faculty of Education
    • Research-based Theatre Lab
    • SOGI UBC (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Inclusive Education)
  • Faculty of Arts
    • Centre for Asian Canadian Research and Engagement (ACRE)
    • Department of Theatre & Film
    • Hong Kong Studies Initiative
    • School of Music
  • Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (UBCO)
  • Faculty of Forestry
  • Climate Hub
  • Public Humanities Hub

Community partners:

  • Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences (PIMS)
  • Liu Institute Network for Africa
  • CityHive
  • Out in Schools
  • Bike Kitchen
  • hua foundation
  • Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration
  • Shake Up the Establishment
  • The Ismaili Centre, Vancouver

95% of Connects events have been related to UBC’s Presidential Priority areas, exceeding our goals of having a minimum of 12 events addressing these topics

Connects at Robson Square has been responsive and adaptive to the feedback from applicants, funding recipients, and attendees throughout its pilot. An overview of some of the changes that have been made are below.


  • Application funding cycles mirrored UBC academic terms
  • Fundings recipients received $5,000 for each event
  • UBC faculty, staff and students required a community partner to apply


  • Rolling applications to allow for responsive event planning
  • Funding recipients receive $5,000 in addition to an additional up to $2,000 venue and A/V costs.
  • Community partner requirement removed with new emphasis on engaging community in events

Program Testimonial

“There is a growing interest to bridge research and student learning with community connections in a reciprocal exchange.”

— Christine Lee, Associate Director of Arts Alumni Engagement

Have questions about the Connects at Robson Square program? Please connect with us at