SFU changemaker committed to engaging youth to shape their cities

For some, being a changemaker is a portion of what they do in life, but for Tesicca Truong, Simon Fraser University Environmental Science alumni and co-founder of CityHive, she is living and breathing changemaking in her everyday life.

If there is one thing that can be said about Truong and her involvement with SFU and the community at large, she is a changemaker. Truong’s commitment to creating and implementing change started when she was a high school student and she participated in TREK, an outdoor education program where students spend half the school year in the classroom and the other half immersed in the outdoors. It was in this program that Truong first learned about sustainability and realized that she could make a difference in her community.

Truong’s passion and desire for change developed to encompass more of a systematic approach. She began to engage in societal issues such as social isolation, affordable housing, childcare, employment and access to education — and then she got involved in programs that helped facilitate community-built and community-led solutions to these issues. From there, she sought people, organizations and educational opportunities with common interests in urban sustainability. “I was attracted to SFU for its reputation of being an engaged university deeply embedded in the community,” notes Truong. Building on her work within Vancouver’s Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force, she joined SFU Public Square to continue to engage the community on urban sustainability challenges.

Throughout Truong’s studies she has been actively involved in SFU Innovates programs such as RADIUS (RADical Ideas, Useful to Society) and Change Lab. These programs have provided her with experiential learning opportunities, access to coursework that has an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, and an environment that supports research and new ideas for cultivating a community of changemakers.

Through CityHive, Truong and co-founder, Veronika Bylicki work together among local youth to create a more sustainable, inclusive and livable city. The collaborative nature of CityHive provides an outlet for youth to share energy and ideas to address complex challenges that cities face, ultimately giving way to the next generation of changemakers.  

“With every visible success we have had, there have been a lot of unseen no’s and a lot of learning opportunities,” says Truong. “The lessons learned from these experiments and failures are the foundation of future endeavors.”

With these experiences in mind, Truong continues to be motivated and inspired by the people she works with and the opportunities for collaboration and mentorship among like-minded community members that have a passion for the betterment of society. “SFU has changed my life by providing me with an amazing community of support — personally, academically and entrepreneurially,” expresses Truong.

Moving forward, Truong’s philosophy is to continue to seek discomfort, not settle with how things are and to remain humble. Truong is working with social innovators to find solutions for a sustainable, just and healthy society — she is a natural born leader and changemaker at heart.