Q&A with the Friends of Sandy Hill group

These uOttawa volunteers find ways to bridge the gap between students and non-students in the neighbourhood

Jack Brady, Brandon Edwards, and Lila Galipeau are members of the Friends of Sandy Hill group. All three are second-year commerce students at uOttawa.
Photo Harlequin Studios

This fall was much more lively than usual in Sandy Hill with the full return of uOttawa students to campus. IMAGE wants to offer a warm welcome back to these neighbours; it was also interesting to come across a student-led group called the Friends of Sandy Hill.

President of the club, Brandon Edwards, was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. Brandon is a second-year commerce student with the Telfer School of Management at uOttawa and has lived in Sandy Hill for about a year.


When and why did you form the Friends of Sandy Hill group?

Brandon: I started the group Friends of Sandy Hill following last year’s infamous Panda Game. The goal was to repair the relationship between the community and the uOtawa student body. It would not have been possible without the help of my close friends who supported and put sincere effort into the cause­—Lila Galipeau, Jack Brady, Sasha Kelly, and Amelia Proulx. Our mission now is to actively better the Sandy Hill community that we live in by hosting and sharing philanthropic events.

We are a new group in the community but growing fast. Our Instagram (@FriendsOfSandyHill), with almost 300 active followers, is the best way to keep up with our group and learn about volunteer opportunities.

Last year we had two clean-up events, one in the fall and one in the spring. We cleaned up the Sandy Hill Community Centre, Annie Pootoogook Park, St. Germain Park, and Viscount Alexander Public School.

What does the Friends of Sandy Hill group have planned for the neighborhood in the months ahead? 

Our first event of the year will take place on Sunday, October 16 from 1-4 p.m. at Annie Pootoogook Park. The event is called BarbeCLEAN, a play-on-words of barbecue and clean.

We will be going around the park and walking through the streets with garbage bags, socializing, and picking up trash as we go. Following the cleanup, we will be barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers (vegan and gluten-free versions as well). This is the only event planned so far, however, we will definitely have a couple more in the future!

What do you like most about living in Sandy Hill?

There are so many things I love about the neighbourhood—proximity to campus, cafes, and extracurriculars—but my favourite part about living in Sandy Hill is all the green space in the community. Having Strathcona Park so close to go for a long walk after a stressful day of classes is such a perk.

uOttawa students often get a bad rap in Sandy Hill, especially after last year’s Panda Game. What would you like our neighbourhood’s non-student residents to know about you and the student community?

The majority of students want the same thing as non-student residents: A safe and clean neighbourhood where everyone can live in peace and harmony. We want to help foster that dynamic between students and non-students in Sandy Hill because we feel it’s important to show that the few students that misbehave aren’t representative of all students living in the area.

Thanks to Brandon for answering our questions. We look forward to keeping up with the Friends of Sandy Hill over the course of the year!

— ­IMAGE staff

A group photo from the 2021 community clean-up organized by the Friends of Sandy Hill. Join them on October 16!