University Workshops in Vancouver

Students for High-Impact Charity (SHIC) helps any student who wishes to make an exceptional impact on the world. The SHIC program challenges students to ask not only “How can I make the world a better place?” but also, “How can I make the biggest possible difference?”

Our workshops consist of group activities, videos and discussions, and are designed to challenge students to think critically about their impact using evidence and reason, across a wide range of causes. Our program is completely free for University and College clubs and lectures. 

To register your interest email David Vatousios, our Vancouver educator on

The Workshops

SHIC workshops explore ethics, social responsibility, and how we can use evidence to make a large impact on the world. The emphasis is on what students can do now, and in their future careers, to make the largest positive difference they can.

The workshops are adjustable in length. Ideally the program takes one lecture slot, however we can run shortened versions or multiple presentations of up to 4 hours in total.

Activities include:
  • “The Giving Game”, where the students are tasked with selecting the charity they deem as having the biggest impact. Students are given $5 of real money to donate to the charity they choose at the end of the activity.
  • Thought-provoking quizzes to bring out students’ misconceptions about the world.
  • Mind-bending ethical puzzles to explore our obligations to others.
  • Videos and discussions on some of the world’s pressing issues such as global poverty, our treatment of animals, and threats to humanity from future technologies.
Suitable for:

SHIC has alternative programs to suit various different clubs and lectures, and is ideal for 

  • Leadership Groups
  • Ethics Lectures
  • Philosophy Clubs
  • Charity and Global Citizenship Groups
  • Social Justice Groups
  • Humanitarian Engineers
  • Mathematics and Science Clubs 
  • Psychology clubs
  • Political Science clubs
  • Animal Advocacy Groups
  • Groups interested in international service opportunities

How does the SHIC program benefit students?

  • Applying critical thinking to making the world better.

    SHIC reveals cognitive biases and misconceptions, showing students that their intuitions might not be as reliable as they’d like to think. Throughout the program, students learn key critical thinking skills that will allow them to question their preconceptions about themselves and the world. SHIC incorporates scientific ideas (such as randomized controlled trials), statistics and economics to explain how global initiatives use evidence to improve lives. 

  • Encouraging empathy.

    Through philosophical inquiry, students are exposed to new ideas about who and what they could care about, and are encouraged to develop their own ethical positions. Students consider how they could help those outside their immediate community, including those who live far away from them, animals, and those who are not yet born.

  • Empowering students.

    Young people can be bombarded by news reports about a multitude of serious issues in the world, so empathetic students can be faced with indecision about which problem to act on. SHIC provides a framework on how to prioritize causes, so students can decide the most impactful path for them.  Most students are surprised at just how great their impact can be.

  • Improving fundraisers.

    The most effective charities are estimated to be between ten and a hundred times more effective at improving lives than the average charity. SHIC teaches students how to analyse charities and identify those that are outstanding. By focusing on high-impact charities, students can learn how to achieve a significantly greater impact with their fundraisers.

  • Guiding careers for good.

    SHIC reveals how students can heighten their impact through their studies and career choices. Often the most impactful paths are not all that obvious.

Get involved

To register your interest in having SHIC visit your club or lecture, contact David Vatousios, SHIC’s Vancouver Educator, on

What people say about SHIC

I thoroughly enjoyed the course, it was really the wake up call that I needed [...] I have realised that I do not want a life where I am only thinking of myself and those closest to me.
Holly Reid
Student, New Zealand
SHIC has a fantastic curriculum focused on helping others that's totally unique. While other groups focus their efforts with solutions already in mind, SHIC challenges students to think about what coming up with solutions in the first place might look like.
Owen Shen
Student Leader, USA
Catherine was amazing when she came and lectured for me. The students absolutely loved her, and she got them so empowered as to how they as individuals could do real good. It was fabulous!
Fiona Dalzell
Environmental Ethics Lecturer,
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
SHIC gave me an actionable roadmap of how to use my life to help others. It was amazing to help my friends find that sense of direction through the lively discussions sparked by the SHIC curriculum.
Rebecca Baron
Student Leader, USA
The levels immediately capture the attention and interest of the students. The topics come across as both unusual in a school context and extremely relevant and contemporary. The varied use of teacher exposition, classroom debate and videos makes the lessons lively and entertaining [...]
Roland Reichart
Teacher, Austria
I really enjoyed your session—and appreciated how genuinely you presented the material, and how naturally you rolled with the questions. (It was genuinely moving; I was telling my wife about my impressions through the evening).
Michael Griffin
Philosophy Lecturer, University of British Columbia, Canada

Support the SHIC Workshop Experiment

SHIC is seeking funding to allow us to get out to more students, and conduct an experiment to measure our program’s medium-term impact on students. Go to our funding page for more information and to donate.