2017 BC Good Neighbour Award Winner – Sean R. Lauer
Sean Lauer holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and is an Associate Professor and the Acting Department Head of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. He has published widely in his areas of specialization, which include community sociology, economic sociology, immigration and social research methods. For more than 10 years he has been committed to community engagement through research and learning. Through this commitment the neighbourhood house movement has benefited greatly.
Lauer has offered up hundreds of hours of volunteer service: on the Board of Directors of the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC (ANHBC) from 2009 to 2016, where he served a term as President; on the Board of Directors for the Alexandra Foundation for Neighbourhood Houses from 2015 to 2016; and as a current member of the Alexandra Housing Society's Board of Directors.
He is recognized as an effective volunteer leader, but Lauer’s contributions have reached beyond. Since 2005 he has applied his academic and research skills to explore the neighbourhood house model in Vancouver. He has looked at the history and role of neighbourhood houses in Vancouver. Working with Dr. Miu Chung Yan, Lauer was a key member the Neighbourhood Houses in Metro Vancouver research project team. The four-year project looked at why residents from all walks of life develop long-term connections to their neighbourhood house, and at exactly how neighbourhood houses strengthen communities, positively impact social capacity, civic and community engagement, making connections, and social life. He wrote several briefs that summarize large amounts of data and make the findings accessible to a general audience.
His recent studies find him analyzing the awards given by neighborhood houses and the meanings they create about participation. As the BC Good Neighbour Award recipient, he will no doubt use the opportunity to be a participant-observer in his own research. Sean lives in Vancouver with his partner, Carrie Yodanis.