As I have outlined in a previous post and my town hall address, I'd like to focus on working with the academic and sustainability commissions. The two things I'd like to accomplish each correspond with one of those two commissions. Firstly, at the academic commission, one of my main goals would be to create a professional network to provide students with an opportunity to advance their careers, build their CVs, create vital connections in important places, and more. This could be accomplished by contacting the professionals who already host workshops at Vic hosted by the commission and working with them to create more extensive programs. Secondly, at the sustainability commission, I would like to organize several bus trips throughout the year to protests in more remote areas. Many have protested in downtown Toronto, but being able to spread a message across different regions in Ontario and perhaps even broader, perhaps to sites of unethical climate issues and climate injustice, can be all the more powerful and has a greater potential to aid us in the fight against climate change.
Hi, Shane. Thank you so much for this question, I would love to answer this.
Let me start by saying that everone's answers have been absolutely mindblowing and wonderful and I'm so glad that we have such an active and concerned group of people looking to actively make positive change at Vic.
As I'm sure we have all experienced, the transition to university from high school is an extremely challenging and eye-opening one and requires access to a lot of resources. I want to focus my time as councillor on making this transition less daunting for all students.
I want to make all the resources at Vic more accessible to all students by increasing the amount, frequency and methods of propogation of information we send out about the resources. As a first year who had just moved across the world to a country I had never visited before, with no solid network that I could fall back on, I was initially quite intimidated to approach resources on campus which in hindsight, could have made this transition a lot easier for me. I want to make sure that incoming students find it easier to access these resources and we are able to make this process a lot more doable and fun for them.
Secondly, I would work towards having a UofT funded and trusted shuttle service for first-time commuter students at UofT for the first few months to help them develop the confidence and understanding of the ways and means of the climatic conditions and get familiar with the city's transportation system. This is only to ensure that they feel safe, secure and comfortable and are able to navigate on their own at different times according to their schedules and do not have to change their schedules in accordance with their commute. Another benefit from this will be that their participation in various on-campus extracurricular activities will not be limited by the conflicting bus and train schedules and they will be able to form better and stronger communities here at Vic.
As we (the first years) have all been readjusting and settling into the new university lifestyle, I've noticed a few things that could be changed to better suit students here in Vic!
One of the goals I'd like to accomplish this year is to have the Burwash Dining Hall hours extended. Many of us spend extensive hours participating in classes, tutorials, clubs, as well as other student associations that meet during the operating hours of the Dining Hall. In my short time on campus, it has proven to be difficult at times to find an appropriate dining time that works within my schedule. Students living in residence are required to pay thousands of dollars into meal plans, with the idea that they would be able to nourish their bodies without worry so that they can focus on other priorities. However, the limited hours that Burwash Dining Hall operates in the early mornings and late evenings make skipping a meal sometimes the only option to make it to class on time.
Another goal I'd love to accomplish this year is to increase the number of laundry units located in every residence. I've noticed that most residence buildings lack washing and drying machines based on the number of students living in residence and the volume created by said students. For example, Margaret Addison Hall has 5 sets of laundry machines, and Lower Burwash has 3 sets of laundry machines to be shared by all students living in the entire building. The lack of laundry machines can create a sort of "traffic jam" for students when they want to access the in-residence laundry services. As students, we have extremely busy schedules and don't necessarily have time to have to wait for machines to be available. Having more laundry unit sets readily available in each building will help ensure that students can continue with their days as their clothes are being cleaned, instead of having to wait for a machine to be open.
Firstly, as a certified member of the Canadian Red Cross Beyond the Hurt Program, I, as a youth facilitator, would like to work with the Mental Wellness Commission and create an official and professional mental wellness support system at Vic. Having years of experience educating our future generation under the title of Red Cross Youth Facilitator, I undertake experiential learning activities to raise awareness of healthy youth relationships. I take the lead in teaching my community members about the significance of bullying and harassment by delving into the psychology of a bully. Through the program, I see the impacts of my lessons in my community, as students consult me with various personal issues, from how to fit in at school to telling me the struggles of feeling suicidal. It is unfortunate to see the hardships and difficulties of university students trying to live independently for the first time, where academics and new social life worsen things. While society encourages these students to undergo therapies and counseling sessions, I know better than anyone that those programs are much harder to access than they appear. So, with my professional training in the indicated field, I will make private counseling sessions more accessible alongside Victoria College. By having frequent seminars and education sessions on the significance of healthy relationships and mental health awareness, I will encourage students to better engage with their mental health.
Secondly, I would like to introduce my policy on using leftover Vic dollars and meal plan credits towards fundraising for the charity of students' choices. Having experiences working with homeless shelters and responding to emergency cases on the streets as a certified first responder for the Emergency Services Institute of Canada, I am well aware of the homelessness crisis around us, and often on our campus grounds as well. As a first-year councillor, I would like to implement a system where students can donate their leftover Vic dollars and meal plan credits to those in need by directly donating meals or converting the credits into real-life currency and donating it to charities. Additionally, I plan to host a weekly food drive, serving our meals and sharing them with those in need, rather than throwing out significant amounts of leftover food every week from the Burwash Dining Hall. Allowing students to change the lives of those around them will be an engaging way in which Victoria College students could all take a step closer to fighting against the homelessness crisis or fundraising with good intentions.
Thank you for your question!
Albert Deok-Hyun Ahn.
The goal I'm most excited to work on over the first semester is establishing a community garden. After seeing such passion for Caffiends, it would be great to develop a similar initiative that both connects students and provide fresh produce, particularly for commuters who have limited access to the dining hall. This is more important now than ever as the cost of living continues to rise and an increasing number of students are facing food insecurity.
Next, I would love to work alongside the Mental Health Commission. Their initiatives are especially important for first-year students who are moving away for the first time to an academically rigorous environment, where we are facing new, more substantial challenges. During the winter semester, one example of a new initiative is "Let's Move March", a series of weekly challenges during the month of March that encourage students to exercise with their friends before final exam season begins. I also hope to help better connect students with some of the many resources that already exist.
Thanks for the question!
My overarching goal as a VUSAC councillor is to make Victoria College feel more like home for all Vickies through activities that encourage the Scarlet and Gold spirit!
Firstly, I would like to invest more VUSAC attention and initiative towards the Mental Wellness Commission and encourage more de-stressing activities/events. Regardless of your year, university is difficult to navigate and can be hard to balance without sacrificing your personal well-being. So, one thing I would like to introduce is regular therapy dog visits to allow Vickies to recharge with some friendly pups on the Vic campus! I believe the personal well-being of every Vic Student should be the most important priority of VUSAC.
Additionally, to promote community engagement and Vic spirit, I would like to encourage giving back to the community. One event I would advocate for is a used clothes sale and donation! After coming to university many of us may adopt new styles and want to let go of some clothes to free up space. A used clothes sale would be a great way to connect with other students and even find new items for yourself while promoting sustainability. All unsold items can be donated to youth at the Covenant House which also strengthens connections between Vic and our community!
Hi! Out of my aims I'd say the following are the ones I'm most passionate about:
Advocating for the subsidization of affordable housing for commuters who’s academic and social experience would benefit from being on campus. I’ve spoken to quite a few students in my first two weeks here who commute due to financial restrictions, which means they missed out on parts of orientation- and now continue to miss out on our community events simply because of the time, money, and energy it takes to come to campus and go back.
Organizing a culture fair in the quad to promote learning about all the different cultures we have in our college, with food and music. We are such a diverse community and while we are taught to accept each other, I don’t believe much is done to embrace and learn about other cultures present at our college. An important part of integration is experiencing different cultures, I believe this process can be made fun and appealing through food and music!
1. Firstly, I am hoping that we would be able to establish either weekly or biweekly movie nights at Isabel Bader either for free or at a very affordable price (under 10$)! I think there is nothing better to connect with others over than a movie night! Another potential idea could be to watch Harry Potter on Halloween in the Burwash Dining Hall, especially since our Dining Hall was initially modelled after the Dining Hall used for the meal scenes in Harry Potter!! Obviously, the logistics of executing all this would take a while to figure out, but I like a good puzzle, so it should be fun!!
2. Secondly, during my term as VUSAC Councillor, I would love to look into the possibility of abolishing Vic Dollars and converting all of our Vic Dollars into TBucks (which if I'm correct, *every other college* can use campus-wide with the exception of Victoria College). I'd also like to look at the possibility of striking an agreement between the food trucks on St. George Street and the University to use our meal plans at the food trucks! I know this idea would be incredibly difficult to execute, but I do think that we should re-explore the idea to see how feasible it may be!
What else would you like to see from the elected councillors? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Hey Shane! Good question. One of the things I noticed the most last year, while I was a first year, was a gap in communication between VUSAC and the student body. As a councillor, I want to help make that gap smaller by creating places (whether online or in-person) where the victoria college student body could voice some of their ideas or complaints.
Another thing I noticed was that some of my peers were very uninterested in a lot of the VUSAC run events. As a councillor, I want to help fix that by either promoting events more or finding an incentive for people to come to more of these activities that way students at Vic can become more connected.