By: Haiyi (Yvette) Gong
On September 24th, 2022, the University of Toronto Scarborough had its first Homecoming. Homecoming is a new annual tradition where prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, families and the Eastern GTA community gather for a full day of exciting events. In addition to all the fun and entertainment that we planned for different ages and interests, all UTSC buildings were open to the public to create a welcoming space. Guests had the exclusive chance to tour our academic facilities and dive deep into the UTSC culture. Without further ado, allow me to catch you up on what happened during our first annual Homecoming.
Tours and Student/Departmental Events
Homecoming is not only great for families and alumni but also helpful for prospective students who wish to attend UTSC in the future. Student Club Fair, department presentations as well as detailed tours around the campus gave students a good idea of what their campus life could look like if they decide to one day attend.
CMS joined the festivities with a public lecture given by Professor William Yu unravelling “How We Harness Probability to Solve Problems.” In his lecture, he carefully explained why uncertainty is scary and how we can use randomness in our favour to make problems easier. As previous mathematical training was not required for this talk, the lecture hall was bustling as the audience eagerly waited for the lecture to start. Professor Yu began by discussing statistical sampling, then rapidly moved through topics of probabilistic algorithms and genome sequencing. Judging by the applause, and the audience questions, the crowd found the topic very engaging!
After the public lecture, CMS welcomed the public into the IC Atrium with a joint reception thrown with the Management department. Alumni, students, members of the public, and Co-op employment partners all gathered to enjoy a meal together and listen to the Management fireside chat. It was great to see the turn out as people explored the IC space and mixed and mingled with one another. Co-op balloons, laughter, and good cheer was the name of the game at this event!
Aramark Entertainment Zone
Wondering what else was happening on campus? The fun didn’t stop with the IC building alone.
Located in the ARC Quad was the Aramark Entertainment Zone, which offered a variety of social activities like the Alumni Lounge, Ferris Wheel, live performances, and more accompanied by food trucks, the Beer & Beverage Tent, and s’mores from the Bonfire Pit. Yummy! Here, alumni and students got the chance to connect with faculty and staff as well as to catch up with some old friends. The ARC Quad stage was filled with music, dance, and presentations brought to you by our very own UTSC Glee Club and many other performers as well as UTSC’s leadership members.
The Scarborough Panel Discussion and Film Screening also happened on the ARC Quad Stage. Scarborough is a film adapted from the critically acclaimed novel by Catherine Hernandez. In the evening, Dr. Sonja Nikkila moderated an interesting panel discussion with author and screenwriter Catherine Hernandez, and English professor and filmmaker Marlene Goldman.
Believe it or not, all the activities in Decompression Zone were centered on the theme of food, sustainability, and education. Opening with exploring eatable life on the Valley Trail and Harvest Apple Station, students experienced great foods, ingredients, and traditions both locally and from around the globe. This event was followed by the ECO Scavenger Hunt and Waste Sorting Booth where everyone learned and practiced how to make our planet more sustainable.
Meanwhile, UTSC Anthropology exhibited cool artifacts, skeletal casts, and an AV set of research. ARTSIDEOUT gave an exclusive preview of UTSC’s multidisciplinary art festival and how our artists are pushing the boundaries of modern art.
For our arts and crafts lovers, there were booths for Chinese calligraphy, Indigenous beading, button making, and more to teach the art of diversity. Everyone was happy to leave the event with unique souvenirs in memory of this special day.
Lastly, the shuttle bus could take visitors to the Valley where families could enjoy quality bonding time in the Family Zone. To bring on the fun, UTSC invited a petting zoo which was without a doubt a crowd favourite. Who doesn’t love petting a fluffy alpaca or piglet? To capture these wonderful moments, families all lined up to get their free portraits taken by professional photographers.
Then after a whole day of fun, students, families and guests went to the baseball diamond to support Toronto Varsity Blue playing in a doubleheader versus Carleton University. Although Varsity Blue did not win against Carleton, it was heartwarming to have all the support cheering them on throughout the game. Great effort to our athletes!
A Great Day for All
As the event came to a close, it was clear the first Homecoming at UTSC was a hit with everyone involved. The sense of community was strong no matter where you wandered on campus and there was something for everyone to enjoy. CMS was delighted to be part of such a wonderful event that opened doors to students, alumni, and our neighbours around Scarborough. With such a great turnout, we can’t wait for next year’s Homecoming!