2020 was a year of firsts, learning, innovation, and growth for the University of Toronto Scarborough community. It was a year that challenged us—but also brought out the best in our community. Here's 20 of the many moments from the past year that are worth remembering.
1. We asked McDonald’s for old deep fryer oil
The local Scarborough McDonald’s was the only restaurant to respond to the slightly odd request from Professor Andre Simpson’s lab – and we’re so glad they did. The researchers turned the waste cooking oil into a high-resolution, biodegradable resin for 3D printing for the first time ever.
2. We caught up on (or aspired to do) some reading
Some people found themselves with a bit more time at home to indulge in a good book. U of T Scarborough faculty and students were quick to offer up suggestions.
- What to read while we flatten the curve, according to our world-class faculty
- 104 books recommended by U of T Scarborough students
- 8 books to read to learn more about anti-Black racism (as suggested by U of T Scarborough students)
3. We supported our local Scarborough community
With a much quieter campus than usual, we had lots of space to share with Scarborough community partners to provide easy access to food and warm COVID-19 testing facilities.
- U of T Scarborough partners to help local food banks receive much needed donations
- Health and safety the top priority as U of T Scarborough hosts testing centre
- U of T Scarborough hosts drive-in "Feed the Six" event
4. We celebrated Chinese New Year
In January, we visited the Sunny Tang Martial Arts Centre in Scarborough to hear the fable of the Nian monster from Head Coach Alan Tang.
5. We announced a new space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty to come together
With the contributions of Indigenous elders and community members, Indigenous House draws inspiration from a wigwam, while the surrounding landscape will include birch trees and native plants that have cultural significance to local Indigenous communities.
6. We partnered with campuses across Canada to take action on anti-Black racism
More than 3,000 members of the higher education community, and close to 60 partner institutions across Canada, came together for the inaugural National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities.
7. We all pitched in to protect our healthcare heroes
When supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) was sparse, U of T Scarborough staff 3D-printed face shields and sewed face masks, while faculty rounded up extra equipment that could be spared for healthcare workers.
- In the drive to supply personal protective equipment, UTSC staff are pitching in at home
- UTSC collects tens of thousands of medical supplies to donate, but the need is still great
8. We started construction on a new home for students—and the largest passive house project of its kind in North America
750 students will call this building home, which offers a rooftop terrace and views of the tree groves to the north.
Today we celebrate the official #groundbreaking of the new #UTSC student residence building! 🎊 We are excited to share the first look of this state-of-the-art building that is one of the largest #PassiveHouse projects in North America. Coming fall 2023. #UofT #ScarbTO pic.twitter.com/q2EiGIUJzN— University of Toronto Scarborough (@UTSC) November 5, 2020
9. We were #1 in Canada
U of T grads were some of the world’s most employable, and we remain Canada’s top University.
- U of T grads among the most employable in the world: Times Higher Education
- U of T ranked among world’s top 25 universities in latest QS World University Rankings
- U of T ranked first in Canada, 23rd globally in latest Shanghai academic and research rankings
- U of T ranks 17th globally, up one spot, in U.S. News & World Report university rankings
- U of T ranked Canada's most innovative university by Maclean's magazine
- ... and many more
10. We helped students living in residence feel at home
340 care packages were delivered to students living at U of T Scarborough – just a small reminder that we’re here to help.
11. We learned to work, teach and study from home
Students, staff and faculty demonstrated resiliency and resourcefulness as we all learned a new way of learning, working and teaching.
- Advice on how to ace virtual learning and online exams from a leading memory expert
- A pandemic requires an inclusive learning response
- Learning to Learn from Home
Our homes are not necessarily ideal for work or studying—but there's a few things we can do to optimize our environments, says @DavidZweig1 of @utscmgmt: https://t.co/yxRvQJjlmf #UTSC #UofT pic.twitter.com/1M4xnbcme9— University of Toronto Scarborough (@UTSC) March 27, 2020
12. We planned a major student hub for north campus
IC2 will have nearly 18,500 m2 (about 199,000 sq. ft.) of academic space including 21 technology-enhanced classrooms and lecture halls, labs, as well as study spaces, lounges and open seating areas for students to hang out.
We're thrilled to share a new addition to #UTSC/#ScarbTO! Instructional Centre 2 will include...— University of Toronto Scarborough (@UTSC) July 3, 2020
🔹 study space, lounges, open seating, café
🔹 green roof, courtyard gardens
🔹 entire floor of student services: @wellnessUTSC, @utscaacc, @UTSCStudentExp, AccessAbility #UofT pic.twitter.com/BxyVEzFWV7
13. We embarked on a new five-year plan for U of T Scarborough to inspire inclusive excellence
Eight working groups of students, staff, alumni, and faculty consulted with more than 1,100 people from inside and outside our campus to present their findings, which have been encapsulated into a new strategic plan for our campus.
14. We had important discussions about anti-Black racism on the New Normal podcast
U of T Scarborough Professor Maydianne Andrade launched a new podcast, The New Normal, with the aim of exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting our lives. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the podcast topic shifted to tackle anti-Black racism, equity and social justice.
- 'This is a Canadian problem, too': Maydianne Andrade on finding the will to address anti-Black racism
15. We celebrated the UTSC class of 2020 around the world
In a historic first, convocation ceremonies were celebrated virtually so graduates and their families could watch safely from homes around the globe.
- UTSC’s student ambassador honoured to represent Scarborough in first of its kind convocation
- U of T Scarborough student overcomes odds to earn degree in one of U of T’s most competitive programs
- After 20 year hiatus, student dedicates his degree to his late mom
16. We toasted to a socially-distant Pride
You could feel the love, even from a distance! U of T Scarborough student Alfonso led the celebrations with rainbow jello cups.
17. We shared lessons of wisdom and hope
From supporting our mental health during challenging times, to innovating your business practices, U of T Scarborough faculty and alumni shared valuable knowledge to the world.
- Hold your position: U of T Scarborough prof’s advice on managing the pandemic is based on years of experience in war zones
- Satish Kanwar, Shopify VP and UTSC alumnus, on the importance of innovative thinking during a pandemic
A new free @coursera course on managing your mental health during #COVID19 has been launched by #UTSC psychology professor @SteveJoordens! Read more (and sign up): https://t.co/aE0pBOHWJv #UofT pic.twitter.com/h6YKokMRSW— University of Toronto Scarborough (@UTSC) April 1, 2020
18. We kept learning important things about our environment
Polar bears, coho salmon and air quality were a few of the subjects being studied in U of T Scarborough labs.
- Most polar bear populations likely to collapse by end of century if global warming continue
- ‘An environmental injustice’: Study finds exposure to certain organic pollutants on the rise in pregnant Inuit women
- Air quality improving by up to 40% in some cities around the world due to COVID-19
19. We didn’t let the pandemic stop us from helping others
Staff, faculty and students thought of creative ways to make the world a better place, near and far.
- Growing your pandemic hair? This student wants you to donate it to a good cause
- These three members of the U of T Scarborough community won’t let a pandemic stop them from their good work
This summer Creative Flow held interactive, mindfulness art workshops for #UTSC students, staff, and faculty. More #FLOW workshops will be coming this fall and winter semester.— University of Toronto Scarborough (@UTSC) August 29, 2020
Follow https://t.co/oeBeI0Bd9K on Instagram to find out when the gallery goes live! 🎨 🖌️#UofT pic.twitter.com/ZIN1S5GZyc
20. We showcased some incredible UTSC entrepreneurs and startups
The new products, services and ideas coming out of The Hub are incredible.