“Intercultural education has allowed for us to examine not only what it means to be cultural but further how culture is shaped in memory and in the present by local and global communities. The fluidity of culture – it’s values, artifacts, stories and the narratives that mold it into what we know today at U of T Scarborough are heavily shaped by Scarborough. From tales of migrant resilience shared by local Scarborough restaurateurs at our annual U of T Scarborough Night Market, community activists shedding light on how the U of t Scarborough students can build bridges through global citizenship and a celebration of culture rooted in education, equity and solidarity; the spirit of Scarborough - a community and an educator - shines through.”
~ Anushay Irfan Khan, Intercultural Education Program Coordinator
“The East Scarborough community is dynamic in the way that organizations interact with community members, families navigate schools, and young people navigate joy and struggle in their journeys. I have learned more about what Black students face in the public education system that has transformed the way that I read theory and research. In my role I have had discussions with principals, guidance counselors, teachers, and other school staff; I have learned that there is a great deal of capacity and passion for change and I have also witnessed tensions around what inclusion means, to what extent race matters, and how ‘holding students accountable can be interpreted. It’s complicated and I have learned that a program like Imani supports students’ journey through this messy time.”
~ Elvis Ibrahimovic, Community Engagement Coordinator, University of Toronto Scarborough
“Bringing community partners really helped you understand the different stakeholders perspective. You often forget textbook information but meeting with people helps you understand things better and remember what people have told you of their experience”.
~ U of T Scarborough Student
‘The organization provided an amazing mentorship opportunity to our U of T Scarborough student through this service learning experience. The student was able to learn new skills that helped him into an exciting career opportunity. The student was nominated for the CEWIL student of the Year Award and also was asked to be part of a team presenting the invention at a show’.
~ Saddaf Syed, ILE Coordinator, Arts & Science Co-op
The UTSC Seed Library has partnered with Katie Fullerton who runs Scarborough Seedy Saturday, and we’ve learned so much from her, she’s a real local expert about everything when it comes to seed saving and gardening. Katie has donated a considerable amount of seeds to the library, and gathered other community members to participate in seed packing events. She has also recommended books and other resources for the library collection.
The Color Run was a Healthy Campus Initiative where individuals shared a 5 km accessible course down into the Highland Creek Valley. Participants were covered in colourful paint throughout the course, creating a vibrant and fun experience. The event was open to all UTSC students, staff and faculty and community members. The event also promoted the connection between physical and mental health.
When a community comes together to do an activity together like the Colour Run, individuals feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. This gives individuals a sense of purpose and motivates them to think beyond themselves. The goal of the Colour Run was to encourage the UTSC community to come together and fit. A community voice allows us to make programming that is more appealing to the community and work on improving it. The community is more likely to be engaging when they feel they are being heard. This leads to a stronger community that works together.
The best part about the UTSC Indigenous Book Club is collaborating with Juanita Muise the Indigenous engagement Coordinator in Student Life on creating a community of learning about Indigenous peoples of Canada through stories and sharing of experiences. The key to community is collaboration! The book club invites students, staff, and faculty, as well as Scarborough and the extended Toronto community members, to read or listen to stories written by Indigenous peoples of Canada. We meet in the UTSC Library Makerspace over lunch to discuss in groups our thoughts on the stories, and at the end come together in a sharing circle to think of how these stories relate to our own personal stories and actions towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Canada as we work and share space on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples. What we all have learned from the dialogue in the book club is the complexity and colonial history of Indigenous stereotypes, various Indigenous traditions, and the systematic discrimination of Indigenous people in Canada that continues to have an impact on Indigenous peoples today.
Participants resoundingly indicated that the discussion and community building of the book club at UTSC was the thing they most enjoyed about the book club. Here’s a look at the favourite things that participants experienced:
“Open and honest discussion, very powerful! Discovering new authors – including some course materials.”
“Meeting people from across campus. Reading something that I wouldn’t have chosen on my own”
“The sharing circle”; “the discussion”; “connection with new people”; “community”
Additionally, one aspect in the feedback about reconciliation work is that community members want more opportunities to engage in truth and reconciliation. To me, this indicates a sense of connection with UTSC, the broader community, and reconciliation that we will continue to encourage in a yearly or twice a year Indigenous book club and through other library programming.