Your College at U of T: Innis

Good morning, dear readers! I hope you like your Monday classes, because Wacky Wednesday is coming up! Remember to go to your Monday classes on Wednesday! Up next on TCOTUOTSG-AEHS: we have an interview with Paula Greenwood, Assistant to the Dean, Student Life, for Innis College: What's unique about your college? Innis is a small community, with a tight-knit social group which makes events more fun. In terms of its physical aspects, Innis is a smaller college, with a new lounge in the main area (and new furniture!), and a new student lounge. We have a neat café, which is independently run by a family, and a Town Hall that is used for Cinema Studies. It's where the Free Friday Films and other student-run events take place. We also have a green space in the back college area. Since we're smaller, our Registrar's Office offers more one-on-one appointments, so by the time you're in fourth year, and especially if you're involved, the administration knows you by name, and vice versa. We also have the Later Life Learning program for adults. They raise money for scholarships for students, and they come to class at Innis, so the college constantly has diverse people of different ages. Do you have any mentorship programs at the college? We are currently in the process of redesigning our leadership and mentorship program. How does the selection process for the college work? Admittance to residence is based on marks, and incoming students should rank Innis first. What do you think about an Innis stereotype I’ve heard, calling your students “introverted nerds without a social life”? Our students have very high academic standards and we have quite a few engineering students living in our residences, yes, but they have a very active social life just the same! Innis is pretty calm and low-key; in comparison to the other colleges, we're not rah-rah all the time, but the students I've encountered are just as fun! What are some of the clubs that are unique to your college? There are lots of ways to be involved at the college. The Innis College Student Society is a way for students to get involved in student leadership. Students have a big voice on the Innis College Council and get to create change and influence decisions. We're home to the Environment Club, CINSSU (Cinema Studies); there's the Innis Choir, and the Innis Herald newspaper. What resources are available for commuting students? We have commuter breakfast once a month; there are usually free pancakes in the lounge. We have lockers in the basement that you can rent out, and all the spaces in the college are open till 9 p.m. for any student. There are a lot of quiet study spaces, and if you walk up from Innis Café, there is a student lounge right across from the office of the Innis College Student Society, where students can hang out. As mentioned already, there are Free Friday Films. Commuter students also get the chance to stay in residence during Orientation, so they don’t have to worry about travelling. What about scholarships and bursaries at the college? The scholarships and bursaries fluctuate yearly, but check out our comprehensive listing here. What's available to eat at the college? The Innis Café is great because it's cheap and delicious. You can get a burger and salad for under $5! No meal plans? Students have the option to purchase Flex Dollars. Are there college-affiliated paraphernalia and where do you get them? Yup, there is lots of swag that the Innis College Student Society sells. Our green and white painter hats are really popular! There is also Innis clothing, as well as residence house clothing. What are the residences like? Our residences are four- and five-bedroom suites: everyone has a single room with a semi-private bathroom, kitchen and living room. You might think that it would be isolating living within suites, but it's not so at all.  There are events like cupcake decorating, or food challenges where people have a cook-off; there are Guitar Hero or DDR competitions... Each house has a number of events — probably 15 per semester — and it's a great chance for people to get out and get social. Our council run House Olympics — we had Iron Chef, dodgeball, open-mic nights. It's a great chance to highlight the different talents at Innis and we get a great turnout from commuters, too! Our atmosphere is fairly social, but not noisy. We match suitemates through a personal lifestyle form, so a specific suite may be noisier than another, but that's because everybody in that suite thrives under that environment. Why should students choose your college? I think it's a positive place to learn. Innis has a healthy kind of fun and it is a place that I would describe as a small community within a large metropolitan city. It is a place to connect with close friends, faculty and staff whom you'll know for a lifetime. We're a tight-knit community that thrives on academic and healthy social fun. Is there anything else you want to tell students about your college? We have a lot of student life programs that involve building leadership and life skills. A couple of times a month, we have events like yoga, workshops on healthy relationships, women's safety on campus, Life Sci 101 and Engineering 101 hosted by upper-year students, exchange info nights, etc. We've opened these programs to all Innis College students, so commuters and resident students alike are welcome! Can we close off with a fun fact? All our residence floors are named after past U of T buildings and alumni, like Devonshire, or Vladimir. My thoughts and pictures: If you've been following UpbeaT since summer, you'll know that I simply adore Innis. The building itself is shadowed by trees and unassuming, and there's just this peaceful aura about it. Innis is also home to the wonderful and snarky askastudents, who work out of the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office is bright and friendly, and if you'll indulge me by letting me quote myself: "If I didn’t know better, I would have thought I’d stepped into a clinic — the small office was lined with rows of colour-coded folders behind the receptionist and had plastic waiting chairs in front." Speaking of indulging myself and my love for askastudents, did you know that I've interviewed them before? They are just as witty and hilarious in real life, and made my first interview for UpbeaT a blast while we lounged on the burnt-orange chairs in the Innis Café, sipping freshly squeezed orange juice. Innis Café is deliciously amazing, and amazingly delicious. Honestly, they make fresh cookies and danishes and rolls and muffins! They also make fresh fruit smoothies and have this cool automatic orange juicer (view the picture below at full size to see it — sorry for the blurriness!). My favourite is the omelette wrap with salsa and salad. Mmm! Did I mention it's cheap? The hamburger is not greasy, comes with your choice of salad, and still manages to cost less than a hamburger and fries from the trucks outside! One more thing I love about Innis Café: free water from the cooler by the microwave (see pic above)! Finally, the Town Hall. I miss out on Free Friday Films given that I work Friday nights, but I've been told that it's a pretty amazing space for watching movies. And this is Innis for you! Hope you enjoyed this and, as always, please feel free to comment! Lined up for next week: my interview with my college — Trin! Stay tuned. - Cynthia

25 comments on “Your College at U of T: Innis

  1. If I may add a bit about the residence:

    -Entry in first year is solely based on marks. Low to mid- 90’s is likely to guarantee a spot
    -All suites have 2 bathrooms. For 4-person ones, only one of the bathrooms has a toilet and the other one has the shower, but both have sinks. For the 5-person ones, both bathrooms have toilets but only one has a shower.
    -All suites have a full kitchen. Microwave included.
    -There is VERY high security around the residence. There are cameras at the main building entrance, vigilant front desk staff, and both main doors lock up at 12 at night so if you need to get in, you’ll have to use your key card. You’ll also need your key card to have access to the floors themselves, in addition to getting into your suite and your room.
    -The maintenance staff is very friendly and helpful. If a problem arises, you just fill out a notification sheet and they come almost right away.
    -The “Quad” or courtyard at the residence is beautiful all year around, and depending on where your room is, you window might be facing the quad. There’s a small water fountain that runs from summer to late fall–the sound of water is really calming!
    -Unlike some of the older residence buildings, we are quite new, so we don’t really have any serious mice/bug issue. The windows all have sturdy screens so bugs don’t randomly fly in (some older buildings don’t actually have this and you can’t possibly imagine the terror of unexpected squirrel invasions). The windows also don’t open all the way, so that nobody will be able to climb in on the lower floors.
    -Innis is close to soooo many places, like Robarts, Hart House, Bloor St., St. George subway station, a lot of the colleges where your classes will be held, and best of all, it’s right across the street from Innis College so if you have class in there in the morning, you can basically roll out of bed and go!

  2. @Lucy: LOL at your definition of “a bit”; but – thank you! Because those are definitely things that I do not know about the residences. Cool!

  3. Just wondering… is it absoultely necessary to rank Innis at #1 to get in? If I put it at #2 there will be no way I can get it right?

  4. @Kevin – I called the Registrar’s Office for you, Kevin, and unfortunately, you’re going to have to rank Innis first. They receive more applications to the college than there are spots, so they don’t look at students who don’t rank them first.

  5. I’d like to discourage all prospective students from living at Innis Residence if you like to party at all– partying meaning anything that involves more than 10 people, drinking, and maybe music. If your idea of a good time involves more than akwardly small talking about schoolwork or gossiping about every person you know, beware. The residence staff are vicious, hostile and unwelcoming of social activity of any kind after 11pm. Residents who don’t fit the nerd norm are immediately identified and targeted.

    This said, the consequences for toeing the line are dire– the residence attempted to charge me $1300 in damages based on completely false accusations in late November. The dean froze my own and my suitemates’ key cards to forcefully interrogate us about a REGISTERED party we had that went off without ANY incidents or complaints. I had to fight very very hard to get some of those charges dropped, and not all of them were. My entire suite was also put on a strict probation which essentially banned us from socializing at the residence. My one suitemate was banned from having any guests, including Innis Residents, in our suite at any time because his friends, all people of colour, mind you, were not the “kind of people we want out our Residence”. Another suitemate was being evicted for having 4 friends over after quiet hours.

    The only think I liked about it was that I could cook inside, but if I can’t bring more than two friends in after 9:30, I guess I’m meant to cook alone.


  6. @Jonathan: Thank you for your comment! I love that you feel so passionately about Innis and took the time to let our readers know your point-of-view. This is one of the reasons why I wrote this series!

    I’m sorry your experience is less than pleasant; your comment about the staff being vicious and discriminating is disturbing, and I hope other readers can share their experiences as well.

    Ironically, if I was in the market for residence and I read your comment, I think I’d choose Innis for sure! I’m one of those people who need absolute silence for studying sometimes, so silence after 11PM sounds quite fabulous to me.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thank you again!

  7. Innis is a small and tight knitted community and residence where people of all races and backgrounds are welcomed and everyone’s opinions are important and heard. In all the years I’ve lived in Innis, “Johnathan”‘s case is the first that resulted in expulsion from the residence. While socializing and meeting friends are integral parts of residence life, succeeding in ones study is the reason why we are all in university.
    At Innis, RAs and Dons are not called upon to tune down parties unless someone else have filed a complaint multiple times. They have better things to do with their time than patrolling the halls. In “Johnathan”‘s case, multiple complaints were filed for weeks due to parties that went into all hours of the night and all days of the week, deeply disturbing their neighbours’ sleeping schedules. It was their own irresponsive and irrespective behaviours that caused their unpleasant experience.

  8. Ironically, I have lived in Innis for four years and have found the strictly reinforced noise level restrictions to be a relief. Like Cynthia, I also am extremely sensitive to noise and I cannot stand being disturbed while trying to study. That was one of the major reasons for me picking Innis actually–because of how strict the residence is with things like guests (which, despite being inconvenient, nevertheless reinforces the residents’ collective safety), noise level, control on partying, etc. I think in Jonathan’s case, it is unfortunate because he might have had a blast living in residence in first year and having parties with friends, etc, had he gone to any other residence. But Innis does have quite the studious reputation, although I wouldn’t call half the people here “nerdy” seeing that they do out and have fun on a regular basis.

    I have friends in first year who also live in Innis, and from the parties I’ve heard about that have gone on in their suites earlier this year (which also resulted in residence staff interference), it was definitely more “exciting” than what has been happening on rez in previous years. Perhaps the residence has just been extra sensitive to parties this year because of all the small incidents that have been continuously drawing their attention. Nonetheless, while my heart does go out to Jonathan for what happened to him, I would still recommend Innis to future U of T students if a quiet and studious atmosphere is what they’re looking for.

  9. @Passingby: Oh wow, seems like you are familiar with “Jonathan” and his case at Innis ! Are you still at Innis? Judging from your comment, it seems that you feel welcome and included at the college. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    @Lucy: Haha, it’s weird. I hate being disturbed when I study, but I need some sort of music with a steady beat to keep going. I adore my jpop/kpop.

  10. is there really no social/party scene at innis? I’m living there this fall but now i’m beginning to think i’ve made the wrong choice..

  11. People don’t get evicted for small gatherings, the Dean doesn’t interrogate people, and the staff isn’t discriminatory or vindictive.

    Heather, don’t let one idiot ruin your idea of Innis. Parties are alive and well.

  12. I’m worried that I can’t get into Innis residence as I heard it’s really hard to get in. I will be taking economics+mathematics this fall and I’ve already got accepted into Innis College. However, my high school average is only 91% and it might drop to 90% after my finals and I don’t want to go to Chestnut. Do you think Innis Residence will accept me?

  13. Hi Jasmine, thank you for your comment! And congratulations on getting accepted to Innis College and U of T!

    I realize that applying to university and trying to get into the residence you want is nerve-wracking, and I really wish I could tell you that Innis Residence will accept you 100% for sure.

    I just don’t know. It’s different every year, and there are lots of variables that are taken into account when Innis Residence decides who to accept.

    However, I will say that a 90% is still a great average to have. I know quantitative courses are icky (I hated first year math/econ!) so I wish you all the best on your exams.

  14. Hey Jasmine, that’s so great to hear! Congrats, and best wishes for the new year/course selections.

    Thanks for letting me know!

  15. Hey queens, good seeing you on here again!

    Check out the Innis College Residence page (

    While they don’t provide the specific dimensions (there are different rooms of different size that will depend on which you are assigned to), they do do photo tours, which will give you a good idea of the space you have to work with.

    If you need to know specifics, I’d called the residence!

    Good luck; are you still looking for places to stay for this academic year?

    – Cynthia

  16. The room sizes vary depending on how the size of the suite (e.g. four or 5 people suite), the location of your suite, as well as which room you choose. Usually room A and D are the long ones (i.e. very rectangular) while B and C are more square. The corner suites in the North tower are sometimes prone to noise from garbage trucks, AND they are 5-people suites, but generally the rooms (especially room C) are VERY, VERY spacious. Also, if you get the top floor, your ceiling is higher. It’s hard to say if there is actually a “perfect” room…every suite/room has its pros and cons. I personally think good roommates and sufficient light coming from the windows make all the difference.

  17. Yes, i am choosing either Innis or New and planning to major in EngSci (if UT accepts me) with final ave of 96 on Math, Physics and Cal, I am taking Chem 30 and Eng 30 this year. I estimated my Chem ave will be 90+ but Eng 30 is around 70 % (ESL student). I am from Alberta.

  18. Wow, queens, good on you! Your final average looks like it’s going to be very impressive. EngSci is a great program; I know quite a few people in it. Let me know how everything goes!

  19. does innis have yearly plan for whom they’ll accept ,based on exams marks? or your rez will never change once you decide from the first year? thanks!!

  20. I applied for res and ranked innis first. I got into to EngSci back in March, accepted my offer, but still have not had a residence offer (from anywhere). What is the usual range during which Innis sends out its residence offers to engineering students.

    Thanks !

    1. Hello Jonah,

      Thank you for your question, and congratulations on being accepted into EngSci! Innis College sends out residence offers on a rolling basis anywhere between the date of your acceptance to U of T and the beginning of June. If you have not heard anything yet, you should recieve some news in the next few weeks.

      If you would like further information, you are welcome to contact Innis Residence at 416.978.0680. They will be able to answer your questions more thoroughly than I can.

      I hope this helps!



  21. Hi ,
    Is there any other college near close to Innis where one could buy a meal plan ? Pl mention the walking time if there is any college where I can have vegetarian food ? I don’t know how to cook , & meal plan would be a necessity for me. Other than that, Innis would suit me perfectly.

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