Hello everyone! My name is Grusha and I’m the new blogger this year for the Centre of Community Partnerships. For this first introductory post, I would like to share my reflections on why community engagement, especially in the university context, is important for student development and why/how I chose to get involved with CCP.
The University of Toronto can be an extremely daunting place, mainly because of the enormity of the school grounds and the sheer amount of students that go here. Due to these reasons, it can often seem like (especially to newer students) that there isn’t really any sense of unity or community at UofT. However, I always remember that the larger the population, the more variety of people there are! Due to the wide range of diversity present at UofT, we have many smaller communities that collectively make up our school, ensuring that there are inclusive spaces for everyone. One of the other unique things about UofT, which I also found very intimidating at first, is that our campus is extremely immersed and interwoven with the city. However, this can give students more of a push to branch out into the “real world” instead of staying in a bubble. That’s why community involvement and engagement is so incredibly important, and this is how the CCP can enrich your experience as a student.
My involvement with CCP began just this year. As a first year student last year who wanted to major in English, my main focus was to involve myself in the literary sphere at school, which I managed to do. However, once summer vacation settled in and I got some time to reflect on what I had done so far in university, I got a strong sense that I needed to push myself even further and to do something outside of my circle of familiarity and comfort zone. Even though I had managed to “get involved” in my own interests, I knew that it was important for me to put myself out there more.
Naturally, I turned towards the work-study program, which I knew would be a great way for me to get involved and challenge myself. The CCP Get Involved Blogger role stood out to me because community-engaged learning and experiential learning was always something that I intended on getting more involved with, but I was never sure where exactly to start. I also knew that if I chose to get involved, that I would want to fully immerse myself so I’m happy that blogging for CCP puts in me in the middle of the action. I am also interested in social justice, equity, and movements/discussions that happen across campus, which is what CCP also connects students to. I’m really looking forward to how writing for this blog and working with CCP will help me to develop both as a writer and as an engaged member of the UofT and Toronto community.