So what is ARW?
ARW stands for Alternative Reading Week and it is an program offered by the Center for Community Partnerships, which allows UofT students to immerse themselves in different community projects in the city for three days during the Winter reading week. Registration is now open (here is the link: https://studentlife.utoronto.ca/ccp/alternative-readiing-week-phase-1-form). For this reason, I thought that now would be a good time to get the word out to everyone. After all, the second reading week of the school year will come by quicker than you think and registering right now means that you’ll be first in line to choose your own project when the time comes next semester!
I sat down to speak with a few people from the Centre for Community Partnerships, who have been involved with Alternative Reading Week in recent years, so that they can tell me about their experiences.
Iris Deng: Communications and Promotions Assistant (also a third year UofT student!)
How did you get involved with ARW?
Believe it or not, it was actually the posters that got my attention! I saw them around my residence in first year and I was intrigued.
What was the work you did at ARW?
In my first year, I worked with the Innovation Hub group and I learned a lot about UofT that way. In my second year, I helped to make a mural for Art Heart, which is a community art space in Toronto. My experiences at ARW have been really fun. I’ve never really had a volunteer experience that I felt so supported in. I felt like my time and effort was appreciated.
What did you ultimately get out of this opportunity?
So ARW is actually the reason why I got involved at the CCP! Which is why I tell people that you never know what you’ll get out of volunteer experiences. It’s not just 3 days, it can be something that can hugely impact your university experience. I got this work-study position because of it!
Amina Farah: Coordinator, Co-Curricular Learning
What have you personally gotten out of this experience?
I’ve connected with so many people! It’s just been so cool to see students come back and say what a good experience it was for them at ARW. Community work takes a long time and sometimes you don’t get to see the growth. With this program, the time is condensed to 3 days so you can see people develop through this experience.
Why should students be involved?
You can connect to organizations that do work in something that you’re interested in and promote causes that you care about. You’ll also end up meeting so many interesting people and it can lead to opportunities that you never knew about before.
On a personal note, I have signed up for ARW and I am definitely looking forward to it. So, what are you waiting for? Go register now! If you’re curious about it, here is more information about the program: https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/ccp/stu-alt-week