This week, I filled out the U of T Student Equity Census survey. This survey, which I accessed through my Acorn account, was sent out to understand the demographics of U of T’s student population. I think this is a really great initiative, as it will help the university understand demographics of students’ ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and disabilities on campus. Having this information can help the university implement programs that target students of certain demographics on campus, or address larger trends in education which reveal certain populations not having equal access to higher education.
The survey itself took only a minute to fill out. It asked me to identify various intersections of my identity, like my ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and whether I had a disability. One thing I especially liked about the survey was that it allowed me to check multiple options for each category. I’m half Sri Lankan and half Slovak, so checking boxes around ethnicity and racial identity have always been hard for me. But, the U of T Student Equity Census survey allowed me to check a “Mixed race” and a “South Asian,” box, which I thought represented my ethnicity a lot better than the usual survey does. I also checked multiple boxes for sexual orientation, as I identify with both the words “queer” and “bisexual” and didn’t want to choose between the two.
Overall, I hope this survey helps the university develop resources and support for students on campus based on their identities. It took me less than a minute to complete, so I definitely recommend filling it out!
Though resources on campus can of course be more specialized and greater in number, there are already some amazing campus groups and organizations I’ve joined that have supported me in my identity. For example, the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office hosts some great programming for LGBTQ+ students. One group which I’ve attended throughout my university career, the Queer and Trans Student of Colour Discussion Group, provides a space for students to discuss the intersections of queer and racialized identities. Every few weeks, the discussion group gets together and talks about their experiences in relation to the weekly theme. Not only has the Queer and Trans Student of Colour Discussion Group always felt like a safe space to share my thoughts and decompress, but I’ve met some great people through it!
Here are a list of some other great organizations on campus that I’ve either used or had friends use which explore sexual, gender, and racial diversity:
- The Centre for Women and Trans People
- The Black Students Association
- Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students
- Equity Studies Student Union
- Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans People of the University of Toronto (LGBTOUT)
- Students for Barrier-free Access
To find other clubs which can provide support and community, check out the Social Justice/Advocacy category on the ULife clubs listing!