Blood, it’s in you to give!

Did you know that approximately 1 in 2 Canadians will either need, or know somebody who will need blood products in their life time? Did you also know that we use more blood products in Toronto than what we donate? “We have to come together to help out our community,” says Roop Sidhu, Community Development Coordinator for Canadian Blood Services. Blood products (this includes blood, platelets and plasma) are always in need. Platelets, for example, are often packaged and used the very next day. Talk about instant karma! Canadian Blood Services was established on September 12th of 1998, with the mandate to create a safe, healthy and accessible supply of blood products for all Canadians. It is a not-for-profit corporation funded by the Ministry of Health and regulated by Health Canada. And you know what? Helping CBS out with their mandate is easy. You can donate blood every 56 days. Basically, all you have to remember is that it’s time to donate blood every time the season changes. You can save up to 3 lives every time you donate blood, it’s not painful (nothing more than a slight pinch, anyways), and only takes 1 hour of your time. There’s even free food afterwards! There’s no reason to not donate. From now until March 31st, you can join U of T for Blood 101, a blood donation campaign that Canadian Blood Services runs every year. There are 23 schools across Canada that are participating, and the school that best meets their target donation units will be given the challenge’s trophy. In addition, students have a chance to win a brand new Sony Reader. Since it’s U of T’s first time participating, our target is at a modest 200 units (=200 people), which means we have a high chance at getting the trophy, so make sure you identify yourself from U of T when you register for a blood donation at any of the clinics and enter a ballot for the Sony Reader! If you’re at St. George, donating couldn’t be easier – if you get on the streetcar on College Street going East, get off at Elizabeth, one stop after Queen’s Park Subway station, and you’re a cross road away from the Toronto clinic. If that clinic is too far for you (it seriously isn’t), here are two dates that you’d want to put in your agendas: January 27th, 2:00PM – 7:00PM @ 67 College for the Multi-faith Centre Blood Drive. February 11th, 2:00PM – 7:00PM @ the Medical Science Building Yes, there's even going to be a blood clinic on campus, so, again, no reason not to go! In fact, you know you want to bring your friends – the more the merrier! If these dates don’t work for you, here's some ultra-exclusive news (nobody knows about this yet!) – Roop tells me that there will be a joint clinic with our sports teams on March 1st at the ACC. Members of the Toronto Maple Leaf, the Marlies, the Raptors, and the TSC will make an appearance. There will be a media event soon, so stay tuned for the confirmed guest list. Even if you’re not a sports fan, Rotman professor Brian Silverman is confirmed to sing during the clinic, so drop in to support a fellow U of Ter! The first time I went to donate blood was when Trinity College organized a group donation. I dragged a friend, because I'm a wimp, and we went together. We had a bus to take us to the clinic, but first we had some smoothies, courtesy of Sodexho. It's very important to eat before you go and to make sure you drink lots and lots of fluid. It'll make the entire process quick and painless! I thought you might be curious as to what the entire process is like, so I had Mr. Spock with me the entire way: Note: If you're not comfortable with the sight of blood or needles, I'd suggest that you might want to skip the rest of the post. If you're fine, click away!

Orientation, Virtual Monday and Wacky Wednesday

If you look at the calendar, you'll see that we're approaching back-to-school. The 09-10 Course List is out, there are lineups at the Bookstore, heck, even the September Metropasses are on sale.  But that's not what's special about this week's post. No, this week's post is special because my contract is nearing an end, and you guessed it: this is my last post... For the summer, anyways. I am splendiforusly delighted to be able to tell you that I get to join the ranks of Lucy, Fariya, Liesl, and Mary as The Original Five ver 2.0. YES THIS MEANS I AM BLOGGING FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR TOO, YOU'RE NOT RID OF ME JUST YET, DEAR READERS, MUAHAHAHAHA! If you're wondering - Heather graduated. All the best, Heather! So for this week's post, I wanted to talk about orientations at U of T and answer the question, "What is Wacky Wednesday and/or Virtual Monday?" 1) Orientation You don't need me to tell you that U of T is huge. If you're just starting first-year, U of T is downright scary. The first time I set foot on Bloor and St. George, I put my hand to my eyes, squinted, and went: "But where does the campus end?" It doesn't, and you're going to need a friend to help you. Wait, but you don't have any yet! Oh, snap. It's okay. I had friends == 0 when I first started too. But the tally will go up when you participate in Orientation. Seriously. If askastudents say that it is "two of the most decisive weeks of your social life", then you better listen. I know, it's hyperbolic, but there's truth in that statement. Orientation is great for making your first friends, food and free stuff. Oh, you didn't hear about the latter two? Apart from being helpful and fun, there's always food at Orientation, and free pens, laundry detergent, booklets, condoms and lube, paper pads, water bottles, etc. etc. It's nice. It's like U of T is saying, "Thanks for your money! Here, have shiney!" I kid you not, you should buy the shirts at the bookstore that says: "My money goes to U of T". It's so true. Anyhow. You'll find as you start school that U of T gives you a lot of choices to do whatever you want. It's no surprise that there are loads of different orientations you can choose from. You're more than welcome to go to more than one! So I know you can read, so I'm going to send you over to the Orientation page. HOWEVER, I've done the work for you, and put all the dates on a calendar. Print, and have fun! Oh, if you're looking to get involved on campus, BE SURE to check out UTSU's clubs day. It's fabul- just make sure you go, okay? Go to Orientation week, dear readers. Sign-up if you haven't already. I'll wait for you. Go, now. 2) Wacky Wednesday and Virtual Monday Just by its name you know it's wacked. So the rationale is "to ensure there are equal number of teaching days in each session regardless of the day the course is taught". I know, bwuh? What they mean is that they want to make sure the hours you are in each course is equal throughout, so that you're equally prepared for all your courses. Because the way holidays are structured, you may get courses that have a class less than your other ones and as a result, you're pushed to learn in a shorter amount of time. It's actually considerate on the university's part. So how this works. On the week of November 9th, the way you should think of your days as follows: Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Thursday, Friday. Yes, you're going to your Monday class twice, once on Monday and once on Wednesday, and your Wednesday class is cancelled. Hence the names, Virtual Monday on a Wacky Wednesday. If you're still confused, check out which of your classes is "virtual" and which of your classes is "wacky". Don't go to your wacky class on Wednesday, and go to your Virtual class.