Alumni Benefits

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I’m still getting used to the idea that I am an alumna of U of T, even though I officially graduated three weeks ago. Maybe it’s because I’m spending the summer here at this magnificent blog, but I don’t feel quite ready to cut loose and never walk across Front Campus again.

Thankfully, U of T does a lot of things to help with the transition from upper-year student to successful post-graduate. This week, I investigated the ways that you can stay involved with U of T and use it for support as you move forward in your life.  You can even get discounts and free things! Who doesn’t love free things?

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My general reaction to free things. (via thefrisky.com)

Stay connected to U of T

To start, you keep your U of T email account for life, though it changes from a @mail.utoronto.ca address to a @alumni.utoronto.ca account. Any emails sent to your old address will forward to the new one for two years, giving you time to let all of your contacts know about the change.

You also get a free subscription to U of T Magazine, a great publication that highlights news on campus and the accomplishments of alumni. I’ve been reading it online during my time as a student, but I’m excited to curl up with a paper copy in a new post-grad apartment.

Keep using U of T services

If you’re experiencing separation anxiety from Robarts, you can get an Alumni card (one-time fee of $22.60) to get up into the stacks as often as you like. And if you’d like to continue to borrow books, you can get an Alumni Reading card ($70 per year).

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Some Career Centre resources. There’s lots online, too!

You can also keep up your fitness levels by obtaining an alumni membership at the Athletic Centre ($571 per year) or Hart House ($423.55 per year, for the first three years after graduation), both of which can be paid in monthly instalments. You’ll be saving a lot compared to what the general public would pay!

Graduates also get access to the Career Centre for two years after their convocation date. Make sure to stop by the Career Centre to attend workshops or get advice from a career educator. You can also still access all of the full and part-time job opportunities in the CLN!

Continue learning

While you could certainly learn a lot by slowly reading yourself through the Robarts collection, possibly the best alumni perk is being able to further your career or personal ambitions by taking a course through the School of Continuing Studies. They offer online and in-classroom courses in business, creative writing and various arts and science topics. And U of T alumni can take one using a $600 credit within the first 18 months after convocation!

The first bit of science writing I ever did involved hanging out with the ROM dinos! (via thevarsity.ca)

The first bit of science writing I ever did involved hanging out with the ROM dinos! (via thevarsity.ca)

I’m definitely looking to use this amazing opportunity next summer. I’ve got my eye on the great selection of writing/journalism courses. Like this one on freelance science writing (which conveniently is exactly what I’m considering doing with my B.Sc. after journalism school!).

Which alumni benefit are you most looking forward to using, U of T?

Selfies (at Robarts)

Our Community Crew Captain, Abdullah, posted the most honest, groundbreaking tweet that I’ve seen in my 5 months here at Student Life:

Ah, the fabulous Robarts selfie. You’re guilty, I’m guilty. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone in your obsession with taking photographs of yourself when you should be studying.

Styles, angles, and locations all tell you a lot about the individual behind the Robarts selfie. One thing that ties all of our masterpieces together is the fact that we are all students, we are all tired, and we all dread the first announcement – “the library is closing in 45 minutes” – that’s basically asking us to get the heck out of the library at 10PM on Friday. You are not alone in the struggle to April, comrade.

Here are 6 common types of Robarts selfies that you might find on any given U of T student’s MacBook. Much love to my friends and colleagues that agreed to let me use their images!

1. The “I don’t get this concept so I’m going to take a selfie” selfie.
ModRobarts
2. The “I don’t want anyone to catch me taking a selfie” selfie.
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3. The “checking that your hair is in place and making sure you still look cute” selfie.
AnnissaRobarts
4. The Not-Quite-A-Selfie Selfie

5. The “I look too good to be here, let me take selfies instead” selfie.

6. The “I don’t care if people catch me taking a selfie because I’m over this day” selfie.

(This is me! Hello, everyone)

(This is me! Hello, everyone)

I want to see your selfies at Robarts! Tweet your selfies with the hashtag #SelfiesAtRobarts and show us how hard you’re working.

The Truth About TCards

So I had to replace my TCard.

The little photograph of my face had turned into a blurred mess of white and blue. But visiting the TCard office at Robarts Library was an air-conditioned treat on a hot Monday afternoon that gave me much more than merely a new piece of plastic identification.

It made me realize the truth about TCards.

The TCard is magical! Just flash it here or swipe it there and you are in! It’s basically a VIP, all-purpose access card for U of T. It seems I have gone four years without fully appreciating this. I’m hoping the rest of you don’t make the same mistake.

What’s the TCard all about?

I have no idea how many times I have entered a U of T library, or how many times I’ve ascended the heights of the Robarts stacks. But I do know that every single time my TCard was the key. My TCard allowed me to take books out of the library. And it let me photocopy pages, print essays, and sign out movies and television shows from the Media Commons. It was like having a helpful house-elf hanging out in my pocket…

Source: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/dobby-the-house-elf/images/21233094/title/fan-art-fanart

At the Athletic Centre there are table-tennis courts, swimming pools, and exercise gyms—all just a TCard swipe away. In the fall the Varsity Centre will don a big white dome and host an indoor driving-range—free with a TCard. I used to play intramural dodge-ball at the Hart House gym, and I needed only a pair of shorts and my TCard. This is but the beginning of a long, long, long, long list!

Source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/dodgeball:-a-true-underdog-story

The TCard is also a meal ticket. In first year, I lived at New College residence and swiped my TCard for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I had Flex Dollars on my card to buy coffee and snacks at any one of the 30 retail eateries around campus. When I moved off campus I thought my TCard lost all its swipe = food magic. But I was wrong!

Source: http://allysonmarrs.com/2013/06/18/gif-reviews-the-memory-keepers-daughter-waiting-to-be-heard-a-memoir-the-smart-one-life-after-life/

UeaT provides many options for continued campus eatering. All you need is a TCard!

It’s the universal student tool. We even need them to write our exams, effectively to graduate! And say I decide to put a hold on my university career, maybe travel for a year, my TCard would wait for me, activating again when I resumed my education.

The TCard is like a friend. One who gets you discounts on Greyhound travel, one who takes you to Dance Cave for free, one who proves you are a student at the University of Toronto. It took me a while to notice my four-sided, bar-coded buddy, but I will no longer underestimate the truth and magic of the TCard.

If you haven’t found yours yet and are walking around like a hopeless wanderer, the TCard office is room 2054A in Robarts Library, 130 St. George Street. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are more than happy to answers any questions you might have.

They also offer an online Question and Answer Tool that could save you some time!

‘Til next time, stay diamond U of T!

- Stephen.

Up All Night: Essay Cramming by the Hour

I managed to escape the curse of the all nighter until my third year (unless the Royal Wedding counted). It hasn’t been easy, and it’s definitely been a curse, but I’ve learned that there seems to be a riveting hourly breakdown that follows in what all nighters for the average student looks like. A window into what essay cramming in one night is like. Warning: the following will feel all too familiar, unpleasant, and may bring back some painful reminders. 

7pm: Fresh out of dinner with coffee(ssssss) in hand, and (half) your research done, it’s go time!

7:30pm: JSTOR spree! If only there weren’t so many pdfs setting up camp on your desktop…maybe you should have started sooner.

8:00pm: Your friend decides to come join you aka someone to watch your things while you momentarily leave the room every hour to regain sanity

9pm: Outline is done, now for a Facebook break!

9:45pm: Your friend decides to leave…weakling…

…You shoot a disapproving look as you resume you tweeting about the trials and tribulations of being a student.

Midnight: Bring out your coffee machine, time to start draft #1.

2am: Wait…your thesis..WHERE DID THE THESIS GO? What is my thesis?

2:30am: Draft #2 begins….scour wait-lists for possible writing centre appointment. Will accept anything up to an hour before deadline at 10am.

4am: Still on draft #2. Time for a 20 minute nap.

6am: THIRD DRAFT IS DONE. Three is all you need…right?

6:45am: The sun is coming up. How long has it been?

7am: Coffee bean supply becomes non existent.

8:00am: Citation time!

8:15am: Whaaa? WHY is Purdue Owl down? NO! NOT NOW! OF ALL THE TIMES.

9:30am: 30 minute nap before class.

10:00am: SUBMIT10:10am: Crawl back into bed, tell yourself you’ll never do this again.

-Vahini

ASK me about my new online love…

I met someone online a few months ago. They are smart, resourceful, and they always want to talk to me. I have become quite attached to them as of late and I feel like we’ve developed a deep and meaningful relationship. With all these essays due in the next two weeks, it’s so great to go online and talk to someone who really understands what I need. This is what I need: scholarly journals, citable dictionaries, and article databanks.

My new online love is none other the library chat function “ASK” on the U of T Library website.  This app. Is possibly the best thing ever conceived of in the history of universities! It’s so amazing, you just log in and like magic a librarian is there live on your computer to help you out with any library related needs you might have.

One thing I have learned since starting at U of T is that librarians love to help. They are the most helpful profession. Go and try this. Walk up to the reference desk at your library and ask them to help you find some random piece of research. Notice the glimmer of excitement in their eye. Now notice how they provide you with the information you requested, but they also give a whole wealth of knowledge that you didn’t ask for. You might think “I didn’t ask for that”, but give yourself a few minutes and you’ll realize you
actually do need this information. You just didn’t know it yet!

I’m not a masochist. I will not spend hours in the library trying to uncover research material, when I can just ask someone else to do it for me. Now I know that sounds lazy, but if the University is providing this service to us free of charge, they must agree that this manual labour is just too tiresome for us to be doing ourselves.

I’m sure there was some backroom discussion with all the Humanities Professors on campus, that went something like this, “We’ll find all the stuff for them at the library and you guys can assign another essay or two per term.”

I’m most likely conspiracy theorizing here, but whatever the motivation was for providing this amazing research tool was, I am a much happier student because of it.

Yesterday morning, I was trying to find a scholarly Latin dictionary online, when I stopped myself and asked “why am I doing this?” I quickly logged onto ASK and a librarian sent me a url to an approved Latin dictionary within minutes.

Give ASK a test drive and I’m sure you’ll never research the same again!

-Lori

 

Party in the Peacock – The Robarts Revitalization

If I was a millionaire, I would buy myself a mansion. For now, being the poor little undergrad student that I am, the only mansion I have banked on is the Robarts Mansion – where I invest countless hours in endless study, only in the hopes of one day earning the credentials to make myself a real millionaire with a real mansion. One can dream, right? Robarts Library, otherwise recognized as the concrete peacock that sits proudly on the corner of Harbord and St. George Street, is home to students, faculty and visitors alike. I myself think it more fitting to say that it resembles a turkey instead… Peacocks are associated with vibrant colour and beauty – not something I would associate with the place I study overnight. For the past few weeks I have made this library my second home. I eat here, study here, and yes, now I sometimes fall asleep here. In fact, I am writing this blog right from my study spot at Robarts.

While walking past Robarts the other day on the way for a night out, (not studying, for once!) I couldn’t help but smirk at the poor students trapped within the walls of the library on a Thursday night. I almost felt like barging in to the cafeteria and all the open reading rooms to scream of sweet freedom to all. I turned and asked my friend: “How funny would it be to just blast loud crazy house music and give people the ultimate study break?”

We laughed it off and walked on without giving it another thought. A week later, I came upon an invite to “Party in the Peacock” on Friday, March 4th. The party gods actually listened! That Friday evening, the second floor of Robarts was transformed to a fundraising dance party.

The party boasted art, entertainment and socialization – not your usual mix for a library. Photography was displayed throughout the second floor and music and dancing was provided by DJs. The atmosphere was laid back and there were refreshments as well as a licensed bar.

So what exactly did this fundraising go towards? All proceeds went towards the Robarts Library Revitalization Project in order to expand student space.

At first I didn’t know how to feel about the Robarts revitalization. To be honest, before I started becoming such a frequent library goer, I didn’t really know much about it and always wondered about the construction going on there.

The photographs in the vision of the library show a new study space on the main floors that will be enclosed where the entrance stairs used to be. This proposed construction will be a complete five-story building attachment with about 1200 new study spaces and a Huron street entrance.

I am now convinced that this is a legitimate investment. After the stacks are closed and the library enters its extended hours study period, things get mighty vicious.

Exhibit A: One Sunday night, I was lucky to see someone leaving the Reading Room so I could grab a seat and get started on my readings for the week. Hours later I fight hunger but ultimately decide to walk back home and get dinner. Only seconds after getting up, a student waiting by the wall instantly asked me if my seat is now free. Easy buddy.. I haven’t even packed up yet! Of course I gave him the seat, but see how competitive it can get? On a Sunday night!?!

Trying to find a good study spot during peak hours can be quite the challenge, and you can multiply that challenge if you plan on coming in with a group! People go to great lengths to reserve themselves seats during extended hours.

Exhibit B: Unable to find a seat one day, I was sitting in the noisy cafeteria attempting to do some work when I ran into a friend who was also studying at the library. I asked him if he had found a seat and he said, “Yeah, I already got one saved for me. It helps being here a lot. Faces get familiar. You get to know people.” I was dumbfounded. So was there was a reservation of some sort? He then told me he could get me a seat during a certain hour because a friend of his was going out for a bit and it was on reserve. I would of course have to give up the seat once the friend returned from their break. Again, I was awestruck at this unwritten code and this unknown “tag team” reserve system. Was this for real? He sounded more like a hotel booking agent or a used car sales dealer!

Some go to the extent of getting friends to reserve seats hours before they actually sit down to do any work. Others go through the risk of setting down their bags on an empty seat in order to claim it against potential seat grabbers. Hours later, these seats go unclaimed and all that is left are the jackets and backpacks sitting there while their owner is probably out grabbing food or, sometimes, not even in the vicinity of the building. I usually have to make several rounds in order to find a good seat before I have to trudge along to the cafeteria where most people are found chatting and there is nary an outlet to power up my laptop. Not exactly the ideal study space. This all sounds crazy, but trust me – it happens! It is also not fair. So enough said, this new proposed study space is definitely needed. A “Party in the Peacock” was a great way to raise money to give Robarts Library a new wing.

- Danielle

What, where, when and how to study + other obstacles I have had to overcome

This week, I will study every day.

Or at least that’s what I told myself at the beginning of the week and yet it was still somewhat of a painful fail. Both my finals are towards the end of the exam period, which gives me all the more time to study and yet, all the more time to procrastinate. Besides the fact that I have been dealing with flu recovery, I haven’t found the time to stick to my study schedule. In fact, the things that worked for my studies throughout the past semester have failed to bring me much productivity this week and I have been trying to understand why. Is there something wrong with my routine? Am I just burnt out? Given up? Lazy? Why does it seem like there are so many obstacles to face?

I went to an exam stress workshop at the Academic Success Centre earlier last month where I was told that most people make schedules for the people they want to be; which makes schedules all the more difficult to follow. Sometimes we tend to give ourselves unrealistic expectations. You tell yourself that you will wake up at 9 am to study for three hours and yet you sleep in until noon and have woken up unmotivated. Red bull may give us wings, but we aren’t super heroes after all.

With everyone else around me fighting “crunch time” and getting their exams over with, I am still relaxed and recovering from what an overwhelming semester of classes I’ve had. Maybe too relaxed… In fact, several of my friends are already finished their exams or down to their last few in the next couple of days. I, on the other hand, have my last exam on the last possible day of the exam schedule. Lucky me, right? Wrong.

It’s hard enough to see other people already enjoying their holidays and time off from school. Meanwhile, I am expected to be slaving away, hovered over my laptop and textbooks. In reality, my mind has programmed itself to believe that I am also on some sort of vacation since I already have over a week before my first final exam. So instead of hitting the books, I have been hitting the bass and playing guitar hero and rock band instead of studying (among other things…)

It’s unrealistic to believe that I will spend every hour of every day studying for exams. That just ain’t happening! I gotta give my brain a rest at some point and besides, not all of that material will soak in anyway. The solution for these unrealistic schedules we make for ourselves is to pay attention to how we study and focus best. Think about the time of day when you are at your most productive and able to do your most mind-intensive work. For me, that just so happens to be at around 9 pm onwards. So I schedule all of my most mind-intensive studying for that time frame knowing that’s what works best for me.

After having to deal with being bed-ridden for the past few days because of being sick, it made it all the more difficult to leave my house to study. Now that I am somewhat all right, this hermit behaviour has become a habit and I barely want to leave my house, despite the fact that I can barely get any work done here. I have recently come to the conclusion that I need to be around other people studying in order to motivate myself to study. I never understood before why people had to go to libraries to study, but now I am beginning to get it. Think of it like a mob mentality (i.e. you are in a study space designated for study. Everyone is studying and so must you). I get motivated just being around people who are in the same boat. Sitting at home attempting to study alone or in the midst of friends already on holiday, not so much.

I have never been much of a library-goer, save for this school year. Robarts Library seems like a good central choice with several floors and generous extended hours. However, I find it to be quite depressing at times. So I’ve been exploring other libraries and study spaces on campus as well as my college’s all-night study space. I have even popped into several cafes and bistros in order to find my best study spot. As odd as it sounds I’ve found that what actually works for me is being in a different location every time I study something different. It gives me a physical location that serves as a frame of reference for the material I’ve studied. I’ve heard of photographic memory and auditory memory, but what I use is some sort of location memory technique called the ‘method of Loci’.

So there you have it – these are some of the obstacles I have had to overcome in preparation for final exams. Not everybody studies the same or is under the same circumstances so you really just have to be realistic and find what works for you. On that note, happy studying and maybe I’ll catch you at “Robarts Mansion” in the next two weeks?

- Danielle

Did someone forget to tell me it was protest Wednesday?

Did you happen to notice an inordinate number of demonstrations on campus last Wednesday? I passed by at least five in the span of an hour. Was this a mandated day of protest? I tried to find confirmation of this online but my search came up with nothing. Two protests really stood out for me, though they were vastly different.

In front of Hart House was a 24-hour reading of the names of Holocaust victims. The man sitting behind the table reading names into a microphone in a sombre tone was obviously committed to the cause. As I approached Hart House, my first thought was, “oh no, not another annoying protester with a microphone”. But as I got closer to Hart House, I realized the man was reading names. The purpose of the demonstration dawned on me before I had a chance to read the sign. I stopped and listened for 10 minutes or so before rushing away to my tutorial, affected by the reader’s haunting voice and the names of victims still echoing in my head.

The next demonstration I came upon was in front of Robarts. The first was a silent protest. Coupled with this protest was a very non-silent protest, which was protesting the silent protest. Are you confused? I was. At first I couldn’t figure out why the silent protesters had an amplification system. Then I realized I was walking through not one but two simultaneous protests. Honestly, this just gave me a headache.

The woman’s voice blasting over the speakers was ear piercingly loud and garish. I am in no way taking sides here, but I will say this. The quiet reading of Holocaust victims’ names in front of Hart House had a large crowd quietly listening in unity to a sombre remembrance. In front of Robarts, pedestrians were practically running to get away from the super loud speakers and the blatant hostility.

There are tons of student activist groups on campus – lots of opportunities to get involved in a cause you feel passionate about. Ulife’s listing of recognized clubs includes quiet and not-so-quiet organizations for nearly every religious and political viewpoint out there.

When it comes to demonstrating on campus, according to Campus Police, demonstrations that occur on U of T property are under their jurisdiction and must comply with the regulations set forth by the Governing Council. The demonstrations that occur on campus but not on campus property, such as sidewalks, fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Toronto Police. Ultimately, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms deems it legal to protest peacefully. “Peace” seems to be the key idea here. A protest on campus must be peaceful and must not physically harass anyone.

The notion of noise as a physical harassment is obviously ahead of its time. I can honestly say that my ears were being physically harassed as I walked through the demonstration in front of Robarts. Where’s the justice for my ears?

I find it interesting that what holds true to one thing, usually holds true to another. The tactic of yelling at someone to get a point across, rarely works. Whether in dealing with your children, parents, or pets, being loud and waving your arms around by and large has little effect.

It would be nice if loud campus protesters realized that being noisy does not an effective protest make. I would enjoy more quiet protests. I am non-confrontational by nature. The truth is loud protests just make me uncomfortable. From the reaction of my fellow students hurrying by the demonstration in front of Robarts, I don’t think I’m alone.

-Lori

The Bound Paper Thingy Affair

BOOK

Mental note to self, this is called a BOOK!

Empress Irene was playing hard to get.

I had been trying in vain to research this stealthy 8th century ruler of the Byzantine Empire for five days and I was coming up empty handed. Last year I had gone on a tour of the monolith that one of my professors affectionately refers to as “Fort Book”. The Robarts tour was informative and it had included a 45 minute workshop in e-resource search engines. So as I began my research, I purposefully typed Irene’s name into the scholars portal search engine. I employed all the steps that I had been taught. But, Irene was not materializing in cyber space.

Sometimes when I’m craving a sweet, I will look into my fridge over and over again in the vain hope that a tasty treat will become visible. I keep looking even though I have already looked in the fridge ten times. I think I’m hoping that a chocolate cake, will magically appear behine the mayo. After spending four hours late one night typing the same keywords into the search fields over and over again, I realized Empress Irene was no more likley to appear on my laptop screen than a cake was to appear in my fridge. I have been told the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Empress Irene was driving me crazy. I knew I needed professional help.
I recalled being told about a service that is offered through the libraries, to help students do research for papers. I found the site to book a research consultation on the library’s main site,
It was two days later when I met with Dave Hagelaar at Kelly Library. Dave was great! I didn’t even have to explain to him who Empress Irene was. He was already well aware of her historical significance and the fact that she was a very cheeky Empress to research.

The Research Consultation Room at Kelly Library

The Research Consultation Room at Kelly Library

In my week of searching I had found one article about Irene. Dave found eighteen in a matter of minutes. I was unable to find any e-resources. Dave found five.

Dave is my new hero. He not only showed me that the articles existed, he also taught me how to find them. Did you know that if you leave the search field blank and press go, the search engine pulls from a much wider group of databases? I didn’t. Did you know that if you put an asterisk at the end of a word in a search field that the engine will pull up that word and every conceivable ending for that word that occurs within the database? I didn’t.

At one point, in trying to explain to him that my search had yielded only books, so excited was I that I couldn’t recall the word book. It came out something like this “all I can find are those bound paper thingies”! I’m not usually this dense…but in the dark, scary pit of researching an elusive historical figure, the blinding light of rescue is just that, blinding. The overwhelming relief I felt, coupled with the mental processing of new search methods left me short for words.

I am happy to say that I have now found Irene. She’s in my binder. It’s okay if she executes a successful escape because I now know where to find her.

Kelly Library’s research consultation service is brand new this year, so it’s not hard to get an appointment. But do it now…before word gets out about how great this resource is. Research consultations are available by appointment at most of the main libraries on campus. According to Dave, Kelly Library receives a mix of appointment requests from undergrad and grad students. So this resource is really for everybody.

Happy Researching!

-Lori

Introducing the library video contest winners!

Happy belated Easter, dear readers! Hope you enjoyed the gorgeous weather. I absolutely did! Exams are starting (ugh, I know), and unfortunately, I foresee lots of time spent cooped up in the library, looking forlornly out the window at the beautiful outside while trying to cram a year’s worth of polisci into my head.

Speaking of libraries, remember during Reading Week I was telling you about U of T’s first Library Video contest? I don’t know if you noticed, but the winners have been announced! There were seven finalists and three winners were chosen – a whopping 1,600 votes were cast in the process!

Margaret Wall, who organized the contest, graciously invited me to the awards ceremony at Robart’s last Wednesday and I got to talk with the three winners as well as one of the four runners-up.

When Margaret first told me about the contest, I was curious about how participants were going to balance editing videos with school work. In high school I had to make a trailer for the book we were reading in class (jsyk: Agatha Christie‘s And Then There Were None), and I spent hours and hours shooting the video, trying to get the audio overlaid, editing the effects… only to have my computer crash the morning it was due. I guess I’m not cut out to be a videographer either.

So I was surprised when the winners all told me that the videos were easy to make and didn’t take long to edit. Some were filmed using only their cell phones! Oh technology, ILU.

“I recorded the video at Graham Library in one day,” said Matthew Kupfer, a 4th-year history student. “I got the staff in on the joke; it was nice of them to sacrifice their Saturday morning for me.” Ben Gane, a 3rd-year political science student, agreed. “Luke, my brother, and I just came to Robarts one Sunday afternoon to film.”

What also surprised me was that three of the four winners learned about the contest through the posters and fliers distributed around the libraries. I thought most people would hear about it from the website. “Well, I basically live here at Robarts writing essays,” says Jonathan Ortiz, a 4th-year student studying fine arts history. “I saw the poster on the wall.” I thought Jonathan’s video was charming in its simplicity, using only a book cart and some books with text written on the spines. “I didn’t want to destroy the books, so I just used transparency paper. Actually, the hardest part of making the video was finding the cart to push around.”

I recognized most of the winners from their videos during the awards ceremony, but I couldn’t place Oscar Kisekka, until he told me that he only shot and edited the videos. His video was about a girl whose marks drastically improved after going to the library. The girl in the video, Nali, is a friend. Coincidentally, as he was talking I turned around and there she was, taking pictures for Oscar!

Matthew’s song in the video was actually a Shaft theme song parody and had the Graham Library staff going “Stacks!” and doing jazz hands at the chorus. “The song wrote itself,” Matthew said, “so after that, filming it was just finding all the right spots in the library – the nooks and crannies – and putting everything together.” The video looked pretty elaborate to me, with different cuts and edits. “It took about a day [to make]. I was pretty happy with it at the end. I just finished a big assignment, so it was a reward for myself.”

I adored Ben’s video, and it was one of the two that I voted for. It parallels the story of two students’ love for Robarts. I thought the stuffed owl in the video was a shout-out to Hedwig (Harry Potter’s snowy owl), but it wasn’t. “It’s just a stuffed owl my brother had,” Ben says, “Originally, we had another subject for the video planned, but the audio didn’t pan out, so we had to redo it with dubbed-over audio.” Intrigued, I asked him what the original was. “It was my brother playing some guy who likes to hide in the stacks and he thought he saw owls. He was supposed to be kind of crazy. Plus, my brother loves owls, so we had to work them in somehow.”

I concluded the interview by asking our winners if they had anything else to add, and Ben jumped in. “For the record, I don’t condone taking naps in the library; don’t follow my example in the video!”

- Cynthia