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Got a good idea? Get to know the GIF December 1, 2011

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Leadership, Student Life.
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By Redon Hoxhaj

You know what GIF is, don’t you? No, I’m not referring to the graphic interchange format that is so useful and versatile. GIF at Hart House stands for the Good Ideas Fund, a student panel that will give you up to a grand in cash to make your great idea a reality.

Before you let your imagination run wild, it might be important to know they won’t fund just any idea. So if you have a brilliant plan for a computer program that hacks into ROSI, don’t expect to receive a warm reception. Here’s what the good people at GIF are looking to fund:

Highlights of ideas funded by GIF in the past include:

-          David Suzuki appearance at Convocation Hall

-          G8 Research Group

-          University of Toronto Health and Human Rights Conference

-          Writer’s Co-op Spoken Word Event – Exchanging Notes

-          Students Against Climate Change—Green Jobs Fair

You’ll need to come up with a brilliant idea first, then fill the GIF application form, and submit it to the committee at least three days prior to their next meeting and four weeks prior to your event.

There has never been a better time to realize your dreams, so hurry and submit your application!

Redon Hoxhaj is the communications assistant at the Office of Student Life.

30 Days 30 Ways (19): Make Friends. What? How? August 26, 2011

Posted by ekkellogg in 30 Days 30 Ways.
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Yes, the idea of making friends at a huge school is intimidating. But there are tons of ways to meet new people at U of T. From clubs, to intramurals, to Hart House Committees, to Course/Program Unions…  Once you join something, you start to forge the friendships that will get you through your university careers. Check the profiles of Student Life’s student ambassadors for more tips! Sarah‘s secret is to chat with other students before tutorials, whereas Shoaib found his home at U of T by getting involved with his college. It’s all about exploring opportunities and meeting people along the way!

30 Days 30 Ways (13): Visit Hart House August 22, 2011

Posted by ekkellogg in 30 Days 30 Ways.
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University of Toronto’s living laboratory of arts, culture & recreation offers some of the most diverse opportunities for students on campus. Take in some art at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, engage in some high level banter with the Hart House Debates Committee, work out in their gym facilities, or just explore some of their extensive student spaces.

30 Days 30 Ways(10):Go to Orientation! August 17, 2011

Posted by ekkellogg in 30 Days 30 Ways.
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Generally, every college has their own orientation a week before classes start. Although all orientations are great ways to bond with fellow first-years, there’s also tons of events taking place outside of your college. Check out Kickstart, a free set of orientation programming that ranges from note-taking technique sessions to a tour of Hart House; the many Academic Mini-Courses;the Moving Forward Transition Program; the New International Student Orientation; UTSU Orientation Days; and Queer Orientation. Attend as many of these program’s events as you like! Even if you register for a certain orientation, you’re not obligated to attend all of its events. Mix and match events that you find interesting!

Your mid-years can be the best time to get involved July 4, 2011

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Student Life.
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It can be hard to stay motivated in your second and third years of study. After all the excitement of frosh week has ended and the first-year programs no longer apply, you may wonder: where is the second year programming? What about the third years? It can be easy to lose motivation with the beginning over and the end so far away. I call this the Mid-Years Crisis.

In fact, your second or third year is the perfect time to get out and get involved! With U of T’s high expectations, those students coming from high school can find it tough to adjust. That’s why second and third year are the perfect times to look for clubs and associations that are going to be both fun outside the classroom, and helpful inside.

“People always think that there’s not enough time,” says Evelyn Romero, a student in Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences who just finished her third year and has spent her mid-years taking part in a variety of clubs and programs on campus. She admits to feeling overwhelmed by the workload in her first year and being reluctant to join any groups.

Evelyn joined clubs that would complement her studies in Health Sciences and get her excited about the practical application of her program. In her second year, she joined the Hart House Social Justice Committee. “It was interesting to take my background in Health Sciences and use it when planning events, organizing debates and helping with the Social Justice Fair”.

During her term as Head of Communications, she even used her Nutritional Sciences background to prepare healthy, organic meals for club meetings.

Once you get involved, you realize how easy it is to find more opportunities. U of T has great resources to help you find a club perfectly suited to your tastes. Evelyn eventually joined the NDP student group on campus, and is now their recording secretary. This led her to other volunteer positions with such groups as Free the Children and the Canadian Blood Services. The best part about participating in clubs is that it motivates you to use the same resources to find employment. Working with Hart House Social Justice Committee was great experience when Evelyn applied for her job at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “It’s all reinforcing itself,” she says about bringing her study experience to the workplace.

Use your second and third years to get out and get involved! It’s a great way to stay motivated in your program and establish a solid resume during your down-time. Take a look at Ulife to see what’s happening on campus this year. Use the Career Centre to find jobs that will complement what you’re learning. And always remember that most programs on campus have councils that deal directly with specific programs. So, no matter what your field of study, there’s something out there to end that mid-years crisis!
- Bethany McKoy, Communications Assistant and Writer, Office of Student Life

Peace of Mind November 16, 2010

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Uncategorized.
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Spirit of Meditation

It’s almost the end of November and there are only a couple weeks of class left. Maybe you only have a few more hours to cram for your evening midterm, or maybe there’s a few hours left to write your paper before it’s due the next morning. You are personified stress, wishing there was a way to calm yourself down.

You may be feeling stressed because of the overwhelming amount of things to do. You may be frustrated that there’s not enough time in the day to do it all. Frantic thoughts and worry have disrupted your life’s balance and shaken up your inner peace. One way to restore balance and inner peace is through meditation.

Meditation is a good way to focus your mind and calm you down. Stress is the product of lacking time to sit and let your mind rest, and meditation is one way to reduce stress by allowing you to put your mind at ease by focusing on inner processes.

The Multi-Faith Centre at the St. George campus offers meditation workshops which run from Monday to Thursday throughout the school year.

The Psychology Club at UTM has meditation workshops running until the end of this month.

The Health and Wellness Centre at UTSC holds weekly mental health Q&A sessions and can provide tips on reducing stress.

Another way to de-stress is to set some time aside each day to do something you enjoy. Try putting away an hour of your time to listen to music, catch up on MTV’s latest reality drama, hang out with friends, read a good book or get involved with Literary Arts at Hart House.

U of T’s student health service suggests other ways to deal with stress on their website.

Remember, you are not alone in dealing with stress. There are other resources to turn to if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need further support in handling stress. You can visit the Academic Success Centre for tips on how to manage your time and the Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to deal with outside stressors.

* Photo by Flickr user h.koppdelaney, published under a creative commons licence.