At the cornerstone of our continued success is our dedication to create & sustain ethically responsive relationships. Collaborations allow us to leverage assets to create sustainable collective impact.
Click through to see some of our recent intiatives...
In summer of 2019, alums Niyosha Keyzad (BA, 2010) and Felix Chu (BA, 2012) met with the Community Development & Engagement team and faculty members from the English and human geography department to discuss ongoing, sustainable support for Scarborough Studies, a grassroots organization that elevates the work and people of Scarborough. Scarborough Studies decided to take on a zine-series initiative to highlight the stories and voices of Scarborough residents through an artistic means. Reflecting and noting that Scarborough has been home to Indigenous populations for thousands of years and that as settlers, we are privileged to reside in this space, Scarborough Studies engaged in a process that imagined ways in which we can positively contribute to the development of our community.
In both fall and winter terms, the Community Development & Engagement department provided a work-study student and service-learning student who supported the Scarborough Studies zine-series initiative. Scarborough Zines aimed to highlight the stories and voices of Scarborough residents through a creative and artistic means. The zine-making workshops invited Scarborough residents, students, and commuters, to share stories about their relationship to this space (land and structure) and the hopes and desires of community members for the growth and improvement of Scarborough.
Five workshops took place over the span of five months. This experience taught us that we should continue to work together to further our conversations and promote Scarborough, as a space that connects us. All the zines are currently displayed at the UTSC Library to allow for an interactive experience.
I was the Student Resident at the Scarborough Studies Collective this year and during my time I have learned a lot from those of whom I had the privilege to work with. The most valuable aspect that the community has taught me is the significance of creating conversation. Our team hosted a series of zine-making workshops where people gathered to share their knowledge, experience, concerns, and ideas about Scarborough. We heard from those who have recently immigrated to the city to those who commute to Scarborough regularly for work or school. I learned about the diverse ways that community members are involved in making this city more accessible, livable, and equitable.
Generating such conversations has enhanced our knowledge on what it is that our community members are interested in working towards, whether it be demanding better transit or lobbying to fix potholes on our major roads. Our community is filled with forward-thinking and innovative individuals. We as the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus will continue on with these conversations and build new ways of collaborating with the community in bringing about positive change.
When Christine Arsenault, Managing Director, Department of Management, participated in a spring 2019 focus group with community partners as part of U of T Scarborough’s strategic planning exercise, she recognized that a unique opportunity had presented itself. “The more that I heard from our local support agencies, the more I realized that I didn’t know what was happening in our own backyard,” Arsenault said. “While U of T Scarborough Management is celebrated for our national and international collaborations, it struck me that our local impact could be enriched.”
Sitting beside Anne Gloger, Principal of the East Scarborough Storefront/Centre for Connected Communities, Arsenault struck up an in-depth conversation about goals around community connectedness. This conversation is what motivated the Department of Management to plan a day of community tours for U of T Scarborough Management staff.
Thirty staff from across Management—including Co-op, The BRIDGE, and embedded career advisors—broke into smaller teams of four-to-five people and visited 12 different community agencies over the course of one day. Conversations were focused around celebrating local agency work and accomplishments, understanding how the University is viewed in the community, and what we can do as a University to be a better community partner. Following all of the visits, staff gathered at the Toronto Zoo to debrief and share learnings. The conversations overflowed with examples of the inspirational work that community agencies are doing and where U of T Scarborough could learn from them as well as potentially help alleviate their constraints.
The Department of Management team continues to meet each term to discuss community relationships and how they can enhance their role as a strategic partner. Since our July 2019 listening tour, staff have participated in partner-led openings and events where community agencies share their challenges and leverage our Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) programming to provide innovative solutions. We have also partnered with community agencies to apply for provincial grant opportunities with the hope of resourcing a number of shared projects and ideas.
Sischa Maharaj, Assistant Director of External Relations and Communications, Department of Management
We know that local service organizations are grappling with funding and staff constraints in addition to a burgeoning need for research assistance, data analytics, and accounting support. U of T Scarborough is well positioned to provide resources and expertise in those areas.
Christine Arsenault, Director Management Co-op
We aim to be transformational in our approach to cultivating partnerships, rather than transactional. The experience of meeting face-to-face with community leaders and service providers is an integral part of that process. We look forward to continuing, and growing, our partnerships throughout Scarborough