One of the most beautiful characteristics of our Scarborough community is that it embraces diversity and recognizes the unique value that each culture brings to the table. This cultural diversity is what encourages students to explore their own backgrounds, but at the same time, learn about the others around them. The diversity of UTSC’s campus enhances the community by embracing cultural differences. In Scarborough, we not only acknowledge our differences, we celebrate them - and appreciate the beauty that diversity brings.
In an act to continue the tradition of celebrating the many cultures that make up UTSC, SCSU held a Multicultural Week, exemplifying UTSC as the hub of cultural excellence. This year’s theme “Scarborough to The World” featured four guest speakers, an enticing cultural showcase, a variety of traditional foods, and a trivia game all about Scarborough. During the cultural showcase, a collection of student clubs and groups on campus shared the stage to perform. Through fashion shows and dances, the audience was able to watch in awe as students came together on stage to pay homage to their respective cultures.
“Scarborough to The World” featured three guest panelists which included Neethan Shan, the TDSB Vice Chair; George Mihail, owner of iconic burger and pizza restaurant The Real McCoy; and Candace Gomes, a registered Social Worker. Each of these inspiring panelists are leaders who embody motivating personalities and strive to enrich the lives of many others through their fields of work. These panelists took the stage to share and relive their humble beginnings, detailing how their experiences living and growing up in Scarborough molded them into the people they are today.
Another key speaker featured at the event’s final day was Jesse Asido, owner of Scarborough Spots. What began in 2020 as an idea to accentuate the everyday beauty within Scarborough, has become a rapidly growing movement that has opened the eyes of many in the community to the vast potential of Scarborough. Not only has Scarborough Spots become a platform to build connections with others in the community; it has given people in Scarborough a sense of pride and belonging.
Authentic community engagement occurs when we open our doors to celebrate the contributions of local leaders who may have never had the opportunity to attend University. Jessie Asido and George Mihail are two shining examples of this, and as we know Scarborough wouldn't be the same without their pride and care for our region.
- Neel Joshi, Dean of OSEW
Alyssia Fernandes, the VP of Campus Life at SCSU, was the creative mind behind this year's Multicultural Week at UTSC. She was committed to organizing an event that would celebrate the diverse cultures of Scarborough, something that our community embodies daily. Alyssia’s persistence and drive for this event were seen and appreciated by many, including Neel Joshi: "Events and experiences like this can only come together with great collaboration and strong student leadership,” he said.
“Alyssia Fernandes played a pivotal role in helping to mobilize people around a common vision and then spending many late hours fueled by passion to make this a reality. We are fortunate to have student leaders like Alyssia here at UTSC. It's what defines us". Through the organization of this event, Alyssia and her team successfully united students, faculty, and a range of guest speakers into the welcoming environment of UTSC to appreciate, learn and celebrate the uniqueness of the individuals and cultures that make Scarborough so special.
Scarborough owes its identity and character to its varying cultures. It’s our willingness to come together as one that defines our community. UTSC and SCSU have played a significant role in acknowledging and preserving the diverse traditions that make Scarborough so vibrant, by welcoming and collaborating with the people who make our community what it is. SCSU’s Multicultural Week showed us what celebrating our unique diversity can really look like. And it’s beautiful.
Written by: Chasya Williams
Photos captured by: Marc Alolod