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VOL.1 NO. 3

e - m a g a z i n e

b l o g

e - n e w s l e t t e r




editorial Editor-in-chief: Matthew Alleyne

Department Editor: Drew Dudley

Creative Director: Narayani Na d e s a n

Contributing writers: Aly Kass a m Gesilayefa A z o r b o Katrina R o z a l Selena M a n n

Cover illustration: Narayani Nadesan


n March 17, the students of UTSC are being asked to participate in a referendum which will shape the future of our campus. If you choose to vote in favour of the new state-of-the-art athletic facility, then our campus will have

fulfill a long awaited dream that has been in the making for decades. All it will cost us is a mere $30 million and annual contributions from the student body ranging from $40-$140.

CONTACT US: University of Toronto Scarborough 1265 Milita ry Trail Student Centr e, SL-157 Toronto, ON M1C 1A4 Canada Tel: 416-208-4760 Fax: 416-287-7672 Email: info@utsc- Website:

If you vote no, what really are the consequences? The Pan-

Am Games have been awarded to Toronto. The city has planned the construction of a new light-rail transit line to our campus which will accommodate spectators visiting our new aquatic centre. With tuition being increased, are we actually getting the most out of the money we are already paying?

In a recent newsletter sent out to students by APUS (Association

of Part-time Undergraduate Students), they point out there was the same controversy when the project of the new Varsity Stadium was built, and

WHO WE ARE PULSE is a student-run initiative s u pervised by the Department o f Student ife. We aim to raise p r o file of the many services and e v e n ts occurring at the University o f T oronto Scarborough. Through c o l ourful pictures and creative s t o ries written from the student p e r spective, we hope to inspire you to get involved in campus life.

GET INVOLVED! Would yo u like to g e t invo l ve d w it h P u ls e? We w an t to h e a r f ro m yo u. S e n d an e m ail to, telling u s ab o u t yo u r interests an d past experiences.

students voted against paying the new levy. Since the school was already committed to the project, it was built without additional funding by students.

Since both our school and the city are already committed to the

project here at UTSC, is it not possible that the facility still can be built without the levy?

It is not my job to tell you to vote yes or no when it comes to the

referendum on the proposed levy to help finance the new building. Each side has a strong argument; the choice may come down to which side reaches the greatest amounts of students over the other.

Being from Quebec, I know how important a Yes/No vote can

be. Yes/No had the power to start a new country, but also had the power to keep a great one together. What I will say is regardless whether you choose to vote yes or no, inform yourself, and then vote. Don’t leave this decision up to someone else. Although it may not affect you, your choice will leave a lasting legacy at UTSC.




Matthew Alleyne Editor-in-chief

table of contents

p h o t o c ourtesy: Ken Jones



Lets get Physical

Athletic centre personalizes health and welness for students on campus


S T O R I E S Levy Town hall Forum

There are bigger question than “yes” or “no” that students are looking for answers to

Music to our ears; Fusion Radio prepares for FM.....................5 Classroom etiquette 101...........................................................6 Little known facts about our Athletic Facility has to offer.........8 Bridgeing the gap between Students and Faculty...................15 UTSC’s Steve Joordenns; one of Ontario’s best.......................16


The Future of UTSC

Plans are in the works that will see more than just a swimming pool built at UTSC

Accessing AccessAbility Services..................................17 Lunar New Year: A celebration of hope..........................18 International Development Culture week guest............19 Shuttle bus runs out of gas...........................................20



news on campus



Music to our ears, Fusion Radio prepares for FM

campus profile FUSION’S FM FUTURE Their next goal is to finally venture into FM radio broadcast, which has been in the works for some time. “It’s a really expensive task, though. It’s about $50,000 for licensing,” says O’Guedes. “What we’re trying to do right now is condition our staff for that next step; making sure they’re following Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) guidelines,”

Programming director Alisia Young works the station’s state-of-the-art soundboard. Photo courtesy: Peter Yung


UTSC’s campus radio station, Fusion Radio, is looking to expand their reach with the ultimate goal of an FM radio broadcast. Currently featuring approximately 60 DJ’s, Fusion takes pride in the diversity of their shows, reflecting the diversity of our campus. “Being college radio, you have to be diverse in the first place, you can’t just pick one genre and go with it,” explains Ashley O’Guedes, Fusion Radio’s Marketing Director O’Guedes offers the example of Fusion programming being as diverse as flipping from an all Hong Kong show directly to an indie house show. “It works in favor of this campus because our student population is extremely diverse as it is,” says O’Guedes. O’Guedes admits that for a while he was relatively oblivious to all that the station has to offer. “I helped a friend out on a show last December and I couldn’t believe we had all this stuff. I didn’t know it existed, didn’t know what they did here,” he says. Compared to many other university

and college radio stations, UTSC offers more extensive resources to the campus community. In addition to providing a creative outlet for students to get on air, Fusion has a full production studio where students can record demos or albums. Second-year biology student, Stefanie Stuart, joined the station last summer because it gives her a creative outlet to “share the music.” Stuart currently hosts the house music show “Fierce Nation” from 1-2 p.m. on Thursdays. “They (the staff) really let us do our own thing. We can be who we are and it gives everyone a voice to be creative and say what they want to say,” she explains. Above all, O’Guedes says that Fusion’s primary goal is to contribute to campus life by creating awareness. He notes that last year, the biggest challenge was to get student clubs interested in working with the station. “Back then nobody wanted to work with Fusion. I credit a lot of this progress to John Aruldason who was in my position last year,” he says. “Whether it was free or paid, they didn’t want anything to do with us. We’ve come a long way since then. The whole team has stepped up. This year, Fusion Radio has been a part of 90% of campus events.

This year, the radio station has made sure that all DJ’s go “by the book,” explains O’Guedes. “It’s too easy to get banned and it’s a risk you don’t want to take with students’ money.” John Mares, also known as DJ Johnny Physics, who currently hosts “The Jungle House,” says that preparing for FM broadcast has been a challenging but necessary step. “All shows now require a particular structure which has been a bit challenging to achieve, granted that our shows all had their own signature and old habits were hard to break,” states Mares. “But with some fine tuning, and feedback from the Fusion crew, many shows have become very successful and ready for FM.” O’Guedes confirms that students shouldn’t expect the station to begin FM broadcast this year, simply because the staff want to ensure that they’re spending students’ money correctly. For now, shows can continue to be heard online at As they continue to make progress towards their goal, Fusion Radio remains a lively environment for students to get involved and unleash their creativity. “I was a DJ before and needed an outlet to showcase my style. Fusion provided me with all of this,” affirms Mares. “It was and still is a great way for me to get my mind off things (school, etc.) and play the music I love.” Above all, Mares says he looks forward to the day when speakers in UTSC’s Student Center can be turned on and students can get a real feel for what Fusion Radio is all about. O’Guedes adds that joining Fusion is a win-win situation, because it allows students to enhance their portfolio, get creative, and meet new people. “Being a part of Fusion Radio has been a huge experience for me,” says O’Guedes. “We’ve progressed by leaps and bounds this year and I think it’s safe to say it’s going to keep going that way.” PULSE | WINTER 2010 


campus news


Your hand is slowly cramping around the pen you’ve been using to madly scribble the professor’s words. It’s an hour into the lecture and he’s finally getting to the good part that explains everything he’s been talking about— suddenly BANG! You stop writing but you don’t bother to turn around because you already know what happened: the kid who always comes late didn’t even bother to silently close the metal doors behind him. What follows are familiar sounds of chairs screeching, paper shuffling and jackets swooshing as the he tries to find a place to sit. Some might think it’s all right to be a little late for class because it doesn’t start until ten minutes after the hour. But to be an hour late on a regular basis brings up the basic issue of classroom etiquette. Many of us attend the University of Toronto because of its prestigious reputation of providing a rich academic learning experience. We have high expectations of our professors and our colleagues. But consider whether your behaviour before and during lecture contributes to the rich learning experience you and others expect. Coming to class on time is part of basic classroom etiquette, and arriving late is inconsiderate for students who make the effort to arrive on time. “My class is in the basement of the Science wing so there are doors that make a loud banging noise when you close them – now imagine that banging noise happening like 20 times in the span of half an hour when everything else is quiet and you’re trying to listen to the prof,” said Journalism student Lauren Hummel. Classroom etiquette also has to do with



preparation before the actual lecture. “I don’t have any strict rules and most of my expectations for class etiquette really just follow the rules of basic politeness: don’t chat, read newspapers, if you have a computer don’t play solitaire and check e-mail,” English Professor Alexandra Peat said. “It’s important to do the reading before coming to class—the lecture will probably not make much sense if the student isn’t up to date. I would also suggest that students come to lecture prepared to engage actively.”

“I think it’s important for students to show respect not just to the instructor but also to one another” While class discussions provide an intellectual space for students to exchange and clarify ideas, there are times when overzealous participation creates a negative experience. “I think it’s important for students to show respect not just to the instructor but also to one another, which means paying attention and responding to peer comments but not monopolizing class discussion,” Peat said. Many professors appreciate questions from students after they explain a concept. But instructors have to cover a set amount of material over the course of four months and need to maximize the schedule they’ve been given. “I don’t like when students come to

class and start a discussion they can have after class,” International Studies student Tolu Ajayi said. “A question here and there is okay but [it’s disruptive] when you turn your discussion into a 30-minute conversation with the teacher.” Laptops are especially useful for taking notes of the class discussion, but they can also be a disruptive tool. “It’s irritating when people play video games or watch things on YouTube even though I can’t hear,” Sociology student Alyshia D’Cunha said. “It’s really distracting.” For Peat, the biggest distraction is ringing cell phones. It’s a popular source of frustration for students as well. “It’s really annoying when people forget to turn off their cell—even putting it on vibrate and leaving it on the desk is distracting,” D’Cunha said. “It takes your focus away from what you’re writing to trying to figure out where the buzzing is coming from.” Some students who have late classes find other students who eat in class to be rude. “When I’m in my late class and I haven’t eaten all day and people are eating, my mind is on the food and not on lecture,” English-Philosophy student Kevin Wang said. The treatment of food wrappers also irritates many students because it prevents them from hearing what the professor is saying. “I don’t like when [students crinkle] their Tim Hortons wrappers and make noise in class,” Ajayi said. The University of Toronto has high standards, and students should conduct themselves accordingly. If our environment dictates anything, it should be our behavior: don’t come late, don’t be disruptive, and of course get the most possible out of one of Canada’s best educational institutions.

campus profile





Photo courtesy:

Gesilayefa Azorbo

Gesilayefa Azorbo CONTRIBUTOR


here’s more to UTSC’s athletics and recreation facility than meets the eye. While students have utilized the “Re-Imagine” boards to depict their visions of new teaching studios, indoor tracks, and gym improvements that could be created for the potential new athletic centre, there are services available now that are often overlooked. UTSC’s fitness program coordinator Rochelle Welch is working to change that. Welch says students are often unaware of the wide variety of fitness programs and specialty classes available at comparatively low or no cost. “It’s one thing UTSC really prides itself on, that they’re able to run quality programming,” Welch says, “External to the university you’d be paying $20 per class for yoga or anything like that, but here you’re paying $15 per semester. I think that’s important for people to know.”

PERSONAL TRAINERS Personal training is another untapped service. While the price varies depending on what training package is chosen, rates range from $30 to $36 per one-hour session. There are flat rates for specific training packages, like the $108 “Getting Started” package (three sessions) or the “Winter Waister” package that includes



12 bi-weekly sessions and nutritional counselling in addition to the initial assessment for $449. With personal training, the client is guaranteed a fitness routine tailored to their specific needs and goals. The first step is getting a fitness assessment with fitness program assistant Ramona Seupersad who, after establishing a program, pairs you with a personal trainer. “Basically it’s like fitness questionnaires, just to make sure you’re physically able,” says third-year political science and city studies student Aaron Cameron of the fitness assessment. “There’s some stretching to see how flexible you are, basically, and questions about history of injuries, and illness, physical activity, and your goals.” Cameron has the distinction of being both a strength trainer and a Can-FitPro - accredited personal trainer. The difference is, as a strength trainer he would only be able to advise, whereas being certified allows him to actually create fitness training regimens for clients. His training includes knowledge of anatomy, weight-training, and safety in the weight room, in addition to learning how to create individualized fitness plans. In the centre, he and the other fitness trainers stand out - literally - in bright orange shirts with the words, “Ask me a question?” on the back. “It feels good helping people achieve their goals,” says Cameron. For those who may not be convinced

about spending money on a personal trainer, the centre also offers a few alternatives. “Orientations...are basically, if you will, almost like a free training session, “says Welch. “In that you actually have a personal trainer or one of our strength trainers actually assist you to learn how to use some of the machines, as well as what the muscle groups are that you’re actually working.” This gives students a head start and some basic information to get going on their own total body workout plans, and is available free to students, faculty, and members from the community. Similarly, the ten week Athletic Conditioning classes and the genderspecific Women on Weights classes offer some of the benefits of personal training for a lower fee, in this case, $15 for 10 and six week sessions, respectively. “They do a lot of pliometrics in (the athletic conditioning) class, they do a lot of sprinting drills in this class, they do a lot of calisthenics,” says Welch. With Women on Weights, the class learns progressively over six weeks how to work different muscle groups using various pieces of equipment in the Key, the cardio theatre, and in the teaching studio. Welch noted that in the summer, the class takes advantage of the outdoors by innovatively using the valley to exercise in - for example, using park benches to practice lunges on. “Those two classes are important to

campus profile note, just for those students who want personal training but feel, ‘Ah, I think personal training will still be a bit too pricey for me, but I would like to challenge myself, condition myself, and get a really sound, good knowledge of what personal training exercises would consist of.’’’ Says Welch

FITNESS CLASSES However, for those looking to just workout and have fun at the same time, the athletics centre also has a wide array of dance classes, including hip hop and Latin dance, as well as belly dancing. Each of these classes usually carries a $15 fee for a semester. However for one new class, Bollywood Boogie, students get in free. The class on East Indian dance is an offshoot of the UTSC’s Best Dance Crew competition organized in the fall by PACE (Physical Activity Coaches

and Educators), taught by Veemi and

Swagya, a pair of students who also gave workshops on Bollywood dance for the competition. “It was really popular with the members who showed up to the workshop, and so they said, well, you know, maybe we could teach this on campus,” explains Heidi Calder, Co-Director of UTSC Athletics and Recreation. “(We decided) let’s make it a free drop-in class first and see what the interest is, and then we’ll add it to the instructional list for people to sign up for and register for it in future if it goes well,” says Calder. “I think it is doing pretty well.” For more information on how to get involved and take control of your fitness, visit website, drop by the facility where staff are more than happy to help you meet your athletic goals.

“It feels good helping people achieve their goals”





Photo courtesy: Gesilayefa Azorbo

Gesilayefa Azorbo CONTRIBUTOR


rincipal Franco Vaccarino and governing members of the Scarborough Campus Student Union (SCSU)

held a town hall meeting in the third week of the winter semester to discuss the future of University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). The meeting was held to discuss funding for a new state-of-the-art athletics facility proposed to be built at the Scarborough campus for use during the Toronto-hosted Pan Am Games in 2015. While funding will come from the federal and provincial governments for the $170-million dollar facility, the partnership requires UTSC to contribute 18%, or $30 million. The purpose of the forum, captured by the message on a huge blue banner



unfurled from the fourth floor balcony over the meeting place that declared, “I deserve world class!” was to convince students to vote in favour of a levy to pay for the facility. However, when the floor was open to questions the first thing asked was, “what am I actually voting ‘yes’ for?” The question came from Emma Baron, an arts management student at U of T Scarborough. Her question was tied to concerns about the fate of the current athletics facility space, in light of the pressing need for student space on campus. In his answer, Principal Vaccarino acknowledged that the need for student space on campus has been the most pressing issue of his term as principal. His answer was that students voting yes to the levy means participation in the creation of better options for student space. “To figure out how best to use that space, you [students] need to be a part of that discussion,” he said.

Amir Bashir, current Interim President of the SCSU, talked about the creation of “programmable space” in the new athletics facility that could be used for any number of activities such as performances, demonstrations, and art exhibitions. Scarborough College Association (SCAA)


s tu d e n t representative Emily Kakouris explained that voting yes meant voting for two 52-metre competition and training pools, a 10-metre diving tank, a 200-metre indoor jogging track, two teaching studios for multipurpose use, as well as a new gym. “You do not have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits of the athletic centre,” she said. Principal Vaccarino added to this, saying that student contributions mean more than just the construction of a world class Games facility, but also the creation of a reputation for themselves as students with foresight and vision for the future. “It’s hard to imagine why such an initiative like the Pan Am Games in the

present is going to impact on your future, but it will...because of the legacy and the reputational impact of what comes from this institution.” Another student concern was the actual cost of the levy. Sherif Badr, a 4th yeat neuroscience student, wanted to know how much students would be required to contribute. “The referendum is going to be asking for students to contribute $40 a semester, up until the time that the facility opens,” responded Bashir. “Then that possibly would increase to $140 a semester once

the facility is open.” Principal Vaccarino justified the cost however, stating that in context, the call for a new athletics facility was on the table long before the Pan Am opportunity came up. “The challenge that you have for these kinds of facilities is that they don’t get funded through the regular mechanisms, in terms of classrooms and instructional facilities,” he said. Vaccarino noted that the initial plans for a new athletics facility were modest compared to what is being constructed

for the Pan Am Games. However, with the infusion of funding for the Games facility from the federal and provincial government, those plans were expanded. “All of a sudden it took us hugely forward for the same price tag from the students’ point of view,” he said. “With a $30 million investment on the part of students, we’re getting a $170 million facility.” Voting on the referendum takes place March 17 - 19 from 10 am to 7 pm in the Student Centre.

UTSC‘S PAN AM GAMES FACILITY AIMS TO ELEVATE Not just a campus athletics facility, but a community centre. That’s the view that has emerged as a response to the University of Toronto Scarborough’s push to have the host athletics facility for the 2015 Pan Am Games built at the campus. Toronto winning the bid for the 2015 Pan Am Games meant that a partnership between the University of Toronto Scarborough and the City of Toronto, with funding from federal and provincial governments, could lead to the construction of a $170 million athletics complex at UTSC to be used by world athletes for the duration of the Games. After the games are done, the complex would be jointly owned by the university and the City of Toronto. “It’s going to be great for the campus, but it’s going to be really, really good for the community,” said Interim President of the SCSU, Amir Bashir, speaking after the first town hall forum addressing the potential student contribution to the project. While the focus is often on the worldclass standard of the athletics facilities to

be built and what this will mean for sports and athletics at UTSC, Bashir says that an important consideration is what having such a complex at this campus would mean for the residents of the community around UTSC. “It’s going to be open to the community,” he said. “It’s going to be a community centre, and it’s a much needed area.” Bashir noted that the presence of the university in this particular area means that many residents who may not otherwise have access are given an opportunity to experience what university is like. The school already has an established history of working with the surrounding communities through initiatives like the Imani Mentorship Program, which provides tutoring and opportunities for students in the area to interact with mentors from UTSC’s student body. The current athletics facility is already open to members of the surrounding community and high school students. Bashir pointed out during the presentation to students on January 20 that the new

facility would substantially increase the capability of the school to accommodate external groups with various sports, athletic and space needs. “To be able to give to people, especially because we live in an impoverished community, it’s nice to give them the opportunity to come out on campus, check out the facilities,” he said afterwards. The possibilities for community growth go beyond the facility, however, according to Heidi Calder, Co-Director of UTSC Athletics and Recreation. “It’s almost like an ‘if you build it they will come’ kind of concept,” said Calder. “Besides the Games themselves bringing a lot of tourism dollars here, people will want to live here.” Bashir agreed with this concept, saying that funding for transit, housing, and more food options will benefit the community, also noting that the new facility goes beyond funding. “It’s not all about the dollar figure. The way I see it, it’s about what it leaves behind and the impact of it.” PULSE | WINTER 2009 


Part of the design behind the new Instructional Centre focuses on creating academic space along with a sense of community with a new café


Photo courtesy: Diamond Schmitt Architects Incorporated



hirty-four years ago the student government pushed for an aquatic centre on campus. They failed. “They were told it will never happen, it will never happen,” said Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC chief strategy officer. “And every few years there’d be some movement about getting something built on this campus and everyone was told it wouldn’t happen.” There’s a different vibe on campus today. The anticipated athletic facility for the Pan-Am games has become an almostanswered prayer to boost student pride in UTSC. But there’s more to it (THAN WHAT?). The anticipated athletics centre is the centre-piece for a long term UTSC expansion plan that comes with a $750 million price tag. Students are expected to contribute $30 million to this amount. The rest of the $750 million is expected to come from UTSC partnerships with all three levels of government and the Canadian Sports Institute of Ontario. The master plan is geared towards increasing UTSC’s overall presence as a major hub for intellectual space and community activity. Other projects include plans to increase academic space, enhance student residence, build a hotelconference facility, and a new performing arts centre. There are no specific details yet as



the master plan is currently in its nascent stage. “Right now we’re doing an assessment of the potential to put a hotel on campus,” Arifuzzaman said. “We’re also going through a similar process with residence. I suspect that by the time summer comes we would have a pretty clear plan in terms of how those pieces are going to unfold.” According to Arifuzzaman, the campus has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in a short period of time. Currently UTSC has 10,000 students and a sports facility that supports 4,000. “There was a 100 per cent growth in students and about 60 per cent growth in facilities,” he said. “We knew students didn’t have enough study space; we didn’t have enough research labs, teaching labs, office space or classrooms.” UTSC took advantage of the government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program to realize some of their plans for academic buildings and put together a package for the new Instructional Centre (IC) currently under construction.

ACADEMIC BUILDING PROGRAM The IC will have 17 new classrooms, a lobby with space for events and a café which can also be accessed by community members. The Management and Computer and Mathematical Science departments will move to this building on March 31, 2011. The departments to occupy the soon to-be-vacated south side of campus are yet to be determined.

UTSC is still looking to develop additional teaching and research space by building on opportunities to receive funding for academic buildings. However, study space has always been a major concern for students. “We need more space to study because there’s hardly any, especially during exam times,” said Psychology student Alina Fernandez.

STUDENT RESIDENCE Many of the current student residence buildings are aging. Some are close to 50-years-old. “I think the residences need a frigging make over because they’re so old and there aren’t enough residences,” said Journalism student Stephanie Leung. According to Arifuzzaman, UTSC is considering phasing out the existing townhouses while building a new residence complex for a higher quality of student accommodation. “Ideally our target for student residences is probably somewhere around 10 per cent of the student population,” he said. “Right now we’re at about seven per cent of the population. We have a deficit and it’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 and 350 student residence beds.”

HOTEL CONFERENCE FACILITY Last year UTSC hosted the Canadian Society for Zoologists . With 500


The traditional strategy for campus expansion focused on developing the south campus. Currently, the strategy is to spread on the north campus

participants it was UTSC’s largest conference. According to Arifuzzaman, many of the attendees stayed at the Delta Hotel by the 401 and Kennedy. “It’s that particular location that’s sort of in the middle of nowhere – you’re not at the heart of the city nor are you on campus,” he said. “So we’re looking to see if it’s viable to actually work with a hotel operator to build a hotel conference centre here.” The facility would also be useful for student orientation and community activities. With the looming Pan-Am games, Arifuzzaman says UTSC expects that facility play a major role in UTSC hosting future national and international competitions regularly.

PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE The Leigha Lee Browne Theatre is a black box theatre that has a capacity of about 100 to 150 audience members. The lack of a proper performing arts facility has been a concern Arifuzzaman has heard from students. UTSC has also been approached by community-based theatre groups and orchestras about having adequate space to rent for their performances. “We thought there may be potential down the road about building a performing arts centre – that’s the UTSC performing arts centre – but can also be rented out on weekends and so forth to community

groups for various concerts or activities.”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION To date, UTSC’s development strategy has been to build out on the south campus. With new projects, the strategy will be to expand the north side of campus. “What we’ve learned very quickly from past experiences, all of these projects sound great but I think you need to put that in the context of how the campus thinks about development,” Arifuzzaman said. “If we continue to build all of these aspirational things on the south campus it will feel very much like a concrete jungle.” Warnings against building a concrete jungle on the south campus came up during the visioning workshops on the master plan. The first master plan open house is scheduled for the week after Reading Week. UTSC will present the challenges and hopes to get feedback from students, faculty staff and the community. “We’re beginning to think about how the campus evolves, what’s the look and feel we’re trying to achieve, how does the north campus connect to the south campus, what’s the impact of transit,” Arifuzzaman said noting that the TTC has re-routed the LRT off Morningside to the campus. “The city has the lands between 401 and UTSC and they’ve been very much part of the planning process today.” One of the challenges for the expansion

is that current students won’t directly benefit from them and may be less likely to support them. “I’m excited for the Pan-Am facilities because it’s about time our school does something big with athletics and it can give our school more school spirit, but I’d rather give [my money] to Haiti,” Leung said. “I would be proud, but I’m going to be gone by then, so I can’t appreciate it.” Many of UTSC’s students come from the surrounding community. As a resident of Scarborough, Fernandez approves of the anticipated impact the expansion may have on this part of the city. “It’s good to have a hub in a university setting because it’s more enriching especially if young people can use these new facilities,” she said. “They’ll be in a positive environment where there’s academics and community activities.” Fernandez said she sees herself taking advantage of the facilities. “I helped pay for it,” she said with a laugh. “But I’d use it too because there probably won’t be a better place to go to in Scarborough.” PULSE | WINTER 2010 


community projects

campus profile

BioSA comes together for a wine and cheese social with UTSC students and their profs Photo courtesy: Peter Yung

BioSA : Students and Faculty

Bridging the Gap between


In an institution as large as the University of Toronto, where it’s easy to think of yourself as just a number, it can be difficult to voice your academic opinions and concerns. Many students feel helpless when they are unable to make their administration aware of problems they are facing in terms of courses and programs. To help with this, Departmental Student Associations (DSAs) provide a platform for students to communicate with faculty and engage with their program of study. Over the years, the Biological Sciences Student Association (BioSA)

has established itself as one of UTSC’s most dynamic DSA’s. With a diverse mix of events, both academic and social, BioSA serves as a liaison between faculty and students, attempting to make life for science students just a little bit easier. BioSA President and fourth-year Human Biology student, Simra Aziz, discusses unique challenges that science students face, in comparison to students in other programs. “Science students are really part of a huge community on campus. We’re usually in huge classes, including upper year classes,” she explains. “BioSA provides an opportunity for students to connect with faculty, which can be difficult when class

sizes are so large.” Second-year Integrative Biology student, Annika Khan, echoes that sentiment, saying that BioSA helps make professors more accessible by holding regular events that allow students to talk to their professors outside of the classroom. “It’s really important for [students] to be able to interact with our professors in order to consolidate what we are learning. Going just from lecture, to textbook, to exam, can become monotonous,” explains Khan. “But learning about real-life application of what we are studying is what makes being a science student interesting.” Aziz mentions that one of the purposes of BioSA is to provide students with the information they need to make informed decisions about graduate school. “BioSA holds regular seminars providing information about graduate school, including mock exams, that can help students prepare for applying to grad school,” says Aziz. “For first-years we also hold a seminar to help them choose one of the many science majors offered. Making such a big decision can be really complicated, so we try to provide students with the information that they need.” Rebecca Paul, also an Integrative Biology student, says that she appreciates the effort put into BioSA’s graduate school seminars and speaks highly of the Chemistry Aid Centre run by BioSA. “The Chemistry Aid Centre has been really helpful and reliable. For all the

Chemistry courses I’ve taken, I’ve gone to the aid centre at least once and appreciate how accessible it is to students,” she says. “However, I’d like to recommend that BioSA starts a similar help centre for Biology classes because sometimes it’s hard to reach teaching assistants and professors.” BioSA aims to create a cohesive environment for science students through their various social and academic events. Events like annual ski trips, excursions to Wonderland and the upcoming trip to Body Worlds provide a medium for science students to interact with each other. While running a DSA comes with its share of challenges, Aziz feels she is lucky to have a team of dedicated and experienced executives that make her life a lot easier. “My current team really knows what they are doing—everyone has been there for at least a year and even new members have learned fast. So I hardly have to manage them!” she laughs. “This way I can focus on connecting with faculty by regularly reporting to them what BioSA has been up to.” That reporting has strengthened the relationship that BioSA shares with Biological Sciences’ faculty. One outcome being that Dr. Vanlerberghe has allowed Aziz to join a committee that chooses future faculty members, establishing BioSA as a useful representative for UTSC science students. PULSE | WINTER 2010 


Campus news


Steve Joordens among the best lecturers in Ontario

Photo caption: TvO’s Best Lecturer series finalist is a rock star in class and on the stage.


The professor enters the lecture hall and all of the students are automatically silent. As he starts to speak, all eyes and ears are on him. He references Jimmy Hendrix as he gives his psychology lecture and students start to laugh. Some students are watching from home on their computers while others are sitting in the lecture hall. Does this make a difference in their overall learning experience? Professor Steve Joordens at the University of Toronto Scarborough says no. “About the same amount of students do well in each group, both the one that watches at home and ones who actually attend the lectures, there isn’t really a difference in the learning experience,” Joordens is a relatively well-known psychology professor. He was the first lecturer at U of T to have his lectures available online. Joordens has been nominated for Television Ontario’s Best Lecturer this year for the seventh time and has placed in the top ten of the 2010 competition. “To have some external awards kind of tells the administration that ‘hey, this person is a good teacher,’ and ultimately I think that it helps teaching across the campus,” Joordens says. Nominees have one of their lectures filmed for the series. Then, the top ten lectures are aired on TVO. Joordens is on sabbatical this semester to work on his own independent studies. Since, he is not teaching any classes, he has decided



to submit an optional attendance public lecture on how to make students think.

CLASSES GOING VIRAL Few people attended the optional attendance lecture; however, this is not a reflection on Joordens’ popularity with the student body. His lectures are usually full. Just about every seat is taken in a hall with a capacity for about 500 people for the introductory psychology course that he teaches. Even still, he has an additional 1,000 students who watch his lectures online. This has allowed students who did not want to come to school to watch it in the comfort of their own home. It is also convenient because students are able to watch the lectures whenever they want. It was Joordens’ colleague at University of Toronto, Professor John Basili, who pushed Joordens to film his lectures and put them online. “I was kind of the guinea pig for online lectures,” Joordens said. Students seem to really like Joordens; it was students and peers who nominated Joordens for TVO’s Best Lecturer. “I thought he was a really good professor, he was really into what he was teaching and you could tell and he was very organized. He got the class involved,” said Vanessa Fernandez, a student who took a psychology course that Joordens taught. Fernandez said if she could, she would take another course with Joordens. Another student Danusika Mahendrian also found

Joordens’ lectures compelling. “It was easy to grasp the concepts when he taught because he used analogies and made it fun,” Mahendrian said. Joordens uses the conventional PowerPoint slides and lectures, however, he does not use lecture notes very often. Instead, he teaches from memory and uses examples to make the material more exciting. Joordens tries to relate pop culture to course material, often accomplished by talking about music. His love for music helps him connect with students. He repeatedly mentions during lectures that he is influenced by Jimmy Hendrix. That love of music extends beyond the classroom and his love for teaching. He is in a band and has worked as a solo artist before. “I was always interested in music, but I never had enough money for lessons as I was growing up,” Joordens said. Joordens performs with his band regularly and is releasing a new album with them soon. He has even performed in the classroom for charity, once dressing up as a UNICEF box and playing guitar to motivate students to donate money to help poor children receive food, clean water, and education worldwide. Joordens is first up and can be seen on TvO Saturday, Mar. 6 at 5pm, with the winner being announced on Saturday, Apr. 17.

campus profile

AccessAbility services Photo c o u r t e s y : A c c e s s A b i l i t y S e r v i c e s


Scanning the sea of students while waving white sheets of paper, the professor stands in front of the lecture hall hoping someone volunteers as a note taker for AccessAbility Services. The students who step forward contribute to the prestigous learning experience we all expect to receive from U of T. Volunteer note takers increase their listening skills by making accurate notes. Students can become a note taker at any time. “It’s a great thing to have,” biochemistry student Michelle Ng said. “It makes it fair for students who can’t see the lecture notes properly or need more time to understand things before writing them down.” The notetaking program is one of several accommodations provided by AccessAbility Services. AccessAbility, which has been in place since the 1980’s, provides services that allow students with a diagnosed disability a fair opportunity to maximize their academic potential. Their other accommodations include advanced preparation for courses, alternate communication, alternate exam arrangements, and assistive technology & mobility assistance. Their services are available for students with temporary or permanent disabilities. Students need to self-identify to AccessAbility that their medical condition or disability has an impact on their

academics. According to AccessAbility Services, some students aren’t comfortable in disclosing their disability “for fear of being stigmatized, denied opportunities, or arousing unwarranted curiosity and unneccessary concern from others.” A lot of students also choose not to register for the service or “register when they are well into their academic program.” Here at the University of Toronto Scarborough we strive to ensure that the campus is an inclusive and accessible community by addressing and eliminating barriers for persons with disabilities, both physical and attitudinal. At AccessAbility Services the staff strive to promote inclusive values on campus in academic and co-curricular activities. We view disability as a positive individual difference and encourage the development of disability pride

Students who aren’t aware that they have a disability may experience similar academic difficulty as students with a diagnosed disability. According to AccessAbility Services disability specialist Cheryl Lepard, a significant indicator is receiving marks that don’t reflect the substantial amount of effort put in by the student. Another indicator is if a student has difficulty completing exams and

assignments on time. Other experiences include difficulty recalling information during an exam after studying very hard and difficulty focusing or keeping up with lecture material. “Now some students may read this list and think, ‘Well I experience all of those,’” said Lepard . “But it may not necessarily mean that there’s a learning disability or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD]. There may be other reasons going on as to why they might be having difficulties. So this list is not meant to be exhaustive.” Lepard encourages students to visit the AccessAbility office to receive the appropriate assessement and services. According to UTSC AccessAbility, people are more accustomed to persons with visible disabilities than persons with invisible disabilities. Most of the students who register have invisible disabilities, which may include mental health difficulties, chronic health conditions, Asperger’s Syndrome, learning disabilities or attention deficit-hyperactivitiy disorder. “What we know about disabilities is that some of the impacts do overlap,” Lepard said. “Sometimes a student with a mental health disability might be experiencing very similar impacts as someone with a learning disability but for different reasons. For example a student with ADHD would have difficulties focusing on a lecture but so would a student with depression or anxiety.” AccessAbility provides accomodations tailored to suit the unique needs of a student who may be dealing with one or more disabilities. The impact of the disability, the student’s courses and the course’s core components are taken into account when organizing accommodations and support services. Confidentiality is an extermely important component of the service. Transcripts of students who register with AccessAbility will not indicate they have used their service. Over 2,000 students with a diagnosed disability have registered with AccessAbility Services across U of T’s three campuses. UTSC’s AccessAbility office is in the Science Wing room SW302 and can be reached at 416-287-7560, ability@utsc. or ability. While each U of T AccessAbility office works independently, they also collaborate to ensure students taking courses on a different campus still receive proper accommodations.



community event


Photo courtesy: Katrina Rozalé and Gesilayefe Azorbo

Gesilayefa Azorbo CONTRIBUTOR


f you were at UTSC during this year’s Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, you could make a wish for the new Year of the Tiger by writing it down on a red square of paper and pinning it to one of the wishing trees set up at booths around the meeting place. Or, as an upstart group of students proved, you could fold origami



paper cranes in hopes of granting one very special wish this year. “They have the old Chinese legend that if you make a thousand cranes and you make a wish, the wish will come true,” said David Cen. The fourth year management student has been making paper cranes since high school, and so on Feb 11 he was in the best position to teach other people around the pair of tables set up near the meeting place entrance how to fold the colourful paper birds. Julia Lu, a first year student who is also in the management program, was one of those learning how to do it. “I heard it’s for people who are sick, so they can heal,” she said, carefully pressing down the corners of a patterned square while Cen watched. “Yeah, that too,” added Cen. The paper crane folding project was organized by UTSC’s Anime Club in conjunction with the International Student Centre (ISC) as part of the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. However, Victoria Chin, one of the organizers - wearing a red brocade dress to match the predominant colour scheme explained that there was more to the event than merely making paper cranes.

“If you fold a thousand you get one wish, and it’s a really big wish,” she said. “So the selling point was hope for Haiti.” Kayu Mak, a political science student and member of the Anime Club found out about the event on the group’s online forum and came out to offer very vocal support. “Join the crane-folding army!” she called out to passersby as she folded the colourfully-patterned, three inch square sheets into tiny, beautifully plumed birds. “We need a bigger crane-folding army to

community event fold a thousand cranes!” There were about fifteen other students gathered around the tables busily adding to the growing pile of multicoloured paper cranes. Nearing the end of the event at 3pm, one of them asked Chin how many they had so far. “A lot,” she replied, stringing the birds together into long, colourful ropes possibly to be hung in the ISC office later. Jason Tu, a second year Psychology specialist tried for a more accurate guess. “Four hundred, five hundred, only about halfway,” he said. “It takes 36 hours for one person to make all of them, so with ten people (it

would take) four hours if everyone was working hard at it.” Then he smiled. “But we’re having fun.” The support for Haiti was the reason Chrystalin Jeyakumar got involved with the effort. The third year health studies and integrated biology student had never made paper cranes before, so she was taking lessons from fellow biology student Mohsena Tabassum. “Because of the earthquake in Haiti, they’re just praying for people in Haiti,” said Jeyakumar of the effort. “That people in Haiti will have a better outcome.”

International Development and Culture Week GUEST SPEAKER

Featured speaker David Mbugua is wearing a Shuka, the traditional clothing of the Maasai tribe in Kenya. Mbugua told students they can make a difference in international development by getting involved in developmentoriented activities and making book donations.


After dawning a Shuka, the traditional cloth worn by the Maasai tribe in Kenya, David Mbugua took to the podium and opened by saying, “My being here reflects what international development can do for people who may not have the opportunity to live a life different from poverty.” This is the first time that UTSC has celebrated International

Development and Culture Week. The first guest speaker, Mbugua, kicked off at the Student Centre on Tuesday Feb. 9 with a discussion on the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. Mbugua was born and raised in Kenya where his parents herded goats and believed highly in the value of education. He has since pursued multi-disciplinary studies on animal science, agriculture and poverty issues. Mbugua has earned several scholarships including ones from CIDA, Rockerferller, and Cornell University where he earned a PhD in animal science and is currently taking courses at UTSC to expand his knowledge of climate change in hopes of helping Kenyans adapt to changing environment conditions. The Millennium Development goals include working towards ending poverty and hunger, spreading universal education, eliminating gender inequality, increasing quality of child and maternal health, eliminating HIV/Aids, and increasing environmental sustainability and global partnerships. Mbugua highlighted both the improvements made and the progress still necessary for eradicating poverty, developing universal education, and increasing gender equality. Mbugua encouraged student to get involved by going to Africa to engage in development-oriented activities or by participating in student exchange programs. His discussion was well received. “It was pretty powerful,” said first-year social science student Angel Andreadis. “It makes me want to go for a student exchange program. Having him come from so far makes me know that the world is changing for the better and we can help make that difference.” The crux of his message: get involved. Donating used books, laptops, pens and paper make a big difference to students in Africa. There is a big green and white book donation box in front of the SCSU office and building entrance. “They don’t worry about the condition of the books, they just want to learn,” he said. “Student involvement here is critical.”



campus news


For years, rumours have been floating around about an upcoming shuttle bus service between the U of T’s Scarborough (UTSC) and St. George campuses. With the closest subway stations at least a bus ride away, a shuttle bus seems like an appealing option for students and faculty looking for a direct connection to the downtown core. However, as a result of the impending Pan Am Games, the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Light Rapid Transit may arrive sooner than expected, raising questions about whether a shuttle service is necessary at all. Students like Nadia Persaud, a secondyear journalism student who has taken several courses downtown, would certainly benefit from such a service. “When I wanted to take a course at St. George, I really had to compromise and choose courses either on days that I didn’t have class at UTSC, or classes that started a while after I finished a course at UTSC,” Persaud explains. While some students do take courses downtown, Tom Nowers, UTSC’s Dean of Student Affairs, says that the amount only adds up to 4.5% of the student population, which makes it difficult to justify the cost of a shuttle bus between the two campuses. Nower puts an end to long-lasting rumours, explaining that the university has no plans to introduce such a shuttle bus. “It’s funny because people re-invent the wheel every year,” says Nowers. “The shuttle bus which once existed [in 1993] was, after a very thorough assessment on ridership, cancelled.” Currently, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) has a regularly operating shuttle bus that travels to the St. George campus and back. Megan Alekson, transportation assistant at UTM, says that 2009 statistics indicated annual ridership of approximately 217, 000. A section of UTSC’s campus community believes that considering that UTM has a shuttle bus to St. George, our campus should as well. “People often compare us to UTM. We’re not twins; people have to get over this,” asserts Nowers. “Our histories are different and our locations are different.” Nower mentions that UTM only separated from St. George’s Faculty of Arts and Science five years ago, while UTSC has been independent since 1972.





RUNS OUT OF GAS According to research that Nowers’ performed, UTM’s shuttle bus service costs the campus over a million dollars annually. Alekson says that all full-time students at UTM pay a mandatory fee of $38.66 per semester to help pay for it. Persaud re-considers her position on the shuttle bus after considering the potential cost to students. “If it was included in my current campus fees, I definitely wouldn’t mind but if I had to pay a separate fee, then yes, I would re-consider.”

“People often compare us to UTM. We’re not twins; people have to get over this” Nowers also points out that a shuttle bus to St. George wouldn’t make much sense, considering that 85% of UTSC’s population lives east of highway 404. He suggests that if anything, a bus travelling to Durham or Markham would be a better option, in light of UTSC’s high student population in these areas. After winning the bid for the 2015 Pan Am games, transit at UTSC looks set to improve at a faster rate than expected. The TTC’s Light Rapid Transit system, which was expected to arrive in 2020, may be given higher priority to make it in time for the Pan Am Games. The route would run from Malvern to UTSC and eventually to Kennedy station. “If we were to have a shuttle bus like UTM, we would be in violation of TTC

monopoly. I don’t think relations with the TTC would be fostered in any positive way if we were to snub our noses at them and say, ‘Well we’re going to invest a million dollars into a shuttle bus,’” Nowers states. “[UTSC] students wouldn’t vote for a U-Pass [in 2008], so why would they invest a million dollars a year on a shuttle?” Despite claims from the administration that there are plans to accelerate LRT service to UTSC, Scott Haskill, senior planner at the TTC has a different story to tell. He says that although the route has been approved, Metro Link, the company that is responsible for funding the project, has decided that the Scarborough-Malvern route is not a high priority route at the moment. “From TTC’s point of view, we’ve finalized the route and got it approved but now the ball is in Metro Link’s court,” says Haskill. “We’ve been steadily adding service to UTSC in the last few years but can only add service where there’s demonstrated demand for it.” However, Nowers suggests that the TTC simply hasn’t re-ranked the priority list after UTSC was awarded the 2015 Pan Am Games. He notes that the project should undergo a re-evaluation soon, so that the Scarborough-Malvern RT route is built faster than the current priority list indicates. Regardless, a shuttle bus service to and from St. George is no longer a possibility, and despite rumours, has not been for quite some time. “What we really need is LRT and that’s what the plans are calling for. Consider all the things we’re not going to do if we were to get a shuttle bus,” says Nowers. “When you create a fork in the road, you have to make a choice. If you say yes to the shuttle bus, what are you saying no to? You have to weigh your options.”


Pulse Issue 3  

Pulse is a quarterly magazine published for students by students from the University of Toronto at Scarborough community which covers studen...