A Love Letter for blogUT

For the past two years, I've served as the Co-Editor of blogUT, a blog written entirely by University of Toronto students for University of Toronto students. This month, I happily finished my undergraduate studies and sadly stepped down from my position at blogUT. The following was originally written on the blog at

Oh blogUT, you've been my safe place during my time here at U of T! And what a journey we ve been on together...

For those of you that don t know, I am or rather, was the Co-Editor of blogUT. Even before I assumed this position, I've always had strong ties to this blog from the beginning of my undergraduate studies -- first as an avid reader, then a timid writer, and finally, as fate would have it, as Co-Editor. And now after four years, I must, with a certain sadness, bid adieu to blogUT, our hardworking bloggers, and our loving readers. I'm proud to have been able to work with such a dedicated team of bloggers who have worked throughout the years with the sole purpose of writing honestly about what it's like being a student here at U of T. No bullshit. No rah-rah-rah U of T. Just the real stuff, both good and bad. Like we always say: raw and uncut, we give you the real juice about campus life.

In a university that often feels too massive to ever really feel a part of, blogUT bridges the disconnect, providing a real sense of community for U of T students that span programs, colleges, and commutes. I know that for me personally, it has been a place where I've connected with fellow U of T students that I never otherwise would have. Sure, many of us have never really met each other in real life, but blogUT is this shared space for the students and by the students--untouched by the powers that be at U of T.

Through the years it's been the spot where we've all shared our personal experiences about university life, given tips on where to go and what to eat, discussed student politics, rated hot profs and honored the quality ones, found the best make out spots, and yes, even talked trash about lame TAs. We ve stayed up together during those late night cram sessions, distracting ourselves with pointless, but oh so brilliant and necessary, videos. And we've collectively ranted about our shiteous commutes, shared our best survival tips, and celebrated the many gems this campus has to offer. Simply put, blogUT kicks serious ass and it's not hard to see why I'll miss this blog.

I say goodbye to blogUT with a sadness, but with pride knowing that this little baby of ours is growing day by day. And I've no doubt that our new Co-Editors will bring blogUT to unprecedented heights for the 2011-2012 academic year (no pressure, Ally and Leah!).

To my fellow bloggers, please keep writing. I've told you time and again that you are the heart and soul of this blog. To our readers, please keep reading and commenting. Without you, we would be that hypothetical falling tree in the distant forest. Your comments and support are what make us real and relevant.

In the meantime, I am off to plunge into this so called "real world" that U of T was suppose to prepare us for. Stay cool, blogUT. I'll love you always!


"Magellan This City" or rather, this campus!

For awhile now, I (as a rep for blogUT), along with some friends, have been working behind the scenes with My City Lives to film a video series exploring the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. For those of you who don't already know (and take note, cuz you'll be hearing this name more often!), My City Lives is an online platform that gives us, the citizens, the opportunity to capture and share our daily experiences around the city on video. If you check out their website, you'll see that the web stories are presented on an interactive map that shows exactly where each video was filmed so you can learn more about our city based on the narratives of others. It's a simple yet incredibly powerful idea...

Now the idea to shoot on campus arose out of the need to create and build an accessible resource for first-year students who often find themselves lost during those first few weeks of university, both physically and socially. It's a terrifying and potentially alienating experience to find yourself out of your comfort zone in a totally different environment with people you don't know. It's overwhelming. I know because I've been there myself.

Those physical, antiquated maps with grids and street names that the university provides its froshies are no longer enough. They don't even begin to scratch the surface of what the campus is all about. As my friends at MCL say, "Ordinary maps are lifeless...we present a view of a city by the people who make it breathe". So here's to hoping these videos breathe life into this lovely, historically rich and vibrant campus!

**Thanks again to Adil, Coleman, and Saleema who made this all happen. Below are some sample videos but you can view the entire series here.

Resolving Conflict Peace by Peace

A quick scan through Ulife's list of campus organizations show that student-run groups at U of T run the gamut from ethnic-based associations to academic networks, from student government unions to politically motivated affiliations, and from environmental and advocacy groups to faith communities. With all of these organizations trying to capture the student population's attention, it's pretty easy to get lost and blend into the background but there are a few out there that really deserve some recognition. One such organization is that of Peace by Peace, a student-run organization with chapters at York, Glendon, and of course, U of T. With the aim of empowering kids with the ability to prevent, manage, and resolve conflict in their everyday lives, students at the three aforementioned university chapters deliver an eleven week conflict resolution curriculum to Grade 5 students all across the Greater Toronto Area. By using interactive games and stimulating group discussions, youth members of Peace by Peace guide children through daily problems that will help them to develop valuable conflict resolution skills.

Read more on blogUT.

#Tweetsgiving: Social Media for Social Good


Last week my fellow blogUT writer, Julia, wrote a great piece dispelling the alleged evils of social media. This week, I'm continuing that thought.

As Julia mentioned, social media has given us all the opportunity to keep in touch with our friends, reconnect with lost ones, and even share relevant (and well, sometimes not so relevant) information with each other with a simple 140 character tweet. More than anything else, Twitter and other social media tools lets us "learn about and interact with the world in real time, and in a way we never imagined".

I'd like to take this one step further. Not only has social media given us this chance to connect with each other on a one-on-one basis, but it has also opened the way for a much more far-reaching and collective purpose. Case in point? Tweetsgiving. Never heard of it? Let me give you the low down.

Read more on blogUT.