Meet Caroline and Aluong! She is a fourth-year Innis student, an ICSS grad rep, and Innis’s WUSC Committee chair. He is a first-year Innis student and next year’s WUSC co-chair.
Caroline: My name is Caroline Wrobel and I am just finishing up my fourth year, studying neuroscience, physiology and immunology.
Aluong: My name is Aluong Ayuen Jongkuch. I was born in South Sudan and raised in Kenya. I am currently a first-year trying to get into engineering. I was admitted to the University of Toronto through WUSC (World University Service of Canada)—a program that offers sponsorship opportunities to refugee students from different parts of the world, especially Africa and the Middle East.
CW: This year I was involved with Orientation, I was one of the 2018/19 graduate representatives on the ICSS, I am a member of the ICC, and I was the main representative of WUSC at Innis.
AJ: I currently hold no position at Innis, but I was recently offered the assistant maintenance position at the Innis Residence. So, if you break anything in your rooms you know the guy to call!
CW: The most rewarding part of WUSC was being able to get to know our refugee students on a personal level and providing support to them. I have gotten to know many of the sponsored students on campus, and I am so lucky to call them my friends. The most stressful point for me was waiting for Aluong to arrive at the airport. I was so nervous and excited to meet him and the other students!
AJ: The most exciting thing about being on WUSC has been the opportunities it has brought to my life. Two years ago, I would have never thought about doing my undergrad in Toronto. WUSC has opened up so many doors that I never thought were possible. It has given me hope to actually chase my dreams and goals. I have been able to meet people from diverse backgrounds and make connections. The most challenging thing is adapting to the new environment, especially winter, coming from a tropical country where the lowest temperature was about 12 degrees, you can guess my shock when I experienced the negatives.
CW: I will hopefully be graduating in June. However, I still hope to help next year’s Innis WUSC Committee co-chairs, Aluong and Janet Cho. I am excited for the arrival of our new student in August and for more WUSC potlucks in the near future! I also hope to do a bit of travelling next year.
AJ: I am so excited to be able to share this experience with the incoming WUSC student next year. To be able to share the joy and guide the new student is thrilling. I have a very good team that I will work hand in hand with, especially co-chair Janet.
CW: I would recommend trying something new during your undergrad, like helping out with WUSC, trying out a new club, or playing a new sport. I think my biggest regret in undergrad is not joining the Innis intramural inner-tube water polo team sooner. I joined in third year, and I wish I started right away. Inner-tube water polo is a hilarious sport and a great way to make new friends!
AJ: You have the opportunity and time to achieve anything you set your mind to. Put in the work and you will definitely achieve your wildest dreams. Trust the process and don’t give up.
Comments Off on Introducing: Caroline Wrobel & Aluong Jongkuch
Meet Paul, a second-year Innis student and one of the ICSS Social Directors, and next year’s Vice President, External!
Hello! My name is Paul and I am currently a second-year student pursuing an Architecture specialist, with a Math major and minor in Visual Studies. I am extremely proud to be involved with the Innis community and am thrilled to take part in all the amazing opportunities and activities over my time here. Fun fact about me: my middle name is a bubble tea flavour!
I am currently in my final stretch as one of the ICSS Social Directors. Along with my co-director, Effie Liang, we coordinate a variety of events to build and positively shape the Innis Community. Over this past year, we have organized a Trip to Canada’s Wonderland, Democracy Nights, and most notably, Innis Formal! Stay tuned for our final event INNIS BANG on April 4th, celebrating the accomplishments over the school year! I also work at the Front Desk, where I may have greeted you at 2am giving you your Limited Use Key or seen giving Residence tours to prospective students!
The most rewarding thing about being on the ICSS is seeing all the smiling and excited faces of Innis Students. Effie and I were privileged to be in a position that brings together huge portion of Innis just to have fun in the stress of U of T. Furthermore, seeing all the ideas on paper come to fruition amazes me. My goal as Social Director was to increase involvement within the Innis community and demonstrate its importance to the university experience. Through the events that we organized, I feel that we have accomplished this while being on the ICSS. We have been able to meet so many Innis Students and it has shown me the diversity here at Innis!
However, the most challenging part is accommodating for all students. Since Innis thrives on its diversity, there are so many factors that we must think about when planning events and coming up with new ideas. It is very difficult to create events that everyone will enjoy because everyone is different.
Next year and over the summer, I will be planning Innis Orientation 2019 along with my co-coordinator, Michelle Zhang, and our Executive Team. I am excited to see all the eager incoming students ready to start their university life and plan a variety of events that they will enjoy. So, if you are interested in being on the Orientation Exec Team or as a leader, applications will be posted in April! Seeing these incoming students will bring me back to the good times and meeting all my awesome friends I have today! I am also excited to see how next year’s ICSS Council will implement their thoughts and ideas for the new school year. There are many possibilities towards this new group of students dedicated towards enhancing the university experience.
To first-year Paul, take life in the moment and make decisions that you want to pursue and not fear what will happen after. Although tomorrow is unknown, today is visible and must be lived to the fullest. Always live in the NOW and the future will align. Also, remember that there is a lot of support around you! Make use of this support, whether it be your friends or academic resources, and constantly grow from them. They are and always will be there for you!Comments Off on Introducing: Paul Kaita
Meet Emma Paulus, a first-year Innis student and the First-Year Off-Campus Representative on the ICSS!
Hi! My name is Emma Paulus and I am a first year student here at Innis. I am going to be majoring in religion, with a minor in Spanish and History.
At Innis, I am currently the ICSS first year commuter rep. I also write for the college paper, The Innis Herald.
The most rewarding thing about being on the ICSS is definitely getting to meet so many Innis students. Being a commuter, it can be difficult to meet new people, especially people from Innis. Being able to host events has given me the opportunity to meet so many people who I might not have been able to meet otherwise.
The most challenging part of being on the ICSS has probably been organizing our event at Ripley’s Aquarium. The event was the largest one that I and the other first year reps planned, and it took a lot of planning. The challenge was definitely worth it, though, because the event ended up going very well and we had a great turn out.
The most difficult part of running in an election for me was putting myself out there so that I could get to know people who would possibly vote for me.
Actually, the first year reps will be having our last event towards the end of the month. We are planning an event called Grind and Dine, which will have multiple components including a group study, food, and destress activities. The event will be posted on the ICSS Instagram and Facebook, so be sure to look out for it!Comments Off on Introducing: Emma Paulus
Meet Al-amin, a third-year Innis student and the Social Innovation Chair for the Office of Student Life!
I am a third year student double majoring in Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences.
I currently work for the Office of Student Life as the Social Innovation Chair. I’m also a Student Ambassador for the Innis College New Build and have been the Food Executive for the 2018 Orientation.
Being able to make a difference within the Innis College community by promoting renewable and sustainable practices has been quite satisfying. Helping students network and meet inspirational social entrepreneurs and innovators to then become inspired to pursue unconventional career paths is just the cherry on top. The most challenging thing has really just been spreading awareness. Not everyone is aware of social impact and it’s difficult to spark interest especially when no one has the time to hear what you have to say.
CAREERS WITH PURPOSE! I’ve been very active in the planning process and the recruiting of really interesting ‘living books’ for the living library event on March 13th. It’s definitely a very eye opening experience to be able to network with influential people in a variety of fields. It’s also super refreshing to learn about unconventional career paths that help the world for the better and possibly influence others to follow.
It helps educate students on sustainable and renewable practices that will benefit all people and the globe in the long run. Taking the time to learn about other very important roles that help keep the world running may just allow you to find new interests and passions and possibly discover and future career path. Social innovation allows you to grow and access real social issues and its super rewarding to be able to tackle them.
GET INVOLVED! School is definitely important but taking the time to get involved in a variety of clubs and activities is essential in making the most out of your university experience. It gives you a reason to come to school and builds new interests and networks that can benefit you in the long run. I know it’s intimidating but maybe start with clubs and activities you have a passion for and then build your networks to try new experiences and build new skill sets.Comments Off on Introducing: Al-amin Ahamed
Meet Ishan, a second-year Innis student and the Skills Team Lead for the OSL!
I’m a second year international student in the Computer Science Specialist Program.
I work at the Office of Student Life, as a Team Lead for Community Development through the Skills portfolio. We provide services through programming to encourage learning outside the classroom! Apart from that, I am one of the ambassadors for the new build at Innis and like to be involved here and there 🙂
Being the Team Lead means that often you have to coordinate a lot of things at once to make into one final program/event. This rewards you with a lot of leadership and management skills. Apart from that, the appreciation you get from others and reflection on how the event went out is also something to look forward to. The challenging part is that for any successful programming there’s a lot of parameters that need to be checked and often they need to be done at very random times. This is hard to manage with school and unprecedented events like the snowstorm.
Yes! There’s a Humanities and Social Sciences event coming up on Feb 26 for students in those areas who want to interact with upper year mentors for any question they have. We, in partnership with the ICSS, are also organizing a trip to the Ripley’s Aquarium on Feb 26 as well. Lastly, I hope to end the semester with a nice stress-buster movie night.
Have faith in yourself and don’t overwork yourself. Health comes first.
Don’t be stressed about doing everything at once and then hope to succeed equally in all of them. The brain is a muscle not a computer! Workout more 😀Comments Off on Introducing: Ishan Sharma
Meet Effie Liang, a second-year Innis student and one of the Social Directors for the ICSS!
Hey Innis! My name is Effie Liang. I was born and raised in Scarborough, so Toronto has been home for me for a long time. I am currently in my second year of undergraduate studies, double majoring in Sociology and Equity Studies. One thing I am interested in studying in Sociology is the qualitative methods we use to observe social issues. In Equity Studies, we discuss many things about social justice and the ways in which intersectional concepts affect Canada as a neo-liberal state power or institution. Besides academics, I have been a part of the Innis College Choir, which have been like my family since first year. If I’m not involved in music, I love trying out new food places and getting to know people at Innis events!
Currently, I hold one of the two Social Director positions for the Innis College Student Society (ICSS). Paul Kaita, the other Social Director, is my partner in crime. I am also a mentor for InSIGHT, which is Innis College’s mentorship program.
The most rewarding thing about being a Social Director is seeing the ideas we come up with become a reality. It’s fascinating to see the process of working with other people to organize the event, and then seeing people actually come to the event! Our vision for this year is to fully embrace Innis College, no matter how small others say it is, and build a closer community. We want to be inclusive to all Innis Students; welcoming them into our spaces, as everyone isn’t necessarily comfortable reaching out to students they don’t know. We want to be respectful of that as much as possible and strive to do our best to provide positive, social places for Innis students to interact with one another at UofT.
The most challenging thing is the collaboration between Social Directors as well as accommodating for all types of students at Innis. Many event venues we look for in the GTA are not accessible for many people with exceptionalities. It can be difficult to find a venue that will suit your vision, so you almost always have to compromise something.
Innis Formal is a huge event for Social Directors and I am excited to see it all come together. It’s on Mar 1, so mark your calendars! The ICSS has many ongoing events, especially Equity and Outreach working on the Benefit Concert on Feb 9, which raises awareness of mental health. It’s important for us as Social Directors to promote not only our events but also other portfolios who work just as hard to organize events for the Innis community!
The important piece of advice is that you should only do things you want to do and have the time for. There’s always an expectation that comes with being involved in the university life, whether it be academics or social life. Taking the time to do things I have to do and not trying so hard to attend every event would have made my first year a bit less hectic. Learn how to effectively read, using the writing resources and actually getting to know the professors would have been a benefit for me as well.Comments Off on Introducting: Effie Liang
Meet Michelle Zhang, a second-year Innis student and the ICSS Equity & Outreach Director!
Hey! My name is Michelle and I’m a second year double majoring in Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies and Urban Studies, with a minor in Political Science. I love connecting with the people around me, and honestly the people at Innis can’t be beat. I’m lucky to have called Innis home as a first year, and to still be constantly surrounded by engaged and interesting individuals in this small but tight knit – dare I say – family.
Along with my partner Megan Pham-Quan, I direct the ICSS Equity and Outreach Portfolio. Together, we work to make Innis a safe and inclusive space for all students, as well as start conversations about some of the most pertinent issues our student communities face on a day to day basis. I might have also greeted you with a “good morning” at 1pm when I work at the Innis Residence Front Desk, or you might have spotted my name under “Managing Editor” on the Innis Herald Masthead.
There is certainly a lot of responsibility that comes with work around equity issues, as the positions we take can interact with peoples’ lives in very tangible and far reaching ways. Megan and I often act in an advisory capacity both within and outside of council, and that often means constantly thinking through all the toughest issues at UofT. Additionally, our outreach duties require that we constantly be engaging and connecting with students and other campus groups during and between our events. Being conscious of that round-the-clock responsibility can be mentally exhausting sometimes. That being said, when I see people come out to learn and enjoy themselves at an event we organize, every early morning meeting, every late night spent with emails, every last-minute dash to Metro, becomes totally worth it. After all, building a sense of inclusion and community is a big part of what we do, and being able to see the results of our efforts in the smiles of Innisians is always thrilling.
I’ve lived in Toronto for almost my entire life. However, I look around me and see things like the breakneck speed of recent neighbourhood gentrification, intensifying income inequality, the wavering state of our public transit expansion plans, and I am struck by how quickly my city is changing around me. I am especially concerned that my city is becoming one where the right to exist and occupy space is reserved for an increasingly exclusive few. Without going into too many specifics, I have actively written and voiced my support for policies and initiatives that I believe will move us toward an equitable and diverse Toronto that is capable of protecting its own integrity.
Be spontaneous and live in the moment, and don’t take things too seriously! All sorts of people and stories and opportunities will come your way. Even if you don’t recognize what’s knocking at your door, make sure you invite it in for a coffee and a chat before passing judgement on it. No matter what, though, listen to your gut. You already know deep down who you are and where you stand. Breathe, listen, trust, and stand up for yourself. And if you’re still stuck, know that there is a huge support network at Innis that is there to help you.Comments Off on Introducing: Michelle Zhang