Since University of Toronto (U of T) president Meric Gertler first announced the closing of all in-person classes across all three campuses on Friday, March 13, several campus facilities and activities have closed, including the library and the Recreation, Athletics, and Wellness Centre (RAWC), among others.
The list of closures also included the cancellation of extracurricular events and activities planned by University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) clubs and organizations.
Here’s how some clubs have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Every year, we publish our annual Slate magazine full of students’ written work and art. We usually print the books and sell them at our book launch in March. However, the recent events resulted in the cancellation of that event as well,” said a UTM Scribes spokesperson.
However, the cancellations did not stop the club from continuing their annual tradition.
“Our team, together with the authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers, worked hard to create Slate and we did not want any of it to go to waste. The treasurers recommended we create an e-book instead due to the fear of COVID-19 and in consideration for the health and safety of those involved,” said the spokesperson.
All the proceeds from the Slate magazine will go to Sunnybrook Foundation to support the research of a COVID-19 cure.
“Since it doesn’t cost much money to make, Karan Gahunia, one of our treasurers, thought it would be best to have all the proceeds dedicated to the research on finding a vaccine for the virus,” continued the spokesperson.
“Our team strongly believes it is important to remember that in these uncertain times that we stick together no matter what adversity we face. We need to support the ones that are most vulnerable and take care of those around us and ourselves as well. We hope
that we are able to lead by example and show everyone what UTM is capable of.”
TESA (Teaching and Education Association)
“Covid-19 has impacted TESA’s ability to serve its purpose of student assistance and education studies outreach and its ability to carry out the various events planned for the spring semester. Due to university closures, TESA and its many initiatives are on hold,” said Saira Mahmood, a fourth-year sociology student and a member of TESA.
A potting plants night, a Krispy Kreme sale, and a tentative end of the year celebration had to be cancelled because of the outbreak according to Mahmood.
As for any other alternative events, TESA does not plan on holding any more events.
“We currently don’t have any plans in place for the remainder of the year […] we wanted to give the students and ourselves a chance to adjust to the circumstances and navigate the various changes being implemented across campus, “said Erika Colby, a fourth-year English student and another member of TESA.
“With that being said, we’re always available via email and social media to provide additional support and answer any questions related to future events and the education studies minor,” continued Colby.
“Event-wise the club had several movie and trivia nights planned that we were really looking forward to. That unfortunately cannot happen. We were also planning on doing our big end of the year ceremony where we have a big feast, give out awards and announce the house that won the house cup that year. This also can no longer happen due to the outbreak,” said Chole Novogradac, the VP Special Events for the club and a second year specializing in forensic anthropology.
No alternative events for the Quidditch Club are currently available during the COVID-19 quarantine.
“Unfortunately, we cannot plan any alternative events until we know the virus has cleared and due to our diversity, many members moved back home, very far from campus, making it difficult to create any summer events,” continued Novogradac.
“In place of the big feast we unfortunately will have to send out an email announcing the awards and winner of the house cup and cancel the celebration.”
UTM Robotics Club
“We’ve had to cancel all upcoming Robotics club events as soon as we heard the news about the university’s cancellation. For us this included our weekly drop-ins on Fridays, and our collaboration event with MCSS entitled ‘The Show.’ Our club room is also located on campus in Deerfield Hall, so students are now unable to work on any club projects located in that room,” said Julian Sequeira, who is part of the club’s Executive committee.
The Show was planned to be held on March 20 in “which five tech clubs planned to collaborate to hold workshops, competitions, and project showcases for the UTM computer science student body.”
“We’ve tentatively postponed The Show to late April but without a specific date as of yet, as we don’t know how the situation will progress into the next month. It’s looking like even an April date won’t be possible, and we’ll need to postpone it until the start of next year,” said Sequeira.
It has been difficult for the club to continue on with their activities or plan new events as most of their work involves working with physical objects like 3D printers and robots.
Personally, Sequeira, a fourth-year student who was planning to graduate this year, is worried about the impact COVID-19 will have on his job prospects.
“The timing of the outbreak was really unfortunate for students in general. I’m sure many are wondering, “why couldn’t it just have happened a few weeks later?” Personally, I’ve lost all connection to my classes and feel as if I am weeks behind. As a graduating student in particular, I’m very scared about my job prospects over the next year,” said Sequeira.
“But as a club we think we were able to make a significant impact on the UTM community over the rest of the semester nonetheless, and we hope everyone is keeping safe.”
“The spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our club. We had a wide range of events and awareness campaigns that were planned for this month, such as bake sales and awareness campaigns for children’s rights,” said Areeb Daimee, the co-president of UNICEF UTM and a third-year political science student.
“Due to the risk of the virus, we had no choice but to cancel all events that were planned for the rest of this semester. Even our general meeting had to be cancelled. It prevented us from being able to improve our connection with students on campus and achieve our objectives for the year,” continued Daimee.
As for future alternative events, UNICEF UTM is not currently planning any.
“We have no choice but to put any plans that we had on hold for the foreseeable future. A club like UNICEF UTM thrives on being able to interact with students in person. Unfortunately, we are now unable to do so,” said Daimee.
ICCIT (Institute of Communication, Culture, and Information Technology) Council
“We have two annual events that happen at the end of the year: the Scarlet Slam, which is like a talent show for people to present their stories, poems, or sing; and the ICCIT Gala, which is a dinner and awards event we take many months to prepare,” said Tania Khan, the VP Events for ICCIT council and a third-year student majoring in professional writing and communications.
“Cancelling the venue and many other deposited things was not a fun time.”
ICCIT Council’s creative case competition has now been moved to be an online event, but due to the nature of the Scarlet Slam and the ICCIT Gala they cannot be converted into a digital medium.
“These two events expect in-person attendance (around 25 and 300 people respectively) which is why, unfortunately, they had to be cancelled and we couldn’t have any alternative ways to do the events,” continued Khan.
This year the ICCIT Council started a journal called Vision that features students’ stories, photography, and illustrations.
“We had to cancel our first launch party. We’re still publishing [Vision], but it will now be an online release and we had to push the deadline forward,” said Khan.
“It was gut twisting having our final meeting online as we went through all our events and had to cancel them. Especially because they take a lot of time to plan. Putting in all the effort but getting no reward is terrible, like finishing a 10 page assignment and then the professor takes it off the syllabus,” added Khan. “But it’s better to stay at home then be a cause for the spread to worsen.”
Zero Waste UTM
“We actually finished our big events for the year. We had some youth workshops planned and exam jam de-stressors that had to get cancelled,” said Megan Athaide, a third-year student double majoring in gender studies and psychology.
“We also had a food market that had to be cancelled. It was in collaboration with UTMSU’s food centre and Square Roots,” added Athaide.