“In Isolation, we stand united, stay connected, and, as a group, stay stronger than ever.”
From jam sessions and superhero debates, and poetry readings and pop culture podcasts – Yorkville University’s Student Life team hasn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to their mission to engage students.
In fact, they’ve only ramped up their efforts to program a whole slate of virtual student activity sessions that not only provide a platform for students to share their thoughts, ideas and creativity, but also allow them to meet new people and establish new friendships while learning remotely.
“I like to think of our student life activities as a buffet: there’s something for everyone…and I would go as far as saying we are doing sessions far beyond what we would do on campus.”– Ali Noor, Yorkville University’s Student Life Coordinator
“I consider these sessions a prequel – allowing students to build such a strong bond with one another and bringing out their creative geniuses within, that by the time we eventually do get back on campus, these bonds remain intact and we push forward full-steam ahead.”
Organized by Yorkville’s student-led Sports and Creative councils, in collaboration with Noor and the Ontario Campus Student Life team, each virtual student activity planned reflects on a topic of conversation or activity centred around one of the university’s many clubs – including YU’s Arts, Drama, Music, Dance, Creative Games, Cricket, Basketball, Soccer and Athletics clubs.
“I do firmly believe that the true stand-out superstars during these tough times have been none other than our YU Students,” Noor said.
“They have united together on these live activity sessions, whether it’s an hour or two – or sometimes more – they have emerged asleaderswithin their student community by way of inspiring, motivating and getting everyone excited. I am so blessed and proud of all my students.”
For students like Dhruv Dewan, the head of the YU Music Club, the virtual sessions have proven an outlet to experience the rush of performing in front of a live audience, while also respecting physical distancing rules.
“As a musician, there is no energy like performing live. Despite the fact that the current pandemic has placed a temporary stop to that, I have enjoyed performing live music on the various sessions and also meeting so many new Yorkville students,” he said.
“If I can bring a smile to someone’s face while performing their favourite songs, as a musician I feel complete – and the live sessions have allowed that. I feel blessed.”
Student engagement in the activities has been especially successful exercise in connectivity and inclusion – particularly those international students for whom travel restrictions have temporarily postponed their plans to come to Canada.
“The sessions have allowed these students to establish connections with senior students, and to educate themselves on the non-academic activities and creative clubs that await them upon their arrival,” Noor explained.
“That way, when they finally do arrive, they will have a well-established network of friends already in place. This, to me, is one of the biggest positive outcomes of these sessions.”
For Isha Sharma, an international student currently studying from India, the sessions have provided a “perfect fun excuse” to develop new friendships with her distant classmates.
“Whenever you go to a new place, there’s always that hesitancy approaching making new friendships,” she said.
“I have been a regular attendee at these sessions and each time I have met and connected with someone new, so I have friendships already in place for when I arrive in Canada.”
YU DEBATE SESSIONS:
Taking place every Wednesday at 9 p.m. (EDT), these weekly themed debate sessions pit all your favourite sports legends, movie characters, video game characters, TV shows and more against one another in fantasy versus debates. Sessions conducted so far have included: Ronaldo vs Messi; Tiktok vs Youtube; Batman vs Iron Man, etc.
Upcoming sessions include:
September 9: Remixing of Old Classic Songs – Good vs Bad
With a lot of music industries changing their focus from creating original music to simply remixing old classic songs, is this a hindrance to creativity or an approach to popularize old classic songs?
September 16: Preconceived Notions: Support or Against
Preconceived notions are defined as opinions, thoughts, personal beliefs or judgments not founded on proof or certainty, yet many people rely on this as a ‘defensive’ approach to a lot of life situation. Is this an effective approach?
September 23: Breaking Bad’s Heisenberg vs The Walking Dead’s Negan
These two iconic characters have shaped their respective TV series and are iconic characters. In a battle of these two renegades, who would emerge as the true Alpha?
YU PODCAST/LET’S TALK:
Every Friday at 9 p.m (EDT), these weekly Podcast/Let’s Talk sessions engage students in group conversations on various topics. Episodes conducted so far include: Favourite movie characters; cartoons; TV shows and more.
Upcoming sessions include:
September 4: Avoiding Common Scams
Scams have always been part of our history in some shape and form. The antidote to these scams is knowledge of them so that we can counter them right from the get go. In this podcast session, we discuss common scams and share our own experiences with scam artists in an effort to create awareness and combat these scams.
September 11: Superheroes/Supervillains we relate to and why
While superheroes and supervillains display superhuman ability, there are some parallels to be drawn between their backstories and those of us normal folks, which both humanizes them and makes them more relatable. In this podcast session we discuss those characters and what made them relatable to us.
September 18: Alternate Movie Endings
Have you ever watched an amazing movie, only to be disappointed by its ridiculous ending? In this podcast session, we’ll discuss which movie endings we’d most like to rewrite and why.
September 25: Which Day of Your Life Would You Most Want to Relive
We all have memories that we cherish most and often our dreams provide access to them, but what if you had the opportunity to travel back in time and live a memorable day exactly the way it was? In this podcast session, we discuss which day you’d most want to relive and why.
The YU Club sessions, which take place every Thursday at 9 p.m. (EDT), highlight each YU Creative Club and an activity associated with that club. The Drama Club, for instance, plans to do live skits based on different scenes given to them on the spot.
Upcoming sessions include:
September 10: YU Music Club – Live Music with Dhruv and Poetry by Abhi Ahuja
September 17: YU Sports Club – YU Basketball, Cricket, Soccer, Athletics roundtable
September 24: YU Music Club – Live Open Music Jam
YU ONLINE GAMING: Every Saturday at 9 p.m. (EDT)
Hosted by senior student council member Anthony Armstrongevery Saturday at 9 p.m (EDT), these weekly Jackbox Partyonline gaming sessions require no game or console purchases. You simply log on to the Twitch stream and play along with fellow Yorkville students using your cellular device.
Yorkville Student Life Activities are open to all Yorkville University students in Ontario, BC and globally, as well as to Toronto Film School students. Students interested in participating in any of the above activities are encouraged to check their student email accounts for links or follow the YU Engage NOW Facebook group for notices of upcoming events.
*Have an idea for an activity or an event you’d like to see? Or any questions about any of the above-listed events? Drop an email to Ali Noor, Yorkville University’s Student Life Coordinator, at [email protected] via Whatsapp at 647-779-6119.