Sidney Smith Commons (online)
Just like the Sidney Smith Commons (SSC) located at 100 St. George Street, the online SSC is dedicated to supporting the academic needs of undergraduate Arts & Science students.
The online SSC was created as a result of numerous interactions and discussions between students and staff of the Office of the Registrar. Common themes kept bubbling to the surface- that students found academic resources and information were scattered in many places, difficult to locate entirely, or too difficult to understand.
The online SSC has been developed as a one-stop shop where students will find the resources and answers they are looking for in one place and in an easy-to-understand format.
In the SSC students will find:
- Content and tools developed to help students achieve academic success
- Information about programs happening in the SSC and how they can participate
- Information on resources available for students across the University
- How students can reserve space in the SSC
- Live chat with our Sidney Smith Commons Assistants (CAs) — Chat directly with one of our CAs online while the SSC is open. Simply enter your question into the chat box and a CA will be there to support you. If we can’t support you right away over chat, we’ll support you in finding your answer online or directing you to the proper resource.
- Note: The online chat is closed for the Winter 2020 Term. Please see the COVID-19 Student FAQs for latest updates about academic policy changes and coursework process changes, or contact the Faculty Registrar’s Office.
Lastly, the online SSC is intended to be a resource created for students and we encourage students to contribute to its success. If you feel like there is content that is missing that could help a fellow student, or if you would like to add to the existing content, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you!
Sidney Smith Commons (the space)
The Sidney Smith Commons (SSC) is an informal learning space where students can work individually, or in groups with access to supports and resources.
The student-driven space offers:
- programming in response to the needs of the students
- a multi-use study space with access to collaborative learning technologies
- a bookable space for activities and groupwork
- a largely unscheduled space available for student use
The SSC is currently closed. Please check here for any updates on when the space will reopen.
In the SSC, students will be supported by the Student Success Team- a dedicated group of over 20 undergraduates working in collaboration with full-time staff from the Office of the Registrar to support the activities, programs, and students in the Faculty of Arts & Science. This blended staffing model ensures that students remain at the core of the SSC and empowers student-centric ideas and decisions.
Working together with academic departments, the colleges, and central student life, the Student Success Team oversees the SSC- connecting students to resources, programming, and academic supports, thereby, creating a culture of learning, engagement, and collaboration.
Meet the team!
Sidney Smith Commons Assistants (student role)– support the use of the Sidney Smith Commons and assist students with academic wayfinding, provide onsite equipment tutorials and manage space bookings. View their bios.
Student Success Programs Assistants (student role)– support the development, delivery, and assessment of programs, events, and academic opportunities to support the success of Arts & Science students.
Student Study Group Assistants (student role)– are trained in study group facilitation techniques and assist with the development and support of the Recognized Study Groups (RSG) Program throughout the year.
Name: Adams Aghimien
Hometown: Brampton, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in international relations and political science
One thing about me: Given the opportunity, I will pundoubtedly make a bad joke in any conversation.
Most proud of: I am always making an effort to better myself. This can be through attending a workout class at Hart House or making an appointment with a learning strategist at my college. I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and I encourage everyone I speak with to do the same.
In my studies: I engage in an interdisciplinary study on global affairs. I get to explore topics that have global consequences, while applying theories based on history, economics and political science.
Outside the classroom: I like to stay active within my community. This usually involves participating in local charity events or organizations like the Fort York Food Bank, but it also just includes attending local shows or events happening in Kensington Market all year.
Name: Daniel Jerman
Hometown: North York, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Major in human biology: global health, double minor in immunology and physiology
One thing about me: I love to bake, especially during the holidays.
Most proud of: I was accepted into the Trinity Comprehensive Paper which is an independent research course where I can publish a review article on a public health topic.
In my studies: I joined the Trinity One program in my first year which was a great experience because the two full year classes I took as a part of the program had small class sizes of 15-20 students. Through these two courses, I was able to find out what I am most passionate about, which is global health and public policy.
Outside the classroom: I joined a volunteer program called Blue Crew which is run by the University of Toronto Students’ Union. I was able to volunteer for a variety of different events including one that helped the visually impaired. I learned a lot about a community I knew so little about before.
Name: George Kell
Hometown: Caledon, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in political science and philosophy
One thing about me: I love fun facts.
Most proud of: Creating the Intersections subsection of The Varsity.
In my studies: I am currently researching Canadian political history in 1959 as part of an independent study course.
Outside the classroom: I enjoy exploring, cooking, and coffee!
Name: Jacqueline Emick
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): American Studies and Criminology and Sociolegal Studies Double Major
One thing about me: I love to explore the city whenever I have free time and look for cool art pieces and street art murals.
Most proud of: I was able to grow within one of my programs and become a student research assistant as well as a communications and event planning assistant which allowed me to participate in events all over campus to encourage incoming students to get involved in their programs of study!
In my studies: I was able to grow within one of my programs and become a student research assistant as well as a communications and event planning assistant which allowed me to participate in events all over campus to encourage incoming students to get involved in their programs of study!
Outside the classroom: I enjoy reading for leisure, participating in campus events and seminars as well as enjoy working as a member of the executive council within my sorority.
Name: Layla Ahmed
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in neuroscience and molecular genetics and a minor in pyschology
One thing about me: I love listening to podcasts! I listen to audio dramas, comedy, news and history podcasts. Come talk to me about your favorite ones, or suggest a new one!
Most proud of: I’ve gotten into the habit of working out!
In my studies: I completed a summer at the Hospital for Sick Children under U of T’s LMP SURE program, where I got to help a pathologist set up a virtual slide library and write a paper on it’s impacts.
Outside the classroom: I am the Communications Director for the Somali Student’s Association! We’re hoping to host a lot of events this year, so please talk to me if you want to participate!
Name: Manou Liu
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in criminology and linguistics
One thing about me: I can speak English, French, Chinese, and Japanese fluently.
Most proud of: I lived in residence (at Victoria College) for my entire time at U of T.
In my studies: I went on an exchange in Japan for a whole year; I was able to make friends from all over the world and immerse myself in a completely different culture. I’m so proud to have grown as a person in such a great environment!
Outside the classroom: I was a mentor for international students at Victoria College and mainly helped students find their way around campus and the city, and also helped international students with their transition to Canada.
Name: Mariam Zaidi
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in ethics, society, and law and health studies
One thing about me: I’m always listening to music, and I really enjoy finding new styles and attending concerts!
Most proud of: Moving across the country alone, and learning how to navigate my new independence while also staying on top of my school work and community involvement.
In my studies: In my first year, I was in the Trinity One stream for Ethics, Society, and Law. This sparked my interest for pursuing a career in law and I am eager to use my voice in advocating for those who are less privileged in our society. My favourite class so far has been PHS100: Global Health and Grand Opps!
Outside the classroom: I have been a part of the Women’s Health Collective at U of T for two years, where I work with my team to address inequities in Women’s Health. I have enjoyed facilitating our awareness initiatives around campus, and look forward to getting more involved with women’s health throughout the rest of my university career.
Name: Mehwish Siddiqui
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Rotman commerce, specialist in public accounting
One thing about me: I play doubles-player badminton for fun in my free time.
Most proud of: I am most proud of becoming Director of Events for the Rotman Commerce Students’ Association where I help organize events for 2,700+ students.
In my studies: I had the opportunity to do an escape room with recruiters from the world’s top 4 accounting firms. I got to speak to them about my personal life and how I can use accounting to connect with others. It allowed me to see how important accounting is for our daily lives. I found that branching out and taking part of initiatives help bring insight to what I am studying in school and show me where I fit in.
Outside the classroom: I was on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) Board which allowed students to voice concerns and raise questions about free speech, mental health, student housing, etc. It showed me more about the issues that many students face and made me feel more confident about speaking in front of an audience. I think it’s a great thing that we have student groups like the UTSU to advocate for students.
Name: Miharu Ho
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double Major in Health Studies and Equity Studies, Minor in Human Geography
One thing about me: I’m the official doodler of the SSC! You can often see me drawing cartoon characters on the whiteboards and writing awful (read: hilarious) jokes beside them :)
Most proud of: My interactions with my community! From back-to-back summer camps to returning to the SSC, I love getting involved and putting an effort to help out and bring a smile to someone’s face. I’m hoping to be able to continue this work ethic throughout university and onwards.
In my studies: I am always looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge and perspective on global topics and build my own views in order to work towards a brighter future.
Outside the classroom: Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work at summer camps alongside amazing people from around the world. I love to gain new experiences and learn. Just over the course of the summer, I was able to learn how to complete and operate ropes challenge courses and do backflips on trampolines!
Name: Oreoluwa Adara
Hometown: Brampton, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in equity studies and sexual diversity studies (SDS)
One thing about me: My favourite TV show right now is Killing Eve!
Most proud of: Being able to create and be a part of community here at U of T.
In my studies: A really fun course I got to take in first year was a 199 course called Magic and Mathematics. In the past year, I was able to publish a paper that I wrote in the SDS student undergraduate journal called Hardwire. I was also an editor for this journal.
Outside the classroom: I’ve been a contributor to a few newspapers on campus (The UC Gargoyle, the Varsity and The Innis Herald). As part of a work-study program I had the opportunity to lead programming at the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office, which allowed me to draw on academic theories that I learned in class.
Name: Saarah Arshad
Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Rotman commerce
One thing about me: I love traveling, particularly to places with diverse cultures and prominent art.
Most proud of: I’m always challenging myself by taking on new opportunities and I try to make a difference with everything I do.
In my studies: Taking a range of different courses in my first two years and by third year, finally figuring out what I really enjoyed studying.
Outside the classroom: I try to stay pretty involved on and off campus. I am a research assistant currently, and in the past have been a part of a sorority and various student organizations including the Rotman Commerce Law Association and the U of T Fashion Networking Organization. All of these experiences have been incredibly rewarding!
Name: Sammi Chan
Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Specialist in political science, minor in English
One thing about me: I grew up in four countries: Canada, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.
Most proud of: I received a Delegates Award and honourable mention at the Change the World Model United Nations conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
In my studies: In my third year, I followed Professor Lynette Ong for a research opportunity program in political science, where I gained more experiences in gathering useful information and putting them in a database. By the end of the research, I was able to filter articles and organize data sets.
Outside the classroom: Last summer, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Canadian Feed the Children, a non-governmental organization here in Toronto. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The opportunity further encouraged me to work harder in school so that I can one day go to law school or even work for the United Nations.
Name: Sandra Nwaogwugwu
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in linguistics and East Asian studies
One thing about me: I genuinely enjoy learning new languages and trying different kinds of cuisine.
Most proud of: I enjoy working in the Faculty of Arts & Science to create a welcoming space where students can freely interact with each other.
In my studies: I had the opportunity to partake in an exchange program for a year in South Korea. The time I spent in South Korea was one of the best experiences of my life. It helped deepen my interest and understanding on East Asian studies, particularly history and literature. I was able to mingle and be inspired by intelligent, creative and innovative individuals from different areas of studies.
Outside the classroom: I am the vice-president of the English Language Learning Student Association. Our goal is to help both domestic and international students successfully navigate and adjust to academic English. Overall, we create a community where students are equipped with resources to aid their academic success and also find a sense of community.
Name: Theodora Udounwa
Hometown: Abuja, Nigeria
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Specialist in pharmacology and biomedical toxicology and minor in physiology
One thing about me: I love travelling and exploring cities.
Most proud of: Running a dance club with some friends and getting broadcasted on national television within less than a year of operation!
In my studies: I had the amazing opportunity to be published as an author on a paper by a PhD student after working on his project during the summer.
Outside the classroom: I am the secretary of the Afro-Dance Club (ADC) where our goal is to create cultural awareness through dance. Additionally, I am the HR Director at CAUSE Tutoring, an accredited Canadian charity organization affiliated with the University of Toronto.
Name: Timothy Cherian
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Double major in psychology and neuroscience
One thing about me: I love to listen and to play music, I can play the electric bass, drums and piano.
Most proud of: I was able to do research at St. Michael’s over the summer and learn how research is done.
In my studies: PSY100 didn’t put me to sleep like my other classes, so I thought maybe there’s something for me in the field.
Outside the classroom: Love going to concerts, been to two so far this year, hopefully a few more before the year ends!
Name: Vicky Zhou
Hometown: Zhuhai, China
Program (Specialist, Major, Minor): Major in Sociology, double minor in Political Science and Linguistics
One thing about me: I love playing Hip Hop in my headphones wherever I go. You can find me nodding to the beat while waiting at the subway station.
Most proud of: I am very proud of how engaged I became in student organizations and work opportunities on campus. It really helped me to learn so much more about myself and to encourage and support other students at the same time.
In my studies: I enjoyed doing Sociology-related stuff, including working for the Undergraduate Sociology Students’ Union. I have been organizing events and panels with my colleagues and the Department – It really has enriched my life as a student.
Outside the classroom: I am a photographer outside the classroom, with a particular interest in film photography. You should check out my work on Instagram @vic_shot_the_pic so you know I’m not bluffing?
Interested in getting involved?
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