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Black Student Support Review changes Student Life for the better

Photo: Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash

Posted February 15, 2023

By Sarah Ryeland-Etienne

Over the past year, Student Life has reviewed and enhanced the support provided to Black students.

With the help of some grant funding, Student Engagement hired Amna Adnan, a former student, to conduct the Black Student Support Review. The final report recommended hiring a Black student engagement coordinator, and in August 2022, Modele Kuforiji assumed the role of Student Life Coordinator, Black Student Engagement within Student Engagement.

Kuforiji says his focus is on facilitating engagement pathways for Black students at U of T. He wants to help them access funds, as well as to find and build community at U of T.

Since August, Kuforiji has trialed several pilot projects such as a Black Student Mentorship Program. The mentorship program matches Black students on the St. George campus with Black alumni for a three-month “mentorship sprint”. Students can find mentors willing to talk about academics, future career plans or life as a Black student in general at U of T.

Kuforiji has also initiated a Black Student Initiative Fund Committee and opened up applications to grant $25,000 to Black student initiatives on a rolling basis throughout the year. So far, 13 applications for funding have been received.

Taking direction from the Black Student Support Review, consultations with current Black students and his own experience as a Black student at U of T, Kuforiji has plans to create a Black Student Hub (an online portal for all resources and services supporting Black U of T students), a Black student leader celebration and a coordinated approach to Black student orientation.

These programs would build on the services already offered by Student Life. Access and Inclusion Peer Programs continues to offer resources, events and support for Black students, Health & Wellness has dedicated programming and counsellors, and all Student Life departments offer tailored events for the Black student community as part of larger programs.