During Alternative Reading Week (ARW), hundreds of U of T students immerse themselves in four days of volunteering with local community organizations. Students make meaningful contributions, build relationships and learn more about the City of Toronto.
Winter 2024 ARW (February 20 – 23) will have virtual and in-person opportunities to make connections in community organizations across Toronto and gain valuable experience.
The theme for ARW is Learn With, Learn From and Grow With.
- Learn With encourages participants to respect and appreciate the knowledge held in the communities where we volunteer and come from.
- Learn From is a respectful approach to the work that honours reciprocity.
- Grow With refers to the continual work of respecting diverse kinds of knowledge and growing in that knowledge.
- Previous Community Organizations & Project Descriptions
Participate in Adult Day Program – students can eat lunch with clients and participate/facilitate activities with the seniors. Activities can include bingo, arts and crafts, trivia, board games (scrabble, Mahjong, dominoes), bean bag toss etc.
Regent Park Community Food Centre
Community Garden - students research urban agriculture and prepare a resource manual to be used in the community.
Regenesis U of T
A Free Store is a reuse and waste reduction initiative that aims to collect unwanted items from the community and give them back to students, for FREE! Students will oversee the collection of donations on campus and the coordination, set-up and hosting of a Free Store pop-up event at U of T during reading week.
Neighbourhood Link Support Services
Students will participate and contribute to different programs: Kick Start—an after-school homework and recreation club for youth, Conversation Circles with newcomers, computer workshops for basic learners, and a community dinner where volunteers prepare homemade food for 100 walk-in clients.
Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF)
Students will work with newcomers on their English skills while learning about where they come from and their goals in Canada.
Students will primarily conduct outreach: sharing information and making as many direct contacts as possible with community members around the centre. This will include the promotion of fitness programs and an ability to be the face of University Settlement.
U of T’s Innovation Hub, St. George Campus
Students will be introduced to the Innovation Hub at U of T and led through a brief course on Human Centered Design Thinking. Student teams will be provided with a mini design challenge: the opportunity to explore a problem impacting the U of T student experience. Students will apply their learning of design thinking to the challenge.
We train people in useful, sustainable skills that people use for the rest of their lives. You don’t have to be an expert in fixing or repairing bikes, you just need to be open to learning.
Photos: University Settlement and Kensington Health projects, Feb 2020
All U of T students, including graduate and international students
How The Program Works
You can participate in ARW in two different ways: as a participant or project leader!
Application deadline: February 9, 2024
Join us for the four days of Winter 2024 Alternative Reading Week! Pick a project, get matched with a group of fellow students and a project leader, and work with one of our community partners either virtually or in person.
Application deadline: September 14, 2023
Our community of project leaders make projects possible every year! If you enjoyed participating in ARW in previous years, join us again: lead a project and be a part of our community of project leaders. This is an opportunity to get more involved with ARW and develop your leadership and community building skills.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Step 1: Register for Alternative Reading Week. Registration opens on September 4, 2023.
Please sign up for the CCP Student Newsletter to receive a reminder about ARW registration.
Step 2: Once registered, you have an opportunity to pick your own project in January. Projects range from working virtually and supporting senior programs to teaching after-school kids workshops.
These are the four sub-themes for our ARW projects:
- Youth Engagement
- Art-Based Projects
- Planning, Research or Program Support
- Community Engagement and Outreach
Step 3: After you register and select a project, take note of the dates and times for ARW orientation and project participation. Dates and times may be different for each project. Attendance is mandatory.
- Orientation: Saturday, February 17, 2024, 1 – 3 p.m. (in person). You must be registered in a project to attend orientation.
- Day 1: Tuesday, February 20, 2024
- Check-in and welcome at 10 – 11:30 a.m. (Location: TBA)
- Participate in projects and reflection, 6-hour day (times may vary depending on project needs)
- Day 2: Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Participate in projects and reflection, 6-hour day (times may vary depending on project needs)
- Day 3: Thursday, February 22, 2024: Participate in projects and reflection, 6-hour day (times may vary depending on project needs)
- Day 4: Friday, February 23, 2024: Activity Celebration and Reflection, 9 – 10:30 a.m. (online) or 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. (in-person)
Considerations & Exceptions
Your participation in ARW not only deepens your sense of community on campus, but through it you may also:
- Work collaboratively with a group of other U of T students.
- Apply and develop your unique skills and knowledge.
- Engage with social dynamics and issues in our city.
- Contribute positively to a community-identified priority.
- Explore your identity and perspectives as they relate to the broader Toronto community.
- Build your resume and your Co-Curricular Record (CCR).