YORK UNIVERSITY

Located in the busy, bustling city of Toronto, York University is nothing to scoff at. Providing a whopping 249 programs, and an equally whopping 53,000 students, York University is a truly massive post-secondary entity, despite only being established in 1959 [1]. As well, York is a very versatile school as well, with large arts, education, environmental studies, graduate studies, health, engineering, liberal arts, business, and science faculties [2]. The York Lions, previously “Yeomen”, and “Yeowomen” are spearheaded by none other than the fond face of Yeo the Lion [3]. A wide variety of clubs, from politics, to academia, to faith, to sports, York’s 350+ selection of clubs is one of the most varied in Canada [4]. The students’ union is called “University of York Students’ Union” and are eager to help, encouraging new students to join/start clubs, and to ask for help [5,6]. The school colours are red, and white [3]. Their motto is “Tentanda via”, meaning “The way must be tried” which is fitting considering their wide variety of clubs and programs [3]. As well, IISuperwomanII, Jagmeet Singh, and John Tory are all York alumni [3]. Notable affiliations include (but are not limited to): AUCC, CARL, IAU, and CUSID [3].

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For an Environmental & Urban Change  Student at York...

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What do you think is special about York's campus life?

York’s campus is a melting pot of cultures. On campus, you will find people from all walks of life and that to me is very significant. At university,

you are curious to hear different peoples point of views in your classes, especially stories about where they come from and their backgrounds – that was very important since I did not feel like an outsider as an international student. In addition, there are over 500 student clubs at York and getting involved is a great way to make friends from different faculties. The student union also hosts a lot of great events for students throughout the year and you are sure to find something that you will enjoy! Furthermore, York’s campus is huge and there are all kinds of facilities available – lots of restaurants and coffee shops, two student centres, libraries and labs and more. In addition, there are two subway stations located on campus which makes it very easy to get around the city.

What was your favourite class and why?

One of my favourite classes that I took was ENVS1500 - Introduction to Environmental Sciences: The Web of Life. This class will get you started with experiential education. In the Fall term, we headed out to one of the woodlots on campus and gathered some data on the different types of tree species that were present. We collected leaves and used dichotomous keys to identify the species and proceeded to present this data in the form of graphs and statistical tables. I really enjoyed this course since I got to explore some parts of the campus, learn about the natural landscape, and apply the knowledge gained in my studies.

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Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

I have always been passionate about learning more about the environment ever since I was a child. As an international applicant, choosing a university program that aligned with my expectations was absolutely imperative. I was looking for a program that would allow me to venture into a variety of career paths after graduation, a program that allowed me to

learn from the local environments and specifically, a program at a campus based in Toronto. When I came across the program offered by York, I was absolutely thrilled. The program was interdisciplinary, there were aspects of the arts and sciences, there were a variety of fields to explore for future careers such as arts, justice and politics, environmental sciences, urban studies, environmental management and more, and the location was just perfect. That’s when I knew I wanted to go to York! I was particularly interested in learning more about urban and regional environments and the courses at York incorporate a lot of field trips and experiential education. Similarly, there are a range of certificates and dual-credential programs that are offered and can be completed alongside your degree. Moreover, at the end of your program, you receive a certificate that says “Bachelor in Environmental Studies” (depending on your program) and that to me was the cherry on top! York was also one of the

first Canadian institutions offering the Environmental Studies program.

can you tell us more about the newly emerged faculty and some of the benefits?

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The new faculty brings together the best of both worlds – the faculties of Environmental Studies and Geography have combined to tackle some of the most pressing challenges we face today: urbanization, deforestation, anti-Black racism, and the ongoing global pandemic. EUC also offers a large variety of program to choose from. These include:

  • Environmental Arts and Justice

  • Environmental Science

  • Global Geography

  • Sustainable Environmental Management

  • Urban Studies\

And various other dual-credential programs. Being a student in the faculty, I can attest that it is a space which is inclusive and allows for growth. Professors and TA’s are very supportive and approachable. In addition, we are offered a lot of work placements and our lessons explore issues beyond Canadian borders, so we are prepared to take on issues in the global context. This makes us career ready when graduate and allow for a range of opportunities in variety fields such as education, business, government and more. The most amazing part of EUC is that we have our very own EcoCampus in Costa Rica where students can take courses abroad to learn about the local community and more. In my three years of being in the program, I have always felt like a valuable member of the faculty, and these highlights are only a snapshot of the advantages of studying at EUC!

QUESTIONS

JUICY

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What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?

The best advice I can give to high school students is to reach out to the faculty before you apply and also visit the campus for a tour if possible. Doing this really helps in getting an idea of your future study environment and deciding whether it is a place where you see yourself growing. At EUC, we offer a lot of information sessions running throughout the year where you get more information about the program and can connect with current students too. Secondly, get involved with the student clubs associated with the faculty. In this way, you can network with staff and students. Making connections during the time you spend at university will take you a long way. In addition, we also have peer mentors who are always available to help and assist you with courses, resources available at York and more. I also think it would be a great idea to reach out to existing students who are in the program that interests you and inquire about the courses offered, campus life and more to get an idea of what it would be like to be a student in the program and whether it is meant for you.

 

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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TANISHKA MEHTA

Hello Everyone!

My name is Tanishka Mehta, and I am a third-year student at the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change at York University. I am particularly interested in learning about cities – how they cater to the needs of the population and what can be done to make them more sustainable in the future. I am also in the process of completing a certificate in Urban Ecologies alongside my degree. When I am not studying, I volunteer my time as a Peer Mentor at our faculty. In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music and learning languages. I speak English, Hindi, and I am currently learning Spanish. Feel free to reach out to me via LinkedIn regarding the programs offered at EUC, resources available at York University and if you have any questions about living on campus. I look forward to speaking with you!

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For a Commerce  Student at York...

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What's your favourite elective and why?

My favorite elective has to be an introduction to business, it taught me to think critically and it has helped me ALOT.

What do you think is special about the York campus life? 

I love how huge my campus is. Everything from Tim Hortons to the subway station is within walking distance.

Everyone is so kind and friends.

Shout out to my friends for making sure I get through everything.

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Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

I have been a commerce student for the past 3 years, accounts and economics were the subjects I had to hustle through.

This year, because of COVID I got to be a marketing intern, I was encouraged to join LinkedIn and start posting. 

That's when I realized, I loved being creative, making posts, and making sure people like it.

What makes this unique is that my uni has amazing profs and if you're active enough, you get to network with the best people in your field.

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What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?

My best advice I could give you was to try everything before you settle, you don't have to be so fast, give yourself time.

If you know you're going to get into the business, and when you get into a business program, at any point in time you're just 2 years away from majoring in anything else. 

Have fun and take risks.

How would you describe the workload and work-life balance? 

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As phoebe once said "You snooze you lose"

By the end of these 4 years, you will need a job and everyone has it, for you to stand out you will need skills better than people, you need to work hard for it.

Once I realized this, I prioritized it.

QUESTIONS

JUICY

 

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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ANUNEET KAUR

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For an International Studies Student at York...

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What do you think is special about the York/Glendon campus life?

I loved Glendon Campus because it's known to be a small, well-knit community. Glendon students have a lot of school spirit and pride which is greatly attributed to the beautiful scenery that we're surrounded with. I found that many Glendon students were extremely friendly and open to striking up a conversation because of its small population. Participating in clubs also greatly elevated my experience therefore, I would highly recommend students to join clubs on campus because that's the best way to meet new friends. 

What was your favourite elective in first year?

My favourite elective in first year was GL/NATS 1605 Communication, Health and Environment. This course was quite interesting because we discussed watersheds in Ontario and the way health and environment are communicated in our media. We also took a few field trips to Evergreen Brickworks and walked around the Glendon Forest. 

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Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

My interest in social justice issues in high school greatly formed my decision to choose the International Studies program. I had a rough understanding of the UN SDGs as well as development work and aspired to work for the UN one day. I was drawn to Glendon Campus at York University because it was a bilingual campus and it allowed me to further study the French language as a requirement to graduate. During my first year, the program really opened my eyes to the reality of the world and taught me how to understand these issues at a more critical level.

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What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?

I would advise high school students to take a few history lessons and to keep up to date with world events. A lot of the program is based on theory and perspective so expect to complete a lot of readings. Try to familiarize yourself with the basic IR theories and historical events. I would also advise students to take electives that help diversify your world knowledge (e.g. Indigenous Studies, African Studies, Asian Studies, Middle-Eastern Studies) to apply a well-rounded view to your studies. 

How would you describe your first year at York?

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My first year was a fresh experience. Although I didn't attend frosh week, I met so many new friends in my classes- which remain my friends to this day. It took me a while to get adjusted to university life especially with having so much freedom in my schedule and participating in seminars. Everyone is trying to gain footing in their first year, but I found that the small campus had a lot of heart which ultimately helped Glendon feel like a home for the remainder of my time at Glendon. 

QUESTIONS

JUICY

 

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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ADRIENNE ARZAGA

Hello! My name is Adrienne Arzaga and I am a recent graduate from Glendon Campus, York University. I studied International Studies and earned certificates in Public Policy Analysis and Law & Social Thought. During my undergrad, I was greatly involved in various clubs such as the International Studies Student Association (ISSA) and our campus newspaper, Pro Tem. Feel free to reach out and connect! Looking forward to hearing from you!

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For an International Development Studies and Psychology student at York...

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What advice do you have for high school students applying to your program?

My advice to high school students would be to on top of their readings and assignments as sometimes it becomes easy to put it off. I would also advice to have a close relationship with professors as they can help understand course content and can provide insights into potential pathways. Having a good relationship with the professor can help with how much we enjoy the learning and can have a positive impact on our experience with the class. Specifically, for my program I would advise students to take the time to choose the courses they enjoy. York offers a wide variety of courses, so they can pick the ones they actually enjoy and want to learn more about. They should also look into the professors teaching the course and whether their research interests align with theirs.

How would you describe residence? Would you recommend someone live on- campus? If so, what advice do you have for them?

Residence is extremely fun and a great way to meet people and make new friends. I would definitely recommend students to live on-campus at least for their first year because this can help them create a network and support system which will be there throughout their degree. When I first join university, I was not very social, however after joining residence and seeing how open and friendly the community is, I started becoming more and more comfortable and started getting more involved. My advice would be to try to get out of your comfort zone and get involved in different activities on residence. In my first year, I got involved by joining the residence council and in my second year I started working on residence as a night porter. These are great experiences to enhance leadership and interpersonal skills.

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Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

Currently I am in my fourth year pursuing a double major in psychology and International Development Studies. I chose to purse both of these programs because I was passionate about development and mental health and I wanted to see how I can bridge the two programs together to make a meaningful impact. This combination is very unique, but it allows me to explore both my passions and find ways of merging the two. I tried to bridge the two programs by taking a capstone course and getting involved with a project that is looking and mental health through a community- engagement.

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What's one misconception about York?

One of the misconceptions about York is that it is unsafe; however, this has not been my experience. Throughout the 4 years I have lived on campus and I have felt very safe- safer than I would in downtown or off-campus. York offers a variety of services to ensure students feel safe. One of these is GoSafe which is where students can be accompanied to get around campus during the evenings or if you don’t want to walk alone. I loved calling GoSafe as they are always available and extremely friendly people that can help you get across campus. I also have YorkU safety app on my phone which keeps me updated regularly with anything happening on campus including winter storms so I can know when my classes are cancelled. York is extremely beautiful, especially in the summer and fall where all the trees are blossoming and so colorful. It is an extremely safe and beautiful place!

What’s the biggest change from high school to university/college work and classes?

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One of the biggest changes from high school to university is being self-disciplined. In university there is so much freedom and it is up to us to make our university experience. The class sizes in university are so big compared to high school, so it is entirely our own responsibility to complete our tasks and attend classes. That means we have to be organized to maintain a school/ life balance and be efficient. Some of the resources that helped me is by attending time management workshops, seeking help from mentors, advisors and counsellors and knowing yourself. Once we know our strengths and what works best for us we can build our entire schedule and university experience around that.

QUESTIONS

JUICY

 

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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NOORIN PATTNI

Hi everyone, my name is Noorin Pattni and I am in my fourth year pursing a double major in
International Development Studies and Psychology at York University. I work as a student
ambassador with the Office of Recruitment and Admissions at York and I helped in founding the
International Development Studies Association at York in 2018. In the fall of 2019, I went for
an exchange program to the National University of Singapore where I did a semester abroad.
Currently, I volunteer as a crisis responder with the Distress Centres of Toronto. I am interested
in counselling, psychotherapy, mental health and community engagement. If you have similar
interests, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Instagram.

For more information regarding my involvement check out: https://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2020/02/10/students-discover-diverse-opportunities-at-volunteer- community-engagement-fair/

https://cuebc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/yorku-2021-2022-undergrad-handbook.pdf https://president.yorku.ca/strategicpriorities/presidents-ambassador-program/ambassadors/

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For an Environmental & Urban Change  Student at York...

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What advice do you have for high school students applying to your program?

Since I am not the best at drawing or mainly doing anything artistic unless it involves colouring, I was worried about how I would do it in my courses since Environmental Arts and Justice involves art. However, I did not let that stop me from applying because I knew that I would have time to grow in the program, and visual art is not the only art that can be used to display the injustices around the world. As a second-year student in this program, my artistic abilities have grown more when it comes to creative writing, and my visual art is coming along. When learning more in the program, the essential part of the art (visual or creative writing) is that you make sure your main points are displayed, and the art will come naturally and continue to improve with each assignment.

What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of your program?

I have to say that the most challenging parts of my program were the transition from high school to university and creating a schedule on how I will complete my assignments and attend lectures. But after a couple of weeks, I was able to get into a groove and schedule that allowed me to complete my assignments, readings and attend lectures. The most rewarding part of my program was using projects to learn more about topics and issues I am passionate about. Such as using creative writing to express how horrible the fast-fashion production model is on our planet, learning about the history of my city, learning the history of my family. These injustices are displayed in one of my favourite trails and so on because I could use what I have learned in previous classes and make creative connections to illustrate what has happened and what is occurring in the present.

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Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?

I chose the Environmental Arts and Justice program from the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change because I felt this would be the best program to dive into my passions. The road to choosing Environmental Arts and Justice was not a linear choice because many programs at York stood out to me based on what I want my future job to be a teacher and a speech pathologist such as psychology, cognitive science, and arts and Justice. But I chose the Faculty of Environmental ad Urban Change because I felt that this would be the best program to dive into my passions of the interplay between the social, legal, management, and scientific aspects of environmental issues from multiple perspectives. Furthermore, choosing the major Environmental Arts and Justice will allow me to visualize these various perspectives in a more artistic view that will help me in my future career as a teacher. One of my main goals is to have my students build a deeper connection with our planet.

Finally, do you have anything else you'd like to share with us?

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As a first-year student coming into the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, one of the things that stood out to me was their peer mentor program. The Peer Mentor program helps undergraduate students get used to the program and university life for new students to connect to the larger community of York University. Through the well-trained Peer Mentors, I met other students in the program by their excellent leadership and positive influence. Because of this fantastic program and its impact on me as a first-year student, I decided to become a peer mentor to help students just like they helped me.

QUESTIONS

JUICY

 

A very special thank you to our interviewee...

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SOFIA COLALILLO

Hi everyone!!! My name is Sofia Colalillo. I am a second-year student in the Environmental and Urban Change Faculty (EUC). I am doing a double major in environmental Arts and Justice and Education and minoring in Psychology ���� ��. I am particularly interested in how I can foster a new mindset that allows me to grow my connection to our Planet Earth while learning new ways to put earth first. I am also interested in how I can take that mindset and apply it in my future career as a teacher where I can give my students opportunities for their connection to grow with our planet. When I am not studying, I volunteer my time as a Peer Mentor at our faculty. If you have any questions about EUC, resources that are available through York University or want to know about student life as an EUC student feel free to contact me at sofcol@my.yorku.ca or through Instagram @sofiacolalillo !

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