Fall Campus Week gives prospective University of Toronto students the opportunity to remotely explore programs and colleges at the University. This Saturday, St. Michael’s College will open its virtual doors to introduce some of those students to its vibrant community, its outstanding academic programs, and its robust supports for students.
“When you come to St. Michael’s you will feel this sense of community that is very real,” says Giancarlo Mazzanti, St. Michael’s Registrar and Director of Student Services. “Our approach is to make it as human an experience as possible – meeting with current students, advisors and student services personnel,” he says.
This year, current students will facilitate live chats with virtual guests to discuss life at the College during two two-hour windows, and a diverse student panel will also offer a more focused presentation on their experience of community at St. Mike’s.
Advisors from the Office of the Registrar and profs and staff from the Office of the Principal will also introduce prospective students to another St. Mike’s distinctive during Fall Campus Week and on Fall Campus Day itself: the outstanding interdisciplinary programs that draw from the College’s historic strengths.
“I like to think of it as a small liberal arts college sitting at the corner of Bay and Wellesley,” Mazzanti says, noting the small class sizes and personalized support students receive in sponsored programs like Christianity & Culture and Medieval Studies. The appointments of new professors like Dr. Adam Hincks, SJ as the Sutton Family Chair in Science, Christianity and Cultures and Dr. Alison More as Comper Professor of Medieval Studies and the introduction of special initiatives like Dr. Paolo Granata’s Media Ethics Lab have contributed to a sense of renewal and new excitement for the College’s programs.
These professors also support the College’s commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community, connecting with students through virtual events and a unique first-year check-in program. These are two examples of the many supports the College’s registrarial advisors will introduce to students—a range of services touching all parts of campus, from mental health counseling to academic assistance to financial aid.
While the pandemic has made the prospect of attending university more challenging for some students this year, Mazzanti also emphasizes the ways the University and College are partnering to give unprecedented help to incoming students affected by COVID-19. St. Michael’s normally receives $372,000 from the University of Toronto to support grants and other student aid. This year that figure has doubled to $744,000, with the extra funding intended to cover COVID-19-related needs. This funding is in addition to St. Michael’s own bursaries, grants, and other student aid, all of which will be covered during the event.
The additional funding enables the Office of the Registrar to help a bigger pool of students to cover additional expenses, and gives the office the flexibility to provide assistance to international students undergoing pandemic-related financial stresses.
While students may not be able to physically visit the campus, virtual tours will make it possible for them to take in the sight of St. Michael’s “Oasis in the City.” If they pay attention to social media, they may even get a chance to catch sight of one of the campus’s most recent visitors—a silver fox—or take a moment to relax in front of one of the many fireplaces.
Fall Campus Week at the University of Toronto runs from October 17 to 25. Fall Campus Day for St. Michael’s College will take place Saturday, October 24. Register to attend.