All posts by ldamelio

The Division of Students rises to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In the true spirit of “living our values”, Vice-Provost Morrison, Director of Sport York Jennifer Myers, members of the York Lions football team and York Lions staff have risen to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. People can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS Charity of their choice, or do both.

Watch the videos here:

Janet Morrison takes on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge!

York Lions | 2014 Football team does the ALS #IceBucketChallenge!

The York Lions Staff ALS #IceBucketChallenge!

The York Women’s Soccer team takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge

The York Men’s Soccer team responds to the Women’s Soccer team nomination

York Lions’ Syd Brown takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

York Men’s hockey family takes the ALS #IceBucketChallenge for Kyle Ruppe

York University Residence Life team’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Assistant Registrar, Graduate Assessment & Transfer Credit, Andrew Wilson takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Senior Leadership from the Division take the Challenge!

Visit the ALS Association website to learn more about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Follow #IceBucketChallenge on Twitter and Instagram for more news about the campaign.

Updated October 16, 2014

Updated News about Fall Orientation

New Information about Fall Orientation 2014!
In our excitement to get you vital information about York’s upcoming Orientation week, we missed a few details. This special issue of the York Future Student Newsletter has the up-to-date information that you need to know to plan for a successful O-week at YorkU!

There’s a lot to do, so if you’re at all confused, reach out in your YU START Online Learning Community or to your Faculty or College.

Fall Orientation (or O-week) kicks off on Monday, September 1 and runs through Sunday, September 7, 2014. Check the Orientation homepage throughout the summer for details.

Are you starting classes at York University this September? Then you’re definitely going to want to attend Orientation. This is your chance to learn about the campus, discover all the resources available to you and, most importantly, meet new people, network, and get plugged-in to campus life.

On Twitter? Jump in the O-week conversation online using #WeAreYU.

Student Life at York University

Academic Orientation
When: During O-week

Register online with your College
Depending on your College, you may need to register for Academic Orientation. At Academic Orientation you will:

  • Find out more about your College
  • Meet students and professors in your program
  • Learn about the academic support services available to you
  • Improve your note taking, studying and time management skills

Each College holds its own Academic Orientation. Visit your College’s website to find out specific Orientation details. Not sure which College you are affiliated with? Check the College Finder page on the Orientation website.

Social Orientation
When: Monday, September 1 to Sunday, September 7

Visit the Orientation website for more information about Social Orientation.

Attending Social Orientation is a great way to become familiar with life at York. Orientations are organized by the Colleges and Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD). Your College’s student council will organize events like scavenger hunts and trips to Wonderland, while SCLD organizes York-wide events. Although attendance at Social Orientation is not mandatory, it is strongly advised. Orientation is specially designed to help you transition into your life at York, meet friends and have fun!

Move-In Day
When: Monday, September 1

York University Residences at York and Glendon

This is the official move-in day for students living in residence at York! Wondering what to bring and what to expect? Download the move-in day pdf to find out more. All residence students will attend a building-wide meeting, a welcome BBQ and residence orientation during O-week. More information about orientation for residence students can be found on the Orientation website.

Parent & Family Orientation
When: Monday, September 1 from 10am to 2 pm (Move-in Day!)*

Parents, guardians, and family will learn about the opportunities, services and resources York has for your student. The event will begin with a welcome from President Mamdouh Shoukri and includes a student services information fair, a student play put on by our own Vanier College Productions that showcases the first year experience, as well as an optional session about financial aid. Find out more about the day online on the Parents & Family website.

*Parents and families of students affiliated with Founders and Vanier Colleges will have a separate orientation date during orientation week.

Family & Parent Info Session this August

For those parents unable to attend the event on September 1, we’re offering a Parent & Family Info Session on August 23 from 2-4pm. Your parents will receive information about: the transition to university life; the first-year experience; and tips to help you prepare for your first day.

Making Connections Day
When: Tuesday, September 2
Various locations across the Keele Campus

If you’re in YU Start, your attendance is expected at Making Connections Day, although registration is not required. You’ll learn about Making Connections Day in your YU START Online Learning Community. If you’re in the Faculty of Science, the Lassonde School of Engineering or the Schulich School of Business, please contact your Faculty directly. Glendon students will participate in orientation on the Glendon campus.

You’ll have the chance to meet new York Lions – just like you. YU START students will meet face-to-face with their peers from their Online Learning Community and participate in academic orientation activities. You’ll learn more about your program, Faculty and the campus.

You Had Me at Consent
Rexall Centre

An important awareness-raising event about safety and sexual harassment/assault prevention on campus.

Experiencing the Possible
Rexall Centre

Produced and performed by Vanier Productions, the play is for students, by students, about the first-year experience.
All new students are welcome and encouraged to attend the Day. A meal will be provided.

we love Founders pic

Orientation for Mature & Transfer Students
When: Wednesday, September 3 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm OR Saturday, September 6 from 9:30am to 12:30pm
Register online

Incoming Mature and Transfer students are also encouraged to attend orientation sessions, as they provide an opportunity to introduce yourself to your college and other mature students, as well as to gain general information on York and the student support available to you. During the first week of September, the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time students offers two orientation sessions. Register online.

International Orientation
When: Online before arrival and during O-week

If you are new to both York and Canada, attendance at International Orientation is mandatory. It will provide you with an introduction to the programs and services offered by York International, as well as other campus resources and student support services for international students at York. There are orientation resources online before you arrive, and an in-person session once you are on campus.

Glendon College Orientation
When: Monday, September 1 to Tuesday, September 7
Visit Glendon’s Orientation page for details.

Glendon, York’s bilingual midtown campus, has a full-week of orientation activities planned for Glendon students.

There are plenty of reasons to jump for joy as a York student.

Recruitment social media efforts pick up two awards

The Fall Campus Day photo booth

A new way of engaging prospective students in on-campus events through social media has garnered the University two prestigious awards. The Fall Campus Day Insta-Print Photo Booth was awarded a Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) Prix D’Excellence and a Council for the Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence Award.

The Fall Campus Day Insta-Print Photo Booth engaged prospective students visiting the annual Fall Campus Day last November. The Insta-Print Photo Booth collected photos from Instagram and Twitter during the event using a particular hashtag. Photos were then instantly printed out on a York U branded template for students to pick up throughout the day. Photos were also promoted and/or retweeted online and on screens in presentation rooms and common areas. Fall Campus Day took place on Nov. 9, 2013, and attracted 3,000 attendees.


The Insta-Print Photo Booth was a joint effort by the Recruitment team and the Division of Students (VPS) Communications unit to increase prospective student engagement with the University. The program cost less than traditional giveaways and adoption of the social media campaign was tremendous with more than 600 photos posted during the event, averaging five photos per minute. Students got to take home a keepsake and those not able to attend the event could follow online.

The social media effort was awarded a Bronze for “Best Use of Social Media.” The Prix D’Excellence is the annual awards program of the CCAE, recognizing outstanding achievements in alumni affairs, public affairs, communications, marketing, development, advancement services, stewardship, student recruitment and overall institutional advancement. This is the second year in a row that a joint Recruitment and VPS Communications project has won a CCAE award.

The social media event also won a Bronze CASE Circle of Excellence Award also for “Best Use of Social Media.” The Circle of Excellence is advancement’s premier international awards program that recognizes the work of CASE members, acknowledging superior accomplishments that have a lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results. Winning programs epitomize the profession’s best practices, raise standards and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about advancement.

“We’re thrilled to work within teams that embrace trying new ways to reach out to students and stay on the cutting edge of recruitment tactics,” says Donna Cope, director, Communications, Division of Students. “We’ve already rolled what we learned from Fall Campus Day into our Spring Open House event, which got us even better results, and we’re looking forward to topping it during Fall Campus Day 2014.”

What does the Fall Campus Day Insta-Print Photo Booth look like? See some of the photos that were submitted in 2013 on the Fall Campus Day website.

York International welcomes a delegation of counsellors from overseas

International High School Counsellors from various parts of the world paid a visit to York International on June 3.
International high school counsellors from various parts of the world paid a visit to York International on June 3

This post was originally published in YFile.

A group of high school counsellors from overseas schools in Ecuador, India, Mexico, Trinidad and Turkey visited York International on June 3. The meeting was part of a five-day visit organized by the International Recruitment Office. The counsellors met with staff members from York International and learned about the crucial services and support the University provides to international students, including student advising, transition support, health insurance and the peer program.

The delegation expressed an interest in about the multiple global learning opportunities York International facilitates for both domestic and international students in the form of exchanges, internships and summer courses abroad. Some York students were on hand to meet with the international visitors.

“As an international student coming from El Salvador, I felt very welcomed at this university when days after my arrival in Toronto I went to York International’s orientation,” said Astrid Hasfura, an international student from El Salvador studying global politics at York University. Hasfura spoke with the delegation about her experiences at York University. “Even though I came in the winter period and did not receive the traditional fall welcome I still felt that it helped me get accustomed to my new environment and made me want to be engaged with international students at York.” One of her favourite things about York is the wide variety of services and resources available for students such as different student clubs for students. For his part, Alec Shaw, a linguistics student, spoke to the counsellors about his experience on an international exchange during his final year of undergraduate studies at York University. “My experience as an exchange student at Peking University was an opportunity that shaped the course of my professional and personal

From left: Francine Mohammed, counselor from St. Joseph’s Convent in Trinidad, Esperanza Borrero-Large from Liceo Internacional in Ecuador and Maria Arrieta, a Glendon student from Colombia.development in numerous ways,” said Shaw. “In the space of the year abroad I was confronted with various challenges and I grew to be able to address any situation.”As a linguist interested in Chinese minority languages, dialectology, as well as language and identity, studying overseas made available various communities to Shaw so that he could develop these interests. He is now beginning a master’s program in linguistics. He said the direction of his upcoming research and future work is markedly different from what he would have expected two years ago and changed because of the benefit of the exchange experience he had overseas. To learn more about York University’s international programs, visit the York International website.

Launch of an integrated voice response system shows stellar results

A representative from Student Client Services assists two students from York University
A representative from Student Client Services assists two students from York University

The new integrated voice response (IVR) system launched by the York University Call Centre shows how simple innovation can go a long way. The IVR innovation was implemented in support of the Division of Students Strategic Plan and the Call Centre’s commitment to service excellence.

IVR has proven to be well used by students since it was rolled out last August. The phone system had been identified as being a “pain point” for students, both prospective and current, during a Process Re-engineering and Service Enhancement (PRASE) review. It required upgrades to stay abreast of advances in telephony and to reduce busy signals (which caused a high number of complaints).

With the introduction of IVR, students can dial in to the telephone service and quickly access automated and detailed messages, while those requiring specialized one-on-one assistance are directed to a Student Client Services (SCS) or Admissions Client Services representative. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, IVR is designed to effectively manage call volume and convey important information, even after hours when staff members are unavailable. For example, the 4,300 callers on weekends are now able to access information through the IVR instead of encountering a non-interactive after-hours message. As well, IVR guides and directs calls about routine questions to websites via short, unique, trackable URLs.

“IVR allows staff to focus on the students who need in-depth, one-on-one advice – to concentrate on detailed issues,” says Lillian Nasello, director, Student Client Services (SCS) and Admissions Client Services.

When students phone in, they can listen to voice messages and select the options relevant to them by pressing the corresponding numbers on their dial pad. They can then navigate through the system to reach increasingly detailed information. In some instances, the responses recommend specific pages on the York website. The trackable URLs enable the team to assess the webpages students are using and whether they navigate to other areas of the website. If no adequate answer to a student’s query is available, the caller is redirected to a representative. From IVR system data, client services staff know that of the more than 200,000 calls to the system since August 2013, fewer than 100,000 calls reached a representative, indicating that a significant number of callers are being provided with the information they are seeking by the IVR.

George Grigoriadis

George Grigoriadis

“We try to provide as much information up front as we can, so we can provide better service. The expectation is that the system offers enough information for most callers to make decisions without relying on staff for assistance,” says George Grigoriadis, manager, SCS.

For those students who do choose to speak to a representative, the average wait time for the more than 100,000 calls answered has reduced to less than four minutes from an average of seven minutes. The most frequent topics of questions at this time are: How many transfer credits will I receive? What’s the status of my application? What’s up with my OSAP? I have questions about my student account in general and what is the status of the documents I submitted (such as petitions)?

The IVR system is self-prompting and features international menus for students located abroad, ensuring that international students receive answers from the system regardless of their time zone. IVR is also fully accessible for callers with disabilities. In addition to telephone access, the system features email and fax capabilities, and an online chat feature may also be made available in the future.

The IVR system was created in partnership with University Information Technology, the PRASE office and the Office of the Vice-Provost Students. The groups worked with the call centre staff to develop the system and provide content. Feedback during development was gathered from students, who helped identify areas for improvement based on their needs and experiences. The York University Call Centre opened in 2003.

Spring Open House event sees new successes in person and online

Spring Open House tweet

At the annual Spring Open House, the largest on-campus event of the year, the University welcomed more than 4,000 visitors to the Keele campus April 5. It was an opportunity for prospective students and their families to explore life as a York student – from academics to campus life.

The Spring Open House is a key touch point in the University’s recruitment strategy. “The Spring Open House allows us to have one-on-one conversations with future students and their families,” says Amber Holliday, manager of Canadian recruitment and on-campus events. “Many students come with an offer in-hand, some are waiting for an offer decision – but most everyone is deciding whether York is the right fit for them.”

The agenda was packed with mock lectures, tours, specialized sessions, Faculty zones, a student services fair and more. The event saw several highlights this year, including the bus tour which showcased construction on campus. The 30-minute guided bus tour demonstrated all of the ways York is growing and changing – from the arrival of the subway on campus in 2016, to the Pan Am Stadium, to the future site of the Lassonde School of Engineering building.

“The bus tours were at capacity and a particular hit with students and their families,” says Holliday. The Admissions Zone was also busy all day, providing one-on-one admissions guidance. Experts answered questions, received documents and admitted more than 10 students on-the-spot.

A re-vamped social media strategy to increase traffic to the York website and online conversations about the event was a highlight this year. The campaign was highly visual, using photos and video to engage students on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Social media traffic increased by 52 per cent this year. This increase, combined with the print invitation to applicants in the L and M postal codes, contributed to an eight per cent increase in pre-event registration.

Continue reading Spring Open House event sees new successes in person and online

Eight outstanding York students receive Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Awards

Front row from left, Danielle Tucker, Manjeet Kuar, Zabeda Oumer-Hiji, Mikhaela Gray, Mohamed Shek Salah, Christmari Fernando and Nickan Motamedi
Front row from left, Danielle Tucker, Manjeet Kuar, Zabeda Oumer-Haji, Mikhaela Gray, Mohamed Shek Salah, Christmari Fernando and Nickan Motamedi. Missing is Anam Qudrat

This post was originally published in YFile.

Eight students were recognized recently for their exceptional leadership at York University during a celebration for the Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Awards. Students and faculty gathered in a private dining room in the Schulich School of Business for a reception April 2 to honour and celebrate the winners.

The Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Awards distinguish those students who have made the greatest contributions to the development, growth and vitality of the University.

The eight winners of this year’s Robert Tiffin Leadership Awards are as follows: Fourth-year students Christmari Fernando in the Human Resource Management Program; Mikhaela Gray in English; Manjeet Kaur in computer engineering; Anam Qudrat in biology; and Mohamed Shek Salah in kinesiology and health science; and third-year students Nickan Motamedi in kinesiology and health science; Zabeda Oumer-Haji in health studies; and Danielle Tucker, a master’s student in critical disability studies.

Established in 2012, the awards are named after Robert Tiffin, who served as York University’s vice-president students for nine years. Through his dedication, integrity and strong leadership, Tiffin transformed his operation into one of the most professional student service organizations in Canada, serving one of the country’s biggest student populations.

Continue reading Eight outstanding York students receive Robert Tiffin Student Leadership Awards

Friendly competition fosters York U and residence life pride

The Stong Residence spirit team with their trophy
The Stong Residence spirit team with their trophy

This post was originally published in YFile.

Over the past academic year, students living in York University’s residences have been competing for the inaugural Residence Spirit Cup and the bragging rights that come with having the best spirit on campus.

The winner of the inaugural Residence Spirit Cup is the Stong Residence on York’s Keele campus. Second place went to Pond Residence and third place went to Vanier Residence. The announcement was made at the Student Community and Leadership Development Banquet on April 7. Stong Residence Life staff accepted the cup on behalf of the residence. Students living in the Stong Residence celebrated their victory with an end of term event hosted by Residence Life staff.

Competition began in September when teams drawn from each of York U’s residences competed for spirit points at the Homecoming football game. They attended the men’s and women’s volleyball home openers, and decorated the residence lobbies for the Red and White Spirit Day in November and the March spirit celebration for York U’s birthday in March. They also encouraged other students to complete the Residence Life and Housing Survey that was conducted in March.

The Pond Road Residence spirit team

The Pond Road Residence spirit team

The spirit competitions gave the student teams a chance to work closely with a number of campus partners, including York University Athletics, Sport and Recreation, York is U, Housing Services and Campus Services & Business Operations.

The Vanier Residence spirit team

The Vanier Residence spirit team

After the spring 2013 launch of the Division of Students’ Five Year Strategic Plan, Residence Life at Keele campus worked to incorporate student engagement into its programing model for the year. This led to the launch of the Residence Spirit Cup – an opportunity for residents to participate in friendly competitions beginning in Orientation Week  and culminating at York’s birthday on March 26.

The Residence Spirit Cup aims to:

  • build campus-wide residence pride and promote community building;
  • promote spirit and friendly competition between residences;
  • encourage communities to work together to complete a common goal; and
  • promote programs that foster pride in York University.

Find out more about Residence Life by visiting the Residence Life website.

York University wins third annual TRY Cup

The York U team
The York U team

This post was originally published in YFile.

The York University Lions were named the champion of the TRY Cup for the third straight year this month, once again asserting themselves as the top intramurals program in the city.

The TRY Cup pits intramural teams from the Toronto Varsity Blues, Ryerson Rams and York Lions against each other in basketball, dodgeball, flag football, ice hockey, soccer and volleyball, with points awarded for where teams finish.

The Lions walked away with the trophy after a thrilling comeback in the final event, the basketball competition, where they swept the men’s, women’s and co-ed divisions to collect 15 points and finish eight points ahead of the Varsity Blues.

The Lions also finished in first place in dodgeball, co-ed flag football and women’s soccer. For complete TRY Cup standings, click here.

Provincial government funds transition pilot at York U for students with autism spectrum disorders

In February, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announced that it is allocating $212,000 over three years to York University for a pilot project that will support students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) as they make the transition to postsecondary education. Among its major objectives, the project, called the “Transitions Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders”, will help high-school students search for information about postsecondary support, apply, enrol and succeed in their university studies.

While still in the developmental stages, the initiative will offer early transition planning, one-day workshops and two-week transition programs. The initiatives will give students a snapshot of university life and articulate the expectations around the academic, social and environmental aspects of the postsecondary experience. In addition, York University will work with high-school teachers and guidance counsellors to discuss how best to support these students as they transition to university. Many other program supports are also slated for development.

Maureen Haig, manager, Learning Disabilities Services (LDS) in Counselling & Disability Services (CDS), says that York U has always been at the forefront of providing support for students on the autism spectrum. “This project focuses on a group that without these kinds of supports might not be successful,” said Haig. “We’re increasing the diversity of the University. It’s really in line with everything that York reflects and espouses around diversity and accessibility.”

The pilot project at York University is a collaboration between a number of key partners, including the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Community and Social Services; Seneca College; and York University.

Continue reading Provincial government funds transition pilot at York U for students with autism spectrum disorders