It was a sight (and sound) to behold: two floors of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre bustling with the excited energy of thousands of high-school students, their families, teachers and friends. They had come to the Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF) to find help in making one of the most important decisions of their lives — picking a postsecondary institution that would suit their needs and desires.
Over the course of three days, more than 130,000 of them would approach the well-staffed booths and presentation rooms of the province’s universities with questions and concerns, filling their readily supplied tote bags with handbooks, notes, business cards and swag. Some came with a plan in mind and just needed a few particulars cleared up. Others, probably the majority, came wide-eyed and curious, eager — though also anxious — to explore the various possibilities for life after high school.
I felt immense pride when I first laid eyes on York’s L-shaped, which consumed an entire corner of the exhibition hall. Colourful, bold and spirited, it proclaimed what this university stands for: forward thinking, excellence, flexibility, diversity, community. The new Open Your Mind brand campaign, publicly unveiled here for the first time, really hit home. The energy emanating from the images and background videos seemed to repeat itself in the many conversations around the booth, in the shared laughs and stories in the presentation room upstairs. This was York indeed. This is the future.
When things run smoothly and everything looks so fantastic, it’s easy to forget the enormous amount of work that goes into creating such an impression of ease. I know many, many people — staff, faculty and an enthusiastic crew of student volunteers — made Herculean efforts to ensure that York looked fabulous during OUF. They (you!) proffered their expertise, their creativity, their problem-solving skills, their good cheer, their time. They sacrificed their weekend and maybe some regular hours of sleep.
On behalf of everyone at York: thank you. Thank you for all you did, because it really showed. It made a difference to the thousands of young people whose minds you opened through your gestures large and small. We handed out 22,500 handbooks in three days and got more than 3,000 requests for more information on our programs. None of this would have been possible without us working together as a team and as a community.
Proud to be part of it,