UTSC talks about raising ‘Boundless’ funds

Upon entering the Academic Advising & Career Centre at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus (UTSC), a cheerful and chatty girl immediately rises from the reception desk to say, “hello.” 

Farrah Chanda Aslam, 22, works at UTSC while also pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work and Community Development at U of T’s St. George campus.

She has been selected by the university to help promote their fundraising program “Boundless,” the largest campaign in Canadian university history launched last week with a goal of raising $2 billion.

“I have benefited from various scholarships,” she said. “It has alleviated my financial burden because OSAP wasn’t enough.”

She has just graduated from her undergraduate program in City Studies at UTSC, and was invited by the school to be involved in the marketing initiative of “Boundless.”

“I think it’s very important for people to donate to U of T,” Aslam said.  “because it provides excellent support for students in need. It relieves stress and anxiety for many students who experience a lot of financial stress. Those who have the ability to should generously donate.”

She believes that even through tough economic times U of T would not have trouble raising its goal of $2 billion because the school has a “solid reputation” and is a “promising institution to donate to.”

UTSC’s vice-dean of graduate education, Bill Gough, agreed that the $2-billion target is not too ambitious for U of T.

“We raised a billion dollars 10 years ago,” he said.  “This time around I’m sure there will be substantial progress. I feel confident that it can be achieved.”

He pointed out that the funding would go to certain aspects of the university’s budget: to create scholarships in certain disciplines at UTSC, such as environmental studies and mental health, fund research, and pay for professionals hired at the university.

Gough is also optimistic about UTSC’s financial outlook, mentioning that it is not running a deficit.

The executive-director of development and alumni relations at UTSC, Georgette Zinaty,  is one of the forerunners in this fundraising effort, which is one of the largest in Canadian university history.

“I can tell you we have an exciting fundraising campaign for UTSC!” she exclaimed. “The campus is at an exciting juncture in its history and the academic areas for which we are seeking support include student scholarships, experiential learning opportunities and initiatives that will truly enhance the student experience at UTSC.”

She echoed Gough in pointing out that the funds will go to support research projects that address “many of the great challenges of our time” including environmental change, mental health and world hunger.

Aslam wants to continue pursuing her PhD, even though she is not sure of which subject to take just yet.

She is sure of one thing though, “I want to make positive differences to individuals and groups, improving the quality of life for them in so many different ways.”