What I Did on My Summer Vacation

by julia.hanigsberg | September 3rd, 2013

Many of us who work at universities are used to being asked: “Do you have the summer off?” We laugh, of course, because the truth is we really don’t. In fact, for me and most of my team who work on Ryerson University’s non-academic elements, June–August is probably our busiest season.

Renovated spaces

Major renewal of facilities, for example, almost always takes place over the summer – and summer 2013 was no exception. Over the last couple of months, renovations occurred in a number of student lounges, washrooms on the first two floors of the Victoria Building and in various labs and research facilities. Not as visible, but quite necessary, over $3 million of infrastructure upgrades across campus were also completed.

Better food

We also took a series of big strides on renovating food. First, we contracted a new food services provider: Chartwell Compass. And we also recruited our first-ever Assistant Director, Food Services and Executive Chef:  Joshna Maharaj. You might already have heard of this good-food dynamo, as she’s a well-known local and sustainable-food advocate (btw, her Twitter feed is also delicious).

People First

We also moved forward with critical elements of our People First Strategy. This included hiring a new leader for Human Resources, Christina Sass-Kortsak, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources. We also collaborated with Ryerson’s OPSEU President, James Mackay, and his team on initiatives such as new training and recruitment and the People First Survey.

Working with Erin McGinn, Assistant Vice President Communications, Government and Community Engagement, we helped the entire campus get its blue and gold on with a whole range of design-excellence initiatives. We also chose the architects for the Church Street Development who will help us with our next phase of city-building just north of Dundas Street East. As well, we made serious progress on construction of the Student Learning Centre.

Urban partnerships

As a city-building university, Ryerson thrives on connecting and cooperating with partners who share a similar vision of urban vitality. In summer 2013, we worked closely with the City of Toronto, the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Association, the 519 Church Street Community Centre and others on outstanding events including Scotiabank BuskerFest, NXNE and Pride (which this year held the TreeHouse Party in Kerr Hall Quad).

Some R & R too

While it was a busy summer, my team and I also all worked hard to find time to relax with our friends and family. Everyone needs a vacation and to recharge their batteries – even at this “never sleep you may miss a cool opportunity” place we call Ryerson!

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