A recap of events in 2016 and initiatives moving forward into 2017
As 2016 comes to a much-anticipated conclusion, the University of Toronto and its students have begun to deliberate the advent of , 2017. There is a consistent emphasis placed on the political and social activities of the past year, as well as a slow transition from the pitfalls of 2016 to the reluctant hope for a new year. For the University of Toronto, however, there is a long and ambitious list of goals for the upcoming year, and a sense of pride in what 2016 accomplished.
A much debated issue over the course of the last year was climate change and initiatives employed to make the issue more transparent. The potential approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline was broadcasted all over international media. In November of 2016, several students at UofT started an on-campus protest, in support of the indigenous peoples of Standing Rock. Students began to recognize the power they had to effect change across many different social and political matters, both locally and internationally.
Recent work done at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus by researchers Ken Thompson and March Johnson lead to the discovery of plants that adapt to urbanization and related environmental conditions. The plant that they found to have this potential for evolution is the common white clover, which has begun to alter the times during which it excretes protective chemicals, allowing it to withstand the gradually increasing temperatures. Further research is expected throughout 2017 regarding this plant and others that are exhibiting signs of adapting in similar ways.
Domestic students in Ontario, attending UofT, may be facing tuition increases through the course of this upcoming year, potentially rising to $10,000, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Whether or not this increase will impact the University of Toronto is unknown, as UofT spokespeople have thus far declined to comment. However, as the economy adjusts to factors such as inflation, it is uncertain as to whether or not students will be facing even higher tuition fees.
An interesting addition students may find when selecting courses for the 2017-2018 session is the ancient Ethiopian language class. “Professor Robert Holmstedt, of the department of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations, welcomed 25 students and members of Toronto’s Ethiopian community to the first day of an introductory course on Ge’ez. Which, like Latin, is only used in religious services―“in this case for the Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic churches,” says the University of Toronto’s official website. This will make the University of Toronto one of the only schools in the world where this language is taught. The course has come to the school thanks to various international donations, including one from famous solo artist, The Weeknd. The course is hoped to shed more light on the contents of the many ancient Ethiopian manuscripts that have been discovered within the last century. Department chair Professor Tim Harrison said that he hopes, “with continued support, UofT will eventually add more courses and be positioned to launch the first Ethiopian studies program in North America.”
Overall, with the aforementioned plans for the new year and the successes of the past, there is little doubt that the University of Toronto is aiming for another notable and
memorable year. As always, it is the combined effort of the administration and the students that allows for the important developments planned for 2017 to come to life.