The great return: pulling out all the stops

York University is pulling out all the stops in a pan-University effort to assist students as they head back to class following the end of the strike that began Nov. 6. The comprehensive effort offers students a complete set of resources brimming with social, academic and lifestyle programming and counselling assistance designed to help them with their transition back into the classroom.

"We are here to support students as they manage through the transition of re-entering the academic year," says Sylvia Schippke, assistant VP, Student Community Development. "We want to provide as much support and programming as possible to reduce stress and refocus students on their studies."

Some of the special services in this back to school effort coordinated by Schippke and her crew in York’s Student Community Development include First Days Back, an information blitz in Vari Hall Rotunda for students to ask questions and identify concerns about how life and studies at York will proceed under the adjusted academic timeline; a series of stress-busting social events offered by york is U, the student alumni group; special workshops on time management through York’s Counselling & Development Centre and extended hours for the York Libraries. 

In addition, the Registrar’s Office has gone all out to put together a comprehensive Back to Class Web site offering detailed FAQs and explanations students need on such topics as exams, timetables, revised dates, financial information and more. It also includes a wide-ranging set of links covering back-to-school Events and Resources across campus, including Faculties and colleges.

Here’s a summary of just some of the events and special services:

Starting Monday, the Division of Students has organized a four-day First Days Back event that runs daily in Vari Hall from Monday, Feb. 2 through Thursday, Feb. 5, 10am to 3pm, with a possible extension to Friday if required.

The main objective of First Days Back is to offer students a central location to ask questions and identify concerns about how life and studies at York will proceed under the adjusted academic timeline. Support services that will either be on hand or providing information include:

  • ACMAPS (Atkinson Centre for Mature & Part-time Students)
  • Career Centre
  • York colleges
  • Counselling & Development Centre
  • Counselling and Supervision Centre, Atkinson
  • Health Education and Promotion
  • Registrar’s Office and Student Financial Services
  • Sport York
  • York International
  • york is U

Complimentary coffee and hot chocolate will be available each day, 10-11:30am, courtesy of the York Alumni Office.

York’s Counselling & Development Centre is offering drop-in groups and individual sessions help students get back on track. The sessions are designed to assist undergraduate students who are feeling anxious about starting school after the strike and concerned about getting back into the swing of things. The centre will also be offering a series of time management sessions designed to help students concerned about managing their academic work in the remediated schedule.

The centre has also published a list of tips for getting back into school mode. For more information on all the services offered, visit the Counselling & Development Centre Web site.

York is U, York’s student alumni group is offering a series of social events including a movie night, the return of their annual stress buster carnival, a social and more. For more information on york is U’s First Days Back events, click here.

The York University Libraries are offering extended hours at the Scott Library on York’s Keele campus. The librarians and staff have collected a series of links of services and resources designed to ease students back into research for assignments and essays.

In-person research help is available at the research or reference desks in Scott, Steacie, Bronfman, Law and Frost Libraries during Reference hours.

  • Ask a Librarian- Live Chat provides students with an opportunity to chat with a librarian in real time to get help with research. They will also be able to watch as the librarian shows them how to find resources on your topic.
  • E-mail research questions provides a helpful link for students to get quick answers to brief questions. A response can be expected by 5pm the next weekday, Monday through Thursday. Questions submitted on Friday may not be answered until 5 pm on Monday. This resource is ideal for obtaining brief, factual information about a research topic. For more information, call the telephone reference line at 416-736-5150, menu option 3.

The libraries offer a series of online Library Tutorials and Guides created to provide students with step-by-step instructions on a variety of research activities such as how to find journal articles and how to use the web for research.

  • Subject Research Guides provide short lists of important resources (both in print and on the web) within a discipline. These pages are useful starting points for research and finding journal articles on particular subjects.
  • Course Related Research Guides provide lists of important resources (both in print and on the web) for a particular course.
  • Footnotes, Bibliographies, and RefWorks provides information on how to format a bibliography using various citation styles including: Chicago, APA, MLA etc.
  • YULearn is a student’s gateway to York University’s extensive resources to support research, writing and critical skills development. The goal of this site is to enhance York students’ educational experiences and preparedness for the future.

The libraries are also hosting a series of workshops including:

  • Library Drop-in Workshops offered at various York libraries and are designed to help students become better researchers. 
  • The Learning Commons: Writing & Learning Skills Services in the Library. Located on the second floor of the Scott Library, the Learning Commons offers both one-on-one drop-in consultations by writing and learning skills tutors, as well as regular workshops on topics such as:  
      • exam preparation,
      • reading and note-taking skills,
      • essay writing,
      • topic selection, and
      • time management.

See the Learning Commons schedule for details.

Each of York’s faculties will be offering workshops and back to class events. For more information, visit the faculty web sites:

Sport & Recreation York is offering a number of programs in recreation, intramurals and interuniversity sport over the next five weeks designed for students. From Monday, Feb. 2 to Saturday, March 7, all instructional classes in the recreation program will be free to all students. These instructional classes will satisfy a number of diverse interests and are running at different times of the day throughout the week. The following classes are available:

  • Aqua-Fit
  • Boot Camp
  • Bosu Ball Duo
  • Circuit
  • Circuit Plus
  • Latin/Ballroom Duo
  • Pilates
  • Spinning
  • Tai Chi
  • Tai Chi Level 2
  • Yogalates

For a complete schedule of instructional classes, click here.

A number of intramural events are also on the schedule for the next few weeks. These include badminton, men’s and women’s ball hockey, co-ed broomball, men’s and women’s indoor soccer, squash, swimming, RAGE volleyball and men’s and women’s volleyball. For more information on these programs, contact Mike Broderick, intramural & club sports officer, at ext. 77222 or

Finally, the York Lions men’s and women’s interuniversity sport teams continue to compete against the rest of the squads in the Ontario University Athletics league as the regular season winds down and the playoffs approach. Basketball, hockey, track & field and volleyball are still on the schedule for anyone who wants to catch some exciting interuniversity sport action. For a complete York Lions schedule, click here.

Residence Life coordinators in York’s Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development have been hard at work putting together a comprehensive list of activities for students living in York’s residences and students affiliated with York’s colleges. From potluck dinners to common room makeovers, socials and back to school information sessions, the list of events varies by college. Visit the Bethune, Calumet, Founders, Pond, Stong or McLaughlin College Web sites for updates on all back to class events.

The Atkinson Counselling & Supervision Centre will be providing two stress management workshops “Less Stress And More Success” and "Harness Your Thoughts – Be Successful” twice a week during the first weeks back to class. The workshops will be offered Mondays and Tuesdays Feb. 9 & 10 and Feb. 23 & 24, from 5 to 6:30pm in Room 116 in the Atkinson Building on the Keele campus.

The workshops are open for students in the School of Administrative Studies, Master of Public Policy, Administration & Law Program, Faculty of Education’s Pre-Service Full Time Consecutive Program, undergraduates in the Schulich School of Business Business Administration Program and International Business Administration Program and to any York student who preregisters. For more information visit the Atkinson, Counselling & Supervision Centre Web site.

The Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-Time Students (ACMAPS) offered a  Back to the Books session this past weekend. For students who were unable to attend, ACMAPS will be posting an online video of the session. For more information, visit the ACMAPS Web site. 

During the strike, York students had an opportunity to take advantage of a host of programs and events during the strike. The events, coordinated by Student Community & Leadership Development, included, to name but a few, weekend game events, ballroom dancing classes, leadership skills workshops and skills development sessions.