From Welcome Week to convocation at York University, Winters College is a home away from home for students enrolled in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD). More than 250 students live in the residence and most of them are from AMPD. It’s a welcoming and close-knit community offering activities from pub nights and performances to exhibitions and intramural sports, plus comfortable spaces to study and relax between classes.
In the hours before the AMPD convocation on June 19, Winters College hosted an awards ceremony, giving out almost $2000 in scholarships and prizes. Opening with a long-standing tradition, a euphonium solo performed by alumnus Randall Pilson (BFA ’02), the event featured live music by York students in the Peter Eratostene Jazz Quartet and a lunch to celebrate students who have made an impact over the 2016-17 year.
Fifth-year dance student Olivia Faveri received the Winters College Fellows Scholarship, awarded to a student with high academic standing who has been exceptionally engaged in college life. A former Winters Council member and past president of the Dance Students’ Association, she described Winters as being like “a family and a home,” with the welcoming atmosphere starting from day one of orientation week, for which she coordinated the academic portion last year.
“Winters supports its students,” Faveri said. “You can talk to John [Mayberry, a theatre professor and master of the college] for advice, and there are grants available to produce your work, extending beyond your class projects.”
With funding from Winters, Faveri co-curated and launched Bloom in 2016 – a student-run choreographic showcase produced by the Dance Students’ Association that took place in downtown Toronto and drew talent from the seven departments within AMPD. With Winters support, the production will continue in future years.
The Winters College Council 50th Anniversary Award was presented to Philip Torrenueva, who is in his fifth year of a concurrent music and education degree. Torrenueva was blown away by Winters’ WIBI a cappella choir when they performed at his frosh week and auditioning was one of his top priorities that first semester. He’s been a member ever since, and served as director for two years and president last year.
“WIBI changed my life,” Torrenueva said. “It’s a professional experience. I’m in touch with alumni from the ensemble, and they give me help and feedback on the music and managing the choir. It’s a valuable network I plan to keep connected with throughout my career.”
Lindsay Vereggen, who just completed her first year in the York/Sheridan Program in Design, received the Master’s Book Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Residence Life.
“First year can be daunting, but I really wanted to make the most of my university experience,” Vereggen said. “Winters was so welcoming, and I made really close friends. I got involved in Residence Council and next year I’m excited to come back with a job as a residence don.”
Vereggen has a summer job lined up in her field, working at a print shop in her home town of Pickering. Her parents attended the awards ceremony and expressed how glad they were that she is returning to Winters residence as a don next year. “Lindsay is really thriving here,” said her father, Ron Vereggen.
Three additional Master’s book prizes were presented for contributions to college life outside of residence. Maddisyn Fisher, Jill Mogado and Nigel D’Souza all mentioned what an honour it was to be recognized.
Fisher, who served as VP Athletics on Winters College Council, is going into fourth year of her combined theatre and education degree. “Intramural sports are an amazing way to keep active. You meet students from across the university and experience a different sort of commitment and closeness with your team,” she said.
Mogado, a communications major, and D’Souza, who focused on theatre production, had just completed their degrees and were set to convocate later that afternoon.
“I lived at Winters in my first year and kept on attending college events throughout my time at York,” D’Souza said. “I made a lot of friends here – everyone was so welcoming, and I feel like I was a friendly face here too. This award confirms for me that I made a difference.”