Students living in residence at York University have many events to look forward to, thanks to the Residence Life team, and among the most popular of these events is the annual Residence Spirit Cup competition. During this fundraising event, students living in the residences at the Keele Campus are pitted building against building to compete in various events during the fall and winter semesters with the goal of winning the prized spirit cup and infinite bragging rights.
Residence Life hosts six Spirit Cup events each academic year – including a talent show, trivia night and cupcake decorating contest – says Residence Life Coordinator Nethmi Kulatilake. The fourth event, a fundraising week, took place Jan. 17 to 23.
“All students in residence can earn points for their building simply by showing up and participating,” says Kulatilake. While the rubrics look slightly different for each event, all events are scored on building attendance and participation.
“As a student living in residence, there is ample opportunity for you to get involved and the annual Spirit Cup is one of those ways you can get together with friends (this year, virtually), demonstrate some building pride, and generally enjoy a fun evening with your Dons and fellow students. Fundraising Week was a big initiative this year and I am very proud of the Don committee who worked tirelessly to put together a great week for their students,” said Kulatilake.
Over the course of seven days, residence Dons planned and implemented a variety of fundraising events within their respective buildings, each with a strong purpose: to bring attention, awareness and donations to a charity they chose and felt a connection with. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events were run virtually, meaning innovation was required. Dons in Founders Residence, who were fundraising for Covenant House, a local Toronto charity that supports youth who are homeless, trafficked, or at risk, ran a virtual “Dare your Don” event. This event brought out a high level of energy and laughter – something much appreciated during the provincial shutdown – while students had the chance to give back to the community. The dares ranged from who was the quickest to finish a plate of fries without using hands, to shaving off eyebrows and having legs waxed.
“Beyond the entertainment aspect of it, Dare your Don was a really great opportunity for us to further connect and build community for our residents. And I think it is through this type of community-building that we can drive home the message of why fundraising is important, because it is all about giving back to our communities and facilitating this feeling of connection and camaraderie,” said Residence Don Yumna Ikram.
One of the priorities this year in planning Fundraising Week was to ensure students had an opportunity to participate in events to give back to their community, whether they were able to donate or not. As such, in addition to donating cash, students were able to earn points by attending virtual events, engaging in social media campaigns, and donating non-perishable food items.
The introduction of non-perishable donations was included this year by the organizing Don committee to allow all residence buildings on campus to work towards the same goal: collect non-perishable items for Youth Without Shelter, another local charity organization that aims to house and support youth facing homelessness in the Greater Toronto Area. A total of 616 non-perishable items were collected and will be donated to the organization once shutdown restrictions are lifted.
Students and staff living in residence also raised a total of $3680.25 which have been donated to a variety of charity organizations, including:.
- Canadian Cancer Society – $410
- North York Food Harvest – $456.25
- Covenant House – $1041
- Sunrise Youth Group – $1340
- The SickKids Foundation – $58
- Youth Without Shelter – $375
“Having to pivot this year’s fundraising initiatives to a virtual setting, we knew our team would need to be creative to engage students and we were extremely pleased with how the week’s events went with students learning about these important causes while raising funds,” said Daryl Nauman, director, Residence Life (Division of Students).
For more information on these events, visit the Residence Life website.