The University of Toronto has launched a new online hub that brings together a diverse array of content from across the university’s three campuses to support its global network of alumni.
At a time when health authorities continue to warn against large gatherings and non-essential trips outside, the #StayHome hub connects alumni and others to everything from virtual book clubs and livestream music performances to COVID-19 webinars and online courses focused on mental health.
“We wanted to make U of T’s innovative alumni programming available online, at a time when our global community needs it the most,” says Barbara Dick, U of T’s assistant vice-president, alumni relations.
“Spring is normally when thousands of people would be returning to our campuses for Alumni Reunion. Rather than trying to recreate the reunion experience digitally, the #StayHome hub provides myriad ways for alumni to stay connected, while they prioritize their health and well-being by staying home.”
“We have been steadily increasing our virtual engagement programming over the past few years,” says Dick. “During this pandemic, we have focused even more on connecting alumni virtually. The programming at the #StayHome hub is helping those of us at home through self-improvement strategies, educational courses, relaxation and physical conditioning classes, and tools and resources from leading U of T experts on COVID-19.”
While the #StayHome hub predominantly hosts programming, content and resources directed to alumni, offerings are also available for all of U of T’s faculty, staff and students and are updated weekly.
One of the many opportunities available through the hub is a MOOC – or Massively Open Online Course – called Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19. Taught by Steve Joordens, a professor of psychology at U of TScarborough, the course teaches skills that could help alumni lessen anxiety surrounding the pandemic. To date, more than 5,000 alumni have registered for the course, which is available free through Coursera until May 29.
More than 5,000 U of T alumni have signed up for Steve Joordens’s free online course (screengrab)
“The course by Professor Joordens is one of many ways the university is helping alumni to stay inspired and informed by some of Canada’s top researchers and teachers,” says Dick.
“We hope that by engaging with their alma mater through opportunities like this, our alumni can learn, thrive and stay connected until we all get the chance to be together in person again.”