Every year, the York Federation of Students presents a week-long event to welcome students back to campus: YorkFest. This year, YorkFest was held from September 25 to 30 and was packed with fun and excitement, including a free concert starring Tory Lanez and a Cirque du Soleil show.
One of the highlights of YorkFest (and my favourite event!) is the Festival Village, where York U’s 300+ clubs and 9 Colleges come out to the Campus Walk to let students know what they’re all about. I had the opportunity to tour Festival Village this year and take in all the sights and sounds. In addition to learning about the different ways I could get involved on campus, I enjoyed meeting new people and grabbing some club swag. After talking to several club members and executives, I was inspired by their passion and efforts on behalf of the initiatives they care about. Without further ado, I am excited to share some of the cool York U clubs I talked to here!
Team Unbreakable is a recreational running group on campus that focuses on running as a way to stay mentally and physical healthy. They meet four times a week and members are free to participate during the times that work for them. Runners of all levels are welcome and practices start off slow, alternating between running and walking. At the end of each semester, the team runs together in a 5km race.
Why You Should Join: You should join if you want to exercise with others and be part of a supportive community of runners. It’s a great way to de-stress, be healthy and stay motivated as a team.
Hear It from a Current Member’s Experience: “At the end of my second year, we ran in High Park and we did an 8km run. It was the most I’ve ever run before and I didn’t know if I could do it. I went out there and I tried. I really enjoyed it!” – Nicholas
The RAK Project
The RAK Project (Random Acts of Kindness) is a movement of students performing acts of kindness for other students to demonstrate that everyone is valued and has a place at York U. Members conduct large-scale acts of kindness on specific dates, such as giving out roses on Valentine’s Day.
Fun fact: Yaakov Green, York U alumnus and co-founder of The RAK Project, started the club to celebrate York’s diverse community and contribute to an atmosphere of happiness and wellness on campus. These same passions have led him to pursue his medical degree at Yale University. Way to go, Yaakov!
Why You Should Join: You should join if you love to make people smile, spread positivity, and most of all, inspire others to be kind.
Hear It from a Current Member’s Experience: “In March, we give out study packs in Scott Library and whenever we give something to a student, we never expect anything back from them. As we were packing up one day, one of the girls came up to us and gave us $5 and said ‘You know what, you can either keep it for your own club or donate it to some other place you feel fit.’ That same day, there was an organization looking for donations for youth education and so we donated her $5 there. This random act of kindness towards us created another act of kindness and it make me tear up a little.” – Harpreet
The York University Kendo Club
The York University Kendo Club teaches the footwork, striking patterns and sword holding techniques of kendo, a Japanese martial art. The Senseis, instructors who teach kendo, are very experienced and so teach the basics. From now to October 12, the club is offering a free three-week trial period. Those who are interested in trying kendo can bring their gym clothes and drop by the Tait Mckenzie gym. The training sessions are held every Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm and every Saturday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. The fees are $155 for the whole year and include the sword, also known as the Shinai, and the bag to protect it.
Why You Should Join: You should join if you want to try an interesting and unique sport and learn alongside your peers. Kendo is good for both mental and physical health and you will learn Japanese swordsmanship and improve your coordination.
Hear It from a Current Member’s Experience: “We go all over Canada for tournaments. My most memorable experience was going to Carleton for a tournament. It was a great experience.” -Alec
Peace by PEACE
Peace by PEACE is an organization that teaches students from grades four to six about conflict resolution, self empowerment, bullying and critical thinking skills. Members first participate in a six-week training program where they are taught about the curriculum and how to manage classrooms. In January, they take part in an eleven-week program where they visit elementary schools and teach life skills through interactive activities, games, and round-table discussions.
Why You Should Join: You should join if you want to foster change and inspire youth who are the leaders of tomorrow. You will be acting as a role model and mentor, helping children to overcome their personal obstacles and providing them with practical skills.
Hear It from a Current Member’s Experience: “My most memorable experience was the first time a student pulled me aside at the end of class and asked to talk to me about something that happened that day. My entire team had to leave and catch their bus, but I stayed with her and talked it through. The next week, she told me the talk worked. She was a new student at the school and she was nervous about something had happened on the playground. The next week, by talking to other people and using the tools we taught her, she was interacting with her fellow students and felt comfortable where she was.” -Sarah
Jam for Justice York
Jam for Justice York promotes social development and well-being through creative means, specifically with art and music. As a member, you can volunteer at events and perform at their annual concert, Concerts For Comfort (C4C). During C4C, volunteer musicians and performers from across Canada come together to show their talents and perform at hospitals and retirements homes to support well-being through music.
Why You Should Join: You should join if you want to use your creative passions for community service. You will be involved with fun and inclusive events that include music, social justice awareness and fundraising at York University.
Hear It from a Current Member’s Experience: “I don’t have a memorable experience in particular because everything is so enriching. To have this experience and be able to volunteer with like-minded students is something that I could not have imagined. My favourite event is Concerts for Comfort, where volunteers came together for a simple event to make a huge difference.” – Tenzin
See a club that caught your eye? Don’t hesitate to join and make the most of your university experience! To find the full directory of clubs at York University, check out YU Connect. You can also find your Co-Curricular Record on the YU Connect website, which is a handy resource that tracks your extracurricular involvement and can demonstrate your skills and volunteer experience on your resumé. Access your Co-Curricular Record by clicking the My Involvement tab on YU Connect. Looking for more ways to make your mark on campus? Read our previous YU Blog post “Great Ways to Get Involved at York U.”
How do you get involved on campus? Comment below or tweet us on Twitter at @YorkUStudents.