Student leadership, contributions to campus community celebrated at annual dinner

Group photo - student leaders; photo by Mathisan Paramanathan.
Friday, March 15, 2019

On Tuesday, March 12, OCAD University’s most outstanding student leaders for the academic year 2018/19 were celebrated at our annual Student Recognition awards dinner.

Coordinated by OCAD U's Campus Life office and generously hosted in the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD) in their new space on the third floor of the Experiential Learning Centre in the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, the dinner was catered by Pow Wow Café with Indigenous inspired cuisine. The dinner honoured the contributions of the university’s peer mentors, student groups and other student leaders for excellence in diversity and equity, as student employees, and Indigenous student leadership.  

Emceed by Campus Life international student monitor Monica Zhong, remarks were given by the President, Dr. Sara Diamond, representatives of the Student Union and Interim Vice-President, Academic & Provost Caroline Langill. OCAD U’s student representatives on governance bodies, peer mentors, peer wellness educators in the Health & Wellness Centre, student group leaders were all acknowledged for their great work. Peer mentors Danielle ColemanPatricia LukDaniel Naraindasand Kenny Tranwere all recognized for serving three or more years with a special commitment pin. 

Additionally, awards selected through a nominations process were given out for several categories. 

Ahmad El Sarraff - Student Group Leader Award
Farah Basha and Sabid Ali of OCAD U’s Imagination Catalyst announced Ahmad as the recipient the Student Group Leader Award for his work leading OCAD U’s Muslim Student Association (MSA). This award is presented to a group leader who, through facilitation and involvement, demonstrates outstanding contributions, commitment and support to their group members and the OCAD University community.

Ahmad was recognized for his strong leadership skills and dedication to the MSA, where he has demonstrated professionalism in coordinating regular meetings with best practices like using agendas contributed to by the team. He contributed to rewriting the MSA’s constitution, coordinated various fundraisers and potlucks, and Islamophobia and bystander intervention workshops, and is noted for his patience and willingness to work with others. 

Salisa Jatuweeapong and Roshan Thiruchelvam - Peer Mentor Excellence Awards
The awards were supported and presented by David Thomas of OCAD U’s Alumni Association and Sandra Janzen, Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving.

Salisa was recognized forher timely and effective communications, for being open to and encouraging, face-to-face meetings, for her genuine interest in getting to know mentees personally, for demonstrating knowledge and insight on curriculum, and for highlighting the benefits of community involvement as a resource leading to success. 

Roshan was recognized for his patient, inclusive approach, and the wealth of knowledge and insight he shared as a mentor. He was also recognized for his caring and encouraging nature, his initiative to help mentees navigate the university, its systems and programs, and off-campus community resources.

Nora Bahgat - Diversity & Excellence Student Award
This award acknowledges an outstanding student whose advocacy and leadership promote and advance human rights, equity and social justice. 

Nora was honoured for her work as a Peer Health Educator in OCAD U’s Health & Wellness Centre (HWC), where she has been involved in the Centre’s Cooking and Journaling Clubs. She has also contributed to OCAD Student Union’s Hot Lunch, where she promotes equitable access to nutritious meals, inclusive of gluten-free and vegan options. She has also held active roles with outreach events such as Willows for Wellness and the peer thesis Midnight Project. Nora consistently promotes inclusion and well-being, working towards equity and advocating for marginalized communities. Her work as a board member on the MSA included coordinating a campus workshop on Islamophobia and bystander intervention. She is dedicated to identifying barriers of inclusion and advocates for ways to make OCAD U programming more inclusive and welcoming for Muslim students and students with physical disabilities.

The award was presented to Nora by Gino Marocco and Roshan Thiruchelvam of the Student Union, with Victoria Ho from OCAD U’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives.

Megan Feheley - Indigenous Student Leader Award
This award, presented for the first time, recognizes an outstanding Indigenous student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills by actively participating in and contributing to the Indigenous student community at OCAD U. Melissa General and Connor Pion from OCAD U’s Indigenous Student Centre honoured Megan as the first recipient of this new award. 

Megan was honoured for their contributions as a core member of the Indigenous Students Association and deep involvement, commitment and engagement in Indigenous student event planning, community building and advocacy. Megan has contributed an immense amount of time, labour and love into the community at OCAD U, which is reflected in the many events, shows, student feasts and socials, both on and off of campus, that they have taken part in and/or organized. Megan has participated in, and/or co-organized and co-facilitated Indigenous student exhibitions (Primitive, 2016, Arrive, 2017, and Flux Refusal 2018) as well as student social events such as Creative Native Nights, Halloween parties and end of semester feasts. They have also worked as a Student Monitor at the Indigenous Student Centre, where they go above and beyond to assist with the daily upkeep of the centre, as well as supporting their peers. 

Amanda Amour-Lynx received an honourable mention for the Indigenous Student Leadership Award. 

Setayesh Babaei (Fatemeh) and Danielle Coleman - Student Employee Excellence Awards
Also new this year, this award acknowledges the considerable contributions made by OCAD U student employees (monitors) towards the operations of the university by recognizing student employee excellence, achievement, leadership and skills development. The first ever Student Employee Excellence Awards were presented to Setayesh Babaei (Fatemeh) and Danielle Coleman by Interim Vice-President, Academic & Provost Caroline Langill and Assistant Director of Human Resources, Connie Arezes-Reis.

Setayesh has been employed as a student monitor in various areas (Admissions, Onsite Gallery, Student Union) where she demonstrated strong dedication, commitment, professionalism and high quality work. Her imaginative creativity and ease with collaboration across disciplines have contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of OCAD U operations and services. Her positive and enthusiastic persona, demeanor, and high level of inclusivity and respect help create a safe, friendly and encouraging environment. She is noted as a tremendous role model who embodies OCAD U’s fundamental values and themes.

Danielle is high-spirited, warm and dedicated. Approachable and knowledgeable, Danielle brings a strong sense of pride and leadership to her work and campus involvement. She has held an active position at Ignite Gallery for three years, mentoring and supporting other student monitors. She has provided support for the Drawing & Painting program Chair and student representative for Drawing & Painting Thesis. She speaks eloquently to the benefits of attending OCAD U. As Career Ambassador in the CEAD and peer mentor, she supports the success of her peers, makes connections, and supports the skill development of her classmates. Danielle’s positive attitude creates a safe space for diversity, wellness and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Honourable mentions for the Student Employee Award for 2018/19 are Christina Castellano, Michaela Coyoli Basman Monterrubio, Melissa Gaa, Sabrina Iacono and Nomi Juhasz.

Nora Bahgat and Joel Lee - Excellence in Student Leadership Awards
Finally, this new award recognizes the outstanding contributions of student leaders across the university in a variety of contexts, including (but not limited to) representing student perspectives in positions on OCAD U committees, working groups, task forces, governance bodies (such as the Senate or Board of Governors), or through publications, advocacy groups or the Student Union. President Diamond and Deanne Fisher, Vice-Provost, Students & International awarded the final awards of the evening to Nora Bahgat and Joel Lee. 

Nora was honoured for her work for her active roles as a Peer Health Educator in the HWC, the Student Union’s Hot Lunch program, her involvement in the Willows for Wellness event, her commitments as a board member for the Muslim Students Association, and her approaches to advocating for marginalized communities. 

Joel is noted for his deep belief in reciprocity and commitment to sharing knowledge, contributing towards his strengths as a student leader and community member. He is involved in variety of projects, programs and services on campus. As a student monitor, he is involved in a cross-disciplinary collaboration with Writing & Learning Centre, and Editor-in-Chief of NEST literary journal, a Writing Across the Curriculum initiative. He was also a Student Career Ambassador in the CEAD, where he was instrumental in providing a student’s perspective in the creation of new tools and resources for experiential learning projects and the new Work/Place program. His dedication to advancement and community galvanizes his peers to connect and take advantage of opportunities across campus and beyond.

Honourable mentions for the Excellence in Student Leadership Award for 2018/19 are Khadija Aziz, Setayesh Babaei (Fatemeh), Uttara Ghodke and Roshan Thiruchelvam.

Thank you!
OCAD U’s Campus Life office extends a sincere thank you to everyone who contributed to our selection committees: Connie Arezes-Reis, Farah Basha, Lynn D’Souza, Deanne Fisher, Melissa General, Alex Hong, Amanda Hotrum, Brent Everett James, Tori Maas, Nadia McLaren, Sarah Mulholland, Robyn Shaw, Roshan Thiruchelvam, B.h. Yael and Monica Zhong.

The event would not be possible without the generous financial support of the Alumni Association, Alumni Relations, Financial Aid & Awards, the Indigenous Student Centre, the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, the OCAD Student Union, the Imagination Catalyst, and the offices of the President, the Vice-President, Academic & Provost, and the Vice-Provost, Students & International.

Watch for the 2019/20 academic year student recognition nominations period to open in the new year 2020, and consider nominating a student you know for these important accolades.

Button Making Party & Fundraiser

A poster with large bubble letters "button making party" with scanned images of various buttons or badges around it
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Drop by to draw, collage or bring a printed button design to make into a 1.75" button/pin/badge! Make 2 buttons for a dollar. We'll have drawing and collage supplies available, or you're welcome to bring your own to craft a truly unique accessory. Pins can be a powerful communication tool - express your politics, your aesthetic, your fandoms for the world to see. 

This event hopes to create a fun opportunity for students to get together and create while also raising some money for the zine collective student group and zine library programming. We're hoping to raise enough money to print posters to promote future events and buy healthy snacks for the zine fair happening in March 2019.

Venue & Address: 
Lobby of 100 McCaul Street
Make 2 buttons for $1

Spider Plant Propagation/ grOCAD meeting!

A photograph of a hydroponic garden system built from horizontal pipes on a wooden triangle frame, growing with lush plants
Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 12:45pm

Come out to learn and get your hands dirty at our next meeting! Open to any and all in the OCAD community (student, faculty, staff, taking a year off), whether you're part of the grOCAD student group or not... yet ;)


To match the spookiest day of the year, we'll be propagating spider plants! Sadly, there's nothing all that scary about these air-purifying plants other than how easy they are to grow and how adaptable they are to various light conditions. We'll be trimming and potting baby plants as well as dividing adult plants that have grown so large their roots are choking our watering system.


We'll also take the opportunity to chat about grOCAD projects we are hoping to accomplish this year. At our last meeting, we talked about adding more greenery to the student lounge on the second floor of 100 McCaul and various workshops we could offer. Bring your ideas of how to move these projects forward and how you may want to be involved, or come simply for the plant love!

Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Learning Zone, 113 McCaul, Level 1 (also accessible from 113 McCaul Street)

grOCAD Plant Sale

grOCAD Plant Sale
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 11:00am to 6:00pm

grOCAD is having a plant sale to raise money to support their ongoing projects like their Windowfarm and Aquafarm installations. A variety of houseplants, to name a few like spider plants, golden pothos,  jade and mother of thousands will be on sale.

Anyone who is interested in making a purchase, learning about our projects or how to care for houseplants can pass by. 

About grOCAD:

grOCAD is a group of students, faculty and staff who are working together to integrate plant life to our everyday experience by cultivating areas in and around OCAD U’s campus. grOCAD’s aim is to increase healthy food accessibility, encourage discourse about how plants improve quality of life and heighten awareness to urban agricultural practices.

Venue & Address: 
Main Lobby, 100 McCaul Street

grOCAD Community Garden Meetup

grOCAD Community Garden
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

A call to OCAD U gardeners – students, staff or faculty who are interested in supporting grOCAD’s community garden project, located on the grounds of St. George the Marty at 197 John Street. We need volunteers to help plant/water/harvest herbs and vegetables in summer through fall.

Join us Wednesday June 20 for a planting day. It’s a great opportunity to share and learn about urban gardening. For those who can't attend the meeting but would like to get involved, email us

grOCAD is a group of students, faculty and staff who are working together to integrate plant life to our everyday experience by cultivating areas in andaround OCAD U's campus. grOCAD's aim is to increase healthy food accessibility, encourage discourse about how plants improve quality of life and heighten awareness to urban agricultural practices.

Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1. Also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street.

Proud At OCAD U Art Show

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 6:00pm to Friday, June 29, 2018 - 6:00pm

Proud at OCAD U coordinators, Casey Helm and Teddy Schaub curated this exhibition and here is their perspective on this art show:

The PROUD at OCAD U Exhibition features the work of LGBTQ+ identifying students here at OCAD. Art Exhibition spaces can be inaccessible spaces, especially for those whose identities intersect in different ways. The theme is simple: there is none! The participants were encouraged to bring in work they felt like showing off. PROUD is a community space and focuses on claiming our own space here at OCAD. Copies of the PROUD Community Zine are also available for free in the Learning Zone!

Participants list:

Casey Helm

Jazmin Cordon-Ibanez

Rachel Finlay

J. Lee Bertram-French

Heidi Ku

Vincy Lim

Rachel McCormick

Emily Saunders

Teddy Schaub

Matt Xie

On until June 29

Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1. Also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street.
Proud At OCAD U Art Show poster

Camp Wellness - Health and Wellness Centre

Tie dye tee
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Camp Wellness will take place on a drop-in basis every Tuesday and Thursday throughout June from 1-3:30pm (please see attached poster for complete schedule).  We have a variety of activities planned for Tuesdays - Our first event will be tie-dye t-shirts in Butterfield Park!   On Thursdays we will show a (health or mental health-related) movie at the Health and Wellness Centre, with snacks provided and the option to participate in a facilitated discussion.  

Tuesday June 5: Tie dye event - Do you have an article of clothing or an accessory to transform through the magic of tie dye? Bring it to Butterfield Park on Tuesday! (A limited number of items will also be provided by HWC.  FYI The dye will adhere best to natural fabrics!)
We will be meeting in Butterfield Park near Lambert Lounge at 1pm (look for the red table cloth). You can also meet us at 12:30pm at Health & Wellness to walk over together! 

Thursday June 7: Movie and snacks at Health & Wellness
Meet us at the Health & Wellness Centre (230 Richmond, 6th floor) at 1pm for a relaxing afternoon of snacks and a movie (slumber party theme present but optional). 

Venue & Address: 
Tuesdays in June: Meet at Butterfield Park / Lambert Lounge (100 McCaul room 187); Thursdays in June: Meet at Health and Wellness (230 Richmond, 6th floor)
416-977-6000 x2119
Camp Wellness Schedule

grOCAD Plant Propagation Workshop

A close up photograph of spider plants and english ivy growing in a hydroponic system
Monday, September 25, 2017 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Welcome to the first grOCAD workshop of the semester!

The hydroponics systems in the Learning Zone is overflowing with plants and it's time to propagate! We will be taking a variety of cuttings from our plants and making new plant babies. The babies will be tended to and sold at the grOCAD Plant Sale in October. Funding from the plant sale goes toward maintaining the Learning Zone windowfarm and aquafarm. Come by to help plant new spider plants, snake plants, golden pathos, english ivy and more.

We will be providing information on care for house plants and methods of propagation. If you have plants of your own that are struggling and need advice or if your plants are flourishing and ready to propagate, bring them by! 

Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Learning Zone 113 McCaul Street, Level 1 also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street

grOCAD Plant Sale

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 12:00pm to 4:00pm

grOCAD is selling a variety of houseplants like spider plants, golden pothos, jade and mother of thousands to raise money for some of their on-going projects like their Windowfarm. Please, drop by to make a purchase or learn how to get involve or just talk about plants.

grOCAD is a group of students, faculty and staff who are working together to integrate plant life to our everyday experience by cultivating areas in and around OCAD U’s campus. grOCAD’s aim is to increase healthy food accessibility, encourage discourse about how plants improve quality of life and heighten awareness to urban agricultural practices.

Venue & Address: 
Lobby at 100 McCaul Street, Toronto ON M5T 1W1
free to attend
Poster with text and illustration of a plant in a pot.

MSA: Nintendo 64 Night

Nintendo 64 logo
Friday, March 10, 2017 - 6:30pm to 11:00pm

Student group Muslim Student Association at OCAD U (MSA) invites you to join them for a Nintento 64 game night!

The OCAD U MSA is here to provide and facilitate for Muslims on campus. We’re here to raise awareness about Islam and maintain a peaceful prayer space for Muslims. All Muslim and non-Muslim students, faculty and staff are welcome. 


Venue & Address: 
Room 600, Level 6, 100 McCaul Street