Trinity College’s Academic Dons and Community Advisors

Posted: September 03, 2020

Academic Dons and Community Advisors are here for Trinity students!

 

Academic Dons and Community Advisors (CAs) are committed to helping build community at Trinity College. The Dons are there for everyone (residence or non-residence/commuter). CAs, although focused on residence students, also do activities for everyone. Both groups are here to help you feel a sense of belonging, make connections and friends! Get to know a few of our Dons/CAs.

Who are the Academic Dons?

Trinity’s Academic Dons are graduate and professional students at the University of Toronto. They are available to all Trinity students, both resident, and commuter, for consultations on academic studies.

What do they do? Everyone needs some expert support from time to time. If students have questions about their studies—readings, essays, exam preparation, problem sets, how to improve grades, courses to take, etc.— they can email a Don of their choice to arrange a consultation. Academic Dons also offer seminars related to courses and general academic skills.

The Academic Dons also understand how students’ personal and academic lives are closely intertwined, and they receive extensive training to support students in their accessibility, equity, and health needs. Academic Dons can provide guidance, support, and resources for any personal situations students may be managing. They aim to act as patient, non-judgemental mentors to ensure that students are ready to face the challenges of undergraduate life.

Community Building: The Academic Dons also do community building in their areas, both on their own and with the CAs (an example being last year’s hugely successful Harry Potter Trivia Night). They also offer support to students when needed, and are an excellent resource for connecting students to different services on campus and in Toronto. Academic Dons also provide academic support to all Trinity students (commuter and residence). They can give test and exam review, essay review, lab help, and general academic advice. They also participate in an overnight on-call rotation and respond to after-hours emergencies as needed

Who are the Community Advisors?

Community Advisors (CAs) are undergraduate students who live in residence. Their role is to build, promote, and maintain safe, supportive, and inclusive residence communities at the College. Through formal and informal programs, events, and activities, the CAs will support the Office of the Dean of Students’ mission in promoting the personal and academic growth and development of students and support their transition to university and residence life.

Since they are undergraduate students themselves, the CAs easily relate to students and understand their different needs throughout the year. CAs provide many great social opportunities for students to get to know each other, the university, and the city! On top of that, the Community Advisors can provide one-on-one support to students who need a listening ear or a referral to other campus resources.

Residence students are encouraged to contact their CAs if they have fun and exciting ideas for programs and events they’d like to see in the community!

Community Building: CAs focus entirely on residence community building and connecting with students. Their role is to create safe, supportive, and fun communities for their students and act as a support and provide resources when needed. They plan area and building-wide events, do one-on-ones with students and plan things such as area dinners (for example). The CAs also plan stressbusters during exam time. The most popular stressbuster they did last year was host evening exam-study in Strachan Hall, where they had coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and had programs for students to participate in when taking study breaks.

Trinity's Academic Dons and CAs 2019-2020

Trinity’s Academic Dons and Community Advisors 2019-2020

How are they different from the Dons? The main differences between the CAs and Dons are that:

  • CAs are undergraduate students;
  • CAs don’t have any academic responsibilities; and
  • CAs do not have any on-call responsibilities (only Dons are on-call).

The Academic Dons and CAs are not the only people dedicated to building community at Trinity College. The College has Mental Health Advisors, Peer Advisors, Work Study Students, and other groups who are also here to support students.


Get to Know a few of Trinity’s Academic Dons and Community Advisors 2020-2021

Emily Gilbert

What is your role? What do you do?  Academic Dons are Uof T Graduate students or Professional Program students. We are here to help students succeed academically. We meet with students for 30-60 minute appointments to review academic work. To schedule an appointment, please email the Don.

Why did you want to be a Don?  I love working and living in community, and supporting students throughout their undergraduate degree.

Where are you from?  Downtown Toronto.

What is your year and field of study?  I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology and the School of the Environment.

What is your favourite memory at Trinity?  My favourite memories from Trin are from conversations I have with students in Strachan Hall. I find Strachan Hall such a great place to meet with students informally and to check in with them to see how they are doing. I also enjoy attending the Wednesday High Tables where students, staff, and faculty are able to interact over a meal.

What is your favourite book or movie?  Book – Sand in My Shoe by Helen Bagley.

Night Owl or Morning Person?  Morning Person.

Where is your favourite place to eat around Trinity?  Strachan Hall or a picnic in the quad.

Where is your favourite hangout spot at or near Trinity?  The Graham Library quad in the spring or fall.

What do you like to do on your downtime?  Go biking in the ravine.

Rachel Berger-Vlifanoff

What is your role? What do you do?  I’m a Community Advisor (CA). Community Advisors live on residence and help to hold events and facilitate social connections in their specific residence areas, and in the college at large. We’re also here to offer general support to students who may need advice, help accessing a U of T service, or just someone to talk to.

Why did you want to be a CA?  Personally I wanted to be a CA because I enjoy being able to act as a mentor to other students. The transition into university life can be really intimidating at first, I know I was terrified when I first came to Trin. But I ended up loving it here and I want to make sure that other students have the support that they need to also have a really positive experience at Trin, and at U of T in general.

Where are you from?  I’m from Winnipeg, Manitoba!

What is your year and field of study?  I’m going into my fourth year and I’m doing a double major of Mathematics and History with a minor in English.

What is your favourite memory at Trinity?  I think my favourite memory would probably be the TrinWizard Tournament that we held last year. It was this huge, very elaborate Harry Potter Trivia night organized by the Dons, CAs, and Heads, and it was just so well organized and run with so much dedication and attention to detail. As someone who loves Harry Potter I couldn’t have asked for a better night!

What is your favourite book or movie?  I think that my favourite book is probably Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and my favourite movie is the Grand Budapest Hotel.

Night Owl or Morning Person?  Night owl, though I wish I were a morning person!

Where is your favourite place to eat around Trinity?  Probably Sushi on Bloor, it has really good lunch/dinner deals!

Where is your favourite hangout spot at or near Trinity?  I really like the St. Hilda’s Green Roof when the weather is nice!

What do you like to do on your downtime?  I really enjoy just being around my friends, whether we’re just hanging out and chatting, playing cards/boardgames, or going out for food. When I’m on my own I also like to just chill and watch Youtube, or maybe to go for a light workout at one of the U of T gyms.

Natalie Galant

What is your role? What do you do?  As an Academic Don, I provide academic guidance to students within my academic specialty (Life Sciences). In addition to my academic responsibilities, I also act as a resource advisor for students who live in residence.

Why did you want to be a Don?  I really enjoy working with students, especially during the different stages of their undergraduate studies.

Where are you from?  Toronto, Canada.

What is your year and field of study?  I completed my undergraduate and PhD studies at the University of Toronto. I am now a postdoctoral research fellow.

What is your favourite memory at Trinity?  I have made so many great memories while at Trinity, it’s hard to pick just one! Probably all the great dinnertime conversations I have had with my colleagues in Strachan over the years.

What is your favourite book or movie?  Too difficult to choose!

Night owl or morning person?  Morning.

Where is your favourite place to eat around Trinity?  Strachan – the salad bar is my favourite.

Where is your favourite hangout spot at or near Trinity?  Strachan is always great.

What do you like to do on your down time?  I really enjoy attending Hart House’s drop-in fitness classes.