U of T Engineering student clubs bolstered by alumni giving

 Jeremy Wang holding a rocket
Jeremy Wang (year 4 EngSci), executive director of the University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT), said that the financial support UTAT receives from alumni donors is critical to the team’s success. (Photo: Tyler Irving)

Ask Jeremy Wang (Year 4 EngSci) about the importance of alumni support to the University of Toronto Aerospace Team (UTAT), and he will tell you it has launched the club to new heights.

UTAT was one of 108 student clubs and initiatives reviewed and funded by the Faculty’s new Centralized Process for Student Initiative Funding (CPSIF) committee in 2015–2016. In total, $263,036 was awarded to the clubs. CPSIF simplifies the funding application process for students, allowing clubs to apply for multiple sources of support with a single application.

“The alumni funding that we were given from the U of T Engineering community is one of the biggest contributions we receive,” said Wang, executive director of UTAT, one of Canada’s largest and most technically diverse design teams. “For as long as I’ve been a part of this team, that support has been critical to the innovation that we do.”

Wang, who is also senior engineering designer with UTAT’s rocketry division, said the team is aiming to break the Canadian altitude record for amateur rocket launch, and the financial support they have received puts them one step closer to that goal.

“We feel comfortable with the technical side of designing a rocket to reach a record-setting altitude,” he said. “The real challenge is securing financial resources to build something like that. The support of the alumni community means that we can now go after more ambitious goals — not just competing in student competitions anymore. Now we’re aiming to break records that can be set by anybody. I think that’s really exciting.”

Student clubs are an essential part of the co-curricular ecosystem at U of T Engineering. Undergraduates and graduate students have the opportunity to join more than 100 clubs and teams, ranging from the Skule™ Orchestra to the Blue Sky Solar Racing team. The success of many of these clubs is tied directly to the financial support they receive each year through CPSIF.

“The donations we receive from alumni, whether it be to the Faculty or departments, go to support incredible extra-curricular opportunities which enhance the learning and student experience,” said Sonia De Buglio (ChemE 9T4, MASc 9T8), director of alumni relations at U of T Engineering. “All donations matter. Whether it’s $20 or $2,000, cumulatively, your donations allow us to support student clubs within the Faculty at a new level.”

De Buglio said that the Faculty is also focused on communicating the importance of alumni giving to current students, who will soon be alumni themselves and remember the support they received.

“The goal is to continue the wonderful Skule™ tradition of paying it forward,” she said.

Dedicated space for student clubs is also a central feature of the forthcoming Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CEIE). On the lower level, engineering students will have access to a versatile space, allowing them to collaborate on group projects and other activities associated with the Faculty’s clubs and societies. Supported by a generous $1 million commitment from the Engineering Society, this space will also be available for constructing design projects and hosting social events.

Read the 2015-2016 Student Club Funding Report to see the full impact of alumni giving towards the student experience.

Visit uoft.me/supportskule to give today.