Arts & Science Students' Union (ASSU)
Founded in 1972, the Arts & Science Students’ Union (ASSU) is the academic student union for over 27,000 full-time undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto. Based in Sidney Smith, Room 1068, ASSU is made up of over 60 course unions, 7 elected executives, and 3 staff members. Course unions are the core of the Arts and Science Students’ Union. From A to Z, Anthropology to Women & Gender Studies and all the ones in between, these academic unions represent the students in disciplines within the Faculty of Arts & Science. By taking any Arts & Science course, you are automatically a part of a course union! We have over 60 active course unions offering several academic and social services for their members. While each course union is unique, both in vision and in form, all share the common goals of meeting students’ needs and representing students’ views. Showing support for your course union is an excellent way to actively get involved on campus.
What We Do
Through our structure of course unions, we collaborate with students and community members to hold events, change policies, improve programs, run campaigns, and provide support for academic grievances.
As an undergraduate Arts & Science student, ASSU is your union and it’s our responsibility to work alongside you in pushing for the changes you would like to see on campus. We meet monthly with the Dean of Arts & Science and Faculty members to advocate on behalf of your academic interests and well-being, leading to many positive results including the implementation of Fall Reading Week, policy changes with regards to CR/NCR, and the 24-hour study space at Robarts Library.
Alongside course union funding that goes towards research conferences, academic journals, seminars, social events, academic guidance and more, ASSU has created numerous ongoing projects. Our annual Undergraduate Research Conference provides students the opportunity to showcase their scholarly research; our biannual Exam Jam immediately preceding the start of exam season allows students to de-stress with friendly dogs and free massages, and invites professors to host last-minute exam prep seminars. We continue to work on projects that aim to broaden our reach and speak to student interests, including the ASSU Mentorship Program, our ‘Moving on From’ social campaign, and the upcoming release of the Arbor Journal of Undergraduate Research. Our (bright pink) office is also an accessible and welcoming space that offers a multitude of useful resources for our students, including access to our past test library of over 500 courses, printing and photocopying services, faxing and telephone services, and health and wellness supplies.
Events, Services, and Initiatives
Scholarships, Awards, & Bursaries - $0.97
We offer various awards recognizing those on campus who support undergraduate A&S students; and scholarships recognizing exceptional contributions to our campus or greater communities through extra-curricular involvement. We grant financial needs bursaries to students in order to make education more accessible. We provide donations to support campus student groups to organize events. We help fund travel for undergraduates to present their work at academic conferences around the world.
Social Events - $1.36
We host various socials throughout the year (such as our Open Mic Night where we showcase the talent of our undergraduates) and our annual ASSU Social at the end of the year where we present to our Award Winners. We also fund Course Unions which allows them to organize activities (game and movie nights, pub nights, socials) for the students in their departments/programs. These activities are a great way to build community by allowing students to get to know each other and the instructors.
Club Funding (Orientation Day) – $0.19
This funding supports ASSU and our academic Course Unions to participate in the UTSU Clubs Carnival Day and Street Festival during Orientation Week. It helps promote the services and programming we offer and introduces students to their academic union.
Campaigns - $0.06
We organize with various student groups across campus to advocate for our students, consult with you, inform, and bring our students together.
Plan International Sponsorship - $0.01
For over 20 years, ASSU has sponsored a child through Plan International - global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls.
Conferences & Meetings - $0.03
This funding supports ASSU to attend student leadership conferences and provide light refreshments at various meetings such as ASSU Council.
Student Success Day High School Conference - $0.09
This conference invites marginalized high school students in the Toronto Area to our campus to engage in a series of workshops run by various academic Course Unions within the Faculty of Arts & Science and other professional faculties or student groups. The goal of this conference is to showcase the diverse departments and different areas of study at the University of Toronto and promote university as a possible post-secondary pathway.
Universal Minds (tutoring high school students) - $0.39
This is a Co-Curricular Record accredited volunteer-based tutoring program geared towards struggling students in high schools around our campus. This program provides university students with valuable professional development such as teaching experience and building on their communication skills while showing high school students the opportunities available to them in post-secondary education.
Get Involved with ASSU!
It is our mission as your union to work towards projects, changes, and events that you would like to see happen during your time as an undergrad. We are always open to hear, speak, and learn from you! Our hours of operation and contact information can be found at www.assu.ca/contact-us.
Many students come into our office looking to get involved with ASSU, and there are plenty of opportunities for students within the Arts & Science community! One of the most immediate ways to get involved is with your course unions. If you are unfamiliar with the course unions, or are unsure of the ones which represent your field of study, you can find the list of recognized course unions under ASSU at www.assu.ca/course-unions/.