Spring is upon us, and as always, it’s an exciting time of the year at Hart House. Here are some updates and reflections since the last issue of the "Hart House Quarterly".

The results are in! Student engagement with the House and its programing is soaring. We recently completed our annual Highly Involved Student Survey (HISS) with record levels of participation. Students are telling us that we are reaching our goal of creating a space for exploring, learning and belonging. Top three highlights include:

  • 87 percent agreed or strongly agreed that Hart House feels like a supportive and caring community;
  • 91 percent agreed or strongly agreed that Hart House is an inclusive space for students at U of T; and
  • 91 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with their Hart House experience.

We're so proud of the impact of our work with students and we look forward to building on this success.

Spring is the transition time for old and new Hart House Committee executives. We are pleased to say we had a record year of voters for the committee chair elections - an indication of students’ excitement in participating in campus life as well as what Hart House has to offer. A big thank you to those staff and students who made the election process happen so smoothly, and a huge congratulations to the newly named committee chairs! I encourage you to read more about each commitee chair and get to know more about the work of Hart House Committees.

Congratulations are also in order for Hart House’s recipients of the University of Toronto Student Leadership Awards (UTSLA) for their outstanding leadership and their volunteer contributions to U of T. They join the company of more than 4,000 students whose commitment and volunteerism have made a lasting impact on their peers and the University.

The winners are Kathryn Beukeboom (Steward, Hart House Student Farm Committee); Anthony Palermo (Artistic Director, English & Drama Student Society UTM); Samara Tower (Co-Chair and Steward, Hart House Student Theatre Committee); Eugenia Wong (Chair, Hart House Art Committee); and Allison Zhao (Co-Chair, Hart House Student Literary and Library Committee). Thank you to all the staff that put the nominations together for our exceptional student leaders.

Student leaders at Hart House were also honoured via our own awards. I want to congratulate this year’s winners of the Hart House Awards, the Audrey Hozack Student Leadership Award and the Judi Schwartz Memorial Scholarships. I encourage you all to read about the awards here and see the story about the winners in the Quarterly, profiled below.

Spaces and Places are Buzzing with Service Excellence

A hearty congratulations to the Facilities Team, acknowledged for Service Excellence via the Exemplary University of Toronto Ambassador (EUTA) Award. A huge shout out to Jimmy Cheung (Director, Facilities & Capital Projects) for his exceptional leadership that led to this win. 

Established last year, these Awards acknowledge individuals and teams that have furthered the strategic priorities of their unit, department, faculty or division, and made a significant, positive impact on the University.

An excerpt from the award committee reads: “Team members who receive the award exemplify service excellence and are ambassadors to our community of students, faculty, librarians, staff and alumni. The Team was recognized for making the spaces of the century-old Hart House and Hart House Farm more accessible and more sustainable than ever before. The Hart House Facilities Team continues to embody the ‘True Blue’ attitude through their commitment to building, enhancing, maintaining and monitoring spaces where our students and other members of the Hart House community can engage safely and fully with the arts, dialogue and wellness both now and in the years to come.”

The exemplary work of our Facilities Team continues to shine: the Arbor Room achieved a certification level of Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Gold. Hart House is the first on campus to receive the Gold certification. Congratulations to the team that ensured that the Arbor Room and Universal Washroom were built to meet all the criteria for accessibility and, ultimately, this outstanding achievement. 

Hospitality services have returned strong, post COVID, and people are enjoying our spaces and services in large numbers. You will have, no doubt, noticed the wondrous Arbor Room transformation! In late winter, our Hospitality Team assumed the operations and after a brief closure, the facility reopened in early March. I extend a heartfelt thank you to Aron Mohr (Director, Hospitality Services) and Marco Tucci (Executive Chef and Culinary Operations Manager), along with their teams, in leading the expansion of our operations. Thanks also to everyone who has been an integral part of this exciting transition. The energy and vibe has been revitlized in the space. Every time I go down there, I can barely find an empty seat!

I encourage everyone to check out the Arbor Room, find a sunny spot on the patio when it opens in May, and try something on the delicious new menu that Marco and his team have cooked up. I also encourage you all to follow the new Instagram handle @arborroom_harthouse for important updates on the new menu and other offerings.

And with that, I hope you enjoy this Spring 2023 issue of the Hart House Quarterly. Articles include:

Please stay in touch, and we look forward to seeing you throughout the Spring Term.

Sherry Kulman, Interim Warden