By Brennan Doherty
Ashisha Persaud began planning the largest student group fair the Ryerson Commerce Society (RCS) has ever hosted before she’d even been elected as its president.
“I started thinking ‘What are some new things that we could possibly bring?'” said the fifth year business management student. “One of the few things we hadn’t done was collaborate – like, actually host events – with other societies’ groups.”
She began meeting with Tyler Webb, president of the Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS) and Urooj Siddiqui, president of the Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS) last May. All three student societies fund and advise dozens of student groups across a variety of disciplines – from engineering projects to networking sessions, all aimed at giving students realworld experience and connecting them to industry professionals.
The results of their work filled the seventh and eighth floors of the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) on Jan. 15 as part of “Frost Week”, a week-long event hosted by RCS the week after winter break. Two groups from RCDS, 14 from RESS, and 22 from RCS hemmed in hundreds of students leaving afternoon classes.
“I was looking at Toastmasters, just because it would be nice to develop public speaking skills,” said Stephanie Gu, a first-year business management student. “Since I’m in business, I’m probably going to be public speaking.”
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between the industry and people who want to be in the industry,” said Prateek Ahluwalia, a fourthyear business technology management student.
He’s one of the people behind the Ryerson Commerce and Arts Association, a new group devoted to help performance artists promote themselves and their work to financial backers, who then launch their careers.
Plenty of new groups scrambled to get a booth ready for the fair – especially from RCDS.
“We actually just launched as an official student group on Sunday (Jan. 11),” said Robyn Hoja, a second-year creative industries student and president of RCDS’s newest group, the Ryerson Musical Theatre Company.
“One of my personal goals is to be able to connect with each faculty individually, to get a really great presence within TRSM, within engineering, within the science faculty … I’d love to be able to make those connections so that more students know who we are,” Hoja said.
Initially, the fair was supposed to be held in a building with no ties to one particular program or faculty.
“We actually wanted to do this event at the Kerr Hall gym so that it would be more of a central area to get students out there, but then it was tough to actually book it,” Persaud said.
There was little advertising of the event outside of TRSM. Persaud said it would have eaten up too much time.
“If we had tried to promote it in all the buildings [on campus], it wouldn’t happen until the third week of school. That’s when everyone’s thinking about assignments and midterms and they won’t stop,” Persaud said. “But you see a lot of people stopping and talking to groups now.”