2021 UTAGA Update from President Puneh Jamshidi

The University of Toronto Association of Geography Alumni (UTAGA), with the help of its caring and committed alumni and student volunteers, were able to navigate successfully through the pandemic. In a time where many feel isolated and removed from friends and family, our ability to meet monthly online has offered respite from the stresses of Covid-19. With our bi-annual leadership change in the start of 2020, we welcomed Puneh Jamshidi and Jenny Jung as our Co-Presidents, Zenon Godzyk as our Vice-President, and Alexander Gambin as our Outreach Coordinator. We were also able to build a stronger relationship with the Toronto Ungraduated Geography Society (TUGS) with help from Jasmin Kara, Teagan Sharrock, Caroline Tam, and Willow Cabral.

Before the pandemic, UTAGA was able to plan and host a Seminar Panel open to the public. The event was titled ‘Sidewalk Labs and the Public: Toronto’s Tech Utopia?’. The Sidewalk Labs Event opened the floor to speakers Alex Mather, Matti Siemiatycki, Shoshanna Saxe, Zhixi C. Zhuang, and moderator Eli Singer. Our speakers provided their insights on the future of “Smart Cities”, discussing the benefits and possible shortcomings, and how Toronto will incorporate these technological advancements in public and private spaces.

Currently, UTAGA is in the planning stages for a Trivia Night and a second Seminar Panel. The Trivia Night invites all alumni and recent graduates to partake in a night of competition and entertainment with questions related to the University of Toronto, the GTA, and Canadian geography. The Seminar Panel will host Jennifer Keesmaat, Nemoy Lewis, Jason Mercer, Abigail Moriah, Diana Petramala, and moderator Eli Singer. This panel of speakers will discuss the implications of Covid-19 with providing affordable housing in a post-pandemic world. Both the Trivia Night and the Seminar Panel event will take place in the fall.

For more updates and notice of our events, please sign-up for the department mailing list. If you are an alum from undergraduate or graduate studies at the department, UTAGA encourages you to join our meetings! To get involved please email events@geog.utoronto.ca.