Fall Reading Week for Guelph?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

  • Courtesy CSA

    Courtesy CSA

Written by Peter Miller


Semesters are jam packed with midterms, assignments, essays, and lab reports. Along with school, many students also have jobs to help pay for university.

Reading week in the winter semester is certainly a welcome time for students to relax, catch up on studying, visit family, and take a step back.

The University of Guelph has a reading week in the winter semester but no reading week in the fall semester. The Central Students Association is trying to change this by launching a campaign for a Fall Reading Week.

Eight universities in Ontario have a fall reading week, including Brock, Carleton, Ryerson, and the University of Ottawa.

“In addition, five universities have some form of break in the fall semester, like York University’s co-curricular days on October 30 to November 3 and Western University’s Fall Study Break From October 30 to 31,” Julia Forster the CSA’s Academic and university Affairs Commissioner told the Cannon.ca.

For the CSA, a fall reading week would help students in multiple ways. For instance, it can certainly help with student’s mental health to have the chance to relax and catch up on schoolwork.

“A reading week in the fall semester would also ease the transition for first year students, when transition from high-school to university can be a difficult time. An extended break would prove beneficial as this is often the first time students get to go home for the semester to be surrounded by their support network,” Forster added.

Students could also use the fall reading week to get the chance to further develop their volunteer opportunities. For Forster, the break could help students reflect further on their studying, giving them extra time to think about their university experience, and also give extra time to think about whether they need to drop a course or not.

Of course, a fall reading week would help other members of the campus community and not only students.

“An additional week would also provide instructors and teaching assistants more time to catch up on marking, paperwork, class preparation, and research.”

The campaign is in its initial stages.

“The ultimate purpose of this campaign for the winter semester is to generate awareness and spark conversation about the topic”, Forster said.

Campaign volunteers plan to spend a day talking to students in the UC courtyard asking them what they think about a fall reading week. Posters that feature squirrels holding signs calling for a fall reading week will be all over campus soon as a way to grab the campuses attention.

The campaign has received a positive response so far.

“A survey was released to students in the fall semester about the addition of one day to the October long weekend and multiple students asked, “why not a full reading week?” We hope to gain more feedback through the campaign, but so far there has been a lot of support.”

According to Forster, one of the reasons why the University of Guelph has not implemented a fall reading week is because classes start after Labour Day, and students are promised to have their grades released by Christmas. One way to implement a fall reading week would be to schedule exams on Sundays, and start the semester earlier. A fall reading week would ultimately result in a shorter winter break or a shorter summer break, but so far, student opinion seems to be calling for a reading week agreeing it will provide all the benefits mentioned above.

“A proposal was just sent by the CSA to the Board of Undergraduate Studies and Board of Graduate Studies Joint Committee asking for an additional day following the October 14 long weekend and asking for the creation of a Working Group to fully assess the viability of a Fall Reading Week,” Forster added.



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