The third annual Science Literacy Week last week featured activities to show the diversity and excellence of Canadian science, according to the Science Literacy website. The initiative was one of 420 SLW campaigns across Canada.
This year’s theme, “The Past, Present, and Future”, was selected by the SLW Working Group, the chief organizing body of the nation-wide initiative.
Andrew Nicholson, a member of the UTM-specific Working Group and a librarian at the Hazel McCallion Academic Skills Centre, stated in an email to The Medium that this year’s SLW was meant to reflect the progression of science over time.
“We had well over 25 volunteers helping us this year, including many students, staff, and faculty,” Nicholson wrote. “We also had two student clubs and their members giving their time to demonstrate science with experiments and several earth-related artifacts, including fossils.”
Activities for this year’s science week included tours of a newly-constructed research greenhouse—located between the Hazel McCallion Academic Skills Centre and Parking Lot 9—by Professor Steven Chatfield of the biology department.
The week also included a trip to the Credit River Valley by Dr. Dan Schulze of the Department of Earth Sciences, and an informational seminar on 445 million-year-old fossils by Vikram Chochinov of the John Tuzo Wilson Club, a student-run geology club.
Hands-on science demonstrations and STEM-related book displays were present at the library for the duration of the week. The subject matter of these displays covered “The History of Science”, “The Evolution of Life”, and “Science Technology over the Years.”
Nicholson stated that over the duration of the week’s existence, the program has been a “tremendous” success in raising student awareness of science and how much it impacts day-to-day lives. He added that participation, compared to previous years, had also grown in 2016.
UTM also received help from Let’s Talk Science, an organization that promotes public involvement in STEM fields.
Nationally, the SLW campaign has signed partnerships with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, as well as some 140 other sponsors.
Science Literacy Week was originally created in 2014 by Jesse Hildebrand, an ecology major at the University of Toronto. In its founding year, the initiative was based in only four libraries—York University Libraries, Toronto Public Library, Mississauga Public Libraries, and the University of Toronto Libraries.
Science Literacy Week currently transpires in over 60 cities across Canada.