Stephenson House Online

Located at 63 Charles St. West, Toronto, Ontario – Stephenson House was Victoria College at the University of Toronto's true student co-operative housing residence reflecting the will of Dr. Stephenson… now this blog will serve as an archive of memories of its last year (2009-2010) and for those house members to stay in touch with each other. SIYB! SHF!

Members’ Community Involvement

Last year of Stephenson House in its current form is: 2009-10 the members were:

•• Craig Ruttan •• Leo Josephy (roommates)
•• Emily Gilbert •• Laura Dunn (roommates)
•• Lucille Liu •• Karen Jia-Yun Cao (roommates)
•• Andrew McEwan (single room) •• Joe Howell (single room)
•• Jorge Torres •• Liam O’Doherty (roommates)

Some 2009-2010 House members’ fam photos

The University of Toronto is known for its lackluster student life and involvement, however members at Stephenson House has always challenged this notion. Here are some of the 2009-10 Stephenson House members’ community involvement:

Laura Dunn

This year I am continuing to volunteer at the Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) on Queen St. by providing aquatic programming for residents. This summer we went to residents and asked for feedback regarding their interest in various water sports and right now we are providing advanced stroke correction as well as an introduction to swimming for any of the patients who are interested. I am also involved on campus; right now I volunteer once a week at Caffiends and I am applying to be on the board for ACTA.

Emily Gilbert

I am co-managing Caffiends, Victoria College’s Fair Trade Cafe. This involves the general management of the space, as well as hosting various student groups’ initiatives such as documentary screenings, art shows, drawing classes and much more, all of which are open not only to Victoria College but to the larger student body at the University of Toronto.

Joe Howell

I am volunteering as a copy editor for the Varsity, U of T’s official student newspaper. Twice a week I’m in the office from the start to end of production, vetting text, writing headlines, and working with section editors. I also help train new contributors, as I’ve been in student media for several years now. Additionally, I have a sincere desire to volunteer at a food bank during the winter months.

Leo Josephy

My community involvement is largely focused on my passions: the environment, cycling, and outdoor adventure. I currently sit on the University of Toronto Environmental Resource Network (UTERN) executive board, BikeChain (U of T’s campus bike repair and rental shop) Board of Directors, and the University of Toronto Outing Club’s (UTOC) executive committee.

Lucille Liu

I planned and executed programming for “Vic Gets Reel” Orientation Week 2009, in my role as a Victoria College Orientation Executive. In the coming school year, I will also be volunteering at Caffiends, where I was previously Co-manager. I plan to join the Volunteer Consulting Group at the University of Toronto. The group brings together students from multiple disciplines to work on a pro-bono project under the direction of a Rotman Commerce MBA student. In the winter semester I will be volunteering with Junior Achievement, an organization that teaches middle school students financial literacy skills.

Andrew McEwan

This year I am the 2009/2010 editor-in-chief of the Victoria’s literary journal, Acta Victoriana. My interests are in promoting literary and visual art by Victoria students and faculty, in keeping with the incredible history of the journal. I am also a representative on the Victoria College Council and a member of the Victoria intramural soccer team. My poetry has appeared in Dandelion Magazine, and is forthcoming in Misunderstandings Magazine and Gulch, an anthology to be released by Tightrope Books. In the U.S. I have work forthcoming in Fact-Simile Magazine.

Liam O’Doherty

Liam O’Doherty is a fourth year semiotics, sociology and environmental studies student at Victoria College. For his community involvement, he acts as director of technology for the University of Toronto’s Environmental Resource Network (UTERN), Campaign Coordinator for the Toronto Public Space Committee (TPSC) as well as an online community animator with TakingITGlobal (TIG). His passions lie in connecting inspired young people around the issues which effect them, utilizing new media technologies for social good and the intersections between art, technology and activism. He also enjoys riding bicycles, playing piano, swimming, vegetarian cooking and dramatic improvisation.

Craig Ruttan

This year I’ll be serving as one of the student representatives on the Board of Regents, and sitting on the Campus Life and Finance Committees, and am intent on finding new ways to reach out and engage the student body in issues coming before the Board. I’m also on the Varsity Figure Skating team, and will be continuing as co-captain. I will also be serving as a youth voice on the Joint Search Committee for a new minister for my home church, Zion United (New Hamburg).

Jorge Torres

This year I will be involved with the Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS) as VP External, working on different events which seek to vitalize the relationships between the University of Toronto students and Latin American organizations across the city, particularly community centers and churches. The projects will seek to bring students in contact with their cultural community and make them aware of their role in it. Also, I will be involved with Caffiends (Coffee shop cooperative at Victoria College) as a volunteer, perhaps also helping with the “Doc and Talk” project as an assistant. Finally, I will be playing with the Victoria college soccer team (Division 1) during the fall season, potentially also during the winter season.

Karen Jia-Yun Cao

This year, I will be involved in the Hart House Social Justice Committee as the Community Kitchen Portfolio Coordinator; with the Underwear Club (TUC) as the Secretary/Assistant Development Officer. TUC is a new student group started by me and 5 other female students in May/Sept 2009 to educate, outreach and raise money and product donations to alleviate poverty in Toronto, with a focus on women. In Fall 2009, we raised over $1500 in money and over 3000 kg of personal hygeine product donations including from the Body Shop, Trojan Condoms, Grassroots and other businesses. I am also the President of the Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society (TUGS)  who represents 3000 undergads taking GGR courses at U of T. Every monday evening, I volunteer as an Inpatient Program Assistant at the CAMH on College and Spadina.


We all agree university is more than the classroom and campus life is critical to a healthy learning environment. The impact of Stephenson House members’ commitment to community service are difficult to quantify. They touch the lives of literally thousands of students by facilitating ways to get involved and meeting other students – creating communities, human infrastructure and facilitating dense social networks that never existed before.

How doth one quantify:

Caffiends is run by almost 100 Vic student volunteers, the Varsity is the nation’s largest and oldest student-run paper and reach tens of thousands of students, OLAS and TUGS represents and organizes events for thousands of undergrad students, UTERN provides over $20 000 in grants to student-run eco/social-justice student-initiated projects on campus, CAMH is a strong U of T research institution that also provides support for people in which mental illness have impacted them, ACTA is possibly Canada’s oldest literary journal and Vic’s committees like the Board of Regents, the Campus Life and Finance Committees are critical to running Vic and including student input…


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