During ARW week, hundreds of U of T students immerse themselves in three days of volunteering on various projects with local community organizations. Students make meaningful contributions, build relationships and learn more about the City of Toronto. 

Alternative Reading Week (ARW) takes place during the Fall & Winter Reading Week.

This year, ARW will take place from:

  • November 5 – 7, 2019
  • February 18 – 20, 2020

You can participate in one or both Alternative Reading Weeks.

ARW is made possible by local community-based organizations. Up to 25 community organizations welcome us to their spaces and communities. 

Group of Students smiling with completed artwork projects from ARW 2018


Ways to get involved Become a participant, Project Leader, or Lead Project Leader
Registration Register for Alternative Reading Week 2019
Projects Take a look at the 2019 projects. Complete project details are available.
Schedule Alternative Reading Week schedule
Benefits Why you should participate in ARW?
Contact us Questions? Contact Amina Farah at amina.farah@utoronto.ca.

Ways to get involved


Join us for the three days of Alternative Reading Week! Pick a project, get matched with a group of fellow students and a project leader, and work with one of our community partners. Registration is closed.


Project leader (Applications now open!)

Our community of project leaders make possible over 28 projects every year!

Did you enjoy participating in ARW last year? Join us again, lead a project and be a part of our community of project leaders! This is an opportunity to get more involved with ARW and develop your leadership skills. 

We invite you to join us and build your leadership skills, community building skills and have a whole lot of fun along the way.

Interviews take place this fall! Register now to express your interest in being a project leader in the Alternative Reading Week program for the 2020-2021 academic year.


Mentor project leader

Continue to grow with us by sharing your project leader experiences with our new project leaders, and get a chance to work behind-the-scenes to make ARW happen! Mentor project leaders help facilitate training for other project leaders. They share their knowledge and support others as we learn together.

Email Amina Farah at amina.farah@utoronto.ca if you are interested in being a mentor project leader.

Alternative Reading Week leaders and participants


Step 1: Register for February Alternative Reading Week.

ARW2019 theme: Learn With, Learn From and Grow With

  • Learn From: Learning from and with our communities is a respectful approach to the work that honors reciprocity.
  • Learn With: Our focus on 'Learn With' is about encouraging participants to respect and appreciate the knowledge held in the communities where we volunteer and come from and
  • Grow With: Finally we work to respect different kinds of knowledge and grow in that knowledge 


Step 2: Look at last year's projects and themes.

If you register in September 2019, you will have the chance to pick your own project on October 1, 2019.

Project themes:

  • Youth Engagement
  • Art-Based Projects
  • Planning, Research or Program Support
  • Community Engagement & Outreach


Step 3: After you register and select a project, take note of the dates and times for ARW orientation and project participation. Attendance is mandatory.

Note: Dates and times may be different for each project. 

Your schedule may vary depending on your project, but here is what a typical Alternative Reading Week looks like:



Friday, October 25, 2019 

Day 1: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 

  • 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Registration and welcome at OISE, 252 Bloor St. West (Auditorium on main floor)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. | Lunch and travel to projects 
  • 1 – 5 p.m. | Participate in projects and reflection* 

Day 2: Wednesday, November 6, 2019

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Participate in projects and reflection*

Day 3: Thursday, November 7, 2019

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Participate in projects and reflection*



Friday, February 7, 2019 

  • 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. | Orientation 

You must be registered in a project to attend orientation. Projects are now full. If you haven't registered, check out Community Days for more opportunities to connect with your community.

Day 1: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 

  • 10 – 11:30 a.m. | Registration and welcome at Earth Sciences Centre Auditorium, 5 Bancroft Avenue
  • 12 – 1 p.m. | Lunch and travel to projects 
  • 1 – 5 p.m. | Participate in projects and reflection* 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Participate in projects and reflection*

Thursday, February 20, 2020

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Participate in projects and reflection*
Group of 4 students at a registration table with food


Your participation in ARW not only contributes positively to a community-identified need, but also offers you several benefits: 

  • Deepen your sense of community on campus. 
  • Work collaboratively with a group of other U of T students. 
  • Apply and develop your unique skills and knowledge. 
  • Engage with social dynamics and issues in our city. 
  • Contribute positively to a community-identified need. 
  • Explore your identity and perspectives as they relate to the broader Toronto community. 
  • Build your Co-Curricular Record (CCR)


Past student experiences 

Group of students sitting on a circular table discussing a project plan


Questions? Contact Amina Farah at amina.farah@utoronto.ca.