Alternative Reading Week (ARW) takes place during February Reading Week. 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.  

Our annual ARW is made possible by local community-based organizations. Up to 30 community organizations welcome us to their spaces and communities.  Alternative Reading Week honours these communities by committing to preparation, action, and reflection as core to our process.  

The fundamental aim of ARW is to contribute positivley to a community-identified need. For you, the student, ARW is an opportunity to:

  • deepen your sense of community on campus
  • work collaboratively with a group of U of T students
  • apply and develop your unique skills and knowledge
  • engage with social dynamics and issues in our city
  • contribute positivley to a community-identified need
  • explore your identity and perspectives as they relate to the broader Toronto community
  • build your Co-Curricular Record (CCR)
alternative reading week logo


Register Register for Alternative Reading Week 2017
Schedule Alternative Reading Week schedule
Contact us Elvis Ibrahimovic at elvis.ibrahimovic@utoronto.ca
Student testimonials Stories from participants
In the news Media coverage of Alternative Reading Week

Register for Alternative Reading Week 2017

ARW2017 THEME: Learn From, Learn With, and Learn For

Our theme aims to honour and value the knowledge of the communities we engage with.  A lot of us think of community engagement and/or volunteering as an opportunity to 'help'/'give-back' and yet there is so much we 'get' when we engage and volunteer in local communities.  Learning from and with our communities is a respectful approach to the work that honours reciprocity.  Our focus on 'Learn For' is about encouraging participants (all of you) to explore purpose and the question of 'WHY' in everything that you do. 

Don't miss out on the first ever ARW opportunity to 'CHOOSE YOUR PROJECT'! 

Registration for Alternative Reading Week, 2017 (ARW2017) 

Students who were not able to register into Phase 1 are welcome to choose a project (pending availability) on January 19, 2017. 

To view the 35 projects and for links to register, please see the PDF in the documents box at right.  (Scroll down in the attachment to view all of the projects.)

CCR stamp


Depending on the projects your schedule may vary, but here is what a typical Alternative Reading Week looks like:


Friday, February 3, 2017, 3 – 8 p.m.

Alternative Reading Week Orientation and Meet your Team.

Location: OISE, 252 Bloor St. West inside the Auditorium on the main floor.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

9 a.m.      Registration and welcome

12 p.m.     Lunch and travel to projects

1 - 5 p.m.   Participate in projects


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Participate in projects*


Thursday, February 23, 2017

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Participate in projects*


Friday, March 3, 2017, 6-9 p.m.

Alternative Reading Week Reflection and Celebration


*Please note: projects may start later than 9 a.m. and subsequently end later (e.g. 12 – 6 p.m.) 


Questions? Contact Elvis Ibrahimovic at elvis.ibrahimovic@utoronto.ca.

Student testimonials

Read student reflections from last year’s Alternative Reading Week on the CCP Blog.

"I’ve learned so much about the community centre I was at, including how hard-working all the members are and the programs that the community offers. The reflections have led me to discover more about myself as a leader and also as a team member. I wish to volunteer more in communities.” – ARW 2016 Participant

“ARW is a great opportunity for us to learn.  When I arrived at Culture Link, my first impression was “This is REAL!” Yes, realness is what I learned from ARW. People who need help are real, issues existing in our city are real, our knowledge is real...” – ARW 2016 Participant 

“Alternative Reading Week program is one of my favourite volunteer opportunities in my university life! It has enriched my life a lot. This is where I met awesome people who have the same goal of making it a better place to live in!” – ARW Days of Service Participant 2013

“My experiences with the projects, and the community as a whole, made me feel that I still wanted to be part of the process of contributing to society and keep in contact with some of the amazing people I had the opportunity to get to know.” – ARW Days of Service Participant 2012

“After participating in the ARW, I feel that I have learned the art of understanding, patience, and acceptance. Toronto is a diverse city, hosting a variety of ethnicities, religions and cultures. Working in the Mount Dennis community helped me realize that an understanding of these diversities go hand in hand with what it means to be a Torontonian.” – ARW Days of Service Participant 2011