BAS program counsellor, joined U of G in 2003
Jerome Chang admits that he's a little surprised he has time to come to work, given the wealth of activities he's involved in after hours. Fortunately for him, two of the groups he's been volunteering with have recently joined forces, making his life a little easier. These are Out on the Shelf and Guelph Pride (www.guelphpride.outontheshelf.ca).
“Out on the Shelf is in its third year, and I've been there since it first opened,” says Chang. “It's a resource in downtown Guelph that offers a library of more than 2,000 items — books, magazines, DVDs, fiction and non-fiction — all queer-related and queer-based.”
As a volunteer, he's worked a regular shift at the resource centre, helping people find the items they need. Several groups also meet at the centre.
“The people who use the centre represent a huge cross-section,” he says. “They include everyone from high school kids up to retired people.”
Chang now sits on the board of directors for the organization, which is seeking to become a registered charity, and also works with Guelph Pride to plan events for its annual celebrations.
As a student at U of G, Chang studied music, but after he graduated in 1999, he stopped singing (other than in the shower). When he returned to campus in 2003, however, he joined the U of G Chamber Choir and now also sings with a church choir in Waterloo. In addition, he rejoined a local choir he had sung with as a student, the Guelph Chamber Choir.
“It's been great to be involved with singing again,” he says. “I didn't realize how much I'd missed it. I really love music.”
For the past three summers, Chang has volunteered at the Hillside Festival but confesses that, in this case, it's not about the music — he's mainly there for the food.
And sometimes he just wants to be connected to communities outside of Guelph, he says. To that end, he also volunteers with the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival as part of the marketing committee, helping to plan for the Nov. 12 to 16 event. “This is something new for me, so it's pretty exciting.”
Faculty member in the School of English and Theatre Studies since 1993
“We're on our third old house,” says Prof. Susan Brown. “I sometimes think that's my main after-hours activity — I move house.”
She's joking, but she has invested a lot of time and effort in renovating and updating each of the houses she's lived in with her husband and two children. Their current home, a large house in downtown Guelph, “may take us the rest of our lives to finish,” she says. “We have a big kitchen reno looming, but my major project this summer was the garden.”
Brown loves gardening, and after a new fence around her backyard ended up destroying all the existing beds, she was delighted to be able to start with a clean slate. She's also happy with the results, which include a bumper crop of tomatoes.
Her renovations in this house may include something that didn't quite fit into her previous homes: a place for a potter's wheel. “We just recently found a good spot for it. I'm hoping I'll be set up and able to do pottery again soon.”
Like most parents of young children, Brown says her kids occupy most of her time away from the office. “I still enjoy going to concerts and theatre, but those are pretty occasional activities now.”
The entire family is enthusiastic about biking, with five-year-old Morag on a Trail-a-Bike that attaches to her dad's bicycle.
“We went to Colorado this summer and biked down the mountain, which is much easier than biking up the mountain,” says Brown. “My son, Gavin, who is eight, got blisters on both his thumbs from braking all the way down the trail.” Morag rode in an enclosed trailer pulled by her dad's bike for that expedition.
“We've also ridden all the way from our house to Guelph Lake on our bikes. It's a great family activity, and we feel pretty proud of ourselves when we do a trip like that.”
Fifth-year international development student
With a part-time job as learning services assistant added to her classes in international development, Susanna Gold tends to look for leisure activities that help her relax and shift her stress level down a notch or two. Here's a hint about one of her favourites: her big birthday gift this summer was an easel and painting set.
“I love to paint and draw,” she says. “Both of my parents are artists, and they taught me some of the skills, but I've never had a formal class. I find painting is great when you're stressed because it gets your energy out in a different way.”
Gold says she's a fan of bright colours and abstract design and tries to keep one painting project set up all the time. “I like having a project on the go that's not school-related.”
Although the freedom of abstract painting appeals to her now, she'd like to try what she calls more technical work in the future and perhaps take some art classes. “I like the idea of doing painting from photographs, maybe some landscapes.”
She'll have to find a little space in her current roster of yoga and dance classes to fit in an art class, though. Gold attends yoga classes in downtown Guelph and likes to enrol in a different dance program each year. “Last year I did Highland dancing for the first time.”
She says dance and yoga appeal to her more than working out at a gym because they're fun and creative but still provide good exercise for the muscles that don't get moved much when you're taking notes in class.
If she's still not relaxed enough at the end of a busy day, Gold likes to read “just for enjoyment — something light and fluffy. In the summer when I'm not at school, I'll read more philosophical books with more depth, but during the school year, I like to have books that help take my mind off my work.” Her current light reading? Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Editor's note: If you would like to be featured in "After Hours" or would like to suggest someone for the column, contact Rebecca Kendall at Ext. 56039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.