Catalyst Experiences

Catalyst Experiences: Reading Week 2022 Overview

Looking for something to do during reading week? What about a chance to immerse yourself in learning experientially? Catalyst Experiences provide you the chance to learn about interesting topics and social justice in a hands-on way alongside other Gryphons.

In the past we have explored many different themes including the Civil Rights movement, Black history and Black Lives Matter, Indigenous history, truth and reconciliation, body image, sexual health and consent, climate change, food security, and many more. We collaborate with communities, community benefit organizations, and community members in places near and far to provide a week of hands-on learning. 

Catalyst Reading Week programs kick off with a training in January, followed by a few sessions with your team in early February before your immersive Reading Week experience. Programs range in cost and are kept as low as possible to make them affordable.

For more information on either program read below. You can also check out our FAQ section about Catalyst Programs. Still have questions? Email

Apply to either Catalyst Program on Gryphlife by December 7, 2021

The Art of Drag and Social Change: Reading Week is FUNdamental (February 22-26, 2022, $125)

This Reading Week program explores the past, present, and future art of drag as a tool for social justice over the course of 5 days. Participants will develop their drag persona and, with support from local artists, performers, and community organizations, read at a children’s storytelling event in drag! The Reading Week is FUNdamental program welcomes both introverts and extroverts to engage in social change through workshops, stories, and scholarship.

Program themes include inclusivity, intersectionality, empowerment, allyship, and queer and trans liberation.

Click here for more information here on The Art of Drag and Social Change program.

Guelph: The Opioid Crisis and Community Care (February 21-25, 2022, $125)

In this 5-day Reading Week program, participants will learn about the ongoing Opioid Crisis, with a special focus on Guelph. Working with community organizations, students will engage with the complexities of the opioid epidemic, substance use and modern harm reduction practices. The Opioid Crisis and Community Care program is an opportunity to make contributions to the local community, build relationships, and learn about harm reduction and the social determinants of health.

Program themes include stigma, peer support initiatives, mutual aid, mental health, housing, poverty, and de/criminalization.

Click here for more information here on The Opioid Crisis and Community Care program.

To apply to either Catalyst Program, complete the application on GryphLife by December 7, 2021.

Leading with Catalyst Experiences

Interested in leadership opportunities? Staff, faculty and graduate students can apply to be Team Leaders, and undergraduate and graduate students with relevant experience can apply to be Student Leaders. Catalyst Leaders are provided with extensive training in areas such as facilitation, critical reflection, student development, social justice, risk management, and logistics, and participate in signification pre-program preparation. These are excellent professional development opportunities!

For more information, email, or contact Terence Lowe, Coordinator of Community Engagement & Social Change,

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Experience Profiles

  • Bayli graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in accounting. While she was here she engaged in multiple applied research projects, and worked as a teaching assistant, which helped her make important connections with people across campus.