Volunteer With Us
** All programs have been moved online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All volunteer opportunities will be virtual for the 2020-21 school year unless otherwise stated.
Volunteers make the world go round! (Well actually, we know it's the gravitational forces of the sun that make the earth move in an eliptical orbit...but you get the point.) We're always looking for enthusiastic volunteers who love explaining the science behind everyday life!
We rely on volunteers to help facilitate our events, run activities for the public and educate youth about the sciences. Your first step is to sign up for our updates by joining our newsletter and attend training. We'll send you the information you need to register for volunteer roles and teams.
How to Become a Volunteer
1. Join our online community.
We post all of our volunteer opportunities and registrations in our volunteer newsletter, external link, opens in new window and Facebook group., external link, opens in new window Join both of them to receive notifications about events and how to sign up.
2. Wait for an announcement.
Watch out for our newsletters in your inbox and Facebook posts to see what we have coming up next. Volunteer announcements are usually made about 1 month before the event.
3. Let us know you want to volunteer!
Follow the registration links and fill out your information, or send us an email at sciXchange@ryerson.ca, opens in new window to tell us you're interested in volunteering for a specific activity. SciXchange will get in touch with everyone soon after registration.
SciXchange encourages students of all academic programs and personal interests to volunteer even without a background in science to foster a community of cross-disciplinary collaboration. SciXchange will provide training for all of its events and activities to ensure volunteers are set up for success.
Depending on what an individual volunteers for, training may include how to teach students between the ages of 6 and 17, prepare various materials for lab experiments, efficiently set up and tear down for an event, interact with faculty members and indsutry professionals, and more!
We have a variety of events and activites throughout the year that offer a multitude of roles for volunteers to develop a range of skills. Depending on the activity volunteers may be able to teach younger students in elementary and high schools, assist in event planning, learn how to efficiently set-up and tear-down larger events, and network with Ryerson Faculty and external industry professionals. Read below to learn about the different roles, see what interests you, and how and when to sign up.
Classroom Visits with Let's Talk Science (LTS)
SciXchange partners with LTS, external link, a national organization committed to offering science engagement opportunities to youth, and fostering a culture of critical thinking, creative innovation, and sparking curiosity in young people. Together, SciXchange and LTS offer science activities to elementary and high schools in the GTA to help students build the confidence and skills needed to pursue a future in science.
Teachers sign up for an Elementary Activity with SciXchange at the beginning of the school year. We then recruit volunteers to *virtually* visit the schools and facilitate exciting science experiments with the younger students.
Volunteers may be able to teach elementary classes about digestion, computer literacy, how to make a lava lamp, and more! Click here to learn about all of the elementary school activities we offer.
SciXchange offers activities for high school students to experience university labs and at-home activities. Teachers sign up their classes for a visit at the beginning of the school year. We then recruit volunteers to run the labs.
Volunteers may have the opportunity to teach high school students about forensics (chemistry lab), computer literacy, biology, and more! Click here to learn about all of the high school activities we offer.
Community centres sign up for a Community STEM Partnership with SciXchange at the beginning of the school year. We then recruit volunteers to visit the centres and facilitate exciting science experiments to youth generally after school or later in the evening. SciXchange volunteers visit the same centre 3 or more times in one school year to develop an ongoing relationship with community centre staff and visitors.
Volunteers may be able to teach youth about digestion, computer literacy, how to make a lava lamp, and more! Age groups for community centres vary as the activities are open to the public, however all activities are advertised for ages 6 and up, and parents and guardians are welcome.
Elementary & High School Volunteering
Volunteers are required to facilitate an activity about once a month that are between 1-2 hours long plus pontential travel time, between the months of October and March. The exact dates and times of activities are scheduled to accommodate the availability of the volunteers and the elementary and high school classes, and community centres. SciXchange will provide training about the teaching material and volunteers will be responsible for transporting equipment to and from the school. Volunteers will be reimbursed for travel expenses.
** Please note this policy may change with delivery of virtual activities. Contact our office for up-to-date information.
Since school & community activities are being delivered to youth (17 years of age and younger), all volunteers are required to submit a Vunerable Sector Screening (VSS), external link, opens in new window to SciXchange. These documents are sometimes better known as a Police Check, and are very easy to obtain. Once students are confirmed as volunteers for LTS activities, instructions on how to apply for and submit your VSS will be provided by SciXchange.
All VSS documents will be submitted to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for registration, and returned to SciXchange. Once received, SciXchange will return the original document to the volunteer. All information is stored confidentially by the TDSB and SciXchange and will not be shared with outside individuals or parties.
SciXchange will reimburse volunteers 100% of the cost to obtain a VSS.
SciXchange sends out a volunteer newsletter, external link in the end of summer to recruit volunteers for the new school year. The sign up will remain open until about the middle of September. SciXchange will be in touch with everyone shortly after to welcome them to the volunteer team and schedule training. Note that signing up for this role only takes place in the end of August to the middle of September. However, SciXchange will recruit throughout the year when needed; volunteer should watch out for announcements.
SciXchange hosts various special events througout the year to bring science outside the lab and classroom, and into the Ryerson and Toronto communities. Events may be large or small, one or multiple days, and are comprised of a multitude of jobs for volunteers to get involved with. Read below for information about our special events and how to get involved. Note that there may be more special events throughout the year that are not listed below as SciXchange introduces new events.
This national celebration of science takes place annually in September for one week and is hosted across Canada in over 30 different cities. SciXchange is a proud participant every year, and needs volunteers througout the entire week to help with set-up and tear-down of event spaces, facilitating experiments, and engaging with guests. Click here, opens in new window to read about Science Literacy Week, external link, opens in new window 2019!
When to sign up: end of August to beginning of September
Originating in the United Kingdom (UK), SciXchange is the first ever to host Soapbox Science, external link, opens in new window in Canada! This event is for one day only at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre, and features the remarkable work and contributions of Canadian female scientists. While the scientists speak about their research to guests, volunteers assist with guest interaction, event management, and data collection.
When to sign up: end of August to beginning of September
This festival of science, external link, opens in new window is a one-day feature event that brings science outside to the Ryerson and local community for individuals of all backgrounds to discover the wonders and excitement of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). This events includes a full day of hands-on experiments about virtual reality (VR), the science of mind games (psychology), building robots, environmental science, and more! With so much happening in one day, SciXchange needs the help of tons of volunteers who will have a chance to help with social media, event management, facilitating experiments and activites, and interacting with guests.
When to sign up: middle of April to beginning of May
Each year we host a symposium for high school students to visit campus for one day and engage in STEM education through group activities, learning about graduate student research, listening to a lecture from a Ryerson science professor, and more. Throughout the day, SciXchange volunteers will assist in set-up and tear-down of the event space, guiding the high school students to their scheduled activities, greeting guest lecturers and industry professionals, and more.
When to sign up: early to middle of winter semester (dates TBD each year)
Volunteer commitment varies depending on which event(s) an individual signs up for. Volunteers are only required to commit to roles and times they are comfortable with. Exact dates, times, and roles per event will be communicated during registration times, and confirmed closer to the date of the event. SciXchange will provide all training for all roles. Volunteers are responsible for attending training sessions, and being full prepared for the event including showing up on time.
Students may sign up to volunteer for special events as per their above mentioned timeframes. Registration forms are sent out through the volunteer newsletter, external link, opens in new window and the Facebook group., external link, opens in new window Students should join both to stay up-to-date with current announcements and opportunities. After the volunteer registration closes, SciXchange will be in touch with everyone regarding training and scheduling.
Social Media Team
Students may volunteer to help with our social media campaigns. Volunteers will meet with each other throughout the year, along with the Social Media Team Lead, to brainstorm ideas, develop content, and interact with followers online.
When to sign up: end of August to middle of September
How to sign up: a registration link will be sent in the volunteer newsletter, external link, opens in new window and the Facebook, external link, opens in new window group.
Volunteer Commitment: Volunteers are required to contribute from October to March, with one hour team meetings scheduled once a month on average. Volunteers will also be required to respond to emails from the Social Media Team Lead in a timely manner, and meet any deadlines decided amongst the team. These details are determined within the team throughout the year, and students are not required to commit to more than they are comfortable with.
After you sign up to volunteer for an event or activity, SciXchange will get in contact with you directly through the email address you provided. Volunteer registration usually stays open anywhere between 2-4 weeks. After you sign up, let a few days to weeks pass before expecting any emails from SciXchange.
Once registration closes, SciXchange will confirm registration with all volunteers, provide the dates/times for training, and any other relevant information you should know regarding your role.
During training, we will provide all information and resources you need to be successful in your role! If you feel unsure about it, be sure to ask questions to clarify and ask for extra help. Our goal is to ensure all volunteers feel confident in their roles!
SciXchange will inform volunteers of training dates/times 1 to 2 weeks in advance. Volunteers are required to confirm with SciXchange that they will attend the training session. We understand everyone has different schedules and commitments outside their volunteer role. If you are unable to make it, always inform SciXchange as soon as possible so an alternative can be created.
Depending on the event, this may be possible.
Some of our special events will have volunteer shifts to choose from. For example, a morning shift from 9 am to 12 pm, and an afternoon shift from 12pm to 3pm. These shifts are created to accomodate varying personal schedules so you may attend all of your commitments without difficulty.
If you require a specific time accommodation outside of the shifts, you may email SciXchange at sciXchange@ryerson.ca to let us know and help us determine an alternative time that works for you.
Our elementary, high school, and community centre visits are less flexible. These visits are usually shorter in time (1-2 hours plus travel time), and have a strict start and end time. Volunteers are required to be available for 100% of the activity time, and should volunteer for an activity only if it does not conflict with other commitments. Exact times and dates for these activities are worked out in advance to accommodate the schedules of the schools and centres, and the volunteer. Volunteers will have enough advance notice to determine if they are available or not.
Always contact us directly through email at sciXchange@ryerson.ca, or call us at (416) 979-5000 ext. 3134.
Please note that these points of contact are monitored mainly from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
Always try to give us as much advance notice as possible if you are running late or not able to attend.
Depending on which activity you volunteer for, you may receive a volunteer t-shirt or other swag items. These items are not guaranteed for all events. Volunteers will be notified ahead of time if they need to pick up and wear a special t-shirt, or receive any other items.
Yes, you may use SciXchange as a reference. Please always contact SciXchange first to let us know you will be providing our information to another person or party for this reason. This helps us be prepared to speak about your contribution if we are contacted.
We track all of our volunteers' hours and contributions. If you need this information and/or a letter, please contact SciXchange and someone will prepare this for you.
If you volunteer with an Education Program or Partnership that falls under Let's Talk Science (elementary, high school, and community centres), you or someone from your team will be responsible for logging those hours on the Let's Talk Science portal, external link. You can access all of your volunteer hours and programs for Let's Talk Science through the portal.
Contacting Your Volunteer Coordinator
All of our programs and activities are coordinated by various members of the SciXchange team. Take a look below to see the contact person for your event.
Please help us make sure your inquiry gets to the right person by referencing your program/event in the subject of your email!
Don't see the name of your activity, or are unsure? No problem! Just send an email to sciXchange@ryerson.ca, along with any of your questions or inquiries, and the right person will get back to you.
Event or Activity
Elementary Partnership Program
High School Class Visit
Community STEM Partnership
Social Media Team
Computer Literacy Program