What is ASB?
ASB is a completely student run, cross faculty group on Ryerson campus that researches, fundraises for and executes sustainable development initiatives on a grassroots scale annually. ASB does extensive research into various non-government organizations based in small communities in foreign countries and then partners with them to create a unique initiative, usually based in construction and education.
The team spends all year fundraising through grant applications, bar nights, bake sales, the Annual Silent Auction. The money raised goes towards local labour wages, locally sourced tools and materials, NGO administration fees and other smaller fees needed to make these projects a success.
The Leadership Team runs weekly Tuesday night meetings for the new members to go over lessons such as sustainability, the political, social and economic history of the country we are going to, cultural sensitivity and adaptation, mental health while abroad and MUCH more!
After necessary preparatory meetings with the Leadership Team, Dr. Kislenko, and Ryerson International, the team embarks on a trip to the respective country and spends the month of May helping out on site of the project along the hired skilled labourers, teachers, and NGO staff to see the project come to light. The Team also spends the month learning about the culture they are immersed in, as well as sharing bits of their culture with the new people they meet.
ASB requires an intense level of time and dedication from everybody involved, but the rewarding experience it gives you in the end makes it all completely worth it.
ASB believes that respecting and understanding other cultures can foster positive change both in our own community and abroad. ASB is about changing the world in small steps by encouraging students to change themselves. Our actions in our own community affect people all over the world. ASB believes journeys like ours will have a lifelong impact on students, and help shape them as the leaders of tomorrow by giving them their experiences today.
ASB started in the fall of 2006, when Brianne Cole and Robyn Wisken were inspired to start an ASB project at Ryerson. They teamed up with three others and Ryerson Professor Dr. Arne Kislenko. Together they successfully implemented the first ASB project at Ryerson. The team traveled to Guatemala and built a house with Habitat for Humanity. Since then, ASB has completed 10 projects abroad where we have also travelled to Panama, Peru, Kenya, Colombia, Vientam, Ghana, Uganda and India. Check out our Past Projects page to learn more!
How ASB Works
In the beginning of the academic year interested students are invited to attend an information event where they hear about past ASB experiences, details of new projects, and the general structure of our group. Everyone is encouraged to ask questions to see if ASB is for them, and to discover if they have what it takes to be part of this unique project. Students must apply and go through an interview process and the team is determined by a committee of ASB leaders and advisers. The group then meets every week to build the team’s structure and to participate in fundraising and workshops that explore a variety of issues. Team members will also get a chance to learn more about the community that we will be working in and to build a base vocabulary in a new language. Pre-departure sessions are given close to the project date and team members are kept informed about relevant information regarding the destination country.
Once in the country where the project takes place, the group has in country support from an affiliated NGO throughout their stay. Upon return, team members will reflect personally on the experience of a lifetime that will no doubt continue to change and shape them on many different levels.
Check out our "Breakdown" tab to get the full details on how we work.
When We Go
ASB started as projects that took place on the spring reading week. Since then, our feedback showed that those trips just weren't long enough for our team to get the full experience. Now, ASB trips are one month long and and depart during the month of May.