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Prof-in-a-box Halloween fundraiser for UNICEF

A particularly lively splash of orange can be spotted this Halloween at U of T Scarborough – a professor lecturing in a life-sized UNICEF donation box.

Seven professors are competing to raise the most funds for UNICEF during U of T Scarborough's third annual Prof-in-a-box event, with the votes closing on Friday. Professors Albert Berry, Chris Bovaird, Adrian Butscher, Kirsty E. Duncan, Steve Joordens, Karen McCrindle, and Judith Teichman are vying this week to get the most votes from students, faculty and staff. The winner will get to don the orange UNICEF donation box during class on Halloween.

The event brings laughs, embarrassment, and awareness of UNICEF – as well as a good dose of Halloween spirit -- to campus on Oct. 31.

The Prof-in-a-box fundraiser raises funds for UNICEF projects, with this year's proceeds going to projects in Malawi, Africa. The Canadian government has also declared Oct. 31 as National UNICEF Day.

“Given my Dutch heritage, I have a real advantage because I look so good in orange!” joked Steve Joordens, a psychology professor and two-time winner of Prof-in-a-box. Given that he teaches Introduction to Psychology, the largest class on campus with a total of 1500 students, Joordens feels his odds of winning again are “decent. But the real goal here for all the profs is to support a good charity,” he said.

“We should always support students when they're involved in a worthy cause,” said Judith Teichman, a political science professor.

Karen McCrindle, a French and journalism professor, is not discouraged by the fact that her largest class only has 34 students. With the aim of increasing votes, she has made announcements in class, on the Intranet and on her course pages, as well as informed all staff of U of T Scarborough’s humanities department of her candidacy in the event.  

When asked about what it might be like to teach in a life-sized box, McCrindle mused that “It'd be constricting, but if it makes people laugh….” On this subject, professors running for Prof-in-a-box can take Joordens' advice: “You must quickly get over feeling like you look really silly... it’s always hard to figure out where to put the microphone on that box, and you’re forced to keep your arms out the whole class, which is actually a good exercise for the shoulders.”    

According to student Bo See Fok, president of the UNICEF club on campus, future club events include Peace Week at the St. George campus on Nov. 8, and setting up the School and Youths Program, a program that sees volunteers visit and talk at elementary schools in Scarborough about UNICEF's work.

To vote, you can make a donation to one of the competitor’s boxes throughout this week at The Meeting Place. Visit for more details.

Denise Tse is a second-year student in the journalism program offered by the University of Toronto Scarborough and Centennial College.

© University of Toronto Scarborough