When students lose personal belongings on campus, the process of recollecting them depends on what they lost, where they lost it, and how long ago they lost it. A student should first check the building they left their belongings in, according to U of T’s Lost and Found Office. Many buildings on campus have their own lost and found areas.
At Sidney Smith Hall (SS), students can check multiple lost and found areas, including the Arts and Science Students’ Union office (SS1068), the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students’ office (SS1089), and the Faculty Registrar’s Office (SS1090).
If checking the building’s lost and found doesn’t work, students should check UTSG’s centralized lost and found office on the third floor of 256 McCaul St.
According to the lost and found website, items “such as a smartphone, wallet, laptop, or jewelry” are sent to the centralized lost and found on campus, and remain there for eight weeks. The Facilities and Services website directs students who have lost items such as binders, books, USB sticks, and umbrellas to the caretaker’s office in the building the item was lost in.
Within the eight-week period, students can submit an online form detailing what they lost and their contact information. To make an appointment to pick up a lost item, students have to email the lost and found office. The office’s policy requiring appointments was instituted due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
The swap shop
If a UTSG student doesn’t collect their lost item within the eight-week hold period, it gets donated to the U of T swap shop. The swap shop is part of U of T’s effort to be more sustainable by providing a place to store and pick up “surplus furniture, office equipment, and supplies” according to the swap shop’s website. University departments are the first to look at all new inventory at the swap shop. However, if items remain unclaimed, U of T students, staff, librarians, and faculty can claim them.
Money is treated differently from most lost items. Any lost money gets collected and donated to a “charitable cause” once a year, according to the lost and found office. A U of T spokesperson wrote in an email to The Varsity that the charity changes “each year as part of Facilities & Services’ annual holiday fundraising effort.”
The centralized Lost & Found at UTSC is located in SW304 in the Science Wing and operated by Campus Safety. With a 90-day hold period, UTSC holds its lost items for a bit longer than UTSG. According to a U of T spokesperson, after the hold period, valuables are donated to “community-based charitable organizations” while less valuable items are “taken to the UTSC FreeStore for other students to reuse.”
The spokesperson did not provide information on what happens to unclaimed money.
Lost items at UTM go to the lost and found office at the UTM Service Desk in the Communication, Culture and Technology Building. Items remain there for eight weeks before being donated to United Way Greater Toronto, a charity chapter in Toronto committed to help battle poverty. Their mission includes boosting “education, economic mobility, and health resources.”
According to the spokesperson, unclaimed money is distributed to a different charitable cause each year.
If a lost TCard isn’t in the building a student has lost it in, the lost and found office advises them to check their campus’s TCard office. However, the TCard offices will generally contact a student when they receive a lost TCard.