Laurier establishes Indigenous Curriculum Specialist

The new position at WLU is one of few across the province, to connect culture and academic studies

CBC News Posted: Aug 24, 2017

Wilfrid Laurier University established an Indigenous Curriculum Specialist position this year, to help support the indigenization of the campus. (GatorEG/Wikipedia)

Wilfrid Laurier University has hired an Indigenous Curriculum Specialist, to help staff and faculty progress with the continued work of reconciliation in the post-secondary environment.

Erin Hodson, is one of only a handful of other ICS across Canada, and as a result the role is very much in development.

“It’s sort of being created as we go,” she said.


Continue reading “Laurier establishes Indigenous Curriculum Specialist”

Pollution reduction work can take decades to see results

University of Waterloo professor says it can take up to 35 years to see the effect of pollution reduction

CBC News Posted: Aug 23, 2017

In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, an algae bloom covers Lake Erie near the City of Toledo water intake crib off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Blue-green algae has been causing issues across Canada this summer, an issue that comes from pollution practices we saw in the 1970s and 80s. (The Associated Press)

A professor at the University of Waterloo reports that while efforts to reduce water pollution from fertilizers have increased, Canadians will have to wait decades to see the actual results.

“Some time frames that we saw here ranged from 10 years to 30 or 35,” said Nandita Basu, associate professor of science and engineering at UW.

Continue reading “Pollution reduction work can take decades to see results”

Thunder Bay girls basketball program celebrates 10-year anniversary

The Lakehead University based program is celebrating a decade of teaching girls how to dribble.

By Clare Bonnyman, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM ET

2013 Jr Wolves Team Induction
The 2013 U18 Jr. Wolves team was honoured for their achievements at the RBC Spring Social in early April in Thunder Bay, Ont. The team went undefeated and captured both the Ontario Basketball Association Championship and the Minneapolis Youth Athletic Services Championship. (Lakehead University)

Jon Kreiner is celebrating a decade of teaching girls across Thunder Bay, Ont. how to compete on the basketball court.

Coach Kreiner has run the Jr. Wolves program in the city for the past 10 years, working to “develop basketball at a grassroots level in Thunder Bay.”

Based out of Lakehead University’s athletics facilities, the program is the only dedicated girls basketball development program in the city. Over the past decade it’s given more than 400 girls the opportunity to develop their skills at a competitive level.

In 2007 Kreiner formally started the Jr. Wolves program, hoping to “raise the awareness of basketball, the level of basketball, the numbers playing basketball,” among female players.

Coach K
Lakehead Women’s Basketball team coach Jon Kreiner instructing plays on the court. (Lakehead University)

“Girls can be just as high level or involved as the boys in basketball here in Thunder Bay,” he said.

Today the development program runs from October to March, and includes girls from Grades 3-6. The club program, for girls Grades 5-12, starts as soon as the high school basketball season ends in December.

To date, the program has produced over 30 players who have gone on to play basketball at a University level.

Some coaches have also come out of the program, including Katie Ulakovic, assistant coach for Hammerskjold High School’s varsity girls team, and Carolyn Fregale, an OUA All-Star, now a head coach for the Junior girls team at St. Ignatius High School.

Ulakovic was a player on the first Jr. Wolves team that ever played.

“Seeing our girls give back at the high school or the club level, that’s the next evolution of what you’re going to see,” said Kreiner.

Girls can be just as at high a level or involved as the boys in basketball here in Thunder Bay– Coach Jeff Kreiner

The past decade has been all about growth, and creating a space for talent at home, said Kreiner.

Now “we can develop our own players right here in our backyard in Thunder Bay,” he said.

This month the program’s success was toasted at the Lakehead Athletic’s RBC Spring Social, with a visit from local MP and Minister for the Status of Women Patty Hajdu.

The Price of Unpaid Internships

By Clare Bonnyman

The voices of students used in this piece were collected anonymously from a sample of 37 post-secondary students that have completed unpaid internships.

Today’s graduating students struggle.

Many earn a degree, but have little or no technical experience, and an obvious solution is an internship.

Today, unpaid internships are becoming infamous, warranting headlines and strong reactions.

“I think they are so insidiously evil,” said Bridget Eastgaard, creator of personal finance blog Money After Graduation.

“There is this mind set of the people that have completed unpaid internships. They act like it has made them a better person because they had to struggle so much,” she said.

Eastgaard calls it “The Bootstrapping Millennial Martyrdom Complex”, and has written about it in her blog. Essentially, those who suffered in the early years of their career see it as a rite of passage, and believe all others should too.

And with discussions within federal government trying to protect young workers, the limits of student suffering are up for discussion.

Today, more than ever students are paying to work, giving in to the ‘hidden costs’ of unpaid internships.

The hardest cost is deciding between paid work or an unpaid internship, but for Eastgaard, the benefits of working for free is not worth doing full time.

“I don’t want to see young people working 100 hours a week because they have to have two full time jobs,” she said

More than 50 per cent of the post-secondary students surveyed had part time jobs, and more than half kept those jobs while completing an unpaid internship.

Current proposed federal legislation would allow unpaid internships of four months or less. Originally proposed under the Harper Conservatives, the proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code focus on internships in federally regulated sectors that are “primarily for the benefit of the intern.”

Advocacy groups representing students pulled out of the consultations due to this proposed change.

The average part time job is 15 hours a week, and minimum wage in Ontario is $11.25 an hour; the average student taking four months off of work loses out on at least $2,700 dollars over 16 weeks.

Full time hours would earn them at least $6,300.

Internships can push students to work overtime, creating a struggle to balance budget and build a decent resume.

Quitting a paying job can make things harder.

“It’s one thing to take a job that you’re not getting a pay cheque for, but it’s quite another to leave a job to take a job that you’re not getting a pay cheque for,” said Eastgaard.

Other issues include relocating or commuting costs.

“A really good opportunity sometimes comes with those associated costs of moving,” said Eastgaard.

One student surveyed relocated to stay with family for free, while another spent $1,000 dollars on flights. When asked why they simply said, “one day I want a job.”

Another student took an opportunity abroad that also came with a costly commute. Her employer had promised a bus pass, but that never materialized, causing problems for a tight budget.

Student’s reported spending anywhere from $50 to $10,000 on relocation costs for unpaid positions, with 40 per cent of respondents spending more than $1,000.

Some costs are less obvious as well.

Unpaid internships can also force students into buying new equipment, clothing or joining networking activities.

Students reported spending up to $600 on these ‘satellite’ costs.

Tallied up, internships ranged from one week to five months, and cost anywhere from nothing to $10,000, not including lost wages.

Students keep costs low by staying close to home, living with friends or family, and keeping a tight budget for food and clothing.

In any case, internships are a serious financial burden, but a dream opportunity is hard to pass up.

Eastgaard’s advice is to evaluate the ROI— return on investment.

“When you’re considering an internship that is going to impact your finances in a negative way, make sure that it ultimately will have a positive ROI in your career,” she said.

“It can’t be just like ‘yay I’m bringing someone coffee in publishing.”

When it comes to the students, some call internships “a necessary evil,” while others feel they “should be illegal.”

For Eastgaard, it’s very simple.

“People should just be paid, period.”

Tobacco sales banned on post-secondary campuses

(Originally posted on November 18, 2014)

By Clare Bonnyman

New provincial anti-smoking regulations ban the sale of tobacco products on post-secondary campuses. The legislation comes into effect in January, removing tobacco products from the shelves of campus retailers across Ontario.

For most Ottawa institutions, the regulation won’t change anything. Algonquin College and University of Ottawa removed tobacco products from campus retailers’ years ago, meanwhile Carleton University has not.

Of the Carleton retailers, no vendor overseen directly by the university sells tobacco products. However, retailers run by the student groups the Carleton University Student Association and Rideau River Residence Association, do.

“This is something that’s been coming for quite some time,” said CUSA Business Operations Manager Rod Castro. “We just never really knew what the time frame was.”

Castro oversees Henry’s convenience store on the Carleton University campus, a centrally located spot for students to pick up a snack, and where they used to be able to buy cigarettes.

Castro said that they are not the stores top-selling item, as “cigarettes are more of a traffic creating item, sort of like gas is at a gas station.”

However the legislation will have a significant financial effect.

“Cigarette sales is probably 20-25% of our total sales, and there really is no replacement for that type of revenue” said Castro.

“Literally I expect a drop in sales of about 20 or 25 percent, instantly.”

CUSA’s cigarette sales for the 2014-2015 school year were estimated at $53,000 in profit. As the legislation is only in effect for one of the three semesters, a profit-loss of approximately a third, or $17,666, could be predicted for CUSA.

Students forced to search off campus for a pack of smokes. 

New provincial legislation is going to make buying a package of cigarettes more different for students at Carleton University.
New provincial legislation is going to make buying a package of cigarettes more different for students at Carleton University.

Other institutions in Ontario have already implemented bans on the sale of tobacco products and even smoking on campuses, some leading up to the expected regulations.

“We’ve definitely been preparing for it,” said CUSA President Folarin Odunayo. “There were discussions when we first heard about the law coming about, and other situations on campuses across the country.”

But unlike other campuses, Odunayo and CUSA chose not to make a decision for the Carleton community.

“We can certainly encourage students to not smoke and inform and educate students about the health hazards of smoking, but I don’t really think it is in our position to ban things from the campus,” said Odunayo.

He said CUSA “can only provide the information, students are mature enough to make decisions on their own.”

CUSA welcomes initiatives onto campus to educate students about the hazards of smoking, like Leave The Pack Behind, a youth-oriented tobacco control program that has had a presence on campus throughout the fall.

International student Ivana Kolkovic came to Carleton from Serbia, and as a smoker says she is against the new regulations.

“I just feel that there are so many other things that are as dangerous as smoking,” said Kolkovic.

She says it is a personal choice whether or not to smoke.

“There are many issues around it,” she said. “People think that you smoke because you cannot cope with your problems and things like that, but I think that things are more complex.”

Odunayo says that unlike other Ottawa campuses that have more strict rules around smoking, CUSA didn’t feel that it was in any position to restrict students.

“You’ve got to ask yourself, is CUSA in the position to ban anything from campus?” he said. “We only have to provide a safe environment.”

Cassandra Leblonde, a second year English major who lives off campus, said she doesn’t know if she’d walk from campus to Bank Street to pick up a pack.

“Depends how much I wanted some smokes,” she said. “It’s a pretty big addiction.”


Facts and Figures about Tobacco on campus.
Facts and Figures about Tobacco on campus.

facts sourced from:

A 2004 study by Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada and a 2006 report by the University of Waterloo.

The Simple Solution to Sexual Assault.

Anne-Marie Roy, president of the University of Ottawa’s Student Federation (SFUO), is sending out a clear message to students:

“Don’t rape”.

As post-secondary students head back to school, safety becomes a top priority. A growing concern regarding safety is the ‘epidemic of rape culture’ on campus.

Roy, a leader in the SFUO since 2013, has seen the school through multiple cases of sexual assault. Roy herself was a victim of sexual harassment last year, when a leaked Facebook message revealed sexual threats from male students.

In February of 2014 two University of Ottawa men’s hockey players were accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in Thunder Bay while away for a game. The two men are set to face charges in court, and the male hockey team is suspended for the 2014-2015 school year.

The controversial suspension is a serious move on the part of the university to stand against sexual violence, but “there is more work that needs to be done,” says Roy.

“University and college campuses are a reflection of what our society actually is. I think that the University of Ottawa, and all other universities, do need to show a bit more leadership in terms of tackling this issue,” she says.

A problem with the modern response to rape culture is the tendency to ‘victim-blame’; when services and programs to prevent sexual assault focus on arming potential victims with self-defense and preventative skills.

“We all know that, despite all of our efforts,” says Roy, “unfortunately it still happens.”

Roy wants to move forward with a message of responsibility and awareness, moving away from ‘victim-blaming’ towards “teaching what I think is a very good lesson – Don’t rape,” she says.

There is no one program or service in place to fight campus rape culture across Canada. But Roy stresses the importance of working with each community.

“I think that having a uniform approach in fighting rape culture is not effective,” she says. “The challenges that we see are not the same for students engaging in different activities across campus.”

For the SFUO this resulted in the formation of a task force against rape culture on campus, established in early 2014.

The aim is to ask, “what is the culture within particular spaces on campus, to come up with a tailored approach to tackle rape culture in each of these spaces” Roy explains.

In the meantime, her message to incoming and returning students about sexual violence is very simple.

“Just don’t do it,” she says.

A Day in the Life of a Newsatarian.

An experiment in scheduling; I want to block out (mostly for myself) a day in the life of a Newsatarian/Journalism student. So much of my preperation for my journalism career comes from how I take in the news everyday, and how I digest it. Immersion in the culture is a must. To really look at how often I take in news and how I consume my news is to look at how I can increase my intake or improve the content I’m already taking in. Also, it might prove just how big of a NewsJunkie slash RadioJunkie I am. (Hint, HUGE).

So this summer, as I work as a marketing assistant in downtown Toronto, here’s how I’m engaging in the news even when I don’t have time to practice my reporting (or do anything else).

6:00 AM

My first alarm goes off. I reach over and struggle to turn off the alarm on my phone, while simultaneously turning on my CBC Radio One app. I tune it to whichever local CBC Radio stattion I’m nearest. During the school year it’s Ottawa Morning with Hallie Cotnam. When I’m back home, I’m all over Metro Morning with Matt Galloway. Now THAT is a solid voice to wake up to everyday.

6:10 AM

My second alarm goes off. In an attempt to actually wake up, I open up my phone and flip onto Twitter. I flip right to my News List and start scrolling through the headlines, seeing what’s up for the day, anything new, etcetera. At this point too I check my phone for CP (Canadian Press), CBC, Globe and Mail, National Post and Ottawa Citizen news updates that may have come through on my apps while I was asleep.

6:20 AM

I actually get out of this point… Usually.
I take my phone around the house with me as I get ready, listening to the news updates as they come in, and listening to people who are far more awake than I am. I like to think of it as inspiration.

7:00 AM

I leave the house to catch a train, and say goodbye to my wifi. At this point theSkimm has arrived in my inbox on my phone. Probably one of my favourite sources of news at any time of day (but especially the morning), they summarize news and conflicts in a way that is understandable, fresh, often tongue-in-cheek and just in general awesome. This also gives me -as a Canadian- a great rundown on U.S. politics and U.S. National news in a way that I can actually wrap my head around. I read this on the train on my way downtown, which usually takes about 45 minutes.

8:00 AM

At this point I’m usually in the office if not far off. Back with internet (PRAISE) I log on, check my email and set up my screen for the day; newsmap in one tab, CBC Radio One open in another, and everything else I need for work.


I tune in and out of the Radio, trying to catch as much of shows like The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti or Q with Jian Ghomeshi. As a hopeful radio producer/journalist I try to soak up as much of CBC Radio as I can. The national news service offers a wide vareity of programming that covers so many topics, and each show is produced in a unique way. If you like marketing/business or just want to hear something really cool, I highly recommend Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly. Like technology? Spark with Nora Young features some incredible stories about science and technology. White Coat Black Art with Dr. Brian Goldman is great for the health conscious etcetera, etcetera. I highly recommend looking into CBC Radio programming, you won’t regret it.

I get daily updates on my phone from different apps and keep myself up to date on events as they unfold. Through my job and my company’s twitter account, I get  a great insight into Canadian News and Canadian Military News, particularly news releases from the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces.

Facebook gives me plenty of updates on news as well. For lighter fare I’m a fan of Refinery29, a unique lifestyle and fashion website that I have fallen in love with. They post a ‘Things you Need to Know This Morning’ everyday which is a great roundup for a collection of news. On any given day you’ll find entertainment stories, international news events, business and commerce news, and some celebrity gossip to boot (the Snickers bar of the Newsatarian diet).

5:00 PM

By this time, I’m usually on the train home, or at least headed to it. If I haven’t used up my data for the month I flip through the news on twitter, but more often than not I just zone out and sleep. No shame.

6:00 PM

Back at home, radio is back on, and I’ll generally settle in to do some work, edit some writing, scope for scoops etcetera. I’ll generally tune into the TV news if I’m at home and have cable. Generally CBC or CTV fits the bill.

A couple of times a week I listen to a Radiolab podcast in the evening, by far one of my favourite radio shows and experiments to come out of the U.S. (which I have to admit, is far more experimental and diverse than Canadian radio). It’s a great show to listen to, to really experience what incredible radio production can do. Radio becomes a visual art if used the right way, and Radiolab uses editing and tools to the fullest.

Again, back on twitter, news, etcetera until I fall asleep. Luckily, even if I’m doing something else, breaking news will pop right up on the front of my phone and I can quickly tune in to the latest developing stories as soon as they happen. Timeliness is everything in the modern journalism and communications world, so as a student I’m working to acclimate myself to news around the clock.

And that’s a very general -and rough- day in the life of a Newsatarian slash Radio Junkie.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do.

Frats are friends, not (just) fools.

I just finished reading a recent article by Julia Ryan in The Atlantic.

“How Colleges Could Get Rid of Fraternities” looks at the various ways academic institutions can and can’t get rid of male Greek life on campuses across North America, and as Ryan says, “It’s not that easy to banish the Greeks.”

Ryan brings up concern about fraternity’s seemingly innate ability to “create environments that seem to breed hazing, binge drinking, and sexual assault.”

While this may be very true, this also sounds like almost any group of college age guys. As a girl who had the (un)fortunate experience to live on a self-titled ‘Party Floor’ in my first year of University, I have to say that the more minor of these activities -and I do include light hazing in that, as anyone who has been involved in a prank war will understand- can be applied to the guys (and girls) from my floor.

College is the primary opportunity for young guys -and girls- to get together and find themselves without the guidance and parental discretion that many of us feel at home. Despite drinking ages that are certainly higher than the age of many freshmen, namely 21 in the U.S. and 19 in Canada, alcohol is commonplace. Almost everyone has at least one night of their university or college career that they can barely recall. Or, if they can, they can barely recall it without grimacing at the though of too much tequila/whiskey/pick your poison.

This environment breeds foolish mistakes and indulgent behaviour, and the lack of parents and family ties means that students look for a natural way to connect with each other. In many cases this results in connections as ‘floor families’ or finding friendship in clubs, but for some it lies in the Greek community.

This connection is essential to anyone moving away from home, or to anyone entering the post-secondary community. It can seem big and strange, but to find oneself in a group you feel comfortable can make or break the experience.

The issue with the activities of fraternities lies not in the evil-nature of the guys who join these exclusive groups, but the sheer number of guys in a single ‘frat’. By bringing together that many guys who are all doing what everyone else is at that age -drinking way too much and looking for a good time- mob mentality takes over and incidents occur. The chance of incidents in a group is increased every time you bring someone else into it, and having that many guys in one house with alcohol is a breeding ground for poor decisions.

I am not in any way saying that this makes sexual assault, bullying, hazing or any other negative activity associated with fraternities okay. Stupidity in groups is not justification for stupidity as an act. There is no excuse for carrying out these activities in any form.

That being said, these events do happen and are especially prevalent on campuses. They occur more often in groups, and fraternities seem to be the major culprit. The problem is that people find it easier to point fingers to people that are officially grouped and designated as such, when such crimes and acts are done by many groups outside that aren’t recognized by an academic institution.

Fraternities, being subject to rules and provisions that govern all university-associated clubs and bodies, are a group that can be singled out and used as examples. Pointing instead at a group of guys that wander around campus and do the same doesn’t have the same effect. We can thank movies and TV shows for the gravity that comes with saying a fraternity broke the rules, they have a negative connotation. Other random groups of male students aren’t as widely recognized, and don’t have ‘rules’ to break.

Take for example the recent charges laid against members of the University of Ottawa’s varsity men’s hockey team. The entire team was suspended and a group of players were believed to be involved in a sexual assault. Ashley Bowen, staff at the Draft Pub at Lakehead University said the young men were “like a family.”

Like… brothers?

The team is a body governed by the university, and it is much easier to say the university’s hockey team, than ‘a group of Ottawa students’. The shock that comes with attributing a crime to a school-associated group is hard to beat, but in reality these are just groups of guys doing stupid things together.

Greek life is not the problem. I know many people that are involved in the Pan-Hellenic community here at Carleton University, and they are all fantastic people. Fraternities and sororities offer opportunities for individuals to establish a family away from home, and to get involved with charities and activities in school and out.

Any group of people is capable of committing harm against one another, and the diffusion of responsibility only makes it easier in larger numbers.

The argument should not be how colleges should get rid of fraternities, but how they should be regulated and how the activities that are deemed problematic should be stopped. All it takes is one bad egg to spoil the dozen, and in the case of a fraternity, all too often is the exceptionable individual taken to be the rule. Ryan looks at this too in the article, and brings up some ideas of how fraternities can be ‘taken care of’.

Some are a bit extreme, but many of which would be great ways to ensure that the power of fraternities and the so-called ‘brotherhood’ is used for good and not bad.

I’m not saying I have an answer or that there is a definitive answer, I’m just saying that there’s much more to brotherhood that booze and boobs.

Maybe we should instead try to combat the problems of binge-drinking and sexual assault on campuses as a whole. Manage the environment, not the groups produced by the environment, could actually make campuses safer and better places for students and faculty alike. Who knows, the Greeks may even help.