Slider – The Cord The tie that binds Wilfrid Laurier University since 1926 Wed, 23 Jan 2019 00:44:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Slider – The Cord 32 32 42727683 Outstanding Women of Laurier nominees announced Wed, 16 Mar 2016 11:00:54 +0000
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Like always, the recipient of the coveted Outstanding Women of Laurier award will certainly be nothing short of outstanding.

Last week, the department of athletics and recreation at Wilfrid Laurier University announced the nominees for the 11th annual OWL award, given based on success on and off the field.

It combines athletic achievement, academic excellence, an active commitment to leadership and the development of young athletes.

This year’s nominees are Evie Fortier, who is on the women’s curling team, Suzanne Boroumand, who plays soccer and Jacky Normandeau, who is a member of both the women’s hockey and soccer teams.

Fortier regards this award as prestigious and has attested that it is the “gold standard” of a Laurier athlete. As a star athlete herself, she has won three consecutive OUA championships with the curling team.

Fortier also worked to grow the sport by volunteering her time at clinics at the K-W Granite Club, and is involved with Team Up Laurier.

“It feels amazing, it is such an honour to be nominated. And to be among so many amazing women who are on the list and who have been nominated in the past,” said Fortier.

Normandeau is highly involved in giving back to the community, as well as playing two time-consuming sports.

She also runs the athlete study hall, which gets her involved with mentoring younger athletes and first years while also volunteering at Cedarbrae Public School.

“I’m trying to give back to the community and get young children involved in sports,” she said.

Boroumand has also had a stellar career as a Golden Hawk athlete. Some of her highlights include winning an Ontario University Athletics championship, claiming two silver medals and going to nationals three out of the four years that she’s been here. She contributes much of her athletic success to her team.

“Most of my athletic achievements I want to give to my team because they have been there for the big things that I won. So this is definitely a huge highlight,” she said.

“Those are the ones that you remember because those are the ones that you share with 25 other people and that you worked toward with them.”

The OWL award is not only a formal recognition of a job well done, but it is a fundraising event to support women’s athletics.

Since 2006, the OWL award and ceremony has raised over $300,000 of support for women’s athletics at Laurier. Fortier said this event is vital, not only for women’s athletics, but for Golden Hawk athletics as a whole.

“It shows how much Laurier athletics cares about gender equality and diversity and all those things,” she said. “The fact that Laurier athletics puts in the effort to put on an event like this, it really reflects well on the values that they have.”

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Tying culture together Wed, 16 Mar 2016 11:00:52 +0000
Turban 3 (Andreas) online

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Members of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Sikh Student Association are tying the community together, one turban at a time.

In celebration of Sikh Awareness Day, the Sikh Student Association organized the second annual TURBAN UP! event on March 15. People of all races and ethnicities, sexual orientation, gender and religious backgrounds were invited to have their own turban tied on their head for free while learning about Sikh culture and tradition.

Occupying a marginal space of the Concourse, various members of the Laurier SSA assisted in the event to ensure all participants had the chance to experience the culture.

“It’s one thing to talk about turbans, but it’s another thing to actually experience it,” said Imanjit Singh, a fourth-year business student and head coordinator for the event. “The way that we believe it’s best to experience education is actually through experience.”

While Imanjit Singh noted the event would “bridge cultural gaps in the Laurier community,” he also emphasized its capacity to dispel misplaced fear, hatred and confusion.

“If there’s anyone that might not be comfortable with a turban or the way that we look because we have beards, this event is there to eliminate that,” he said. “We want people to be comfortable with who we are.”

Jaskeerat Singh, a member of Laurier SSA, noted the open-minded attitude among many participants contributed to the event’s success.

“It’s been a really great response from Laurier,” said Jaskeerat Singh. “A lot of people loved it. And even some people are like ‘you know what, maybe I won’t get a turban tied, maybe it’s not for me,’ but they just love learning something new.”

Sikh student associations in eastern Canada are united by the Sikh Youth Federation, the overarching coordinating body. In and around Sikh Awareness Day, multiple post-secondary institutions, including York University and the University of Waterloo, will be hosting similar events on their campuses — making TURBAN UP! a national affair.

“University is a great place to learn so why not learn about different cultures,” said Imanjit Singh.

While the turban stands as a significant symbol for holiness and spirituality, Singh also shared that it plays a significant role in public settings, as it allows Sikhs to be easily identified. From a young age, Sikhs are taught to be compassionate and considerate, and must act when help is needed.

“In this world, there’s a lot of grey men and what that means is that people don’t step up when people are being oppressed,” said Imanjit Singh.

“It’s very similar to how a police officer has his uniform, we have our uniform, so if you need help, if you need protection, whatever you need, a Sikh person can help you.”

From an outsider’s perspective, the turban may appear to be a gendered article, but Singh asserted that women can and do wear them, although many women choose not to. Notwithstanding, Singh shared that most Sikh women cover their heads, whether with a bandana or scarf.

“It’s a sign of modesty that they cover their head and it also pays respect to hair, because hair is such a valuable part of a Sikh person,” said Imanjit Singh.

Despite only being the second iteration of the event, Jaskeerat Singh noted the event has already developed a fan base.

“I love the fact that we’ve got people coming [back] each year now because they love the event so much,” said Jaskeerat Singh.

“The best part was that they remembered.”

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Getting into the workout groove Wed, 16 Mar 2016 11:00:34 +0000
Graphic by Fani Hsieh

Graphic by Fani Hsieh

At the mall, have you ever found yourself unable to make a big clothing purchase because you think, “what if I lose weight?” or “what if I gain muscle?”

For years, thoughts about being more active have gone through my head, but I’ve never done anything about it. This doesn’t put me in much of a position to tell you what to change in your life, but over the past few weeks I have been enlightened.

Speaking with Wilfrid Laurier University students, alumni and trainers, I have looked into how to take fitness more seriously. There are numerous avenues you can use to educate yourself on how to get started in any type of fitness. There are also many online resources available with diet or workout plans to choose from; it’s all in determining which will work best for you to reach your personal goals.

“The best and worst thing about it is that there’s nothing you can’t find on the Internet,” said Greg Nyhof, a student leader, fit centre coordinator who previously played football at Laurier.

Looking back to when he began working out eight years ago, Nyhof reaffirmed that “everyone makes mistakes and eventually you get pushed into the right direction.” Students have to seek out the right information and find the training methods that best suit their body.

Overcoming a lack of motivation

Over the past few summers, I have tried to force myself into a routine of working out. And if any of you know me, you also know that clearly hasn’t worked. As May comes around, I am faced with the ever so daunting realization that beach weather is upon us. I jump headfirst into a strict diet and workout plan, one that I’m rarely still following come September.

I sought out the help of personal trainer Alex Bartlett of Pure Strength Athletics, to give me some insight.

“The first two to four weeks is a big learning curve for clients, but once they get into the swing of things, their body adapts,“ Bartlett said.

Having grown up as an overweight child, Bartlett mentioned he was able to identify what he wanted to look like and worked his way backwards in setting a clear path to achieve this.

“Once you have a plan that you know to follow, you wake up everyday motivated to know the [little steps] will make a difference.”

Bartlett stressed the importance of the little things, like slowly taking out unhealthy foods and adding nutritious food to be healthier.

Alena Luciani, strength and conditioning coach at Laurier, explained when starting out a new routine, many people find themselves not knowing how often they should be working out if they’re new to fitness regimes.

“I think its important to go at least two to three times [a week]. I say that because if you do something once a week, it’ll take a lot longer to reap the benefits from that,” Luciani said.

You can’t out-train a poor diet

There are varying ratios, but it is widely known that  your diet plays around 50 per cent, if not more, of a role in the effectiveness of your fitness routine and the ability to reach your goals.

The key is a gradual introduction of healthier options into your everyday life. Bartlett believes that by doing so, “your transition is more manageable.”

Healthy food is often viewed as tasteless and bland, however there are plenty of tasty options out there to research and try out. When deciding what to eat, fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and healthy fats should be the basis of your diet.

“Shopping the perimeter of a grocery store … and eating things that once had a face, flew or grew out of the ground is going to be your best bet,” Bartlett advised.

Luciani explained what exactly you should eat while maintaining a workout routine. She said fueling your body for a workout is like fueling a car.

“If you think about a car. You put fuel in before a workout,” Luciani said. “During the workout you burn through all that, and afterwards you have to put more fuel into your body so you can do it again tomorrow.”

Before working out, Luciani advises consumption of a carbohydrate that is going to sit well in your stomach along with some type of protein.

“Something meant to give you energy whether [it] is oatmeal or quinoa or sweet potato. Those are all really great sources of carbohydrates and complementing that with a little bit of protein, so a banana with peanut butter or almond butter. That has healthy fats and some proteins.”

As for after a workout, the focus changes to protein complimented with carbohydrates. Eating a chicken breast with a sweet potato can be a good meal. Mixing protein into smoothies is also helpful.

“The protein useful to rebuild your muscles and after the workout to help build that lean muscle mass and the carbs are to restore your energy,” Luciani explained.

Leading a healthy lifestyle can mean reducing your consumption of “bad foods,” those that add no health benefit and only hinder any progress you’ve bad. This also means alcohol.

“An active lifestyle means minimum alcohol intake … I never liked alcohol to begin with, but it’s still something I continuously give up to maintain my active lifestyle,” explained Kwaku Boateng, a third-year defensive end for the Laurier football team.

This does not mean you have to forego all of the delicious foods out there that may not be the most nutritious. Nyhof believes that you have to be able to indulge a little bit. He strays from his diet schedule 20 per cent of the time, whether it is in snacks or cheat meals. Then it becomes something you earn and learn to enjoy even more.

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Common misconceptions about fitness

One of the most common deterrents to pursuing a fit and healthy lifestyle is what the media feeds us: unrealistic expectations, distorted views and results that have been attained through obsessive exercise, which regular people do not have the time for.

Nyhof encourages students to figure out what is attainable for them and to tailor a fitness plan around that goal. Not everyone is at the gym to achieve the same result. There isn’t one singular outcome from exercising at the gym, so a person shouldn’t be deterred from pursuing their goals or assume that their goals aren’t as important as someone else’s.

“I look around and not everyone is training the same way as I am and I’ve learned to be okay with that,” said Nyhof.

Luciani also addressed stigmas surrounding women who actively work out and how these stigmas can keep women from entering the gym.

“There definitely is a fear of a female to think if I pick up a weight I’m going to get big or bulky. Our bodies aren’t able to do that because we don’t produce the same hormones as men. Things work differently in our bodies,” she explained.

“We have so many resources for women and men to use whether it’s some of our classes or we have personal trainers that are super knowledgeable and are making fitness and exercise accessible for students here [at Laurier].”

Nyhof stressed that as long as you’re doing something that makes you happy and are taking the time to improve your health and fitness overall, that is what’s important.

Popular media often targets the twenty-something age demographic for short-term fitness plans and products. But for Boateng, active living isn’t just a fad.

“It keeps you healthy and I want to be healthy for as long as I can,” he said.

Personal fitness should be an ongoing journey, something that you are continuously chipping away at to maintain and grow and learn from. Over the years of training, Bartlett has encountered many clients that have been swayed by the eight-week or 12-week programs that promise drastic weight loss, but soon realize that this is not entirely realistic. Taking things in stride and accepting any positive change in your body is something to be celebrated.

Hitting the wall

There is no doubt you’ll hit a wall at some point in your workout journey. Your progress will slow down and you may become unmotivated to continue. Have you reached the peak fitness level possible? Have you pushed yourself as far as you can?

Luciani stressed the importance of setting goals and making a concrete plan so that progress doesn’t become stagnant.

“I think having a plan is the best thing to do to prepare for the gym. Finding something online that you’re excited to try, or a personal trainer, or finding a cool workout and trying it out with a few friends is really motivating,” she said.

She even pointed to the Nike training app as a beneficial tool to use when getting started.

“They have videos on there, so you can pause and see how an exercise is done. It’s kind of like having a mini personal trainer. There are workouts that use medicine balls and dumbbells and there’s some you just need a mat. There’s something for everyone.”

Bartlett reassures his clients that hitting a wall is bound to happen. Once your progress begins to slow, it is important to assess how to move forward and how to alter your fitness routine to adjust for this change.

“Nothing great has ever happened overnight,” Nyhof said.

What do students stand to gain from working out?

Taking care of our bodies not only benefits our outer appearance, but it’s just as important for our mental stability and academic success.

“My favourite thing to do when I’m stressed is grab my running shoes and go for a run,” Luciani said. “I’ve done it at all times of day, and even at 10 p.m. at night. Even if I go for 10, 20 minutes, I come back, take a deep breath and go back to tackling assignments. It provides so much clarity.”

In pursuing a healthy lifestyle, a person’s commitment “provides structure and discipline which can be instilled into your everyday life,” according to Bartlett.

“Bodybuilding and fitness is so much more than lifting weights.”

Barlett also highlights the social impacts that living a healthy lifestyle provides. A community of like-minded individuals who each care and push each other to reach their goals is something you may not expect of a facility full of heavy weights, but it is key to staying motivated and happy throughout your transition into a healthy lifestyle.

“Everyone’s your friend,” Bartlett said. “You’re there training. You’re there to help each other if someone needs it.”

You shouldn’t put a time stamp on your fitness. Your fitness should be a lifelong journey and goal. Bartlett hopes his clients plan to continue long after they’ve completed his training. Through increased understanding of your body and which foods you should be eating, you can maximize your progress and help you to enjoy the lifestyle.

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros


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Questions raised regarding LRT Wed, 16 Mar 2016 11:00:10 +0000
Photo by Paige Bush

Photo by Paige Bush

Questions have been raised by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union regarding the accessibility of Grand River Transit’s planned Waterloo Park-Laurier light rail transit stop.

The LRT is part of a project initially proposed in 2003 as a solution to the Waterloo Region’s inability to handle the growing amount of motor vehicle traffic.

The proposed project, ION, is set to connect the three major cities which comprise the Region, with the LRT to connect Conestoga Mall in Waterloo with the Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener, followed by a bus rapid transit route connecting the Fairview Park Mall with Cambridge’s Ainslie Street Terminal.

The LRT track is scheduled to serve the Laurier community through its Waterloo Park-Laurier stop on Seagram Drive.

“It’s only about 500 metres from campus, but that is like the edge of campus that we’re talking about, so right where the Library sits,” said Matt McLean, assistant vice-president of university affairs.

“Not a central sub and not a destination for students coming on or off that stop either. Students are going to be heading to the stop, or heading home from the stop, and in some cases if a student lived up near Columbia [Street] and King [Street], that’s about a two kilometre walk from their nearest LRT stop on Seagram Drive.”

Kimberly Moser, manager of community relations for ION rapid transit, said in an email that, “the location of all of the ION stops were determined years ago, including engagement with the community and stakeholders along the corridor (this includes both universities in the town).”

This statement, however, does not align with statements made by the Students’ Union.

McLean said that there was a lack of consultation with Laurier.

“Waterloo was thoroughly consulted because the track runs right through their campus. Laurier was not consulted as heavily with regards to that process.”

As a result of the location of the stop, the Students’ Union has been heavily involved with advocacy work through the Region in an attempt to increase accessibility to the stop for Laurier students.

As well as being a large part of the Students’ Union’s local advocacy week in January, representatives have spoken with the mayors of both Kitchener and Waterloo, the Waterloo regional chair, two regional councillors and the GRT itself.

The main solutions proposed by the Student’s Union have been for improvements to the walkways and lighting along Seagram, as well as for the possibility of a bus or shuttle to serve students between the university and the LRT stop.

Though the mayor of Waterloo, Dave Jaworsky, has expressed support for improvements to Seagram, there are not yet any definitive plans to implement either solution.

“[The LRT is] definitely becoming more and more prevalent as the construction gets more and more aggressive. Our students are wondering what’s going on and how this is going to benefit them,” said McLean.

“Of course students are going to put up with the construction, but we just want to make sure that the end product is something they can use.”

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The psychology of being graded Wed, 09 Mar 2016 12:00:54 +0000
Graphic by Will Huang

Graphic by Will Huang

Setting personal goals is and always will be a major part of being a university student. But not meeting your personal goals is something students face at some time or another.

As an English student, I pride myself in my ability to write well. However, last year, I received my lowest grade ever, a C- on an essay I had put a lot of work into.

I demanded an explanation from my professor and when I received that feedback, I understood why I was given such a low grade and moved on with hopes to do better in the future.

In four years at Wilfrid Laurier University, I have seen several peers having different reactions to receiving poor grades on assignments. Some people laugh it off, some people use it as motivation to work harder on their next assignment and some people let a poor grade alter their outlook entirely.

For some students, a poor grade can alter their mood for days; they can be so hard on themselves, causing them to disengage. Stress takes over and they find themselves measuring their self-worth based on a letter grade written in red pen on the top of a test, essay, lab assignment, midterm or exam.

Getting good grades is constantly on students’ minds. They set certain goals for themselves and when these goals are not achieved, their world is seemingly over.

“There is research that looks at the extent of which people base their self esteem on different things, one of them being academic performance,” said Christian Jordan, an associate professor in psychology at Laurier who studies self-esteem, specifically the distinction between fragile and stable self-esteem. He has also done research in narcissism.

“There are individual differences in that, some people are more likely to base their self-esteem on academic performance than others. The evidence indicates that it’s actually detrimental overall for psychological well-being to base your self-esteem through academic performance.”

Jordan explained some people’s self-esteem can rise and fall with how well they’re doing academically. If they’re doing well consistently, their self-esteem isn’t effected. It’s when students don’t do as well that their self-esteem can suffer detrimental consequences.

This is referred to as “contingent self-esteem,” according to Jordan. It’s seen as less stable and more fragile, therefore more susceptible to being affected by a poor grade.

According to Jordan, some people base their self-esteem on more stable facets of their lives like family support or their own personal morality. Others base their self-esteem on more unstable aspects of their lives, like academic performance.

“Saying that somebody’s self-esteem isn’t contingent on academic performance isn’t to say they don’t care about academic performance,” Jordan explained. “They might be really disappointed if they get a bad grade, but it’s not going to have the same impact on how they feel about themselves as a person.”

Shaan Brach, first-year business and communications student explained that he goes into each assignment or exam with a goal he has set for himself.

“I usually compare myself to what I think the average is going to be and try to get above that.”

Recently Brach received a mark he wasn’t too proud of, but his reaction seemed fairly normal and moderate. It was a bonus case for BU121 where he received a one out of 12. It boosted his mark .25 per cent instead of a possible three per cent.

“I was pretty upset when I first got the grade, like how is it possible to get that low of a mark, but then I looked at the rubric and I guess I’m more understanding of where that mark came from.”

Brach explained upon receiving a low grade, he usually responds by partying with friends to get his mind off of it. When the next assignment comes up, he tries to remember how he did poorly in the past and that he cannot afford another low mark.

“The amount of time I’m upset is directly determined by how much time I spent on the [assignment] itself,” he said.

Some people, however, have a harder time disengaging from negative feedback or constructive criticism. This can actually be related to neuroticism, depression, anxiety and introversion, Jordan explained.

“I think you can distinguish between that drive [to succeed] and neuroticism … If it’s your goal and you’re doing well, you’ll feel satisfied or happy that you’re meeting your goal and when you’re not, you’ll be discouraged, but you’ll probably work to do better,” he continued.

“Whereas if you’re staking your self-esteem in that performance and you don’t do well, then often what you’re seeing is there’s a more pronounced reaction to it, but also defensiveness.”

The result of this reaction can be when students lash out against the professor or when they believe a test or assignment was “unfair.” In the end, this behaviour actually prevents learning.

Also, this negative behaviour will most likely follow the student into further aspects of their life, like their career after university.

Language can also have a major impact. An “A plus” carries a more positive connotation than an “A minus,” something Jordan also found interesting.

“Subtle aspects of the environment can prime or cue people to have reactions that they’re not necessarily conscious of. It could be that those kinds of associations with positive means good, negative means bad could make the impact of grades even more pronounced,” he said.

A lot of this can come from the educational system as a whole. Students are constantly affected by the grading system and can often take away from the love of education — our self-worth is being proven by a letter written by a professor on a piece of paper.

“I think it’s a necessary evil in the system that we have. The ideal would be learning for the sake of learning and not having to be evaluated,” Jordan said. “We’re living in a society where we need to figure out who’s going to be best suited for grad school, careers … Some amount of evaluation and competition is kind of inherent.”

This evaluation Jordan spoke of is what many students focus on when it comes to graduating with honours and succeeding in order to differentiate themselves heading into the workplace or grad school.

But if we all get a diploma after graduation, why does it matter if  one person graduates with an 8.0 GPA and someone else graduates with an 11.0?

Mickey Conde, third-year global studies student, pointed out the flaws in Laurier’s grading system and how this can potentially add stress to students.

“I don’t really like the grading system, especially at this university an A+ is like a 92 and up,” Conde said.

Conde also said since he does not have any plans to get a higher education after his degree, he isn’t overly hard on himself to get high marks.

“I know I’m not going to get a masters. I don’t have the money for it,” he said.

“I’m getting this degree not for a job, I’m getting it more to expand my horizons … I really don’t know what I want to do [after university]; I’ll most likely have to go to college … In the sense of getting into college, any university degree is wicked awesome.”

Lisa Favero, manager of employer relations and recruitment at the Career Centre, explained some employers actually do look at students’ transcripts before hiring them.

Graduating Student Employment Services jobs that are posted on Navigator, the Career Centre’s job board, are for final year students seeking full-time employment after graduation. Favero said from August 2015 to February 2016, 40 per cent of the roles posted required transcripts with applications. These jobs, mainly in the business financial industries, were looking for students with average or impressive grades.

Sixty per cent of those jobs posted, however, did not ask for transcripts upon applying. Those employers were looking for well-rounded students who also had soft skills, hands on experience, excelled in extracurricular activities as well as maintaining good grades.

“To give you an example, we know for sure that in roles like accounting, finance, some [information technology], business analysis type roles, consulting, some sales and marketing, employers definitely want to see the marks,” Favero explained. “It may be just to make sure that they’re looking at people who have at least a minimum GPA of something. Or it may be that they’re looking for the cream of the crop or very, very bright people. Those roles may be behind closed doors, very analytical; they need exceptional hard skills to do those roles. Those employers aren’t really looking for that people person … they’re the people behind the scenes.”

Favero stressed how important it is to know what kind of jobs you’re looking for. For people who are looking for those “behind the scenes, analytical jobs” maybe it is in their best interest to aim for high marks.

She also suggested if you get a low mark in an elective, stress how well you did in your core or mandatory courses. One bad mark won’t affect the entirety of your success after graduation. It’s also important to pitch what you have — articulate your academic background in a way that enhances your experience beyond grades.

That’s why being able to promote yourself effectively is so important.

“Sometimes our biggest challenges are our biggest learning opportunities. Maybe this course was particularly challenging and you didn’t do well, but you overcame so many huge obstacles and where you were at the beginning of the course and where you ended up was a huge progression for you in terms of personal and intellectual growth,” Favero explained.

If you find yourself stressing over your grades, ask yourself: what’s motivating you to do well. Is it a personal goal or an effort to protect your self-esteem?

“Sometimes our biggest challenges are not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to us, but it’s the way you articulate it.”

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Preparing Laurier for St. Patrick’s Day Wed, 09 Mar 2016 12:00:52 +0000
File Photo by Heather Davidson

File Photo by Heather Davidson

The date had been circled since the previous year.

Alana Russell, corporate communications for Waterloo Regional Police Service and her team have been hard at work preparing for the incoming staple on the Wilfrid Laurier University social calendar — St. Patrick Day 2016.

According to Russell, the Waterloo Police started preparing for the next St. Patrick’s Day as soon as the previous year’s event finished.

“We determine in what, if there’s anything we can change, what we would improve, how it’s going to roll out next year. Of course with it being closer to the actual date, we are well within our preparation and we have an operational plan in place that we believe will prove effective in managing the event,” she said.

This year’s installment of St. Patrick’s Day won’t feature the tent party — which was introduced two years ago — however there are various other options students can partake in. Anne Anderson, a community pastor, is hosting an alternative dry event at the Seminary called the ‘Shamrock Café’ for the second year.

“It’s just a way that people can do something special, that can be with their friends but not have to worry about safety or security or excess drinking, those kind of things that they might feel uneasy about … there’s not that here, it’s just a fun alternative,” said Anderson.

Wilf’s will be open during regular hours to serve participants and the Turret Nightclub will be open during the evening. Students will have options for activities available for St. Patrick’s Day if they decide to partake, or if they decide to attend class.

And of course, Ezra Avenue waits quietly.

Russell said the amount of officers patrolling Ezra on St. Patrick’s Day will fluctuate — no set number has been decided.

“We don’t have a specific number. Our numbers depend on how many people are within that area, usually we’ll see more crowds later in the afternoon and then it tapers off around dinner time and then it picks up again for the evening hours,” Russell said.

Olivia Matthews, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president, said the university is preparing students for St. Patrick’s Day through constant communication.

Students can also expect a message on MyLearningSpace from Leanne Holland Brown, the dean of students, a letter from Max Blouw, Laurier president and social media posts with “Stay Golden” videos from Matthews and the Students’ Union.

In total, the university partners plans to broadcast 17 messages to students.

“I think the biggest thing that the Students’ Union helps with is communication with students around safety,” Matthews said.

“On that day we’re going to do some gendered violence messaging, we’re going to do some safe alcohol consumption messaging. But we do know that those issues tend to be heightened during the day of St. Patrick’s Day.”

Matthews also said various members of the Students’ Union, by-law officers, the department of athletics and recreation, WRPS and emergency medical technicians are partaking in a door knocker campaign where they will go around the neighbourhood and side streets, engaging with students and educating them about safety and showing respect.

The Emergency Response Team will be working with Special Constable Services throughout the day and Foot Patrol will also be available from 6:30 p.m. until 4:00 a.m.*

The university has also hired more security officers and will be working with Waterloo Police and Special Constables to make sure the day goes smoothly.

But it’s not just about staying safe while partying. One of the biggest concerns for Matthews is the increased instances of robberies during the day.

“Lock your doors on that day,” she said.

“Residence students don’t realize that. Students on Ezra don’t recognize that. But if there’s that many people around, and there’s that many guests around, then that’s concerning to us.”

With the priority on safety, Matthews has been working with internal and external committees of the university to ensure a safe experience for students, regardless of whether they decide to partake in St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

“We’re just going to involve working with the university and working with the city to keep students safe,” she said.

*Correction: this article originally had Foot Patrol’s operating hours listed incorrectly. 

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Laurier football recruiting class impresses Wed, 09 Mar 2016 12:00:51 +0000
Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

After making it to the semifinals in 2015 after beating the McMaster Marauders in the quarter-final, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s football team has made huge strides in their recruiting.

According to, Laurier ranked ninth in recruiting total and sixth in average per player recruit. CFC bases their rankings off a score interval for each player within the #CFC 100 Class 2016 Rankings list.* Each player is given a certain amount of points.

Depending on the number of recruits to a school that have confirmed, and the amount that is listed on the top 100, the ranking for each team can vary.

Peter Baxter, the director of athletics and recreation at Laurier had this to say regarding the placement.

“I think it speaks actually to the calibre of coaching that we have,” Baxter said. “With Mike Faulds as our head coach, who’s brought our team on the rise in just three short years and we made playoffs, we beat [McMaster], that helps a lot with recruiting. “

Baxter stressed the football staff as a major unit in the high ranking among top-Canadian teams such as Laval University and the University of British Columbia.

Baxter mentioned assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Ron VanMoerkerke, who he said has put a lot of young men as well as student-athletes into the Canadian Football League.

Baxter also gives credit to Dwayne Cameron, the special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator. The Golden Hawks’ philosophy is to invest in people, and that winning is not simply the end score when the whistle blows, but the broader achievements of the players’ lives.

“You start with good coaches, they invest in good student-athletes, and from there we get better and we win,” said Baxter.

To Faulds, Laurier’s rank allows them to compete with bigger schools and more established programs. Two years removed from a 1-7 season, with growth still in the works for the team, the new recruits see it as a big sell — the school is on the rise and they want to be a part of it.

“I think recruits are really seeing the progress we’ve made over the last few years. We’ve come a long way since that 1-7 season a few years ago, winning the playoff game this past year, making it to the [Ontario University Athletics] semifinals,” Faulds said.

But the surrounding systems for athletes are just as important. Baxter said that statistics shows the student-athletes’ graduation rate is higher than non-athletes and that measure at a university is the most important because their degrees will take them a lot further than their athletic field. But that doesn’t diminish what they are going to learn on the field.

“There is no better incubator than learning the spectrum of emotion, how to deal with failure, how to deal with adversity, how to deal with success and some people don’t know how to deal with success and that is what sport can teach you,” he said. “Every time you play, there’s a result at the end of the day and then you got to go back at it. You either won or you lost.

“Even if you won and lost, you got to go back at it the next game because there’s no such thing as a rearview mirror in football.”

* This article has been altered from its original version.

]]> 0 32264 Laurier: A Space Odyssey Wed, 09 Mar 2016 12:00:41 +0000

Graphic by Philip Su

Graphic by Philip Su

Wilfrid Laurier University’s department of physics and computer science will be delving a little deeper into astronomy with a new course, PC310B, on space and planetary science starting in the spring.

The course will be an addition to the two astronomy courses that currently exist at Laurier: AS101, an introductory course to the science of astronomy and AS102 which develops and expands upon the content covered in AS101.

PC310B will build on what is covered in AS101 and explore the solar system neighbourhood with more depth and detail.

“This is a course that can be taken by people in all faculties like math, chemistry, physics because it will be light on the side of mathematics,” explained Ioannis Haranas, an adjunct professor with the department of physics and computer science.

“It’s for everybody, basically, because the prerequisite is astronomy 101, which everybody takes.”

The inspiration for the course came from current students who had expressed a desire for more astronomy courses beyond the two existing ones, as well as prospective students with strong interests in astrophysics.

Haranas contacted Marek Wartak, chair of the department of physics and computer science, who was very supportive and in favour for the creation of a new course.

However, the issue came in creating a course that would not overlap with those offered at the University of Waterloo, which offers a degree in physics and astronomy.

“The only course we can actually put is something that has to do with planetary and space science,” said Haranas.

“First of all, because there’s nothing like this in the vicinity of universities that offer this kind of thing. They stick to theoretical physics, gravity, quantum gravity, that stuff.”

According to Haranas, the new course will cover basic physics, the structural evolution of each planet, small solar system bodies and the formation of the solar system. The highlight of the course will be space missions to the planets and their respective space crafts. Students will study the purpose of each space craft and their achievements thus far.

“This is the space era, this is the era of discoveries and all of these planetary missions they’ve sent, for example, recently to Pluto, the lander which went to the comet — they will have to know these things,” said Haranas.

“Even if I wasn’t a science major, I would be intrigued. I would like to know, otherwise I’d be left out scientifically in the era.”

Although the course is open to all faculties, students looking to register must have completed AS101 or have obtained permission from the department. So far the response has been positive, but Haranas said he would like to see more students.

“It would be imperative that the course now in May succeeds. Once it succeeds now, then it can be offered because people will know it.”

Although Haranas has expressed interest in teaching the course, the assigned professor will depend on the number of students enroled. Regardless, he is pleased the course has come to fruition.

“Teaching and doing astronomy and astrophysics is one thing … but lobbying and going through the marketing and all of that — that’s a different experience. And I must say I learned a lot.”

PC310B will be taught Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 – 2:50 p.m. at the Waterloo campus. Students are encouraged to register before March 14.

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Reviving the “trip or die” mentality Wed, 09 Mar 2016 12:00:16 +0000
Graphic by Fani Hsieh

Graphic by Fani Hsieh

Growing up at summer camp, there was a saying: “Trip or die.”

Whenever we built a fire, “Trip or die.” Whenever we finished a portage with a canoe crushing our shoulders, “Trip or die.” Whenever we paddled a lake, ate a good meal, looked up at the stars, took an afternoon nap, we would always say, “Trip or die.”

It was a motto embedded in the culture of our experience — words we lived by whenever we faced obstacles, but managed to push through. It provoked a mentality of empowerment while immersed in the uplifting beauty of nature.

Last summer, with a new director coming into camp and a new world of liabilities pressing in at every corner of society, the saying was suddenly forced under the rug.

After a recent phone call with the current director regarding a discussion of my return this summer to take out some canoe trips, he mentioned that the “trip or die” mentality was considered a “red flag.”

He discussed the mental health of campers and how the words could suggest alternative meanings that could be seen in a more negative light.

Sure, I get it.

We live in a society where another person’s thoughts are our worst nightmare.

“Trip or die” derives from the saying “live or die.” It does not suggest you must actually grab a paddle or die, but rather that tripping is a way of life. One where we can appreciate nature, learn to never give up and stay open-minded in any situation that storms our way. Not a “negative” message to send campers if you ask me.

It’s a saying about making the worst of situations seen to be the best of opportunities, as simple as saying “water is wet,” or “fire is hot.”

They are words intended to spark motivation in campers and make them believe there is nothing they cannot accomplish. It’s a phrase that can turn any rainy day sunny, any fire-cooked stir-fry into a gourmet five-star meal and make a sunset glowing lake the most satisfying sight the eye could see. The words can make a never-ending portage suddenly seem possible, and could turn fear into thundering inspiration.    

The “trip or die” mentality transcends the twisting bigotry that tackles our modern world.

In a society where words can change meaning at any second, surrendering our understanding is the first way to lose grasp of our belief.

Giving in to the expectations of every overactive liability prevents our own thoughts from surfacing and derails the expectations of ourselves. In struggles to make everyone happy, we are making nobody happy at all.

Why is this disregard for an old camp saying such a big deal?

Because in times where everything said can be taken so literally, we are threatening the versatility of language — we are conforming to a system that replaces meaning for what we know with what others may assume. Fear of assumption has vacuumed our tongues. And it’s about damn time we resist the suction preventing us from chanting what we believe.


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Black History Month ends in triumph for ABS Wed, 02 Mar 2016 12:01:36 +0000
Contributed Image

Contributed Image

Black History Month means different things to all types of people.

This February, the Association of Black Students at Wilfrid Laurier University declared it an open conversation and celebration. In addition to creating posters promoting its culture show, ABS collaborated with the Waterloo campus Bookstore to design a display commemorating the month. The display featured photos and paintings of famous black figures, as well as powerful iconography.

Thandiwe Gregg, the member liaison of the association, sees ABS as an accessible service to all students.

“[It’s for] anyone that’s really open to learning about what people of the African diaspora may face; we come in all different shades and we’re open to anyone coming who wants to learn more,” Gregg explained.

As a unit of the Diversity and Equity Office, ABS receives funding from the university to run its events programming. In the past month, ABS held discussions and collaborated with other associations, including Laurier’s Association of Caribbean Students and the University of Waterloo’s African Students’ Association. Its events reveal an underlying motive to connect with individuals and organizations in the community.

This year’s culture show, held on February 26 in the Turret Nightclub, embodied a progression from the previous year’s #BlackLivesMatter theme. The show stressed its goal of highlighting talent in the campus and the larger Canadian community, with the apt theme of “Black Excellence.” Building on the message of empowerment, there’s a reflective emphasis on recognition and remembrance.

“We just really want to recognize our students, what we’re doing on campus and people in the community because some of these people — black people and people of colour — are doing some great things in the community,” said Gregg.

For all the work put into the show, a serene ambiance greeted Laurier students, alumni and guests. Besides the audience were booths showcasing art by Laurier students expressing their Afro-Canadian experience. The show kicked off nicely and performers expressed their artistry through dance, spoken word, rap and song. Technical issues sprang up later into the night, but the dancers remained energetic and their spirit infectious.

The energy carried into the fashion show, a vibrant and diverse display of colour, texture and pride. Models with attitude presented their cultural dress and original designs while the audience voiced their appreciation. Taking some time from the musical and visual spectacle, the show awarded select guests for excellence in arts, academics, sports and leadership.

“This could just be something to propel someone to move forward, and reassure themselves: ‘Yes, I’m doing something good. I’m doing something excellent and no one’s going to bring me down,’ ” said Gregg.

ABS delivered on its promise and demonstrated an ability to tackle both critical issues and celebrate accomplishments in the community. As a spoken word artist in the show put it: “It is showing that we are a part of history.”

Black History Month may be over, but ABS doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The key to this is meeting at the start of each year to discuss its goals.

“It’s always to represent our values: solidarity, empowerment and progress. In any way that we can embody those terms, I think we just shoot and go off with it,” said Gregg.

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