The symbolism of the Olympic torch has come under scrutiny as Anti-War at Laurier (AW@L) is resisting the torch’s celebration ceremony in Kitchener.
Undoubtedly, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics have participated in oppressing the Aboriginals of the West Coast and had negative environmental impacts on the Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler areas.
The native people of Canada are one of the most marginalized communities in the country, often living in impoverished areas with high crime and low education rates.
However, much like the experience of the Olympics in China, these embarrassing realities of Canadian life will not be hidden from the media and international spotlight leading up to the 2010 games.
The Vancouver Olympics, if anything, will bring focus to the problems Canadian people face; the nation will have to be held accountable for neglecting important components of Canada, such as the Aboriginal people and the country’s environment.
Nevertheless, the Olympics, in its heritage and foundation, represent something more than the things individual countries have continued to taint it with each time the games are held.
The purpose of the games is to bring people together from across the world with different backgrounds and experiences to challenge each other.
Sport is a form of expression; it displays personal and national discipline and it exemplifies the dedication it takes to overcome obstacles to achieve one’s goals.
The Olympics and the Olympic torch are more of a symbol of unity and triumph than a symbol of oppression and injustice.
And while the issues AW@L are addressing are important, they are not isolated to the presence of the games. Stopping the torch from entering Kitchener or stopping the games altogether will not end the problems that are present within Canadian society.
The oppression of Aboriginals and degradation of Canada’s natural environment have been controversial issues for decades.
If anything results from the games, it will be the realization that these problems that continue to flourish in our country are an embarrassment to such a developed and progressive nation.
Student input needed
Today and tomorrow from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the lower concourse, students will be able to voice their input on the 25-year master plan for Laurier’s infrastructure growth.
Even though we may not be here in 25 years to experience additions to the Laurier campus, the reputation of the school stays with its alumni.
It is our responsibility to ensure the needs of students, including future students, are met whether in academics or infrastructure.
Thus far, there has only been one undergraduate student, Laura Sheridan, president of the Wilfrid Laurier University’s Students’ Union, who has represented student interests in the development of the master plan, as she is the only one who sat on the university’s committee. However, the plan is now being exhibited for all students. It is our responsibility to make comments and suggestions that will be helpful to creating a functional campus and university environment.
Students have the opportunity for their opinions to be heard on the locations of new buildings, the future of St. Michael’s, residences and the possibility of another satellite campus. We finally have a chance to direct the university administration in the right direction and focus on developing the necessary areas.
Although our effort will not be actualized during our time here, it will be extremely beneficial in building the reputation of Laurier, thus improving the reputation of the school’s alumni. It will also ensure students have a positive experience and continue coming back.
Hopefully those responsible for the development of the master plan will seriously listen to the needs of students and implement their suggestions. Students should be the main priority in the university’s future.