StFX’s New Year’s Resolutions

 

Seven ideas to combat inaction

2018 was an eventful year for StFX. In August, the school hosted more than 1 000 athletes from across the country for the 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games. Construction continued on the Mulroney Centre, began on the Oland Centre, and students were forced to adjust their routes to class as construction also began on the new stairs and ceremonial flag plaza. 

Not too far into the 2018-19 school year, the university began to make national headlines for mishandling a case of sexual assault, and student protest became a force to be reckoned with as Xaverians came together to combat the school’s apathy and inaction. Protests calling for fair fees and accommodations for international students also garnered attention in late November. Coming into the new year, many students are hoping for big change. Perhaps, I believe, StFX should be too. To help them on their way, I’ve pulled together a list of 7 new year’s resolutions based on the big events and stories from 2018.

1. Listen to the revolutionaries

Cornell University professor Sidney Tarrow writes in his book Power In Movement that “people do not risk their skin or sacrifice their time to engage in contentious politics unless they have good reason to do so.” This year, StFX students and faculty took a stand against sexual violence at the university’s open house. 

More than 5 000 individuals signed a petition listing calls to action. A number of individuals wrote and shared open letters, ran forums, and staged protests. Students petitioned for fair fees and accommodations for international students, they stood with Coady workers, and proved that our generation is willing to get up and engage and fight for what’s right.

StFX prides itself on being an institution founded on principles of social justice. While that claim is dubious when applied to the institution itself, students, faculty, and community members have proven their commitment to justice by engaging in contentious politics on a number of occasions. This year alone, the StFX community proved themselves revolutionaries.

Taking to heart Tarrow’s words would serve StFX well. Revolution doesn’t happen without good reason, and so to better the institution, listening to the revolutionaries is key.

2. Prioritize action

Everyone’s heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words,” and yet, some people seem to have a hard time applying it. StFX is a big fan of the empty promise. In terms of the fight for action on issues of sexual violence, students were promised action on multiple occasions in 2018, and have yet to see any significant changes. The new Sexual Violence Prevention Committee has yet to be created, a clear apology has yet to be issued on behalf of the administration, and the action plan promised at the open forum in November has yet to be released. 

Creating trust in a system (one that we as students are supposed to trust with nearly every aspect of our lives) requires more than just telling people what they want to hear. Following through on promises and committing to real action needs to be at the top of StFX’s list of priorities for 2019.

3. Treat students like people, not money

Students pay a lot to be here. For a student in a general arts or science program, fees before living expenses come to about $9 000. For international students, that amount more than doubles. 

University is expensive, we all know and expect that, but unfortunately, many students don’t feel valued for anything other than the contents of their bank account. For example, charging students who can’t afford to fly home for the holidays a fee to stay on campus. International students were right to petition for fair fees in 2018, but they shouldn’t have had to. Treating students like people, rather than sources of cash, should be an easy resolution for StFX to make.

4. Be trauma informed

Sexual violence has been at the forefront of nearly every discussion had on campus since September. Not because every conversation is about issues of sexual violence, but because it is impossible, when those issues are so prevalent in the day to day life of more than half the student population, to put them out of mind. 

The university, in addressing issues of sexual violence, must recognize the impact of trauma.

Consisting unproportionately of upper-middle class white men, it is evident that the StFX administration is largely unfamiliar with the struggles of female, queer, Indigenous, and international students who all face increased risk of sexual violence on a day to day basis. This privilege, too, needs to be recognized as we continue to take action on issues of sexual violence. 

There are so many people at StFX who have more experience with issues of sexual violence than those who make up the administration. Lean on those people, who are already doing the good work, and combating violence - listen to them when they tell you what needs doing, and how to go about change.

5. Embrace and value diversity

In social justice work, the guiding principle of “letting the most qualified person speak” is referenced frequently. That means letting those most affected by issues speak to their own needs and situations. In academia, this principle also applies. Who better to teach a course on Indigenous issues than an Indigenous person? Or a course on race than a racialized person? Hiring diverse faculty benefits everyone - allowing students to learn from those with first hand experience in the worlds they’re studying, and creating an environment more accepting to all.

Additionally, celebrating the diverse student body at StFX should be given more time and energy. Pride month shouldn’t just be one month. The flag shouldn’t go up early January and come down four weeks later. Christmas shouldn’t be the only holiday celebrated with big events across campus. The StFX student population comes from across the globe, and the university experience should reflect and recognize this. So, hire diverse faculty! Fly the pride flag year round! And the Mi’kmaq flag! Recognize and celebrate holidays that aren’t Catholic!

Embracing diversity isn’t that hard, I promise.

6. Break more traditions, and start new ones

September 2018 marked a big change in StFX tradition: single gender residences Cameron and MacKinnon Hall were, for the first time, considered co-ed. While the decision was highly contested, it was also necessary in combating misogynistic rituals. Tradition can be extremely harmful, and breaking this one was a step in the right direction. StFX should continue to challenge campus traditions, asking themselves if a tradition is truly adding to the university experience they want to present, or if it might be causing more harm than good.

7. Rethink the reputation

On a similar note, StFX is well known across Canada, and even internationally, for its reputation. While many students jokingly refer to StFX as a cult, two of the main reputations that have befallen the school are 1) that StFX is the number one party school in Canada, and 2) that the StFX community is like family. Both these reputations, while wielded proudly by a number of students, staff, and alumni alike, are unfortunately quite harmful.

The party school reputation lends itself to the promotion of alcoholism - excused as part of the experience rather than the affliction that it is - and makes space for behaviour that is violent and inappropriate. If this reputation is one the school plans on sticking with, they should balance it out with more education - on safe substance use, mental health, addictions, consent, and violence.

Referring to the school community as a family, as Professor Johannah Black pointed out at November’s open forum, brings up the often troubled dynamics that real families face. 

Too often, families cover up or ignore sexual violence, disown family members in acts of discrimination, or integrate unhealthy power imbalances into the home; I would hope that this isn’t the picture of family StFX has in mind, but it would serve the school well to rethink the emphasis placed on the term.

This list (though quite long) only addresses a small portion of what StFX should be striving for in 2019. What has been well proven, however, is that new year’s resolutions tend not to stick. 

Maybe what StFX needs, then, is a revolution - but whether or not they’re ready to accept that is another story all together.

 
 

Calling All Beer Connoisseurs

 
 

10.3% brew is local company’s first bottled beer

Half Cocked Brewing Company released its first bottled beer Tapped and Feathered on December 22, 2018 and it’s flavourful. With an alcohol by volume of 10.3%, the new maple batch is a warm buzz in a bottle with a hint of vanilla and chocolate flavour.

The beer is a maple sap imperial stout with quality ingredients sourced from North Grant in Antigonish County. After aging in a Glenora whiskey barrel for 6 months, the beer is bottled. Sap from Haveracre maple farm in Antigonish is slightly noticeable. The beer’s vanilla flavor comes from the oak wood of the barrel used for aging. 

On a shelf in the staff room sits a small jar of the whiskey that was absorbed in the wood of the barrel when the beer was aged. It smells powerful and smooth. Co-owner Greg Oicle commented on the beer’s high alcohol by volume, “The high gravity makes it safer to age. For barrel-aging beer, you want the gravity higher because you have less likelihood of bacteria and yeast or other contaminants over time. It went into the barrel at 8.5% and it came back from Glenora at 10.3%.”

The warm feeling one gets from drinking whiskey is a unique feature of Tapped and Feathered. 

A bottle of 650ml sells for $17. Of the 286 bottles made, half of them are already sold.

Photo: Facebook @Half Cocked Brewing Company

Photo: Facebook @Half Cocked Brewing Company

In addition to sourcing local ingredients, Half Cocked Brewing Company supports local business. Luc Boudreau is the artist from the Maritimes, creator of Maritime Grime, responsible for the top-notch label design on the Tapped and Feathered bottle. 

Boudreau is also the designer of the company’s logo symbolic of the family’s chicken farm that was built by Oicle’s grandfather and partners in the 1960s.

Oicle’s parents bought the farm in the 1980s. As the oldest boy growing up on a farm raising 24 000 chickens, Oicle is familiar with a strong work ethic. In the summer of 1999 before he started his Geology degree at StFX, Oicle worked on building an additional barn where Half Cocked Brewing Company is now located.

The bottling gear for Tapped and Feathered is provided by Big Spruce Brewing, a company from Nyanza, Nova Scotia. Big Spruce Brewing has been supporting Oicle since the early days when they delivered growlers to The Townhouse Brewpub & Eatery for sale. The business model quickly evolved and Oicle now does growler fillings and pints weekly on Thursday evenings at their location.

Oicle is the head brewer and majority shareholder of Half Cocked Brewing Company. His passion for home brewing started in 2014 when Oicle and his brother experimented with recipes. 

The inspiration came from walking into the NSLC and   noticing only a handful of beers were made in Nova Scotia. He remembered, “A year before we opened, we were refining our recipes by brewing for friends and family.”

Founded in August of 2017, Oicle is already looking at brewing equipment to expand the business, “In the course of a month I make 800 to 1000 litres of beer. With a new system, I can be making that much in a day.”

StFX students confirm that the Half Cocked Brewing Company honors its mission to brew delectable, yet down to earth beer. After tasting Tapped and Feathered, Joseph Goodwin wrote, “The variety of flavours create an experience unlike any other beer and despite its robustness and high alcohol content, it is unbelievably smooth.” 

Julia McKaig described Tapped and Feathered, “The first dark beer to ever perk my ears up. Perfect for an uplifting night. Heed warning, it may keep things lively until morning.”

Stop by the brewery on Thursdays from four to seven for excellent service and       quality products at 1290 off the old Highway 245 in Antigonish. 

 

Canadian Man Sentenced to Death in China

 
 

Feud sparked by Huawei CFO’s arrest in Canada continues to rage on

Tensions between Beijing and Ottawa continue to escalate, as a Canadian man was sentenced to death on Monday in China’s northeast province of Liaoning. In November, The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to 15 years in prison on charges of mass drug smuggling. Earlier this month, prosecutors appealed the decision, stating that the sentence was too lenient due to evidence of Schellenberg’s involvement in international organized drug crime. Within 20 minutes of Schellenberg’s second appearance, the court decided to send the case to a retrial. 

In a blog post, George Washington University’s Chinese law expert Donald Clarke stated that the speed at which the court decided to retry the case was highly suspicious, and indicated that the decision had been made prior to Schellenberg’s court appearance. He also stated that the extraordinary speed with which the retrial was scheduled is indicative of the case being used as diplomatic retaliation. 

“Schellenberg’s retrial has been scheduled for January 14, a mere 16 days after the appeal decision. This is barely time for the minimum 10 days’ notice of trial required by China’s Criminal Procedure Law (Art. 187), and it is not clear that notice was in fact provided on or before January 4 as required. Given that the prosecution apparently plans to make new allegations that would justify the imposition of a death sentence, such a brief time is utterly inadequate for the preparation of a meaningful defence.”

All of this comes only a month after the Canadian arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co. After the arrest, the Chinese Embassy in Canada issued the following statement, “At the request of the U.S. side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim. 

The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the U.S. and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Wanzhou. We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

The request from the U.S. to extradite Wanzhou came after the U.S. uncovered evidence that she purposefully buried Huawei’s connections to a firm that attempted to sell equipment to Iran, despite international sanctions. 

The original warrant was issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York; after the arrest, Canadian officials  confirmed Wanzhou was charged with “conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions.” The charges of fraud include using a shell company over five years to avoid international American sanctions. Skycom, the company in question, was used to provide telecommunication services to Iran. While Wanzhou asserts that Skycom and Huawei are separate entities, U.S. officials disagree. In addition to the fraud charges, U.S. attorneys state that Wanzhou was actively attempting to avoid prosecution by the U.S., as she was found in possession of “no fewer than seven passports from both China and Hong Kong.” 

When questioned by reporters, Trudeau felt that the arrest would have little impact on diplomatic relations with Beijing, stating that the two countries had a very good relationship. The following day, the Chinese government issued a warning to Canadian ambassador John McCallum, stating that the arrest “severely violated the Chinese citizen’s legal and legitimate rights and interests, it is lawless, reasonless and ruthless, and it is extremely vicious.” The government also warned of “serious consequences” if the actions by North American officials were not remedied.  Shortly after the warning was issued, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained in Beijing, for “endangered Chinese security.” The unspecific allegations were not followed with charges laid by the Chinese government, and Prime Minister Trudeau has referred to the detention as arbitrary and unacceptable. 

A second Canadian has also gone missing in China. Michael Spavor, a Canadian business consultant with ties to North Korea, shared his itinerary on December 10 over Facebook for a lecture series in Seoul. Spavor’s plane was set to depart from China that day; however, he never arrived in South Korea. 

In a statement referring to both Spavor and Kovrig, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang again accused the pair of being “suspected of engaging in activities endangering national security,” without specific charges being laid. Clarke also referred to the pair in his blog post regarding Schellenberg’s death sentence. 

“The case appears to reinforce the message, previously suggested by the detentions of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, that China views the holding of human hostages as an acceptable way to conduct diplomacy.” 

The diplomatic tensions between Canada and China show no signs of easing during the coming weeks, and several former foreign officials have predicted that it will take approximately a year to resolve. President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau have both appealed to the government of China to refrain from utilizing their judicial powers as weapons in the diplomatic spat, though their pleas remain unanswered. Meanwhile, Schellenberg has 10 days to appeal the court decision, although due process has notably been missing from many of the aforementioned court proceedings.

 

There’s a Hot New Bar in Town

 
 

Welcome to the Furnace

January 5 saw the opening of the newest nightclub in Antigonish, The Furnace Nightclub. After launching to great success (max capacity at 10:30pm) I caught up with the owner to discuss his plans and hopes for his business.

Timothy Peters is the 28-year-old entrepreneur at the helm of The Furnace. Growing up in Cape Breton, Tim lived around big fields and farmland all his life, which inspired his interest in creating incredible parties. The year he held his first annual field party titled “Beats in a Field,” a music festival including 5 DJs, a hay wagon for a stage, and a formidable 400 person attendance.

Fast forward to its third year and the event had an attendance of 1000 people who enjoyed food trucks, various entertainers, and a great party overall. The sheer size of the event became too much to handle for a one-man operation, so Tim rented the space previously occupied by the Oriental Lounge to begin his newest business endeavour. One year of preparation later, The Furnace is ready to go and things are just starting to heat up. 

After hearing a brief history, I asked Tim what his goals for The Furnace are, and what his plans are to differentiate himself from other bars in town. Tim elaborated on his target audience being you, the students, and what he thinks will attract students to the new spot. 

The building itself is rather small, but features a good mix of seating space and dance floor to appeal to all in attendance. The dance floor itself has the stage front and centre, where DJs and live bands will keep the nights going for all to see. Interestingly, there is a pool table in the seating area, further increasing the diversity in the environment and creating a unique vibe compared to other bars in town. Aside from the building layout, some key features to look out for are cheap drinks during happy hour (9pm-11pm), various live performers, and several female bouncers, which Tim attributes to creating the comforting and welcoming environment felt on opening night, a trend which will surely continue.

I had some concern over the location of the bar, being above a local restaurant, however Tim easily cleared any doubts I had. He explained that he rents the room from the restaurant owner, and that their businesses work parallel to each other to operate as smoothly as possible. For instance, The Furnace opens just as the restaurant closes, avoiding any noise issues that may be had. Also, with the stairway to access the building being rather narrow, the line begins at the door, allowing for easy access both in and out of bar. Lastly, the bar is inherently not accessible to persons with physical disabilities due to it being on the second floor, and there is no official means to alleviate this issue as of now. 

Each bar in town creates its own unique atmosphere which largely attracts or alienates certain people. Being the new club in town, The Furnace is in the position to create a name for itself and establish a unique atmosphere when compared to its competitors. Tim wants The Furnace to be an inclusive, welcoming, and modern nightclub for all people to come and enjoy. A great example of getting off to the right foot is an event taking place February 2, X-Pride’s “Rainbow Party.” This event concludes the month’s events put on by X-Pride. By hosting this event, The Furnace already cements itself as the welcoming and inclusive location it strives to be. But of course, we can’t forget about the entertainment. From his experience in hosting “Beats in a Field” Tim has many connections which will inevitably lead to talented DJs and live bands to rival some of the best entertainment in town.

Being the new bar in town, there is considerable competition to attract an audience when the competitors have such established experiences. So, here’s the kicker for all us students to enjoy: no cover. That’s right, well, at least most of the time. 

Tim went on to explain that most often there will be no cover to enter the bar as he feels everyone should be able to enjoy the night without paying for admittance. With that said though, of course there will be a cover charge to help pay for a particular entertainer for special events. But Tim wants his customers to receive value for their cover charge, and from the cheap drinks, diverse environment, and great entertainment, it will certainly be worth the price. 

From the environment, to the atmosphere, and entertainment, The Furnace’s future looks bright and is sure to be an interesting new place to visit and enjoy.

Lastly, Tim has a quick message for the students: “Come out and try something new at The Furnace!” 

 

“Is it worth it to be a stereotypical man?”

 
 

Dr. Murray Knutilla speaks about his 2016 book Paying for Masculinity

Dr. Murray Knutilla was interviewed in the evening of June 27, 2018 by Douglass Hook.

Dr. Murray Knutilla is a professor of sociology at Brock University and an adjunct professor at the University of Regina. The book referred to in this interview is Dr. Knutilla’s 2016 work, Paying for Masculinity: Boys, Men, and the Patriarchal Dividend.

***

DH: In simplified terms, what is “Hegemonic Masculinity” and what is Patriarchy?

MK: Patriarchy is a form of organizing human social relations in which males are dominant, males are more privileged, maleness is more highly esteemed than femaleness. An example of patriarchy at work is I’m a golfer, not a good one, unfortunately, but when I’m golfing with my male friends if someone leaves a put five feet short it’s not uncommon to hear someone say “Nice putt, Sally. You did that like an old woman. Are your panties too tight?” That’s humour, but underneath that humour is the notion that girls couldn’t putt well. That old women are useless.

Hegemonic masculinity is just the dominant way in performing masculinity as a man or boy in the world. So, what I argue happens is coming to understand how, in the last 300 to 400 years, a particular form of masculinity became hegemonic because during feudal society, for example, there was much greater equality in men and women’s relationships. Something happened with the emergence of the industrial revolution and capitalism that codified a particular way of “being men” and that emphasized power, control, and domination. 

DH: You talked about how approximately 350 years ago there were more egalitarian modes of being for families, what did this look like?

MK: It was an era that the family was also the productive unit. So, if I were a cobbler or if the history of family was  cobblers, we all worked in the home and the kids were in the home and I might be cutting the leather or my partner, or my wife, might be cutting the eyes in the shoe and sewing the soles, children underfoot, and so the production happened literally in the household. It was still a patriarchal society, so when we went to church on Sunday we might have heard a sermon that emphasized the nature of patriarchy but when we got home on Monday, the truth of the matter was that in order to make the shoes, we worked together.

DH: So, what changed?

MK: That system eroded during the 1600s, 1700s, and the 19th century Victorian period, when the production moved from the home to the factory, when the mechanization of production happened these factories could make shoes at a fraction of the cost of the artisan-produced home shoes and so we were all driven into the factory. Myself, my female partner, my children, and for a period of time the entire family worked together. They liked small children working in mines (and factories) because children could get into small spaces. But a variety of social forces led to change. Men, unions, people of good conscience and, social reformers were important in this; “No we can’t do this to our children, this is not right.” Men increasingly began to realize that if they restricted the work of women and children and if they could get the government or state to do that, they could demand higher wages. In the transition from the feudal family to what became, three centuries later, the traditional western nuclear family, the woman stayed at home raising children and the man brought home the family wage.

DH: How important was the income that women earned to the family household?

MK: In the pre-industrial era, it was absolutely essential. 

DH: How did this change become entrenched if household production was so important?

MK: The notion of domestic labour as a labour of love was really interesting because, on the other hand, “I’m this poor working class man in Manchester, I work long hours in a textile factory, work is nasty, it’s dirty and dangerous. When I come home from my ten or 12-hour shift, it’s really sweet if there’s a meal ready, I don’t have to start doing the laundry, if the kids, whom I love, have been properly taken care of. All of those are really sweet benefits to me.” As patriarchy takes on a new form in the era of industrial capitalism, we begin to understand the benefit that accrues to men from this new division of labour, it’s an element of the patriarchal dividend.

DH: Even though there was this dividend for men, it was reinforced with this kind of Victorian chivalry where the women were expected to be dainty, delicate, and fragile and they needed to be protected from this new industrial world?

MK: The interesting thing about the Victorian middle class, the emerging entrepreneurial capitalist class, they wanted to emanate certain things and imitate the aristocracy, and how they lived. Think of Downtown Abbey, though it was in decline, it was still a lifestyle that many in the middle class and many in the upper echelons of the working class sought to emulate. 

DH: In the book, you talk about the patriarchal dividend, and the benefits that men enjoy because of their status, but there are some significant downsides to this dividend. Can you talk more about that?

MK:  Unequal social orders bear up some of the most lonely and alienated people in the world, which often are men who are unable to establish human relations with other people. One of my favourite movies is Stand by Me, about four boys looking for a dead body. Those boys have not yet gone through the process of “manning up,” but if you know the movie, there are two groups of boys, eleven and twelve, and the older boys who have “manned up,” one played by Keifer Sutherland, and he’s basically a psychopath. What happened between twelve and sixteen? At the end of the movie it’s narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, and he says “I’ve never had friends like I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anybody?” In a totally non-erotic and non-carnal way these boys love each other, they genuinely love each other, they’re genuinely capable of expressing love and affection. In my chapter on boys, I use Niobe Way’s work a lot, where she has done twenty years of cross-cultural work [on boys] and the profound need for connection in love and friendship and that gets drubbed out of us and that’s a tragedy.

Let me tell you about the corporate executives I interviewed about masculinity. I had a number of cases that, by an hour into the interview, the man cancels his other appointments because he hasn’t talked about himself for a long time. One question in which I asked them was “Tell me about your relationship with your children,” so you hear me on the tape say that, and you’re listening to the tape — let me imitate the sound on my tape: “[deep sigh and silence].” You hear this silence because they don’t have memories of the first six to eight years of their child’s life. 

DH: How does this happen?

MK: It’s back to that cost, it’s not just about us, in terms of unhappiness and so, I think men are lonely. In the chapter on boys, I talk about how, as we move from our best friend to our good friend to our acquaintance. In your life, ask yourself, did you have best friends with whom you shared intimate secrets? Then you had good friends, and then you had acquaintances to talk to about stuff, but the corporate executives I talked to, they had no one to talk to about this stuff. They couldn’t talk to their wife, or their competitors in the office or the guys at their golf club, or the people that worked for them. If you have people working for you, you can’t display any weaknesses. Certainly can’t do this with your “good friends,” you’re going to talk about sports and other things, not about your masculinity or sexual frustrations.

DH: Even within that bottling up, there are compartmentalizations that happen, where men display different masculinity to different people based on context, which creates further issues within one’s own concept of their masculinity. 

MK: A really common comment from young girls, when talking about their boyfriends is that, “they’re so nice when we get together, but when he’s with his friends he’s just an asshole.” 

DH: Some of the chapters in your book talk about the rules for men, like, no sissy stuff, don’t be gay, etc. I wondered, that when it comes to masculinity and gay men, do they get a kind of “pass” on masculinity or the competitive aspects of hegemonic masculinity? 

MK: Well, there are multiple masculinities. One of the weaknesses of my book, I think, is the treatment of the whole community of LGBTQ+ and so on. And a part of that is that there is material out there about gay masculinities. I know some gay men who practice hegemonic masculinity. In some ways he acts towards his same-sex partner very much in the way a dominant heterosexual man would act towards his female partner. So, he’s very comfortable in his skin as a gay man practicing hegemonic masculinity. The other point is that there are a range of gay masculinities, just as there are a range of heterosexual masculinities. One of the particular challenges for gay men in our society is the phenomenon of homophobia, which is commonly associated with hegemonic masculinity.

DH: What is it about manhood, or masculinity, that makes it so fragile or difficult to maintain status?

MK: The interesting thing about masculinity as opposed to femininity, is that it has to be earned and granted. You’re not automatically a man, you have to prove you’re a man. For different cultures there are different rites of passage and the interesting thing for advanced western society is that we don’t really have a right of passage. We need others to tell us that we’re men, and recognize we’re men and sometimes we do stupid things to do that...

DH: I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it’s something I will be thinking about for some time to come. This was a pleasure, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.

MK: You’re very welcome.

 

StFX’s New Year’s Resolutions

 
 

Seven ideas to combat inaction

2018 was an eventful year for StFX. In August, the school hosted more than 1 000 athletes from across the country for the 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games. Construction continued on the Mulroney Centre, began on the Oland Centre, and students were forced to adjust their routes to class as construction also began on the new stairs and ceremonial flag plaza. 

Not too far into the 2018-19 school year, the university began to make national headlines for mishandling a case of sexual assault, and student protest became a force to be reckoned with as Xaverians came together to combat the school’s apathy and inaction. Protests calling for fair fees and accommodations for international students also garnered attention in late November. Coming into the new year, many students are hoping for big change. Perhaps, I believe, StFX should be too. To help them on their way, I’ve pulled together a list of 7 new year’s resolutions based on the big events and stories from 2018.

1. Listen to the revolutionaries

Cornell University professor Sidney Tarrow writes in his book Power In Movement that “people do not risk their skin or sacrifice their time to engage in contentious politics unless they have good reason to do so.” This year, StFX students and faculty took a stand against sexual violence at the university’s open house. 

More than 5 000 individuals signed a petition listing calls to action. A number of individuals wrote and shared open letters, ran forums, and staged protests. Students petitioned for fair fees and accommodations for international students, they stood with Coady workers, and proved that our generation is willing to get up and engage and fight for what’s right.

StFX prides itself on being an institution founded on principles of social justice. While that claim is dubious when applied to the institution itself, students, faculty, and community members have proven their commitment to justice by engaging in contentious politics on a number of occasions. This year alone, the StFX community proved themselves revolutionaries.

Taking to heart Tarrow’s words would serve StFX well. Revolution doesn’t happen without good reason, and so to better the institution, listening to the revolutionaries is key.

Photo: cambridge.org

Photo: cambridge.org

2. Prioritize action

Everyone’s heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words,” and yet, some people seem to have a hard time applying it. StFX is a big fan of the empty promise. In terms of the fight for action on issues of sexual violence, students were promised action on multiple occasions in 2018, and have yet to see any significant changes. The new Sexual Violence Prevention Committee has yet to be created, a clear apology has yet to be issued on behalf of the administration, and the action plan promised at the open forum in November has yet to be released. 

Creating trust in a system (one that we as students are supposed to trust with nearly every aspect of our lives) requires more than just telling people what they want to hear. Following through on promises and committing to real action needs to be at the top of StFX’s list of priorities for 2019.

3. Treat students like people, not money

Students pay a lot to be here. For a student in a general arts or science program, fees before living expenses come to about $9 000. For international students, that amount more than doubles. 

University is expensive, we all know and expect that, but unfortunately, many students don’t feel valued for anything other than the contents of their bank account. For example, charging students who can’t afford to fly home for the holidays a fee to stay on campus. International students were right to petition for fair fees in 2018, but they shouldn’t have had to. Treating students like people, rather than sources of cash, should be an easy resolution for StFX to make.

4. Be trauma informed

Sexual violence has been at the forefront of nearly every discussion had on campus since September. Not because every conversation is about issues of sexual violence, but because it is impossible, when those issues are so prevalent in the day to day life of more than half the student population, to put them out of mind. 

The university, in addressing issues of sexual violence, must recognize the impact of trauma.

Consisting unproportionately of upper-middle class white men, it is evident that the StFX administration is largely unfamiliar with the struggles of female, queer, Indigenous, and international students who all face increased risk of sexual violence on a day to day basis. This privilege, too, needs to be recognized as we continue to take action on issues of sexual violence. 

There are so many people at StFX who have more experience with issues of sexual violence than those who make up the administration. Lean on those people, who are already doing the good work, and combating violence - listen to them when they tell you what needs doing, and how to go about change.

Photo: Facebook @stfxstrong

Photo: Facebook @stfxstrong

5. Embrace and value diversity

In social justice work, the guiding principle of “letting the most qualified person speak” is referenced frequently. That means letting those most affected by issues speak to their own needs and situations. In academia, this principle also applies. Who better to teach a course on Indigenous issues than an Indigenous person? Or a course on race than a racialized person? Hiring diverse faculty benefits everyone - allowing students to learn from those with first hand experience in the worlds they’re studying, and creating an environment more accepting to all.

Additionally, celebrating the diverse student body at StFX should be given more time and energy. Pride month shouldn’t just be one month. The flag shouldn’t go up early January and come down four weeks later. Christmas shouldn’t be the only holiday celebrated with big events across campus. The StFX student population comes from across the globe, and the university experience should reflect and recognize this. So, hire diverse faculty! Fly the pride flag year round! And the Mi’kmaq flag! Recognize and celebrate holidays that aren’t Catholic!

Embracing diversity isn’t that hard, I promise.

6. Break more traditions, and start new ones

September 2018 marked a big change in StFX tradition: single gender residences Cameron and MacKinnon Hall were, for the first time, considered co-ed. While the decision was highly contested, it was also necessary in combating misogynistic rituals. Tradition can be extremely harmful, and breaking this one was a step in the right direction. StFX should continue to challenge campus traditions, asking themselves if a tradition is truly adding to the university experience they want to present, or if it might be causing more harm than good.

7. Rethink the reputation

On a similar note, StFX is well known across Canada, and even internationally, for its reputation. While many students jokingly refer to StFX as a cult, two of the main reputations that have befallen the school are 1) that StFX is the number one party school in Canada, and 2) that the StFX community is like family. Both these reputations, while wielded proudly by a number of students, staff, and alumni alike, are unfortunately quite harmful.

The party school reputation lends itself to the promotion of alcoholism - excused as part of the experience rather than the affliction that it is - and makes space for behaviour that is violent and inappropriate. If this reputation is one the school plans on sticking with, they should balance it out with more education - on safe substance use, mental health, addictions, consent, and violence.

Referring to the school community as a family, as Professor Johannah Black pointed out at November’s open forum, brings up the often troubled dynamics that real families face. 

Too often, families cover up or ignore sexual violence, disown family members in acts of discrimination, or integrate unhealthy power imbalances into the home; I would hope that this isn’t the picture of family StFX has in mind, but it would serve the school well to rethink the emphasis placed on the term.

This list (though quite long) only addresses a small portion of what StFX should be striving for in 2019. What has been well proven, however, is that new year’s resolutions tend not to stick. 

Maybe what StFX needs, then, is a revolution - but whether or not they’re ready to accept that is another story all together.

 

New music for your rotation

 
 

New music for your rotation

Now, Now - Saved

There’s been a massive wave of what I’ll call “study music:” usually lo-fi hip-hop instruments, a little synthwave here and there, but always a crackle over the mix with the tone all the way down - for some reason muffled music feels like a hug. When I found Now, Now I was binge searching for this sort of stuff. You know what I mean? Something not boring enough to blend into the wallpaper but not tiringly complicated, and two seconds into “Yours” you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Mixed with the visuals in their music video, “Yours” has sniffs of vaporwave, of whatever Tycho is, of everything 80’s, but forget about the influences. “Yours” is a mid-July affair, a first kiss, a clouded line between hooking up and catching feelings.

If all that sounds like your bag, “SGL” builds even further. I’m not entirely sure how they’ve managed to blend emo with a distinctly modern chillwave, but they did. Their track would fit perfectly on the most recent FIFA and it would probably have won a Grammy in 2005.

“Window” might be my personal favourite. Let’s just say it’s clearly meant for extracurricular activities...

Last, if you have to check only one song on a whim, let it be “MJ.” I’d stake next month’s rent on it being the summeriest thing you’ve ever heard. There’s little I can really say me about Now, Now beyond “they’re just brilliant.” Their 2012 release Threads, while a totally different sound, is one of my favourite albums of all time. For today and the cold winter months listen to Saved. Go back to the sun, fall back into hazy love.

Employed to Serve - The Warmth of a Dying Sun

I suppose I should get all the bias out now. I’ve got a relatively big Employed to Serve tattoo on my left arm. I’m hardly impartial but trust me on this one.

Vocalist Justine Jones’ work on their two full-length albums may be genuinely some of the best work in the last 20 years. There had been a massive movement in “heavy” music after Trap Them released Darker Handcraft, in which everyone wanted to be the grimiest, the crustiest, and they all fought to be “the next Converge”. Employed to Serve’s Greyer Than You Remember was a statement of intent: they are the next big band in the dirty underground. 

One of my favourite music review podcasts, “That’s Not Metal,” described the LP as “a goat stuck in a combine harvester.” That’s what it is - listen to “Watching Films to Forget I Exist” for a bit of clarity. The riff that kicks in around 0:22 spits venom, demands your attention, and demands chaos all packaged in groove. It is one of the best riffs ever written, no question. But how were the filthiest band of the filthy bands going to follow up a tour de force in brutality? By slowing everything down.

Their first single from The Warmth of a Dying Sun was “I Spend My Days.” You’d be crazy not to hear Alice in Chains’ “Them Bones” in the opening riff. When us, who’d been salivating over this new album, had it in our hands, we lost our minds. Each track felt more mature, more calculated, more visceral. If Greyer was a series of machine-gun jabs, Sun is a prime George Foreman body shot.

For those of you who are into the heavier side of things, you’ll stankface your way through this. Employed to Serve drags out your inner Phil Anselmo - the grimacing mean-mugging headbang, but not the questionable politics.

boygenius - boygenius

We’ve got to get the aggression Sprained Ankle. She’s gotten relative popular, it’s great! So when I stumbled on a live video of her performing with some “boygenius,” I figured it was worth my time. Fast-forward 28:01 and I’m crying like my dog had died.

How did we get here? I’m not a crier. I don’t cry. I could count on one hand how many times I’ve cried within the last ten years. What’s up with that? Why am I writing this review, listening to the tracks again, and wiping my eyes? I still don’t know. There’s little room for interpretation in boygenius’ brevity. There are moments of ache that are, at times, unbearable. The whole of “Souvenir” and most of “Ketchum, ID” are borderline perfectly melancholic. If someone were to ask for an example of “so beautiful I want to cry,” I’d give them the first verse of “Me & My Dog.”

If anything, boygenius avoids traditional supergroup traps in which talent overtakes creativity. 

Who remembers Chickenfoot? Me neither. No, our three geniuses approach a song as a song. What are we left with? The soundtrack to your guts, to your chest.

 

More Than the Winter Blues

 
 

Examining seasonal stress

Imagine you’re a young child again, it’s winter time and you’re putting on your big coverall splash pants. Plastic bags tied to your each of your feet so the snow doesn’t soak your feet. You’ve got so much padding that movement is limited but you’ve got your crazy carpet sled and a massive grin on your face. Where did the time go? Why does the present seem so much more stressful? We can argue climate change, the aging process or responsibilities, but there is a lot that impacts our mental health.

You might suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, where every winter (although it can affect people for the spring and summer months) you experience more than just some seasonal blues. There are different symptoms related to the disorder including depression, fatigue, problems sleeping, lack of concentration and more. I am not a doctor, and I am not here to tell you a sure-fire way to solve your problems, but if you are experiencing prolonged periods of symptoms such as depression, it may be time to reach out to someone. StFX provides medical services in the Health and Counselling centre, and there is the local Mediplex for walk- in appointments after 5pm.

In the interim, there are things that you can do to help alleviate symptoms of those seasonal blues or other anxieties you may be suffering.

First up we have the outdoors, but more importantly daylight! Opening the blinds, sitting in the light of the window, going outside and soaking up as much sun as you can. These are all things that can help, and the earlier the better. In the case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, Timo Partohnen and Jouko Lonnqvist, authors for The Lancet medical journal, write “The best treatment regimens include 2500 Ix of artificial light exposure in the morning.” However, they later explain there is no causal relation to a shortage of light and rather that the disorder is driven by a disruption of circadian rhythms (the physiological processes of living beings). These ideas ultimately suggest the idea that light early in the morning can help to trigger the body awake and help to regulate the circadian rhythms.

The second is exercise. I know, it’s the worst. The last thing we want to be told when we’re feeling sleepy and sad is to get up and move. Exercise has multiple positive effects and can help to balance hormone levels such as serotonin (happy) and cortisol (stress). The other perk is that by working out, you’ll be in good shape for those summer swims at the beach!

Apart from these treatments, many modes of relief include coping and support for stress. These include attempting to rest and making healthy food choices. It’s important to socialize even if we feel disconnected or not up for it, because of the impact that others have on us. They can unknowingly increase our moods, sync bodily rhythms and offer support through those tough times. Learning breathing techniques can help during those stressful moments.

No matter what route you take to avert stress during these winter months, know that there are supports in place to help you get ready to blossom in the spring. Stress is something that we all face, but it is what we do with it and how we cope that determine how it affects us. If we perceive stress as a motivator, it can heighten our abilities to do tasks and overcome difficult feats, but it can equally diminish our abilities if we choose to let it. There may be times when it becomes too much and that is when you must reach out to a friend, a family member or your local medical professional.

 

Lunar Eclipse Atlantic Times

 
 

All times are local for January 20 & 21

Labrador

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (January 20). The moon begins to enter the shadow.

Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (January 21).

Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (January 21).

Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (January 21).

Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (January 21). The moon completely exits the shadow.

New Brunswick

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (January 20). The moon begins to enter the shadow.

Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (January 21).

Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (January 21).

Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (January 21).

Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (January 21). The moon completely exits the shadow.


Prince Edward Island

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (January 20).The moon begins to enter the shadow.

Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (January 21).

Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (January 21) Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (January 21).

Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (January 21). The moon completely exits the shadow.

Nova Scotia

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 11:34 p.m. (January 20). The moon begins to enter the shadow.

Total lunar eclipse begins: 12:41 a.m. (January 21).

Greatest eclipse: 1:12 a.m. (January 21).

Total lunar eclipse ends: 1:43 a.m. (January 21).

Partial umbral eclipse ends: 2:51 a.m. (January 21). The moon completely exits the shadow.

Newfoundland

Partial umbral eclipse begins: 12:03 a.m. (January 21). The moon begins to enter the shadow.

Total lunar eclipse begins: 1:11 a.m. (January 21).

Greatest eclipse: 1:42 a.m. (January 21).

Total lunar eclipse ends: 2:13 a.m. (January 21).

Partial umbral eclipse ends: 3:20 a.m. (January 21). The moon completely exits the shadow.

 

Death of the New Year’s Resolution

 
 

Is it time to change the yearly routine?

There is a long-standing tradition to profess your new year’s resolutions on the first day of every year. 

Usually, these resolutions are pretty simple – go on a diet; exercise more; focus more on school. It makes sense that new year’s resolutions are a thing...after all, a new year means a new start, and people always get inspired to put the past behind them or better themselves in some way once January kicks in. 

But do these resolutions mean anything?

Based on personal experience and the experience of those around me, new year’s resolutions typically don’t last very long. 

Once you get back into the swing of things and life starts getting in the way, it’s likely that you will forget all about that one resolution you made to fix your sleep schedule (and we all know how well that resolution was going to go). All of that energy is put into, at most, a couple of weeks of genuine intention to change for the better. While having a new year’s resolution and good intentions might be fine, it feels a little futile. 

New year’s resolutions make us feel good for a short period, and they are always about ourselves. Little things we need to fix in our life that we could fix any time of the year! 

With a day as important as new year’s, shouldn’t the opportunity be used for something bigger than that? Or should we get rid of new year’s resolutions altogether and instead try to make a more conscious effort to help our communities year-round? 

January can be a boring month. For us Canadians, the weather can be frigid, and nobody feels like doing anything. Pretty bad combination for trying to make a resolution happen. 

Perhaps we can use that extra time January seems to bring us to look into charities,  volunteer projects and opportunities that benefit our community. 

For example, there are opportunities for volunteer student mentorship for those of us who are soon to become StFX Alumni. Within the Antigonish town, there are volunteer positions at valuable places such as the Women’s Resource Centre.

New year’s could be more than just a one-week stint at the gym. January can be the month that reminds you that you have an entire year ahead of you to make some time to give back. 

Recently, a friend of mine decided to embark on an AIDS LifeCycle ride. This means that he will be riding his bicycle 900km for seven days to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS. 

It is an amazing cause, and so my new year’s resolution    actually is a reminder – a         reminder to donate as much as a broke university student can to a friend who is fundraising for something really important. 

This is another change that we could make to the way we approach new years to come. We do not have to do charity or volunteer work all alone! Ask around to people you know if they already have plans to volunteer this year. Try and help as much as you can with fundraising or even just getting the word out there. 

If you do not think you can contribute to a community project, then don’t force it. We all have our own lives and things we have the head space to achieve every year. 

Yet, just making the effort to simply find out if you know people who can contribute is just as commendable! Instead of new year’s resolutions, let’s start a new trend of new year’s reminders. 

Remind yourself in January to do something that will not only make you feel better but might also help people around you. Whether it be community volunteer work or helping a friend in their charitable  project, get involved.

 

Post-Grad Panic

 
 

Choosing a path after graduation

As convocation looms ever closer, there’s one question that senior students ponder that’s as unavoidable as encountering that one incredibly annoying relative at family gatherings. That dreaded question being: What are you doing after graduation?

We all know someone that already has their post-grad life planned out and ready to go for the day they receive their degree. However, for many, choosing what to do after convocation involves a lot of confusion, some panic, and perhaps an existential crisis or two. So, for those senior students still contemplating their future, here’s a guide for some of the options open to you after you leave StFX.

Many students are currently opting to continue on with graduate studies after receiving their first degree. For many seniors, the process of applying to graduate school is already done, besides waiting for acceptance letters or funding. It’s not an easy process, with having to gather references, writing statements of interest, and taking standardized tests, among other things. So, to all those who have already applied to medical school, law school, or any other graduate program, good luck and congratulations on getting through the application process.

For those who are still looking at applying to graduate school in the future, you should consider some things first. Ask yourself if you are ready for several more years of education, going into debt, and have what’s necessary to get in. Going to graduate school is an important decision, as the program, the supervisor, and the university you choose can have a long-lasting influence on your career and future. If you have any lingering doubts about grad school, ask yourself if that’s what you really want to do before applying.

Another option after graduation is to find a job, potentially in your field. There’s nothing wrong with polishing your resume and applying to jobs after convocation. However, it’s a good idea to take the time to consider what type of job you want, if you’re willing to relocate, and how long you want to be working somewhere before sending out any applications. Don’t be afraid to ask people already working in your ideal job field what it’s like and for tips as well, as that can help orient where you apply. So long as you are open-minded to opportunities during the job hunting process, there’s bound to be a job for you out there.

Travelling is another great option to pursue after convocation since you have the time to do so. Whether you decide to travel to relax, to learn about new cultures, or for fun, it can be a valuable life experience. You can also opt for programs like Au Pairs that allows for travel and work at the same time, although make sure you’re willing to look after children and live with a host family first. While travelling can be invaluable post-graduation, make sure you can afford to take a trip and are being safe before jumping on the first plane to a distant country.

If you’re still uncertain about any of the above options and what you’ll do post-graduation, don’t worry. After all, you have time to figure out where to go next, and you can always change your mind if a career or graduate school isn’t for you. Even if you have to find work immediately after graduation to pay off debt, there’s always an opportunity to take a step back and ask what you want out of life. You’re not a failure if you don’t have all the answers right now, but taking the time to ask yourself the daunting questions about the future can help.

Life after formal education is scary, no matter if you have a game plan or are making things up as you go along. So, as convocation gets closer, remember that you are not alone in any doubts and worries you have about the future, and choosing where to go next.

 

Books that Aren’t Textbooks

 
 

The power of minimalism

Perhaps you were one of the fortunate people who had too much time during the break to relax. If you were, maybe you picked up a book that wasn’t a textbook. 

If you did, I’m happy for you. It can be challenging to make time to read for pleasure, especially while studying. A lot of times we don’t turn to reading as a downtime activity or as something to do to unwind. Maybe one of your new year’s goals is to finish that book you picked up in the summer that’s been hiding underneath last semester’s study notes. Or maybe you’ve promised yourself just to read more in general. 

Many of us read more than we think: there’s an infinite amount to read as we scroll through our newsfeeds, the blackholes of forums and posts to catch up on in Instagram. If you don’t like reading, maybe it’s because you haven’t found something of interest to read. But there is something about picking up a book, even just for a few minutes every day, that is enjoyable. 

We also sometimes forget about how much is out there. Here is a short list of suggestions for readings this year.

Cal Newport - Digital Minimalism 

For the past year or so, there has been a lot of talk about the practice of minimalism. There are several books about getting rid of your junk, packing your little backpack and going on a wild expedition. There are Youtube channels and TV shows about experts going into peoples’ lives to coach them in the art of being a minimalist. In Digital Minimalist, Newport speaks to how minimalism is about more than just throwing out all of your stuff. In short, minimalism is about knowing how much is enough. This goes for our physical belongings as well as our personal technology. In our tech-savvy and digital world, we are losing out on the many other real-time satisfactions in our lives. 

Tanya Talaga - All Our Relations

Given the recent arrests in Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia, it is no surprise that the new year posesses the same conflicts and injustices. Resistance, resilience and reconciliation. These are a few buzzwords, important ones at that, that we all have the responsibility to understand. Talaga, author of Seven Fallen Feathers, a novel that highlights the silencing of the missing and murdered indigenous children of Thunder Bay, speaks to the national and international crises that is the continuing oppression of Indigenous peoples and their families. This is a non-fiction read with personal accounts and a lengthy list of cited academic works regarding justice and power – just a start to learning more about this local and global issue.

Michael Lewis - The Fifth Risk 

There is quite a bit of noise surrounding American politics. Having trouble following it all? Maybe it is not beneficial to listen and read the headlines. Quite frankly, it is a lot of words (or the same words over and over from President Trump). Underneath all of the mess and confusion are many other individuals, some destructive and others heroes, who are lost in the mayhem. Lewis brings these folks’ voices to the forefront to examine everyone’s question: What is going on? Read it, my dad said so.

Mira Jacob - Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations 

If you like graphic novels, this visually-appealing read is coming out in March. In this compilation of works, Jacob touches on the subjects of colour, race, religion, sexuality and love. Her writing stems from her own conversations with her son. This book is a collection of how she has gone about these “tough subjects.” All the while, she uses artful humour to convey her messages – something perhaps we can learn from in these times of noise, powerful opinions and ongoing social unrest.

Richard Louv - Last Child in the Woods

This book is not a recent release but it is an important one. Louv speaks to the modern-day problem in children: nature-deficit disorder. As the digital world continues to develop, children are missing out on what perhaps a lot of us are learning is very important to our wellness as adults. Going outside. 

The outdoors has an unequivocal effect on our brains and it is, as Louv puts it, our responsibility to preserve it, relish its beauty and educate each other on its importance for our upcoming generations and ourselves.

Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah

You’ve likely heard of this author before. She is the face of a memorable TedTalk, “The danger of a single story.” Her voice, ever-captivating, provides a clear picture of the differences that exist in our world. Americanah is a fictional novel about a young girl named Ifemelu and her boyfriend, Obinze. As the setting in the book shifts, the subjects of race and identity are unpacked in an interwoven and complex story. This book is  available for purchase in the bookstore on campus conveniently enough. 

 

Canada’s 2019 Food Guide

 
 

New food guide to advise less meat, less dairy, and more company

Canada’s new food guide is expected to be released in the spring of 2019. It is anticipated that it will differ greatly from the previous “food rainbow” that has hung on the walls of classrooms and dietetic offices for decades.

The first Canadian Food Guide was published in 1942. At the time it was used to promote and support agriculture and the rural economy. Since then, there have been very little changes to the food guide. Our previous food guide was a simple demonstration of what most of the population knows to be four food groups: fruits and vegetables, grains, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. The four classifications were seen on a rainbow design featuring a number of food examples.

This year’s food guide has a proposed illustration of lots of whole-grain foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as protein foods. Notable changes will be the lack of acknowledgement for dairy, as well as referring to the previous meat and alternatives group as “proteins.” The new illustration is also said to be missing fruit juice as an example, as it is no longer seen by dieticians as a healthy necessity to children or adults.

Protein foods will include tofu, beans, fish, nuts, and peanut butter, with meat and milk also featured as two of the 28 examples. This is very telling to how much change we’ve seen in how the world and Canadians view dairy and meat products. When the food guide was created more than half a century ago, food security was problematic, and our milk and meat products were often produced by local businesses. Unfortunately, this is no longer the reality for Canadian consumers. With a number of societal, environmental, and industrial changes, the new food guide will be following suit.

According to recent research published by The Guardian, humans and livestock make up 96% of all mammals. Milk and dairy consumes a vast majority of farmland and contributes to extreme climate change and pollution, yet it only accounts for 18% of all food calories and only one third of protein. To put it simply, the dairy and meat industry is causing more harm than good.

Deforestation for farm space, methane emissions, and fertilizer use causes the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as planes, trains and automobiles combined. There is a suggested shift that scientists advice is needed to adjust our future to a sustainable one. Researchers say the average citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds.

The Guardian refers to 2019 as a “key year in the overhaul of a broken food system.”

Interestingly enough, another significant change expected in the food guide is not necessarily the what? Rather, the question is how? 

There is expected to be thorough advice on the habits Canadians should be exhibiting in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes cooking more, enjoying your meals, eating with others, and drinking more water all the time.

This new food guide is expected to stray from its original purpose of sponsoring the agricultural economy, and will be geared towards promoting a better quality of life for Canadians. There will be less emphasis on servings and specific types of food, and more focus on nutrients, how much we need, and our habits.

 

Student Reporting in University Sports

 
 

UOttawa’s issue with gendered reporting

On the first week of December, The Fulcrum (Student newspaper for Ottawa University) published a “Top five Gee-Gees moments of 2018.” Among the five was the championship for women’s soccer, wins over Carleton in men’s hockey and football, and a silver medal for a 60m runner. Conspicuously absent from the five was the women’s rugby team third place showing at the 2018 U Sports National Championship. 

The article was written by Andrew Price, the current editor of the sports section. He commented on the reasoning:

“They kind of had a disappointing end to their season, didn’t play all that well at nationals. It was the year before when they won their big championship and I could’ve included the RSEQ championship I suppose, but we covered them a lot.” 

At NASH81, the annual student journalism conference for universities around Canada, The Fulcrum won Student Publication of the Year for the 2018 John H. McDonald Award for excellence in student journalism. This was voted on by other student papers, who recognized the great work The Fulcrum was doing.

They have recently gone from a weekly publication to monthly prints. They, like many others around the country, have been forced to primarily online content. This is likely due to the cuts in funding to the paper’s budget.

The UOttawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby team had a dominant year in 2018, after winning the national title in 2017. 7-0 in the regular season, culminating in a fifth consecutive undefeated RSEQ regular season. One such win by a 113- 0 margin. They also defeated StFX in an exhibition match.

StFX rugby manager Carolyn Williams spoke out on Facebook about the exclusion of the team, stating:

“It’s disappointing to see the lack of recognition for not just women’s rugby, but women’s sports in general.”

Women’s and men’s sports in university are even, regardless of the number of spectators who show up. Equal representation in reporting for these teams is vital. It could be forgiven if the women teams did not accomplish much this year, yet this was far from the case. Four of the five moments in the article were about a male athlete or male team.

A fifth year player for the Gee-Gees, Erin Mcallan commented:

“It seems like for males to get recognition all they need to do is qualify for the playoffs whereas female teams (i.e., our womens soccer team) actually need to win a national championship to be recognized.”

Perhaps it was a case of success apathy for the rugby team. The consistency of five straight conference championships could elicit a malaise from reporters. 

Yet, combing through the Fulcrum sports page, it was apparent that women sport was equally covered in day-to-day articles. Write-ups on sports ranging from Volleyball to Basketball were present.

Andrew spoke further, stating that they assign awards at the end of the year called the Calvary Awards. These will be more indicative of the whole season and will hopefully include more female teams and individuals.

It is important to remember that universities have two news outlets for sports information. One for the student newspapers, and one that represents the athletic department. For example, StFX has goxgo.ca, which consists of a communications director that does the recaps for each game. This director is employed by the athletic department. The Xaverian Weekly on the other hand, is not tied to the athletic or administrative department, and relies solely on student journalists.

Mcallan also mentioned that this story was a “bit of a constant theme at UOttawa, that most of the support, and media attention goes to our male sports teams regardless of how well they perform.”

Last month, U Sports reported that the University of Ottawa will be host for the 2019 Women’s Rugby Championship, the second time being selected as hosts. Perhaps having the tournament on home turf will garner more recognition for a team with regular season dominance that mirrors StFX’s own rugby team.

 

World Juniors 2019

 
 

A bad loss on the ice and a worse backlash on the internet

Our Team Canada representing at the 2019 IIHF World Juniors left the country and world stunned in a 2-1 loss from Finland in the quarter-finals of the tournament. This would mark the first time ever that Canada would not contend for a medal on home soil.

Finland players and fans were found celebrating their overtime goal. Canadian goaltender, Michael DiPietro of Windsor, ON would be found fallen to the ice in misery. Captain Maxime Comtois of Longueuil, QC, would be heard telling interviewers, “We lost and it’s tough right now.” Meanwhile a broken Bauer stick would be laying somewhere in Rogers Arena in Vancouver BC, holding all the lost hope Canada had in winning.

Losing a game of such importance can be extremely upsetting to these young boys, all under the age of 20, but to make matters worse, some Canadians took to social media to make their hateful feelings known. These comments, along with a bold note from one Finnish Company only added insult to injury.

Specifically, Comtois fell victim to online abuse because of his failed penalty shot in overtime. His integrity as a player, leader and human being were all called to question.

Roy Sports Group, representing Comtois, put out the following statement:

“It is shameful and incomprehensible that a few cowards who can hide behind social media could make such vicious attacks on these young men’s character after they have battled their hearts out for their country. We will make this one and only statement on this subject, so not to validate anymore the cowardly comments made on social media. It was Maxime’s idea to use this as a learning moment for all of the youth of Canada, that cyber bullying is a real problem, and like all bullies, we all need to stand up to them and call them out for what they are.”

Noah Dobson, a native of Summerside, PEI, shared similar heartbreak to that of Comptois. During the same overtime, Dobson had his stick break on the ice right before shooting the puck on an open net. In addition to nasty comments and posts on social media, one Finnish hockey stick company, PAMA, managed to make matters worse.

“Dear Noah! We at PAMA Hockey feel sorry that your equipment gave up on you at the worst possible moment. We know how polite the Canadians are, so we want to give you this Finnish hockey stick, PAMA PHX Carbon as a gift for a great hockey game. We hope the best for your upcoming career!” The note was signed by CEO Antti-Jussi Tiitola of PAMA Hockey, Finland.

After having lost to Finland in the deciding game, this was one final unwarranted jab at the young team.

It is so important that this negativity is addressed and not condoned. The participants of the IIHF World Juniors are younger than 20 years old and should not be facing hatred from the country they dedicated all their waking hours to. At any age, Canadian hockey players deserve a round of applause for consistently staying classy, disciplined, and skilled. These young boys will go on to be stars in the NHL just like the current stars that were in their skates before.

We must recognize as a country that Canadian hockey is not getting worse, but the rest of the world is improving and in this tournament’s case, has caught up. The good old game has expanded internationally over the last century into a phenomenon that James Creighton, Stompin’ Tom Connors, and all Canadians should be proud of.

 

Atlantic Schooners to host CFL game in August 2019

 
 

First CFL visit to Atlantic Canada since 2013

Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) is thrilled to announce that “Touchdown Atlantic” will return to the East Coast this coming summer. 

The 2019 edition of “Touchdown Atlantic” will feature the Toronto Argonauts playing host to the Montreal Alouettes on August 25, 2019, in what promises to be a pivotal Eastern Division regular season Canadian Football League (CFL) showdown. 

“This wonderful opportunity was recently presented to us by the league and the Argos,” said Anthony LeBlanc, SSE Founding Partner. “We have begun conversations with a number of potential locations with an expectation to announce a host site by the end of January.” 

The game, presented by the Atlantic Schooners Football Club, will mark the first CFL game to be played in Atlantic Canada since 2013. 

“We are looking forward to celebrating our game with our friends and fans in Atlantic Canada,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL.

Schooners Sports and Entertainment, a group of investors currently working to secure a CFL expansion franchise in Atlantic Canada, will announce details on the Sunday, August 25 game, including its location, early in the new year.

Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) is an ownership group of three individuals.

Anthony LeBlanc, the former co-owner and CEO of an NHL franchise with roots in New Brunswick.

Bruce Bowser, a national business owner from Dartmouth

Gary Drummond, an entrepreneur and former NHL co-owner and executive from Western Canada. 

With the support of Atlantic Canadians, SSE is working to bring a CFL franchise to the region and advance a proposal for a multi-use events centre at Shannon Park in Halifax Regional Municipality.

 

Movember 2018

 

Talking Saves Lives

The key to a perfect mustache is to wash it with the salt waters of the beaches of Arisaig and brush it daily with a comb forged of a thousand X-Rings. At least that is what Sean Ryan, the General Manager of the Student’s Union, said in a promotional video, “Beginners Tips for ‘Stache Growth,” produced by the StFX Movember Foundation. It also helps when you’ve “earned the trust of a man’s best friend,” Ryan says while he cuddles up to a precious puppy.

The purpose of Movember month is publicized as “stopping men from dying to young,” and the Movember Foundation’s efforts have been thriving year over year. While participation has grown immensely, as has the number of health issues being addressed and tackled by the foundation. Some of the most considerable health issues faced by men daily include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

The Movember Foundation’s online page is an informative hub full of information for all. There you will learn that prostate cancer has a 98% survival rate if detected early enough, but 26% survival rate if detected late. Their advice? Get checked when you’re 50 years old, or 45 if you have familial history of prostate cancer.

One will also learn from the Movember website that in Canada, testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men. From there you can learn statistics, how to do monthly checks, and further facts about testicular cancer. For example, side effects, treatment options, and even testimonials from men who have gone through the situation themselves.

Two of the final but extremely important issues that Movember addresses is men’s mental health and suicide prevention. Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, especially among men. 75% of suicides in Canada are men. Globally, every minute a man dies by suicide. Too many men are ‘toughing it out,’ keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence. The Movember Foundation is striving to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030. Thankfully, it has thousands of participants to help the foundation get there.

At this very moment, the Movember Foundation is the sole charity undertaking men’s health internationally, and although not all of us can grow the ideal mustache like Sean Ryan’s, there are certainly more opportunities to raise money for the great cause. If growing your mo’ isn’t an option, there is a physical challenge being proposed and taken on as an alternative.

Michelle Roussy, second year Bachelor of Education student, is taking part in the Move Challenge and has committed to running a 150km goal by the end of the month. This is an excellent way to bring more mindfulness to men’s health because while women can evidently not partake in growing a mustache, they can definitely show their support. “Movember is an amazing awareness month that brings attention to men’s health issues. Besides who doesn’t like a man with a great mustache?!” says Roussy.

Movember is not only important for men and men’s health, it is also important for men to pay attention to the cause. Everyone in Canada somehow directly or indirectly knows somebody affected by prostate or testicular cancer. 

It is important to encourage our loved ones and ourselves to take care, and check on our health every so often. Mental health requires care at all times. It is important to speak out, have conversations and be there for one another. In a video created by the Movember Foundation, a man courageously says, “to be a man of less anxiety, I had to become a man of more words.”

 
 

5 Tips to Help You Have a Healthier Homestretch

 

From your Dietetic Intern Emily Mork, BSc HNU 2018

You’ve survived the passing deadlines, the midterms, the group project meetings, the papers and assignments. You’re almost there, the end of first semester. With finals looming and study hours adding up, it’s important to not just survive but thrive during the dreaded exam season. 

Here are a few of the best tips for maintaining healthy habits during the high stress times:

1. Conscious effort

Making an effort to maintain your healthy habits during exams can make the world of a difference! It is common for students to deprive themselves of sleep, exercise and proper nutrition during exams for a variety of different reasons – but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s okay. Instead of justifying your lack of sleep, poor eating or exercise habits and blaming it on the season, make an effort to live the life you did before studying consumed your schedule. 

This might mean aiming for 8 hours of sleep, but knowing a solid 6 is more realistic or choosing to walk to the library instead of driving. Sneaking in as much physical activity and sleep as your schedule can handle will help you feel motivated to choose more nutritious options. Just try your best!

2. Prep & pack is the way to go – limit convenience options

It’s super tempting to pick up a fast-food breakfast sandwich en route to the library for a full day of studying, but convenience options are typically high in fat and sodium and could leave you feeling groggy and hungry shortly after. Try packing your own snacks and meals ahead of time. I promise, the extra 15 minutes it takes before bed to pack a nutritious lunch is so worth it the next day, not to mention you’ll save money! Find an option that is easy to pack and go that you’re actually excited to eat – there’s no sense in packing plain veggie sticks if you’re dreading eating them during your afternoon study break. 

A few of my favourites are salt and vinegar rice chips, air popped popcorn, hummus and veggies, pretzels and cheese or apple with peanut butter. Choosing a snack or meal with both carbohydrates and protein will keep you fuller (and focused) for longer. I’m not saying to forgo exam time treats altogether, but I do believe that saving bagels or burgers for after your hardest final (or if you have two exams back-to-back) will make it taste that much better!

3. Breakfast is key

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s even more important during exams! A balanced breakfast will help fuel your studying by helping you to remain focused and providing your brain the energy it needs to retain information. While a good breakfast is the ideal start to a study day, it is absolutely essential to eat before a 9am final! I cannot stress this enough! Waking up earlier before those dreaded morning exams to enjoy a coffee and a well rounded meal will help you feel energized, satisfied and confident before entering your exam – and maybe provide you an opportunity to review your notes one more time if you’re into that. 

Make ahead breakfast options like overnight oats, or omelet cups are great options that are inexpensive, easy to prepare and nutritious

4. Stay hydrated – iced coffee doesn’t count!

Did you know that adults should consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day? That’s equivalent to 2 small coffees from the SUB or Mini Moe’s! Drinking too much coffee during exams may have the opposite affect you intended as overconsumption of caffeine can lead to trouble sleeping, headaches and nervousness, which are not symptoms you want to feel in addition to stress. If you’re a coffee drinker, limit yourself to 2 cups per day and spread them out, for example have one in the morning and one later in the afternoon as opposed to drinking them back-to-back. Ensure you are consuming plenty of other fluids during exams, preferably water whenever possible. Dehydration can have many of the same symptoms of being over caffeinated - headaches or light-headedness, trouble focusing and tiredness. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day, make some flavoured or infused water or consider trying a sparkling option with no added sugar to help keep you drinking. 

The bottom line to avoiding unnecessary headaches and nerves is to drink more water and less coffee this exam season. 

5. Potlucks

Finally, get together with friends and classmates to use what’s left in your fridge and freezer with a potluck meal. Collaborate to avoid buying more groceries this close to the break and get creative in the kitchen! Soups, casseroles, or pasta are great options that you can make, share and hopefully have leftovers to pack for your next day at the library. Cooking with friends is a great way to unwind, relax and take a break from your books without wasting time to enjoy the social aspect of eating. This is also a great opportunity to hang out with your friends before the long winter break - the more the merrier!

Hopefully with these tips you can have your healthiest exam season yet. Keep an eye on our Instagram account @stfxsportnutrition for some exam time recipe ideas. 

Just think, this is the final stretch before enjoying all of those yummy holiday goodies and if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is! Wishing you the best of luck and happy holidays, you’ve got this!

 
 

Bachelor of Education Students Host Music Recital

 

I entered to drying coats, I left to drying eyes

After Danielle Richard and Jessica MacLean closed out the Bachelor of Education music recital with “Musical Theatre Boys,” I left and dug for a cigarette - whatever’d calm my nerves. I understand speed-walking out of St. James United Church a little after 8pm while fumbling with a lighter isn’t a good look. So, I decided against it. But after an hour straight with my hairs standing up, I needed a comedown.

The setting made sense. A cold and wet November 3, we huddled in the pews to keep us warm. Bunches of Education students mixed with family and friends. A few sniffles, mumbled chatter, jackets unzipping, awkward half-smiles to strangers.

“When’s it going to start? Isn’t it at 7?”

They appeared almost on cue, single file and well-dressed. Silence, a single sniff. Joseph Goodwin stood while the other three took their seats in the front row. Pianist sits, everyone’s silent. A stifled cough, “Oh jeez, I’m so sorry.” Silence again. Goodwin began.

Goodwin opened with Handel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga.” I’ve run out of adjectives for his baritone or the control he has over it. Jaw-dropping’s cliche, but accurate. And I sat full mouth mouth-breathing, everything about his work with the National Youth Choir of Canada and garnered acclaim made sense. As he hits notes beyond us, we just sit breathless.

Second, Lauren Siteman. Her frankness refreshes us. Siteman introduces her first piece simply, “It’s a love song.” Siteman’s talent too, is direct. Every note hit perfectly, every dynamic switched on a dime. I need to address something. Siteman, whether she knows it or not, sings honestly. I’m not sure how to describe it yet, but everything she sings I believe. It was a love song. Because for three minutes I somehow knew who and how she loved.

Third, Danielle Richard. In her second year of education, this was her first performance. Her voice control was absolutely terrifying. Goodwin and Siteman had each of us nodding, smiling, and gasping, but Richard had us looking around at one another with an awed, “Are you seeing this?” sort of face. 

Nothing surprises me about her background in musical theatre. The way she carries herself on a stage speaks for itself. I should note here as well that Danielle’s performance of “I’ll Be Here” brought a few people to tears. But not me though… absolutely not… not a chance. We’d always been told Danielle is incredible, then we heard her for ourselves and know it to be true.

Fourth, Jessica MacLean. Her stage presence is an extension of herself. Most of us cling onto some drab sense of self importance. Jess tosses all that trash out. She moves around the stage with intent one second, vulnerability the next. Whatever the piece calls for, she clicks into her performative nature and disappears. 

MacLean only returns after she’s sung the last lines of “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” once the applause begins, there she is. How she stays so expressive and fluid while hitting even the hardest notes perfectly, I’ll never understand.

A fifth member of the Education Recital, Stacia Findlay, was slated to perform but unfortunately pulled out due to an illness. Rumours are she’s an internationally renowned monster in her own right. I’m looking forward to her performance.

Another recital is in the works. Go see it. Whether it’s an email or poster, plan around the date you read. I entered to drying coats, I left to drying eyes.