High hopes for this year’s garbage audit

November 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

(photo by Mike Ferko)

Environmental students have been sifting through piles of garbage from the Richmond campus to gather vital information about the school’s disposal system.

On Oct. 19, environmental protection technology students began conducting aa two-day garbage audit in order to determine whether it would be beneficial to start a composting program.

“We’re trying to get an idea of how much garbage Kwantlen is producing and where it’s coming from. Once we can quantify all of it, we’ll try to make some suggestions of what to do with it: whether it would be worth it to have our own composting facility or just participate in Richmond’s composting program,” says Mike Ferko, who’s in charge of the audit.

“We collected garbage from various sites, such as the hallways, the washrooms, the cafeteria and outside. We weighed it, compared it and we’re analyzing the results so we can write a report about it,” says Neil Brooks, a second-year student and first-time participant of the audit.

“UBC has a huge composting facility, and we’re trying to draw some comparisons between us and them to see if it’s feasible. They have a huge horticulture program, so they produce a lot more waste than we do,” says Ferko.

“In the cafeteria and kitchens, there were a lot of things that we found that could be composted or recycled,” says Brooks.

Ferko agrees that most of the garbage is cafeteria waste and is able to be composted. “There’s just too much recycling thrown in the garbage.”

Ferko says that saving money on garbage removal would be a major benefit of a successful composting program.

“It cost money to send waste to the landfill. Composting is basically taking nutrients from your food, your banana peels and such, and breaking them down into soil so plants can use them again. But you’re not supposed to compost meat because you’ll attract pests and rats and raccoons,” says Ferko.

“The experience itself was pretty gross. I was digging through trash from the cafeteria that must have been three days old, just sitting in a room in garbage bags. So the actual experience, I’m not going to rush back to do it again,” says John Currie, a second-year student also participating for the first time in the audit.

Currie says that it’s important for industries to make and use products that can be recycled, instead of wrapping everything in a bunch of non-recyclable plastic. “We want the producers to think about how they can help…to help change the system from the ground up.”

(photo by Mike Ferko)

Monster Ball dance had potential

November 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Although the KSA was serving $3 Heinekens and Canadians, the turn out was poor on Nov. 9 at the Monster Ball dance, held on the Richmond Campus. (Photo by Lucas Meneses-Skoda)

By Stuart Gallacher and Lucas Meneses-Skoda

Three-dollar beers and an empty dance floor? Preposterous.

On Oct. 9, the KSA hosted a Lady Gaga-themed “Monster Ball” dance in the Conference Centre on the Richmond campus, which sadly suffered from a lacklustre crowd.

With professional lighting and a live DJ, free cans of Coke and bottled water on top of $3 cans of Molson Canadian and Heineken, the KSA did well in providing what had the potential to be a wild Tuesday night.

Perhaps students don’t see Richmond as the campus for extra-curricular activities or social events. Perhaps Kwantlen students have a poor outlook of the KSA. Either way, the effort to bring the student body together outside of class was there.

Just before Halloween, the KSA organized a similar event on the Surrey campus and filled the venue.

The event brought out few people, but for those who showed up, the 'night out' mood was still in the air. (Photo by: Lucas Meneses-Skoda).

“Well, in the end, the reason I feel a lot of people aren’t showing up is not because the promotions are wrong, it’s not because the setup is bad, it’s not because the alcohol is overly priced or anything along those lines,” said Luke Arathoon, Kwantlen’s Volunteer Co-ordinator.

“To me, personally, I think the Richmond Kwantlen campus has a different culture and a different feel to it, than say a campus like Surrey.”

Unfortunately, it seems like Kwantlen students think that “good” events can only happen at the “good” campus. For the KSA, this has become a frustrating issue. The KSA is eager to cultivate a social vibe, but it is difficult when the student body doesn’t show enthusiasm.

“I didn’t want to go, because I didn’t think anyone else was going. I didn’t want to be the only person there,” said Sarena Mann, 20, who studies general arts.

“I think [the KSA] has done a really bad job of making the Richmond campus a student community. People come here just to study and that’s it,” said Jonathan Hubele, who studies accounting.

Arathoon says that for years, students have nagged the KSA for a school dance.

Apart from the dance floor, there was a section of with tables and chairs where students could enjoy their drinks and relax. (Photo by: Lucas Meneses-Skoda).

“I think there is a big disconnect between complaining and giving valid criticism. You know, like constructive criticism, versus like ‘Oh well, the KSA doesn’t do anything for me.’”

Arathoon hopes that students will change the way they think about these events, and help to build more optimism around the campus.

If negativity leads to more negativity, then the opposite must be true as well. Essentially, the more students who approach these events with an open mind, the more likely they are to thrive.

The fact is, school is meant to be a social environment, and we’re all interested in hanging out and letting loose. So the next time there’s a dance, shindig or celebration, don’t ask questions — make a point of going with your party hat on and leaving your study cap at home.

Kwantlen event: Hello, Africa!

November 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Hello Africa Poster

Hello, Africa! is being held at Kwantlen’s Surrey Campus on Monday, Nov. 15. The event will be “an evening of African words, wisdom, song, dance, drumming, crafts, food and drink.” Photo by Jeff Groat

Hello, Kwantlen, Africa’s calling.

Hello, Africa! kicks off International Education Week at Kwantlen on Monday and features a keynote address from UBC sociology Professor Kogila Moodley.

“This event came about as a result of myself and two colleagues going to Kenya this summer,” said Joan Nesbitt, who is part of Kwantlen’s criminology faculty and is an organizer of the gala.

“The three of us went to Kenya to look at the feasibility of setting up international field schools there,” she said. Part of the grant that paid for the trip to Kenya included a community dialogue session back at home, leading to Hello, Africa!

Moodley’s address is titled “Gandhi & Mandela: Reconciliation in Divided Societies” and is expected to touch on themes of building dialogue between local communities in the developed Western world and the continent of Africa, or the global south at large.

Nesbitt and her colleagues are in the very early stages of setting up international field schools in Kenya and Tanzania, where Kwantlen criminology or sociology students may be able to go on exchange.

Monday’s event is meant to highlight the importance of exchanges and of sharing educational resources between communities. It is sponsored by Kwantlen’s criminology department.

Moodley, according to the Hello, Africa! program, is professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, where she was the first holder of the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Studies.

Warhammer: a game, a hobby, a lifestyle

November 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Photo by Miranda Gathercole

by Miranda Gathercole and Amanda Punshon

Warhammer, a table-based miniature war game, is “the coolest thing you’ve never heard of,” according to Doug Widdes, an employee at the Games Workshop in Metrotown mall. The game is part strategy, part art, and its players are all passion. In this 18-minute audio piece, we step inside the world of Warhammer for a few moments to get an overview of the game and meet some of the players.

[audio: 1WarhammerFinal.mp3]

Video: What is your Lucky Charm?

November 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Kwantlen students and others were asked what they use as their lucky charm, whether for midterms, final exams or daily life. A video by Brittany Tiplady and Paul Fleischanderl.

Olivia Lovenmark: Style struck

November 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Photo by Jamie Hodge.

Olivia Lovenmark isn’t just typical fashion-obsessed Vancouverite: She is style struck.

At 22, she’s working two jobs, penning entries for her blog Style Struck and hoping to launch her career in public relations.

Lovenmark’s fashion sense was there even as a child. “My aunt made my sister and I these pink jeans with bunnies on them and even as a five-year-old, I was like ‘there’s no way I’m wearing these.’”

After high school, Lovenmark enrolled in Kwantlen’s Fashion Design and Technology degree program. After a year, she realized design wasn’t for her. She took a year off and then went into fashion marketing and eventually the public relations program at BCIT.

“A short-term goal of mine would be doing public relations for Holt Renfrew. That’d be amazing,” she said.

A few of her favourite designers are Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld and Carolina Herrera. Her favourite local spots for shopping are Zara, Browns and Holt Renfrew. Lovenmark describes her style as “constantly changing.”

She claims to have two alter-egos when it comes to her fashion sense. One resembles her blog: more frivolous, sparkly and fun. The other is her more casual everyday look, with tailored jackets and ties.

“I really love androgynous clothing. I just really like men’s apparel, it’s got more structure to it and it’s a more thoughtful design.”

She claims her guilty pleasures are donuts and shoes. As a proud owner of more than a hundred pairs of shoes, she says, “I have a weakness for expensive shoes, but I also have a knack for finding designer shoes on sale.”

But lately her wallet has been given a break from the designer brands.

“I’ve been very fortunate lately to receive free clothes because of my blog. They see me talking about their brand and send me clothes to help promote their label, by blogging about their clothing and advertising for them,” she said.

She’s had her blog for two years and she’s been receiving clothes from a number of designers for about a year.

“It’s about building experiences. I worked for Guess by Marciano and by working for that brand or other brands, it really builds your credibility and people start to notice that and want you to wear their clothing, too,” she said.

Photo by Jamie Hodge

Lovenmark blogs about everything fashion-related — what she wears, what’s in style, events she attends and people in the fashion industry she meets.

One of the biggest fashion faux pas, in her opinion, is when women show too much skin.

“I think that girls should cover up more, and leave a bit more to the imagination,” she said. “You can still look sexy and fashionable without showing too much.”

Lovenmark is a big believer in the power of social media to help build a personal brand.

“Social media is the new way of communicating; it’s here to stay. I was listening to this speaker earlier this week who describes social media as a cultural shift and I think that’s so spot on. As a blogger, your whole life is on social media, on Facebook, Twitter and your blog,” she said.

The key to being successful is being able to meet people in the industry and network through social media, she said.

“It’s a free platform to express yourself and kind of brand yourself as an expert in your field, I don’t have the capital behind me to start my own business, but with my blog I can show off what I do and people can find me and see what I’m about,” she said.

One of the biggest perks of her fashion blog are that it has opened the door to meeting other interesting people in the field.

“One of the best highlights for me is having the opportunity to meet so many cool people. I’ve been able to meet Judy Becker, Lisa Tant of Flare Magazine and Adrian Mainella from Fashion File. Being able to meet these people and talk to them, when I’ve looked up to them for so long, is an amazing experience, whether they’ve seen my blog or not,” she said.

Armani Exchange has just opened a new store in Oakridge and, of course, Lovenmark is going to be at the grand opening.

“They dressed me for it, so I’m going to wear Armani and promote the brand,” she said. “I really like working tandem with brands like that. For them, it’s good to have someone wearing their brand who blogs about it all the time and, of course, I like it because it builds my credibility. It shows that I’m working with established brands.”

Of all the opportunities Lovenmark has had available to her in the fashion industry, she said it’s all because of Style Struck.

College-age students: taking the soulmate search on-line

November 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Emmeli Rosenberg Lassesen met her current boyfriend Adam Gill online using PlentyofFish.com

By Miranda Gathercole and Sarah Casimong

Finding a soulmate can be tough.

When the club and bar scenes aren’t cutting it and Mr. Right hasn’t managed to pop up in everyday life, some, including university students, are turning to the internet for dating. In fact, last year the Boston Globe reported the use of online dating among college-age students is rising.

Emmeli Rosenberg Lassesen, 25, had a difficult time finding the right guy. She found that looking at options online allowed her to narrow the field down a good match.

“I’m tall, so I think for me that was one of the things that’s hard to find when [I] meet people, ’cause I like taller guys,” said Rosenberg Lassesen.

“I’m just slightly under six feet. So you know if you go out to the club with your girlfriends and you’ve got your high heels on and you’re 6’3, 6’4, you kind of don’t get approached by many guys.”

For four years she experimented with profiles at different on-line sites, including eHarmony and Lavalife. In the end, she found PlentyofFish to be the best option because of a variety of people and free profiles. (Lavalife and eHarmony offer some tools for free but require subscriptions that have a base rate of around $15 to $20 a month.)

“There really actually isn’t a difference [between free and paid sites],” said Rosenberg Lassesen. “Some people think that there would be a difference, because if someone was paying for the site, they’re more looking for something, but the quality of people between a free site and a paid site was the exact same. There was no difference at all, which I found out after spending the money.”

PlentyofFish.com is a free online dating engine, based in Vancouver, that matches couples based on their written descriptions of goals and aspirations, what makes them unique and their taste in music. The site boasts, “Over 32,000 couples have sent in a testimonial telling us how PlentyofFish helped them find their soulmate.”

Four months ago, Rosenberg Lassesen found success on the site when she met her boyfriend, Adam Gill.

“He messaged me first. I’ve done the online dating thing for a while and I’ve always just had a policy that if a guy likes me he’s gonna message me. I’m kind of old-fashioned,” she said.

“The big thing for me is I wouldn’t add someone on Facebook until I talked to them on MSN for long enough that I felt I had a good gauge of who they were. If you add someone on Facebook, they have your last name so there’s a safety issue with that.

“I actually wouldn’t give out my number very easily to people. I would sort of leave it. I’d actually talk to them for a couple of weeks on MSN and if we were going to meet up I’d [suggest] somewhere public. Even if they offered to pick me up, I’d always say ‘I’ll meet you there.’ It’s common sense that you have to use for safety. If you don’t use your common sense, what do you expect?”

Other popular dating sites include Match.com, lifematescanada.com, and Okcupid.com.

Kwantlen scores low in student ratings

November 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Jacqueline Ho on her computer at ratemyprofessor.com (Photo by Josh Saggau)

When it comes time to select classes for the next semester, it can be hard to know what each class is going to be like. To help, students have ratemyprofessors.com.

The site, which was started in 1999, has compiled over 11 million student-based rankings of teachers at more than 6,000 schools in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and Wales to help students find the kind of professor they are looking for.

“It helps students to know more about their instructors. We hope to find an instructor that works for us. I think that it’s beneficial for students,” said Sandy Wong, a Kwantlen human resource student.

The site asks students to rate current and past teachers on easiness, helpfulness and clarity, so that future students can get a feel for the type of teacher they are going to have even before they step into the classroom.

“I know some students check it before they enrol in class to see who the professor is and it kind of sways if they are going to enrol in that class,” said Caitlin Penberthy, an environmental protection program student.

Kwantlen’s average ratings on the site are quite low compared to other universities in the Lower Mainland. While SFU, UBC and UFV have average ratings of 3.24, 3.29 and 3.54, Kwantlen is averaging just 2.7.

“It’s subjective. If you don’t get a good mark, then obviously you’re going to be upset and write something that’s not so great. I would hope that if teachers look at it, they would understand it’s subjective,” said Penberthy.

Kwantlen’s aboriginal club ready for action

November 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Kwantlen’s aboriginal group may have just been made offical on Friday, but it already has great plans.

“We generally just have a lot of fun and get to know each other,” said Melinda Bige, main contact person for the Aboriginal Students Club. “Right now we are just in the bare beginnings…we’re just trying to organize events around what the students want to do.”

Members of the club, which meets Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. at Kwantlen’s Aboriginal Gathering Place, have already come up with ideas for members, including ultimate frisbee and a canoe trip.

“They want to do fundraising for a canoe trip. That’s traditional to the Semiahmoo tribe and very spiritual,” said Bige, adding that they hope to do it in the summer.

In addition to recreational activities, the club also has big plans to get involved politically.

“The more political [students], like myself, want to do conferences on indigenous rights and stuff around the world. Right now, we just participated in a campaign for GIA, which is Global Indigenous Youth for Action. It’s part of the United Nations. We just took some pictures with some signs that support the group,” she said.

The priority for the club is also to provide education on aboriginal culture and issues.

“We have a lot of urban aboriginal students, so they’re just relearning their own culture, like myself,” said Bige. “We talk about aboriginal issues, too. I’m planning on showing Kevin Annett’s documentary on repentance.”

Although the club’s focus is on aboriginal culture and identity, Bige said membership is not limited to aboriginals, and encourages people of all ethnicities to drop by.

“It’s also not culturally exclusive, so everyone can be involved. You don’t have to be aboriginal.”

On Nov. 17, the club will meet at 4 p.m. at the Grassroots Cafe instead of the gathering room. For more information, contact Melinda Bige at melinda_bige@hotmail.com.

Kwantlen student turns the tables on stereotypes

November 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

At the age of 18, most are struggling to a decide whether to enter post-secondary school or to continue living off the bank of mom and dad.

But, at 18, Raedel Campbell has already graduated from high school, is well into her first semester at Kwantlen, and has given birth to a child.

“It was February 2009 and I was in school, so I was young. Grade 11 I found out, actually,” said Campbell. “With my parents, at first, it was a bit of a fight, but they realized I am pretty stubborn because I wanted to keep the baby. So they decided not to stress me out, because that’s bad for the baby, and became totally supportive, and were totally excited to be grandparents.”

The pregnancy did not stop Campbell from completing high school in the most normal fashion possible. “I did get to go to grad, I have my diploma. It was all on time so I am not behind at all,” she said.

Campbell is now attending university, working and attempting to maintain a social life, all the while raising one-year-old Hayley.

“I have been [at Kwantlen] since September, and I am in the arts program, but I am just taking some electives toward a social services diploma that I will be transferring to UFV to complete, hopefully next year,” said Campbell. “I have four courses right now: Creative writing, English, anthropology, and communications, and it’s tough to handle for sure.”

Campbell’s experience with young motherhood has steered her career aspirations.

“I want to be a family support worker, and eventually work up my way and try to help out young moms, cause I’ve been through it. That’s what has inspired me,” she said. “I wanted to be a chef for a really long time, and after I had my baby, and went to a young parents group, I realized I wanted to help other young moms. I know I am someone they could relate to. And I want to be a really good mom, I want to have more kids, so I would need a good career to do that.”

“Teen moms” carry a negative stereotype, especially in the eyes of judgmental teens in high school hallways. But Campbell has fought to sustain a positive disposition and confidence in her decision.

“When I was first pregnant I’d get stared at, and people would be like, ‘Oh, what’s she thinking?’ I would get very upset about it. But then I realized I am not a normal young mom. A lot of them don’t go to school, and I know I am doing everything I can to provide a good life for my daughter. I am going to work, I am going to school, and I graduated on time. So I just kinda laugh, because they can put any stereotype on me, but I know it’s not true,” she said.

Content with the direction that her life has taken, Campbell says she wouldn’t change a thing.

”I’ve been pretty happy with everything. I think it’s the best thing to have happened to me. The father and I are actually back together and engaged. So things have gotten better between us.

We weren’t together for the entire pregnancy, and as hard as things were, it was the best for both of us not to be together,” she said.

With movies such as Juno, and TV shows such as “The Life of an American Teenager,” teen pregnancy has been brought into homes as a reality, but there’s also a stigma of what it means to be a teen mom. Campbell, with unwavering confidence, has taken it on herself to overcome all of that.

Her advice for other young moms and dads, enduring her same struggle is simple: “Keep your head up. Keep pushing because you can’t let other people get you down. Keep your dreams intact.“

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