Former Kwantlen student organizes gang violence protest rally

February 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

As a result of recent gang violence in the Lower Mainland that has been making headlines across Canada, Trevor Loke and Paul Hillsdon are taking action with a rally for peace on Sunday, Feb. 22 at Central City Plaza.

The idea to organize a rally came about when Loke, formerly a Kwantlen student, and Hillsdon were looking for events in the Surrey area that were against gang violence. When they couldn’t find anything, they thought a rally was a good place to start.

The main idea behind this rally is to bring the Surrey community together to show that it will not be divided on the issue of violence. “We will come together, we will show the strength of our spirit and we will accomplish things,” said Loke.

Loke, a Newton residen,t thinks that the media has portrayed Surrey as an unsafe place. “Surrey is a really great place,” said Loke. “It’s not a place where people need to be living in fear.”

Loke is a candidate for the Green Party in the provincial Surrey-Newton riding.

It’s important for students to show up for the rally, he said, because they are the next generation.

The rally will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 22 across the street from Surrey Central Sky Train Station. Participants are asked to take banners, posters and noise-maker’s to show support as they march together to Holland Park.

Loke expects more than a couple hundred people to show up to the rally, which is organized along with the RCMP, the City of Surrey and all major political parties.

Green Wednesday fish farm doc a great, educational experience

February 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Shauna MacKinnon answers questions at the latest Green Wednesday event in Langley. (Zoë Tarlow photo)

Shauna MacKinnon answers questions at the latest Green Wednesday event in Langley. (Zoë Tarlow photo)

Farming the Seas offers a lot of information in very little time, but makes an important claim: Aquaculture is dangerous is so many ways.

Farming the Seas, a 55-minute documentary shown at the latest Green Wednesday at the Langley campus, that begins in B.C. and then takes the viewer to Norway, Scotland, China and Thailand, where they have seen the disastrous affects of aquaculture.

Aquaculture began with good intentions as a solution to overfishing, which caused the salmon population to drop.

At first fish-farming seemed like a brilliant idea. Millions of salmon are raised besides other sea-life, but within a caged net that floats in the sea. One aboriginal in the film referred to them as “floating hotels” for salmon.

But one of the greatest problems with fish-farming is disease. The fish get sockeye disease (a viral infection) and sea lice, which spread quickly throughout the population trapped within the net.

Farming the Seas shows numerous clips of millions of fish being thrown away, because of these diseases.

Since these fish grow in the same waters as wild salmon, these diseases affect other wildlife as well. In B.C and Washington alone, nearly 1 million salmon have escaped from their farm, spreading the disease throughout the ocean.

This problem does not just affect the fish population, it affects what we eat. The treatment for these diseases is antibiotics, which contain pesticides that are fed orally.

The audience gasped when it saw a one-year-old farmed salmon compared to a one-year-old wild salmon. The farmed salmon was triple the size of wild salmon, because of the hormones the fish are given to make them grow faster, therefore making it on the fish market quicker.

This mass-production not only affects the livelihood of fishermen, but other marine life, such as whales, turtles, bears and seals who depend on them for food. As the wild salmon’s population continues to decline, this means little food for the animals higher on the food chain.

Farming the Seas spares us the horror of other documentaries when they show us a cute cub who’s starving. Thankfully, in this film, viewers are shown clips of a bear snacking on wild salmon, and seals dancing in the ocean while clouds of fish disperse in unison, creating a miraculous vision.

Other issues addressed in the film include the extinction of blue fin tuna and the repercussions of farming shrimp.

Farming the Seas is an information overload, Bbut information that we should be loaded up with. Experts such as David Suzuki, Sylvia A. Eerie and UBC professors are featured throughout the documentary.

And the documentary is not just about doom. It shows solutions to the problem, that as a society we need to address.

Since there is so much information to process in less than an hour, it made a huge difference to be watching Farming the Seas with people who wanted to converse about the issues.

Green Wednesday’s at Kwantlen’s Langley campus is about education. The room was packed with people who watch the weekly films to gain knowledge. But what separates this from sitting on a cozy couch at home or surfing the internet, is that these people want to talk about it.

At the end of the documentary, Shauna MacKinnon, a campaigner for Living Ocean Society, was there for a Q&A. People raised their hand to ask questions that were not addressed in the film, or to get more understanding about what the film brought up and the positive and negative advances in the fishing industry since the film was made in 2004.

Not everyone’s idea of fun is watching a documentary called Farming the Seas, jam-packed with information about aquaculture, then diving into a deep discussion concerning what kind of fish you consume. But if it is, you’re going to have a blast.

Dessi Fusion: music, dance, food, fund-raising

February 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Navi Dhillon (left) president of LIFE and Kammal Mushtaq (right) a board member. (Photo submitted)

Navi Dhillon (left) president of LIFE and Kammal Mushtaq (right) a board member. (Photo submitted)

In 2007, Navi Dhillon was bogged down with school work and feeling the need “to have fun and do something good at the same time.” So, Dhillon and her friend, Palwinder Gill, began LIFE.

Once a year, Dhillon, has been president for two years, Gill, and four board members, spend six months coordinating the annual event that includes music, dance, food and awards.

This year’s event, Dessi Fusion, takes place on Feb. 27.

Dessi Fusion, sponsored by the KSA, will take place at the Dhaliwal Banquet hall. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and will feature an hour of performances from various dance groups.

Sukh Dhaliwal, Newton-North Delta MP, will give a speech and hand out awards to the KSA, volunteers of LIFE and the groups who will perform for free.

All the proceeds made from ticket sales will go to the B.C Children’s Hospital. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the door.

Dhillon is studying for a degree in biology at Simon Fraser University and working on a minor in psychology at Kwantlen.

She said “it’s really difficult” finding the time to coordinate such an event. Dhillon said she and some other board members are taking three classes this semester, instead of the usual five, to make sure the annual event is a success.

Last year, LIFE raised $3,500 for UNICEF through its annual party.

12-hour knit-in aids Third World babies

November 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Nicole Joe is putting her knitting skills to work to help newborns. (Zoe Tarlow photo)

Nicole Joe is putting her knitting skills to work to help newborns. (Zoe Tarlow photo)

Nicole Joe, Richmond campus officer, will be knitting baby caps in the KSA lounge for 12 hours to give to newborn babies in Third World countries.

Joe is hosting the Knit One Save One campaign, which is partnered with the Survive to Five global organization, which helps children to survive their first five years of life.

“There’s babies around the world who can benefit from it,” said Joe, as she knitted a pink cap. “For us, we’re privileged to be able to buy clothes from Toys ‘R’ Us, whereas other places all they have is what they are given.”

Joe said that it can take a beginner up to a day to knit a cap, and for the more experienced knitter, it can take up to three hours.

“This is my fourth year here, and I’ve seen knitters all four years I’ve been here,” said Joe. She has had no caps come in yet, but does expect to see some coming this week.

The Knit One Save One campaign runs until Dec. 18 and the actual knit-a-thon will take place on Dec. 4 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. in the KSA lounge, where there is a TV and couches.

Refreshments will be available and yarn will be supplied for people who participate in Joe’s cause to keep newborn babies warm.

Patterns and yarn are required for the campaign. Joe has copies of the patterns in the KSA lounge and Langley has copies of the patterns as well. Surrey has not confirmed if it will be participating in the knitting drive.

Students can drop off caps at the KS offices anytime before Dec. 18 if they do not have time to participate in the knit-a-thon.

All dressed up…

October 31, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

The Third Annual Halloween Costume Contest was a thriller. Students and faculty got creative with their costumes, dressing up as fonts, movie characters, princesses and the undead.

Three years ago the Halloween costume competition started in room 3090, with about a dozen people in attendance. The next year, it grew to about 30 people and the competitors and the audience could barely fit into the room.

“We just ran out of space because it became so popular,” said Linda Mossing, journalism program assistant. This year, the competition took place in the rotunda of the Richmond campus, where a Halloween cat-walk was set up, so people could watch from the winding staircase or from the main floor.

Thirty people entered the costume contest this year, among them 26-year-old, Ashley Letts, a public relations student, who dressed up as David Bowie in his role in the movie Labyrinth. “The past couple years have been really low-key for me on Halloween, so this year I decided to go for it,” said Letts. “I’ve been obsessed with Labyrinth since I was a little girl!”

Erin, Raimondo, 23, a PR student, found a dress at a vintage shop, and put together a porcelain doll outfit for the occasion.

The program assistants, who put on the costume competition, were the first ones to strut their stuff down the haunted, cob-web infested runway. They came as fonts this Halloween, from Old English to Century Gothic. Signs were taped to the front and back of their costumes, and when they lined up, the sign read “Happy Halloween!”

Awards were given out for Best Staff Pair, Best Staff Group, Most Creative, Best Consumer Costume, Scariest Costume, Best Student Group, Best Performance and Scariest Costume.

Naughty Nurse, Lucas Nightingale, 30, an interior design student, was uncertain about how to respond to his award for “Scariest Costume.” His friend, Sean Kirkby, 26, also an interior design student, responded for him. “Vinyl is always scary,” he said.

Once the show was over, a woman walked up to Nightingale in the crowd in the cafeteria and noticed his six-inch black high heels.

“I haven’t been able to feel my toes since about 10, so that’s probably not a good thing, but whatever,” he said. “It’s for the costume.”

Related story: Fashion student dresses staff for Parade of Lost Souls

Atrium tiles at Surrey campus a thank-you from potters

October 31, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Ceramic tiles made by the Fraser Valley Potter’s Guild, Kwantlen staff, alumni and students are currently on display in the atrium at the Surrey campus, waiting to be mounted in the library.

David Lloyd, ceramics instructor and vice-president of Fraser Valley Potters’ Guild, was in charge of the project, which saw between 40 and 50 volunteers create 500 tiles.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

According to Lloyd, the Fraser Valley Potters’ Guild, largely made up of Kwantlen students and alumni, donated clay and resources to Kwantlen Polytechnic University as a “thank-you” for allowing them to meet in the ceramics lab since the group was formed in the early ’70s.

Lloyd said it “took hundreds of hours of work,” from May until September, to complete the tiles. They kept going until they “used up all the clay and resources.”

Students and staff designed 30 tiles and made molds from the originals.

“Caring for molds is a whole piece of work in itself,” said Llyod. “So, we did most of the mold-making in May and April and started pressing the tiles through June into July. Then everything else became firing and glazing.”

The tiles are displayed temporarily on the floor of the atrium until they can be mounted in the library once renovations are complete.

Review: We’ve been down this road before

October 4, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Sex Drive
2/4 stars
Release date: Oct. 17

The potholes along the way are sure to entertain in the movie Sex Drive. But we’ve all been down this bumpy road before in every other teenage comedy.

The plot of Sex Drive, which some Kwantlen students got to see after the KSA arranged for a pre-release screening, has been done in other movies such as Road Trip, Euro Trip, American Pie and many more coming-of-age tales. What seem to differentiate the teenage misadventures are the only misadventures themselves.

Ian Lafferty, played by Josh Zuckerman, is tired of being an 18-year-old virgin. His macho older brother, Rex, played by James Marsden is constantly accusing him of being gay, and his best friend, Lance, played by Clark Duke, is a ladies man, who’s pressuring Ian to rid of his virginity.

So when Ms.Tasty, a woman Ian has met on the internet, tells him that if he drives from Chicago to her home in Knoxville she’ll go all the way with him, Ian steals his brother’s ’69 GTO and heads out with Lance. When Ian’s good friend, Felicia, played by Amanda Crew, goes along for the ride, she becomes the first complications of many, including a trailer park brawl, travel through Amish country and an abstinence seminar.

Director Sean Anders takes his time developing the characters by throwing them into far-out, true-to-life scenarios, such as Ian’s minimum wage job, where he walks around the local mall wearing a giant doughnut costume.

James Marsden takes on an aggressive role that he hasn’t played before, kicking and screaming his way throughout the movie. He nailed the role of the testosterone-driven young male and looks like he had fun doing it.

There were some hilarious scenes reminiscent of American Pie, without Eugene Levy, involving Ian’s step-mother, whose timing couldn’t be worse.

Mindless entertainment can be good at times, but the movie gets tiring. A lot of scenes have been done before, and some jokes fall flat. This movie has its laugh-out-loud funny parts, but for the most part it is another teenage road trip story. And to be honest, that’s getting old.

With edgier coming-of-age movies have hit the theatres, such as Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, this movie reeks of clichés and mindless entertainment.

But if you’re not sick of those movies where there’s that guy who is still a virgin, goes on a road trip with his friends, sees a lot of topless girls, gets in fights and reaches an epiphany, then you’ll like Sex Drive.

Inspired by family, Daniel Wesley makes a splash

September 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Daniel Wesley on stage at Cram Jam. (Alicia-Rae Light photo)

Daniel Wesley on stage at Cram Jam. (Alicia-Rae Light photo)

Daniel Wesley, a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and guitarist won the 2007 Fox Seeds award and had the most requested single in Vancouver, and this is just the beginning for Wesley. Touring with The Trews and opening for Tom Cochrane, Daniel Wesley is making waves across the country with his mellow, beach-style rock music that leaves fans wanting more.

Wesley grew up in Langley, with his older brother, two younger sisters and a little brother. Wesley’s father worked, while his mom quit her job as a nurse to be a stay-at-home mom. The family had a huge influence on his music.

“My family’s been fostering kids for 20 years almost. It’s been a big part of our upbringing,” said Wesley. “I think it’s really helped us get a good perspective on some things.”

Wesley first got into music at a young age. He remembers piling into his mother’s Volkswagen van with his siblings, cranking oldies and singing along.

“It was fun times, there was a lot of love in that van,” Wesley said. “Then I’d start singing in the shower and just enjoying things like that. My brothers and sisters and I would put on Michael Jackson and we’d wear Michael Jackson jackets and jump around and sing.

“It was just all about love, and music is all about love and it just kind of registered. Then you grow up and realize that some things are more important than other things, and music has been one of the best things in my life.”

Before The Daniel Wesley Band, he was in a heavy rock band and began “getting sick of that type of music. I wanted to do something different,” he said.

“This project is like an inspiration of life. Sometimes my life has had dark periods, sometimes there’s happy periods. And I just want to be a happy person. Sometimes I did bad things to myself and other people, and I just wanted to turn over a new leaf and really do good things, and this whole thing, Daniel Wesley, was the start of it.

“I started writing songs that made me happy and they ended up being reggae, beach kind of songs.”

Wesley finds his inspiration from his family, friends and his girlfriend. “If I’m happy, and the things in my life are good, then my music’s going to carry that along,” he said. “That’s the most important thing to me; having good relationships with the people that mean the most to me.”

The band was having some difficulties getting along in earlier tours which resulted in changes with drummers, but they think they have finally got it right with Mark Luongo on bass and Josh Carlsen on drums. “We’re all getting to a point now, where we pretty much found the guys that are going to be playing with us,” Wesley said.

“We’re going to be doing lots of the States before Christmas, we have our album released in Japan and we want to go to Australia and the U.K.”

Of all the places Wesley plans to go, he is most excited to see Brazil. His brother lived in Brazil for a year, and Wesley missed out to work on his music, which paid off in the end.

“It’s a really new chapter for us,” said Wesley. “It will be really cool once it becomes more of a worldwide thing, but just because I want to see the world, just like everyone else.

“I want to have a career as a musician, and I want to make the best music I can make. I think the best musicians are the people that end up being famous. It’s something I’m willing to cope with. I think I’m a capable person of dealing with it, but it’s not something I’m really looking forward to or looking for.”

At Cram Jam, Wesley’s voice penetrates the Cloverdale Agridome. He breaks only to take a sip of beer or to change his guitar. When Wesley performs, it’s hard not to notice the swooning girls, and it’s not just because of his tattooed arms or curly blonde hair; it’s his flawless voice.

“I see some familiar faces,” he says, before pulling out his first guitar, which is just one out of the four he will use. He begins to sing and the crowd sings along with him.

“I like it because they sing our songs with us. When that started happening for us, that was really, really neat,” said Wesley. “It’s something I’ve always wanted.”

Epic performance gets crowd off the bleachers

September 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Andrew Usenik of 10 Second Epic. (Nick Major photo)

Andrew Usenik of 10 Second Epic. (Nick Major photo)

Ten Second Epic, the Edmonton rock-and-roll band, got the crowd off the bleachers with songs from their album, Count Yourself In at Kwantlen’s Cram Jam Friday. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you should count yourself in.

With three music video’s getting airtime on MuchMusic, performing on Much on Demand and MTV in Canada, Ten Second Epic is ready for more. Their new album, Hometown, will be released in January.

The band started six years ago. Patrick Birtles (drummer) met Andrew Usenik (singer) at school. Birtles lived in the same neighbourhood as Craig Spelliscy (guitar) and they grew up playing music together. Spelliscy went to a different high school and met Sandy MacKinnon (bass) who knew Daniel Carriere (guitar.)

Everyone thought “we work, we get along, and we can write music together,” said Patrick Birtles. “This is going to happen.” And it did. Ten Second Epic are now full-time working musicians.

Birtles remembers the first time a Ten Second Epic song was played on radio. He sang along and air drummed to the beat while driving in his car. “I felt kind of like a tool celebrating my own song so much,” he laughs, “but you got to do what you got to do.

“Every milestone becomes its new highlight,” said Birtles. “Whether it’s hearing your song on the radio for the first time or seeing your music video on TV for the first time. It just sort of trumps the radio thing and then you have an interview live on MuchMusic. It’s even one more step.”

Ten Second Epic currently tours in a van and they’ve learned to stay out of each other’s way, but they’ve also learned “how to piss people off really easily,” he jokes. When the band fights, it’s mostly about who gets to ride shotgun. “It’s always really stupid things and we always feel dumb for doing it.”

The band member’s girlfriends are understanding of life on the road. “You come home from tour with a pretty high phone bill but that’s about the worst of it,” said Birtles.

Without their friends and families support, Ten Second Epic doesn’t think they would have accomplished what they have.

Success does have its downfalls. “My friends are proud of me, but it’s tough because I’m on the road so much,” said Birtles. “It’s almost alienated myself from some of my friends. I feel bad, but it’s something I’ve committed myself to.”

Ten Second Epic has just finished recording its second album and, Birtles said, “it’s simpler” but didn’t come easily at first.

They wrote and recorded the whole album and scrapped it. “We felt like we achieved the same we already experienced, and we wanted to go further than that,” he said. They rewrote the album from scratch and think it’s bigger and better. “It’s an experience I wouldn’t change for the world,” said Birtles.

Through their six years together, and their latest album, they’ve “learned to play together as a band,” said Birtles. “A cohesive unit, as opposed to five different members just contributing to a song.”
Ten Second Epic gets the crowd moshing with their high energy show. MacKinnon and Spelliscy bang their ’80s rock-and-roll hair to the beat, while Usenik bounces around the stage, belting out every lyric without running out of breath. Birtles claims that he still gets nervous before every show, but you can’t tell.

It is clear that Ten Second Epic lives up to their reputation of a band headed for the spotlight. “I’d love to be famous. How can you hate some random person coming up to you and asking for an autograph?” Birtles said. “It’s like, the greatest feeling in the world.”

17 years later, Sloan still rocking

September 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Attentive fans soak up the music at Friday's Cram Jam. (Alicia-Rae Light photo)

Attentive fans soak up the music at Friday's Cram Jam. (Alicia-Rae Light photo)

It’s been 15 years since Sloan’s first album went gold in Canada and, 10 albums later, Sloan is still rocking like it’s 1993.

Two years after the Canadian band from Halifax formed in 1991, Sloan debuted its first full-length album, Smeared. Their 10 albums include such hits as If it Feels Good Do it, The Good in Everyone, Underwhelmed, All Used Up, The Rest of My Life and Money City Maniacs.

On Sept. 26, Sloan was the headliner at the Kwantlen Student Association’s Cram Jam, one of the many stops on the tour to promote the band’s latest album, Parallel Play. By Oct. 1, Sloan will have done shows in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Jay Ferguson, vocalist and guitarist, said that over the years it’s gotten easier for the band to get along on the road. “It’s like a family; you have to learn not to get on anybody’s nerves.”

Today Sloan has the Internet on the tour bus, “so we don’t talk to each other that much any more,” he jokes.

The Internet isn’t the only addition to the bus. Ferguson said, “Kids seem to be the main difference,” between touring now and a decade ago. “Everyone has kids or a home,” he said. The band members miss their kids a lot while they’re touring.

Sloan has traveled the world, making stops in Australia, Japan, Europe, Spain and the U.S. One of the band’s favourite destinations is Japan. Ferguson said the band loved the culture shock of Japan, and the fans that waited for them at their hotel. The fans gave them presents and sang along to their songs word for word. He said, “It was like a mini-version of Beatles mania.”

Sloan’s sound is unique, with a mixture of The Beatles sound and some harder rock and roll. They’re “a do-it-yourself kind of group,” said Ferguson. On each record, each of the members of the band has written three or four of their own songs.

It may have been hard for a Canadian band from Nova Scotia to make it internationally in the ’90s but it’s getting less difficult. “There’s so many Canadian bands that have done well internationally,” said Ferguson, largely because of touring and then word-of-mouth through the Internet. “I mean you still have to be good, make good records, put on a good show.”

“It’s not like we’re the new, hot band on the block,” said Ferguson, “so it is a little more difficult. We make good records and have an awesome fan base. There’s no records I’m not proud of.”

The ’90s was a decade of one-hit-wonders and grunge. “Many of our peers from the early ’90s broke up,” said Ferguson. “The fact that we exist is our greatest accomplishment.”

Before Ferguson gets off of the red velvet couch, he said, “I hear the fries at the venue are fantastic!” While Ferguson looks forward to the fries, the fans in the audience look forward to a taste of Sloan.

At one point, a pumped-up fan begins crowd surfing, shoving himself towards the front. Patrick Pentland, guitarist and vocalist, says, in true rock-star style, “If you come over here, you’re out, okay?”

As the band plays, Ferguson dodges a flying shirt, thrown up by a female fan, and condom balloons bounce from person to person inside the Cloverdale Agridome. Seventeen years later, and Sloan’s still got it.

Next Page »