Food for Fines aims to help hungry students

February 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

KSA Health & Recreation Manager, Eddie Lee, hopes the Food for Fines drive from Feb. 20-26 will give students incentive to donate to the food bank. Photo by Matt Law.

The KSA has partnered with the Kwantlen library to raise awareness about student hunger and generate donations for the KSA food bank.

“We wanted to provide incentive for them to donate. At the same time we wanted them to recognize that other students are in need and that they can really help and make a difference,” said Eddie Lee, KSA health and recreation manager.

A lack of donations have forced the KSA to spend students' money to fill the demands of the the food bank. (Photo by Matt Law.)

The Food for Fines program, Feb. 20-26, allows students to bring in non-perishable food items or new or unused toiletries to any campus library and receive $2 off fines for overdue items, up to a maximum of $10.

Lee got the idea from other universities that have had success with similar programs.

According to Lisa Hubick, public relations librarian, the library was happy to participate. She said the library had a history of helping local community food banks, but this was the first time they will be able to directly help out Kwantlen students.

While she admits that fines aren’t a huge problem with Kwantlen students, she hope students will take advantage of the Food for Fines program and help out fellow students.

Currently, the KSA food bank buys most of the food they need. According to Lee, they spend about $500 a semester on food bank supplies.

“The idea was to tug at the heart strings a little bit, as opposed to just doing a regular food drive,” Lee said of the program.

For more information on the food bank visit

KSA providing Jitterbeans despite high levels of caffeine

February 14, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Jitterbean breakdown

A detail look at some of the ingredients found in the Jitterbeans. (Infographic by Hayley Woodin.)

Life as a student can be exhausting; homework and studying are enough to keep even the best students up all hours of the night.

But the KSA has your back. They’ve got Jitterbeans. The chocolate-coated espresso beans are now available, by the handful for just a dollar, in vending machines on campus.

Jitterbeans, made by Osmanium Candy Company, are usually sold in either 40 gram or 17 gram boxes but the KSA wants to make sure Jitterbeans are popular at Kwantlen before selling them on a large scale.

“Right now, it’s just the vending machines but if people like them and everything is okay we might look at other areas,” said KSA marketing coordinator Nathan Griffiths.

There could be a problem with large-scale selling of the beans though. Each 40 gram box of Jitterbeans contains roughly 600 mg of caffeine.

“That’s a lot of caffeine. Normally we wouldn’t stock a product like this for that reason but Jitterbeans has been so open and honest about the sheer quantity of caffeine that we thought that students were well informed… and could make the best decisions for themselves,” said Griffiths.

The Jitterbeans posters hanging on bulletin boards throughout the campus say the 600 mg of caffeine per box is equal to six cups of coffee or seven and a half cans of Redbull. They also have a disclaimer at the bottom warning students against eating more than one box per day.

Registered dietitian Natalie Brown echoed the Jitterbeans warning saying that even one box is probably too much. She said Health Canada recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day and that it should be spread out over the course of the day.

“When we have a lot of caffeine at once, it can cause a lot of different things. The acute symptoms are it can cause nausea, vomiting, heart complications, gastro-intestinal upset and then, as well, when you consume a huge amount like that, 600 mg, all at one time, it’s really hard on your system. You could potentially cause yourself to have a heart arrhythmia. [People] actually could have heart attacks from having too much caffeine at one time so it’s very dangerous,” said Brown.

She also said that mixing Jitterbeans with alcohol would be even more dangerous. The high level of caffeine would make a person feel less drunk. She said that could lead to excessive drinking, and possible alcohol poisoning, or someone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle without realizing they are intoxicated.

“The alcohol in your blood is still the same but you’re not feeling the effects of it because of the caffeine keeping you stimulated. It’s a very dangerous combination to be dealing with.”

Jitterbean caffeine levels

A comparison of the amount of caffeine found in Jitterbeans to other high-caffeine products. (Infographic by Hayley Woodin.)

Year of the rabbit emotional time for Chinese student group leader

February 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Elaine Wang wears the colour red, a symbol of luck, for her mother who was born in year of the rabbit. Photo by Miranda Gathercole.

For one Kwantlen student, welcoming the Year of the Rabbit was emotional in a different way than usual.

Elaine Wang, president of the Chinese Student Association, celebrated the most important Chinese festival away from her family for the first time in her life.

“It makes me want to cry,” she said. “I got up earlier and [Skyped] with my family and we count down together.”

Wang immigrated to Canada less than a year and a half ago to study at Kwantlen, while living with her uncle in Richmond.

For Wang, this Chinese New Year spent away from family in China marked an opportunity to work with the KSA and open up Chinese culture to the students of Kwantlen. Wang says that it is also a way to bring a sense of community to other Chinese students who might be missing family back in China.

“Kwantlen is just like a home for us… Kwantlen is big family for us. So, we want the students to feel less lonely,” she said. “They are not alone, they are with us… we are all family members in continent.”

The group set up tables and handed out pork buns and sweet treats, traditional Chinese delicacies which are often eaten in the celebration of the New Year, to students at the Richmond, Surrey and Langley campuses on Feb. 3.

“We tried to choose items that would respect the traditional Chinese New Year aspect of it and something that all students could eat and try,” said Reena Bali, director of events and student life for the KSA.

Lesha Ghirra, left, and Sarah El Bakkouri volunteer with the KSA to hand out BBQ pork buns, green tea-flavoured desserts and peanut-flavoured desserts to Kwantlen students at the Richmond campus. Photo by Miranda Gathercole.

Although Wang is happy to spend the celebration of the Year of the Rabbit in Vancouver with her friends and her uncle, it is difficult for her to be without her parents at a time that is “just like Christmas in Canada.”

“Yesterday, I even worked last night. I work at a restaurant and I see a lot of families who are immigrants. They get together and they celebrated… and the parents gave children red envelopes. I felt so sad because I was all alone here.”

In China, red envelopes, which usually contain money, are given by elders to children and family members to represent good fortune to come in the New Year.

“My grandfather said ‘I will keep the red envelope for you. If you go back China, I will give you,’ so it make me very happy,” she said.

Nicole Joe, Richmond representative for the KSA, hands out tradition Chinese treats in the rotunda at the Richmond campus on Feb. 3. Photo by Miranda Gathercole.

Dominos Pizza promotion to send a child to UK soccer camp

January 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The KSA is hosting a Domino’s pizza promotion on Monday, Jan. 31, which is
designed to help send the child of a Kwantlen student to soccer camp.

“This promotion is being conducted in conjunction with Kwantlen student Rae-lynn Dicks, who is also the mother of a 12-year-old boy. We are trying to send her son to a UK soccer school, to be scouted by the UK premier soccer league,” said Colin Pearson, member services coordinator for the KSA.

“The trip is $5,000, so we are trying to raise just enough to cover transaction costs.”

Joshua has shown a talent for soccer, and the opportunity to train at this camp would heighten his chances for a soccer career.

Students can help Joshua and his mom by purchasing a Domino’s Pizza Value book, at the KSA members services office, for $10.50. Coupons in the book are valid anywhere in the Lower Mainland until Nov. 30.

The promotion will be continue until the beginning of March.

2011 KSA elections first-ever online only vote

January 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Voting in the KSA election starts Jan. 31 and runs until Feb. 6. All voting will be done online.

When the polls close at noon on Feb. 6, this year’s KSA elections will be the first to have been conducted exclusively online.

Unlike previous elections, which occurred only on one day and involved physical ballot boxes and voting booths, voting will be conducted online from noon on Jan. 31 to noon on Feb. 6.

But there are concerns among KSA Executive Board members that the door for breaking the rules is wide open.

KSA Director of Academic Affairs, Brad Head, sees problems with the online voting system, predicting a lower voter turnout. “Many students don’t vote already… many students don’t go onto their myKwantlen account,” he said.

Head is also concerned about cheating.

Since voting traditionally took place at stationary voting booths in years past, computers that will now be used for voting are required to be “stationary.” In other words, candidates are barred from simply walking around campus with a laptop and asking people to vote.

KSA Director of Finance, Shanal Prasad, has similar concerns.

“There is so much potential for things to go wrong,” he said. “What if a group of people have a giant party and they have a laptop there and they get all their friends to come and vote?”

KSA Director of External Affairs, Matt Todd, said it’s also against the rules for a candidate to walk around and offer candy bars in exchange for votes, something that was just as likely under the paper-balloting system.

“We already live with that risk, we just have different packaging on the risk,” Todd said.

(The distribution of food and drink is a violation listed in KSA elections Regulations document on their website and candidates are held responsible for the actions of supporters. According to KSA regulations, “the candidate accepts full responsibility… that any offenses committed by campaigners shall be deemed to be offences committed by the candidate.”)

As for benefits, Todd said it is much cheaper to put the vote online. And because it is cheaper, it is possible to run the election over more days and, he hopes, capture more voters. As well, there are no “bad ballots” online, and tabulation of votes is automatic.

This year, there are 59 candidates running for various positions in the KSA. This is the largest number of candidates to have run in a single election at Kwantlen. “It means people are paying attention and actually care enough to participate,” Todd said.

Here is a full list of candidates (link is to a PDF.)

KSA council still hasn’t met since September

December 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The KSA council hasn't met for about three months, since September. (Photo by Hayley Woodin)

The Kwantlen Student Association council hasn’t met since September because they haven’t been able to meet quorum.

A sudden change in council chair that happened months ago left several council members unhappy because they were not consulted prior to the change.

Since then, some council members have been exercising their rights by not showing up for meetings.

Matt Todd, director of external affairs for the KSA executive board, said he has reason to believe council will be meeting soon.

The reason, he said, is that while some of the council members may still not be pleased about what happened, they felt as though they had made their point, and are now ready to move on.

But while part of council has been making their point, how has the lack of a student council this semester affected students?

The KSA doesn’t fall apart if council doesn’t meet, Todd said. It doesn’t rely on council to function on a day-to-day basis.

However, there are several items on the council’s agenda that have been postponed time and time again because they require council approval.

One of those items was the KSA budget approval to fund the 2011 Kwantlen Leadership Conference. If the event doesn’t receive the funding, it will ultimately have to be cancelled. But even then, there are provisions set up so that in the event council still doesn’t meet in January to pass the 2011 budget, it will essentially default to the same funding and expenditure decisions made in 2010.

And the KSA funded the Leadership Conference last year.

Other KSA projects that have been stalled include the official appointed of Melinda Bige to the role of Aboriginal Liaison. Bige assumed the position after the resignation of Roxanne Charles.

The KSA’s work on the multipass and developing a student health and transportation program have also been put on hold.

Kwantlen’s first ever dodgeball tournament a success

November 20, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Marissa Dionne playing dodgeball

Marissa Dionne, of Team McCulloch, squares off against some of her teammates from the Kwantlen women's soccer team. Team McCulloch won the Movember Dodgeball Tournament. (Photo by Jeffrey Yip)

Students filled the Surrey campus gym ducking, diving and dodging their way to dodgeball fame on Friday night.

With more than 15 teams participating, Kwantlen’s Movember dodgeball tournament was unquestionably a huge success for the KSA and Kwantlen Recreation, who collaborated to host the event.

“Our goal initially, because we’ve never done one, was if we got eight to 10 teams we would have been happy and we got 15. We also got a lot of singles who came in and tried to pick up teams. It definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Eddie Lee, who coordinated the event.

“It’s one of those things that snowballs. You do as much as you can and some things are going to work and some things aren’t and you kind of just have to roll with it. Not everything you do or plan is going to work out the way you anticipated. This is one of those successes that hopefully we can build on.”

The KSA has not always had a lot of success promoting events — the Oct. 2 street hockey tournament was cancelled due to lack of interest — but the dodgeball tournament was an unbridled success.

“It was a lot of fun. We’re just happy to come out and play and support a cause,” said Amy Basi, winner of best female moustache.

Perhaps the best part of the day was that everyone was there for more than just dodgeball. Exact numbers for the fundraiser, for cancer research, will take some time to add up but organizers seemed happy with the donations made by students.

“We all knew it was for Movember, and we just came back from nationals, so we all said, ‘Let’s do this and see if we can raise some money,’ so that’s what we all came out for,” said Courtney McCulloch, who captained her team to victory in the championship.

The win for McCulloch’s team was no small victor,y either. Competition was fierce through round robin play and intensified once the knockout round began.

“It was a tough run. Eventually our team decided to settle down and took it for the win,” said McCulloch.

What has to be exciting for the KSA is the enthusiasm that the event brought. The Surrey gym was filled with participants and spectators and the crowd really seemed to be enjoying the event.

The KSA’s marketing coordinator, Nathan Griffiths, said they were excited for future events after the success of the dodgeball tournament and that it was good to see Kwantlen developing that university spirit. He also said that after interest shown in the event this year they could probably have 10 more teams next year.

Sean Mitchell playing dodgeball

Sean Mitchell , of the DeMOlishers, warms up before the start of the tournament with some throwing and catching. (Photo by Jeffrey Yip)

Hairy Lipped Eagles team stretching

From left to right, Nathan Griffiths, Tonya Myhedyn, Reese Motzek, Shawn Mitz and Chelsea Campbell, of the Hairy Lipped Eagles, get in some good stretching before the start of the Movember Dodgeball Tournament at the Kwantlen Surrey campus on Nov. 19.

Team McCulloch shows off their medals

The tournament's winners, Team McCulloch, captained by Courtney McCulloch (centre, back row). (Photo by Jeffrey Yip)

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.

Video: Kwantlen hosts Diwali Festival of Light

November 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Diwali Festival of Light came to all four Kwantlen campuses from Nov. 2-5. The event, hosted by the KSA, had food, music, henna tattoos, turban-tying and intercultural education. The video was produced at Surrey campus by Lucas Meneses-Skoda, Brittany Tiplady and Paul Fleischanderl.

Students turn out for speed dating at Kwantlen

November 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Speed dating took place at the Grassroots Cafe at the Surrey campus on Oct. 21. (Photo by Sarah Casimong)

With a busy school schedule, who has time to meet a potential boyfriend or girlfriend? Speed dating might be the easiest and fastest way for students to get a date.

The KSA’s speed dating event took place on Oct. 21 at the Grassroots Cafe at the Surrey campus. Female and male students went out to participate, to meet new people and maybe even get a date. It turned out to be so popular that the Kwantlen Student Association had to put a few names on a waiting list for future events.

“There’ll be another one [next semester],” said Reena Bali, director of events. “We might do two because the demand for this one is pretty high, like a waiting list.”

However, some KSA members had to fill in for the registrants who got cold feet and never showed up.

Nathan Griffiths takes part in speed dating at Kwantlen's Grassroots Cafe on Oct. 21. Each table was occupied by a couple who had five minutes to talk before the men moved to the next table. (Photo by Sarah Casimong)

“There was supposed to be 20 [participants]. Twenty guys, 20 girls, but only half showed up. We’re thinking for next year to maybe do a $5 deposit. There were a lot of people on the waiting list that wanted to [come] but we weren’t able to tell them because we thought everyone was going to show up,” Bali said.

The event started with an ice-breaker activity before participants took to the tables to start off five-minute conversations. After five minutes were up, the men would move to meet another woman at the next table.

The speed dating event started at 4 p.m. at the Grassroots Cafe. Participants signed in to get their assigned numbers and name tags before playing an ice breaker. (Photo by Sarah Casimong)

Before the event started, some students opened up right before their first experience with speed dating.

“I don’t think [I'm nervous]; I’ll find out,” said Imtiaz Khan, an accounting student, before the event. “I just want to try it out. I’ve never tried this speed dating, so yeah, [this is] just for fun.”

Manpreet Uppal, a third-year nursing student, was also excited and nervous.

“This is just for fun, to do something different. I’ve never done it before. I wanted to do it last year, but I think it didn’t go with my school schedule and today it did. I am nervous now,” she said.

The next speed dating event is scheduled for Feb. 10, 2011. For more information, visit the KSA website.

RELATED: A personal take on the speed-dating experience.

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