Women's Day

On Thursday, March 8th, Brandon University (BU) celebrated fifteen female students in honour of International Women’s Day. With a reception held in the Gathering Space of the John E. Robbins Library from 4:30PM to 6:30PM, the ladies of BU had the opportunity to mingle with their fellow students as well as staff and faculty members and discuss their distinguishing achievements.

The ladies were nominated by faculty and staff for the recognition. “It’s very inspiring to see such a talented, intelligent and diverse collection of students at BU,” said Dr. Cathryn Smith in a BU press release. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and the chair of BU’s Status of Women Review Committee.

Among the women honoured on Thursday, at least six different Manitoba communities were represented, as well as women originally from Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Greece.

Among the honourees were Abby Ziprick, Amanda Martin, Eleni Galatsanou Tellidis, Emily Hodge, Ericka Serrano, Jasmine Bajus, Jen Greigson, Jenna McDonald, Jennifer Kennedy, Katherine Charles, Kelsey Demond, Sherine Salmon, Tara VanCauwenberghe, Tori Wirch, and Whitney Hodgins.

Congratulations, ladies! We at The Quill are so proud to attend an institution with so many remarkable people!


The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test is to be held at Brandon University this year. The IELTS which is co-owned by British Council is one of the worlds most popular English language proficiency tests. The test is designed to assess the language ability of people who aim to study and work in, immigrate to and integrate into an English-speaking environment. It is based on the four key English skills required by those wishing to excel in Canadian society: listening, reading, writing and speaking. British council has been teaching English throughout the world for 85 years and evaluating it through IELTS for the past 25.

The global outreach that this testing system has cannot be understated. There are 1,100 test centers and locations around the world that, over the past years, have provided English language testing to three million people. Within Canada, IELTS is the preferred high stakes English language test. Trusted by over 350 Canadian organizations, it was the first test to be recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) and Immigration Québec as proof of English language proficiency for such government programs as Express Entry and other Canadian programs. In May 2014, IRCC announced it was renewing its trust in IELTS for another five years.

One of those organizations that recognizes IELTS scoring is Brandon University itself. Any international student whose mother tongue is not English will be required to submit evidence acceptable to the University or faculty that a minimum English proficiency scoring was attained. The minimal acceptable score on the IELTS is a 6.5 overall. The way that ranking within the testing system works is that each skill, once tested, is assigned a score from 1-9 and then an overall band score is issued.

Tests such as this one allow for Brandon University to accept students from around the world while still ensuring that they are not left at a disadvantage in their studies due to the presence of a language barrier. With the ever-shrinking world that we are living in it is important that Brandon University makes itself a desirable location of study not only for native Canadians, but international students as well. BU has managed to achieve this, and the fact that events such as this one are now also being held at BU shows that it is continuing to take steps down the right path.

Enactus To File Taxes

We’re now coming onto one of the most stressful times of the year as a student. Not only is it marathon writing for term papers, cramming for midterms and finals, but now’s the time to get ready to file taxes.  If you’re a student like me who has zero financial literacy and doesn’t know much past what a T4 is, then you’re going to need some help. Fortunately, the lovely folks who are part of Enactus will help with your financial woes. Enactus is a university group run by students who use business to address issues such as food security and financial literacy. The Brandon chapter of Enactus is volunteering their time to help students by filing their taxes… for free!

Enactus will be running their free tax clinic from March 12th to April 20th in CHO 407. Their clinic will run Monday, Wednesday to Friday from 9:30AM to 3:30PM and Tuesday from 9:30AM to 12:30PM, then re-opening from 1:30PM to 3:30PM. Eligible students are single people who make $30,000 or less per year, or couples who earn up to $40,000 jointly per year. To file your taxes students must bring their student ID, social insurance number, tax receipts (i.e. T4s, T2202A, etc.) and receipts for other expenses.

Clarifications And Corrections

The March 6th issue of The Quill was shamefully riddled with errors, for which I take full responsibility. It was late, and I did not edit as thoroughly as I should have. I was concerned for the snow that was rapidly surrounding the university. That said, on to the corrections:

1. The cover incorrectly advertised the Imaginus Poster Sale. It should have read “Snow Sculptures Grace Campus”.

2. This Week in Pop Culture was not about Studio Ghibli. It was about Trolling, and it was written by Patrick Gohl.

3. The International Women’s Day PSA article was mis-titled as Mental Health Week 2018, and was written by Jenna Murray, not Alexandra Mackay.

4. The New Restaurants article was written by Carly Murkin, whose last name I neglected to include.

I believe that is all of the errors I made, but if anyone notices anything else, I welcome the corrections.

Women's Day

With #timesup and #metoo bringing to light violence against women and unequal pay for women, 2018 seems like the year women make big change on those types of issues. This year International Women’s Day’s “theme” is #PressforProgress. According to the website it is “a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, and be gender inclusive.” It is clear there is a huge shift in society occurring right now where gender parody is a common topic.

Brandon University is celebrating the day with a reception in the Gathering Space of the John E Robbins Library to celebrate “outstanding women students of 2018.” That event will take place from 4:30PM-5:30PM. The event is being put on by the Status of Women Review Committee of BU. According to their BU page, a call for nominations was sent to faculty in January. The Status of Women Review Committee is “committed to equal opportunities for women in the university community.” This event celebrates amazing female students on BU’s campus!

BU’s Women’s Collective will be holding a trivia night to celebrate International Women’s Day. It will be held from 7:00PM-8:30PM in Harvest Hall. It is a free event, with a cash bar. Teams can just show up, four people per team and there will be prizes!

Have a great International Women’s Day

Strand Theatre Sign

It’s great that Brandon University is taking steps to preserve the heritage of the former Strand Theatre. With the doomed building set to come down by the end of March, in downtown Brandon.

“The iconic Strand sign is in great shape and I am eager to see how our plans for downtown will reinterpret it in an entirely new context,” Said Brandon University Interim President Steve Robinson. “I imagine it will be quite compelling to see the sign all lit up again alongside the classic movie marquee.”

Brandon University has partnered with the Brandon Sun to store the signage,

“Our deep roots in the city make this a natural fit,” Said Brandon Sun publisher Jim Milhaly. “We have chronicled the evolution of both Brandon University and the Strand Theatre from inception through today, and we are pleased to step in and play a part in this exciting development for downtown.”

Salvage of the historic elements from the former Strand theatre building begins as early as March 1, with demolition of the remaining structure immediately afterward. Brandon University has engaged Total Demolition to demolish the structure and also to evacuate and demolish the vacant basement underneath the old Brown Block property immediately to the south. Full backfilling and cleanup of the property could extend into late April.

I’m a fan of the classic theatre look, so I am looking forward to seeing the sign all lit up along with the classic movie marquee. Props to the Brandon University and the Brandon Sun for intending to save the heritage elements of the former Strand Theatre!

Music Students Perform

The Brandon University (BU) Orchestra, Concert Choir, Chorale and Symphonic Band werejoined by students from local high schools to perform music by BU Professor T. Patrick Carrabré at a special concert on Sunday, March 4th at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium (WMCA).

Honouring Carrabré’s significant contribution to Canadian music, 25 years at Brandon University and his 60th birthday, the program included a number of works that had never been performed for local audiences. The pow wow group Spirit Sands Singers, led by Michael Esquash Sr., joined the BU Orchestra and choirs in Creation Stories, originally written for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO). Cellist Leanne Zacharias also took a solo role, in front of the Symphonic Band, in Prairie Sky, a piece the group premiered at the Whistler Music Festival in 2013.

“I’m very honoured that my colleagues and our students are coming together to perform some of my bigger pieces,” Carrabré said.

The first half of the program featured the BU Concert Band. The second half of the program will be devoted to Creation Stories. Written while Carrabré was composer-in-residence for the WSO, the piece celebrates the diversity of world cultures by including text and music that reflect how many different peoples have “remembered” the creation of the world. While Carrabré wrote most of the music, he also tried to allow for some shared space, with sounds that would otherwise not be possible on the symphonic stage. This meant writing parts that make sense for the orchestra, while leaving space for musicians from oral cultures (not notated) to collaborate in the making of a complete soundscape.

Says Greg Gatien, BU Dean of Music in a press release: “It’s no wonder so many students and faculty members are eager to step on stage to share his music.”

Lynda dot com

What began as something only BU faculty and staff had access to in 2017 became something BU students gained access to in 2018. Lynda.com is a website that offers on-demand courses and videos about the latest technology and workplace and creative skills. Access has also been given to Lyndacampus which has topics for teaching and learning in post-secondary.

To access this resource you must first sign up for Lynda.com using your BU email address (you got a link in your BU email about it). Next they send you an email to that account. Following the link, you create your account which is basically entering in your full name and creating a password. When you have done that it brings you to a homepage that highlights some popular videos, and even videos that are popular specifically on your campus. You can watch videos on project management, time management, “College Prep: Writing a Strong Essay” and so on. These videos can help you learn skills that are helpful both for university and for a summer job or career. There are a ton of categories on technology, developing, business, photography and so on. You can also take a “guided tour” which shows the viewer how to use the site.

So why is this a cool thing for students? If you know an area you need to develop further, such as time management, you can watch videos to better yourself. It might sound pretty corny, but employers are impressed by someone taking initiative to self-educate and identify weaknesses or skills to develop. It also allows people to teach themselves how to do things like coding or how to use Powerpoint. Basically, Lynda.com can allow you to become a better employee and a better student simply by spending some time watching videos.

It is unclear how long BU students will have access to this resource, so check it out while you can!

Elections Results

It is the end of another year of BUSU elections. It was a year for the record books, with a brand new electronic voting system in place for the convenience of voters. I personally took advantage of this from the comfort of my living room, and found it quick and easy. No waiting in line — or even leaving the house!

All candidates on the ballots ran unopposed, and won their positions uncontested. Congratulations to Executive Council Members, Emily Simon (Vice-President Internal) and Mohammed Agavi (Vice-President External), as well as Directors Whitney Hodgins (Accessibilities), Katherine Charles (Music), Uzoma Duru (Arts), George Nkuo (International), and Natashalee Thompson (Graduate Studies). Congratulations also go out to Manuel Colmenarez, the new Senator Student-At-Large. Beginning May 1st, 2018, all of these wonderful people will step into their new or returning roles and work to better the BU community and campus.

The voter turn out for this new system was not as high as expected, but still better than previous years. A total of 223 students voted, with 97 from the Faculty of Arts, 57 from the Faculty of Science, 22 from the Faculty of Music, 20 from the Education Department, and 27 from Health Studies. To this reporter (and voter), this indicates a success in my books!

For the first time in BUSU history (or at least, in the history of BUSU in the seven years I have been a student at BU), there was no candidate for President. This position, as well as the other Director and Student-At-Large positions will be available for application again in May. Director positions still up for grabs are: Science, Health Studies, Education, Part-Time/Mature, Women’s, Indigenous Peoples’, Queer (formerly Gender and Sexuality-Based), Racialized, and Residence. There are also still Student-At-Large positions available on Senate and the Knowles-Douglas Centre Board.

The Quill hopes that all of our new representatives have a wonderful term, and we look forward to working with you!

Mino Bimaadiziwin

Members of the Brandon community are invited to an evening of celebration of the project: “Mino Bimaadiziwin: Reconciliation in Action”. This research project is focused on providing sustainable post-secondary education for indigenous communities in remote locations. Both researchers from BU and the University of Manitoba work together in collaboration on this project, and as a team they must be achieving impressive results as the have recently been awarded a prestigious Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant in the amount of $2.5 million. The project does not solely seek to introduce community led post-secondary education to targeted indigenous communities. On the program are numerous other issues that plague these isolated communities including sustainable housing, food security, water and waste management, and sustainable energy all these problems the project seeks to address through community-led participatory research.

There is a considerable need in Canada for projects such as this one, and in its nature it seems to be a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action to “ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects”. BU has voiced and demonstrated its commitment to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities on numerous occasions, and projects such as this one align perfectly with the BU identity which has this commitment as one of its foundational pillars.

The First nation students that partake in this program will be able to attend entry level certificate programs in their community. Learning will not be entirely from the classroom; the project would rather have the students be taught per project-based learning. Students will learn as they take the first steps to effect a change in their community. If there is a key word to define this project it would probably have to be community, as it is the community which will take the lead on the many initiative under the auspices of this project. The hope is that local effort can effectively provide what outside support has struggled or outright failed to provide in the past.

If you are interested to learn more about this research project you may visit their website at ecohealthcircle.com for further information. You are also invited to join the celebration on February 28th from 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm in He Oyate Tawapi (Ceremony Room) in the Health Studies Building and meet community representatives from Wasagamack and Garden Lake, and Dr. Shirley Thompson, Project Leader, from the University of Manitoba, and Dr. Wilder Robles (Rural Development), Dr. Patricia Harms (History) and Dr. Serena Petrella (Sociology), Brandon University partners.

Lu Piano Duo - BU

After an absence of two years, the internationally acclaimed Lu Piano Duo returns to the Pro Series on Tuesday in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall at Brandon University (BU).

Currently on faculty at the University of Utah’s School of Music, the husband-and-wife team of Jie-deng Lu and Ning Lu will present an all-Mozart programme.

Originally from China, the pianists completed their studies in the United States – Jie-deng Lu earned a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) from the University of Illinois, while Ning Lu holds a DMA from the University of Boulder. Along with teaching, giving recitals, soloing alongside major orchestras and participating in chamber music collaborations, they give masterclasses around the world and adjudicate various competitions. Both have won competitions themselves – Jie has won several, including the Colorado CMTNA Piano Competition, while Ning won the International Tourgee-Debose Piano Competition in Louisiana, among others. As well, Ning Lu is the artistic director of The Helen Taylor Johannesen International Piano Competition, which takes place in Salt Lake City.

Their programme first shines the spotlight on Jie’s interpretation of two of Mozart’s 18 sonatas for the piano, namely No. 8 and No. 9. Composed during a stay in Paris in 1778, when Mozart was a mere 22 years old, the Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310 is one of only three of his solo piano sonatas that venture into a minor key. The previous year, the composer had penned Sonata No. 9 in D major, K. 311, while in Mannheim. Though out of order, these two sonatas along with his Sonata No. 7 in C major, K. 309 were published as a set.

The Lu Piano Duo will then play Mozart’s Piano Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448, written only three years after the K. 311 sonata.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome back the Lu Piano Duo. They are consummate musicians who deliver memorable performances of music that is either seldom or rarely presented here,” said Greg Gatien, the Dean of Music at BU. “Our Pro Series audiences loved their two previous appearances here, so I look forward to hearing their newest programme of youthful, but significant Mozart works.”

The Pro Series’ presentation of the Lu Piano Duo will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building at BU. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and alumni, and are available at the door or in advance in the Main Office in the School of Music.

The next Pro Series feature is the annual New Music Festival, on March 12 and 13, at 7:30 p.m., with the Brandon New Music Ensemble, director Megumi Masaki and several guests. Admission is free to both New Music Festival evening concerts.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant from Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit: Events.BrandonU.ca/Events/Category/Music.

BU Awarded Several Research Grants

A total of 23 faculty research projects at Brandon University have been provided with grants by the Brandon University Research Committee (BURC) that in summation total $118,000. This strong financial contribution to the research efforts at BU will hopefully aid in fostering a growing spirit of discovery at Brandon University. Among the 23 projects supported, 13 were awarded the New Faculty research Grant. Which provides a maximum of $7,500 to faculty members that have joined the Brandon University family within the last three years. “A strong track record of research is one of the qualities that we look for when recruiting new faculty,” said Dr. Heather Duncan, BU’s Associate Vice-President (Research). “The funding that we can provide through BURC encourages our new faculty members to continue their pursuit of innovation and discovery. The experience they gain through BURC-funded projects helps build a foundation for even greater research success in the future.”

Research grants, with a total value of $4,000 each, comprise the remaining grants allotted by the Brandon University Research Committee. “The scope and diversity of the research being done by our faculty are quite impressive,” said Dr. Meir Serfaty, Acting Vice-President (Academic & Provost) at BU. “We are proud of the recognition and support they are receiving for their work, nationally and beyond. Their research provides answers to important questions faced in our communities, and complements their role as educators as they inspire curiosity and exploration in our students.”

Funding for research projects at Brandon University is crucial for a number of reasons. The potential discoveries made by our various laboratories and research facilities here at BU could aid in securing answers to the questions of the broader society or find solutions to problems plaguing us as a nation or species. Perhaps more relevant to those focused on direct benefits to BU and the Brandon community is the positive attention local research draws to BU. Cutting edge research may attract national funding which contributes to further growth of BU. The Funding for the grants provided by BURC for example is itself provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) as well as a variety of internal funds.

Further information on research projects that are supported by BURC grants can be gained from the periodical publication, Research Connection, produced by the BU Office of Research Services and the Faculty of Education’s Centre for Aboriginal and Rural Education Studies. Visit BrandonU.ca/Research-Connection.

BU Art Students on Display in Portage

On Saturday, February 24th an opening reception for the Brandon University Printmaking II Students’ exhibition “Naratives” was held. It is located at the Portage & District Arts Centre, Portage La Prairie and will be on display through to March 10th 2018.

The Brandon University Student exhibit features intaglio prints, a method used by Picasso that involves etching an image into a surface which then holds the ink. Artwork from Brandon University’s Assistant Professor Lisa Wood’s class are displayed in the “Narratives” exhibit, from local artists Annette Henderson, Lee Beaton, Janet Russell-Shaw, Mao Guolixuan, Wil Mousseau and Ian Curtis.

 “I saw the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery early this year and now have a better understanding of the process he used to create his prints,” Henderson said.

Each student created a unique body of work during Printmaking II using various intaglio etching techniques, stating with line-etch then aquatint and followed by photopolymer etching. Challenges happened with each process and as a class students were able to overcome the difficulties. The resulting editions are fantastic.

The Portage & District Arts Centre is a registered charity and not-for-profit organization that showcases and promotes the artworks of artists.

For more information, please contact Lee Beaton at 204-239-6029 or email at lbeaton@mymts.net. Go out and enjoy some great stuff from some great people!

UofM Manitoban Almost Folds

In the ever evolving world of journalism, student journalism is often the most under appreciated. In particular, student print journalism is quickly fading into the background. At our own school, The Quill stands proud after 108 years of continuous printing. We are the oldest student run publication in Western Canada, and the second oldest in this country.

That being said, it is not an unreasonable fear for this Editor that an end to our print publications could come. Just two hours to the East, The Manitoban at the University of Manitoba faced a potential end early last week. A motion was struck by the Commerce Students’ Association to the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) to discontinue funding to The Manitoban from UMSU, and effectively shuttering production.

That motion was laid down later in the week, and The Manitoban is continuing to print as regularly scheduled, but this had me thinking: what is journalism worth to Southern Manitoban institutions? Brandon University does not have a journalism program, and offers only one journalism class. There is no way for students who are interested in journalism to get a decent education within the province (aside from the University of Winnipeg, and that is a highly competitive program). 

How much of a shelf life does print media have? More and more, even major news conglomerates are moving toward a digital presence. To me, there is still relevance in a print edition (as is evidenced by the fact that this very article has been printed on a piece of newsprint, smearing ink on your fingers). There is still something satisfying about opening a paper fresh from the printers and recognizing the effort that layout editors put into the daily, or weekly, or biweekly, issue.

That being said, there is a definite bonus to working with a digital addition to your print copy. The Quill prints weekly, leaving us to catch up quickly or to work with stale news. If we publish online, we can have a story up the day it happens, with instant updates. Would The Manitoban have moved to an online format, had the motion succeeded? It’s hard to say.

The Quill is the only publication in Manitoba that is an active member of the Canadian University Press. While many of CUP’s members are also moving towards an online presence, they all still print a physical copy at least once a month in the form of a magazine, or twice a month, or weekly. We have a certain amount of protection with CUP should we fall under such a motion. They would help us work out a business plan. 

I humbly ask that you consider the following: would you prefer that The Quill revamp our presence and move more toward the online world? Do you like the weekly appearance of our issues on newsstands around campus? Let me know at EIC@TheQuill.ca.

New MOU Signed

Last week the City of Brandon, Brandon University, and Assiniboine Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that puts a focus on collaboration on research and educational projects between the two institutions and the City that would be mutually beneficial. 

Previously, a MOU had been signed between BU and ACC in 2014. This brought about joint projects such as the “Welcome Students” campaign and the new Public History joint program. 

So, what does this mean for students? It will hopefully give students new chances to do hands-on projects that they can see the impact from. It will lead to the City of Brandon creating more local opportunities for students to use the skills they are learning while also encouraging students to stay in the community and work with new pathways being opened for them. This would be beneficial to the city of Brandon, because it would lead to economic growth and beneficial to students to practice what they are learning. According to the article on this topic on BU’s website, “the three institutions have committed to regularly discuss challenges and opportunities within the City of Brandon, which may be addressed through applied research and educational projects.” Rick Chrest recognized in the article that Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College are important assets to Brandon. BU’s Interim President Steve Robinson noted “collaboration is truly at the heart of what academics do, and there are many exciting opportunities for Brandon University students, faculty, and staff to contribute in new ways to enhance our community. Signing this Memorandum of Understanding allows us to further develop the many ongoing partnerships that we are already eagerly pursuing.” Long story short? Pure speculation, but hopefully this MOU means more research opportunities and hopefully more jobs for students, and graduates to encourage staying in Brandon. 

Each of the institutions were name a representative who will “collectively identify the more fruitful avenues for new research, drawing on the combined needs and strengths of the City of Brandon, of Brandon University, and of Assiniboine Community College.”

(All information for this article was found in the BU press release article on the topic).

Money Matters; Cost of Living vs. Minimum Wage

Anyone who has worked for minimum wage knows that it’s far from comfortable living. Maclean’s magazine confirms what most of us already know: the top two sectors where minimum wage is prominent is in retail and food/accommodation services. Minimum wage is also earned primarily by young people, and women tend to earn minimum wage more so than men. 2013 statistics indicate that about 6% of Manitoba’s 1.282 million earn minimum wage, or nearly 77,000 people in the province.

While it’s fair to say that a teenager living at home don’t usually need a higher minimum wage, many university and college students work part-time (or some students full-time) on low-wages to help ease the financial burden of school. The cost of living itself can be sky-high for Brandonites. When students are looking for a roommate, it can be at least $500 depending on the room, location, restrictions (i.e.: pet-friendly, smoke-free, etc.). If someone’s looking to live on their own, usually it’s going to be at least $700 for a decent home in an ideal location with a decent amount of space and storage, which may or may not include utilities. Since Brandon has a very low vacancy rate, it leaves few options for rent. If you dream of owning your own home, you’re better off to commute from surrounding communities than to buy a house in Brandon for the cost.  

Fortunately for students without a vehicle, our student fees pay for bus services, otherwise it’s $1.50 fare one way for an adult. Then there’s the cost of groceries, personal care products, and household products. 

There are rentals available in smaller cities in Ontario, such as Sarnia and Windsor, that are comparable to Brandon, except Ontario boosted their minimum wage to $14/hr with another increase coming in 2019.  Somehow, a Manitoban minimum wage earner is supposed to be able to pay for this as easily as a minimum wage earner from Ontario.

You could make a number of arguments against minimum wage increase such as it would cause job losses or that adult wage-earners should avoid low paying jobs. Sometimes job opportunities and educational advancements, or debt, may mean someone doesn’t have a lot of choice as to providing income. It’s often minimum wage jobs that carry a lot of emotional labour (your work is about managing the emotions of yourself and others) which is often undervalued, repetitive tasks and are devalued positions in the workforce. Isn’t that worth something?

WUSC Gets Props

Unrest in various parts of the world has caused great hardship for an increasing number of people from a diverse background. These refugees are forced to uproot and flee, often with nothing more than what they carry on their back. In the uncertain future these displaced families and individuals now face there is often little hope for any form of advanced education. BU should be proud in the knowledge that it is not resting in complacent disregard of the suffering of the persecuted and abandoned, but instead adopts a proactive role in providing a brighter future to the oppressed. Our local committee of World University Service of Canada (WUSC) received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Student Refugee Program (SRP) at the WUSC CECI international forum in Ottawa this month. This award distinguishes our local committee as a shining model for the 80+ committees across Canada.

The SRP is the main initiative of our local WUSC committee, and as the President of WUSC here on campus Mr. Parker Easter says, “this award indicates that, while the committee is always looking to improve and find new means to aid the disenfranchised, it is on the right track”. The Program offers financial aid to refugees from around the globe to come and commence their post secondary education here at BU. These new residents of the True North face many challenges in transitioning to life in Brandon. This reporter can personally attest to the difficulty and discomfort one experiences in trying to establish a new life here, especially during that first winter. To ensure that our new classmates aren’t disadvantaged as a result of this culture shock, WUSC at BU was the first in Canada to set up a Mentorship Program. This Program partners experienced B.U.sians with students in the SRP to guide and aid them through their time at BU. It was this initiative along with programs designed to provide support in the areas of money management (jointly with ENACTUS), food handling safety, and transportation that led to the recognition of their tremendous work at the forum in Ottawa.

The work that BU’s  WUSC committee is able to accomplish is limited to the scope of their support. While they do enjoy the backing of the local community, more can always be done. If you are looking to step up and lend a helping hand here is how: Their next meeting is on Monday February 12th at 5:00PM in the down under (under cafeteria) if you are interested in attending to learn more shoot the President an email at buwusc@gmail.com. They are also looking for mentors of 3 new students next year, more info on this will be sent to your school email account. Clubs are also welcomed to partner with WUSC if they wish to. If you don’t have the time for such commitment I’m sure just voicing your support is also appreciated.

Co-op Ed Program

Kelley Mitton is a senior project manager, who also has a master’s in adult education. She was hired by Brandon University to set up a Co-Operative Education program (CO-OP) for BU students. This type of program is in many other universities in Canada and is something the Government is interested in seeing in more universities. They see a value in experiential learning and are creating 10,000 positions in Canada for co-op programs. Students interested in learning more about co-op programs in general can visit: http://www.cewilcanada.ca/

Kelley is extremely passionate about helping students develop the skills they need to pursue a profession and be a great employee. She wants to help students learn the foundational skills such as adapting to change, being flexible, relationship building, self-awareness, to have a growth mindset, and to come back from the bad days at work and not dwell on them. She would also like to help students identify and market their strengths and find the areas they would like to further develop to be the best employee they can. She currently sits on the Workforce Development Committee for the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and is networking with businesses to develop co-op placements.

So, who can apply?  If you are a 4-year degree, or 4-year degree with honours student in Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, History, Sociology, Environmental Science, Physics and Astronomy, or Geology you can apply for the program. You must also be registered full time in the semester before, and after the co-op program. Each department will have its own requirements you will have to meet to apply for the program. Applications go to Kelley, who then looks them over and makes final decisions.

Once accepted to the program, students will begin by doing Professional Development. This will include guest speakers, experiential learning workshops, resume and cover letter building, interview practice and more! Another part of the professional development will be networking with local businesses which is such a great opportunity for students. Then, the student finds a work placement. The work placement can be in Brandon, a home town, or even abroad for international students. Students find their own placement that will then need to be approved by Kelley. Students can enrol in the program for three work terms (which would be three summers).

So why is this program an awesome opportunity? First, you get paid! You are also getting the chance to get your foot in the door with a business you’re interested in, and a possible future career, while gaining experience. You also get the chance to use the theories being taught in the classroom. You come back after the program with actual work experience which will benefit you in your classes. It also offers students the opportunity to learn workplace lessons. You can learn how to dress appropriately, how to communicate with coworkers, and how to be punctual. These are all skills you will need when you finish school to begin your career. It also lets you test drive your career. You can learn if it’s something you love as much as you thought you would.

Kelley is holding an information session on February 6th, in the free slot. It will be in room 215 of Clark Hall. If you think the co-op program sounds like an awesome opportunity (which it is) come out and get more info! Any questions, Kelley’s email is: mittonk@brandonu.ca

Bursaries Available

There are some pretty significant new bursaries for Brandon University students as of this year with a total of $330,000. The bursaries will be split into two categories. There will be one group of these bursaries for Graduate students who have financial need. They will be worth up to 10,000 each and there will be up to five students from the four facilities and the School of Music all benefiting from these awards, which means a potential 25 awards.

There will also be a General Bursary for students in any BU program. Each one of these awards will be worth up to $5,000. These will also be given on the basis of financial need. The news article from Brandon University did not state how many would be available.

So where did this large amount of money come from? According to Brandon University’s news release it was a part of the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursaries Initiative. They were “created to realize the benefits of changes to the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursaries Initiative (MSBI). Through the MSBI the Government of Manitoba contributes provincial support to supplement donations that fund scholarships and bursaries at post-secondary institutions in the province.” (From BU’s news release).

For the current academic year, the selection process will be different than it normally will be. Each graduate program will make recommendations for who they think should receive the bursary and the General Bursary will be given based on applications that were already received for the 2017/2018 academic year. This benefits students who applied and declared financial need but did not get support this academic year.

In future years, the general bursaries will be available for students to apply for online, while the Grad bursaries will still be based on recommendations. The General Bursaries will be open to apply for online for the 2018/2019 school year very soon, and the deadline to apply is June 1st, 2018. Once these scholarships are added to the database, students will be able to search “MSBI” to find them.

Scholarships and bursaries are awesome because they take a lot of the financial stress out of being a student and leave you in less debt at the end of your degree. They also allow students to focus more on school, and less on working during the academic year. Take full advantage of the scholarships and bursaries offered to BU students, and apply for as many as you can! 

Presidential Search

As you may already know Brandon University’s former President, Dr.  Gervin Fearon, left BU last year. After saying our goodbyes, Dr. Robinson assumed the role of interim President while our school would undertake the task of finding a suitable successor. Why should the average undergrad student care? As BUSU President Nick Brown, a member of the Presidential Search Committee puts it, the President of a University is like the Captain of a ship. It is he that will direct the further growth of BU down a path that is beneficial to the community and the student body.

The search has not yet filled the void at the top of our school, and Brown says that we will likely only welcome our next President in January 2019. Brown has taken part in previous searches, all of which took nowhere near this length. The empty Vice-President (Academics) seat was populated in only five months.

The reason for this prolonged interval of vacancy is that a Presidential search is a different beast entirely. Everything is done in secret so as not to compromise the current positions of the prospective Presidents, and of course in choosing your future leader speed is a lesser virtue than careful deliberation.

In contention for the position are persons with higher level management experience. This will prove crucial as the new President assumes the responsibilities of his office in continuing to build on the growth momentum BU has been enjoying in the past few years.

What are students saying? At a student consultation on January 15th, members of the student body said they care little for the education level of the candidates and find the character of any incumbent president more important, that he be able to connect with the nature of rural and aboriginal influences on BU.