Fredericton, Indigenous, News, St. Thomas University

Reconciliation through education: Conference asks how STU can participate

St. Thomas University hosted its first-ever conference towards reconciliation Sept. 27 to 29.

The conference was part of a series of events planned for this year to address how STU can participate in meeting the demands of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Becoming allies

The conference began last Wednesday afternoon with an address from university president Dawn Russell.

Russell acknowledged the university’s administration has much to do in terms of reconciliation. She said “Indigenization of the academy” means reconciliation through education, dialogue and collective action.

St. Thomas University has 166 Indigenous students, accounting for eight per cent of its overall student population. Four per cent of its faculty identifies as Indigenous. Russell said both of these numbers are well above the national average, emphasizing the importance of reconciliation for the STU community.

“It won’t be easy,” Russell said, but added STU intends to “win the battle,” and use liberal art skills to “beat this challenge.”

Read the full story here.

Standard
Aquinian, Fredericton, News, St. Thomas University, Students

Long Night Against Procrastination gets large turnout

Over 225 students crowded James Dunn Hall on March 31 for St. Thomas University’s first Long Night Against Procrastination.

The event which ran from 5 p.m. until midnight gave students a chance to meet with representatives from student services like the writing centre and peer tutors, but also presented opportunities to take a break and de-stress as exam season nears.

Heather MacDonald, a learning strategist at STU, said she and her colleagues began storming up plans for the event after hearing of similar events at other universities. She stressed how important it is for students to take breaks in the midst of end-of-semester chaos.

Full story here.

Photo credit: Book Saprasid/The Aquinian

Standard
Aquinian, News, Politics, St. Thomas University

Obama thaws frosty Cuban relations

United States President Barack Obama made a historical trip to Cuba last week to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro to improve the countries relations, and this meeting of powerful men has some here at home feeling hopeful.

Political Science professor Shaun Narine feels as though the effort to reach out to Cuba is a good one with the prospects of permanently altering U.S.-Cuban relations, but said the business community will decide its ultimate fate.

Full story here.

Standard
Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Refugees, Saint Mary's University, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

The Canadian way: SMU uses hockey to welcome refugees

Saint Mary’s University invited 60 Syrian newcomers to the Huskies’ first game at CIS Nationals to give them an authentic Canadian experience and make it “feel like home,” said vice president of student affairs Ossama Nasrallah.

“These refugees will soon become Canadians and stay in Canada,” Nasrallah said. “Refugees are thinking of the future here in Canada and how they will get used to the Canadian culture.”

Nasrallah said it’s important for Canadians to welcome the refugees and that these kind of events also build good student leadership skills for those who care about others and want to make a change in the world.

“A smile from a kid to those students means the world to them and makes them feel they can do better,” said Nasrallah.

St. Thomas’ athletics department could not be reached for comment on possible plans to do anything similar for the Syrian refugees, but men’s hockey team member Dillon Donnelley said it would be a great idea.

“[Hockey]’s our national sport, so in a way it gives the refugees a look at a part of our history and culture,” he said.  “I think it’s a good thing to do for sure.”

Nasrallah said SMU has no other plans to do anything else like this right now, but hopes that a football game could be used for something similar. He also hopes these kinds of events can help Syrian parents feel comfortable about their children’s future when they see the university in action.

“Sports really play a big role in getting people together, especially when you get people to a new game and teach them,” Nasrallah said. “This makes them feel really welcome and the atmosphere in the game makes them feel excited and happy.”

Standard
Aquinian, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Sports

New roller derby team The Spitfires roll into ring

Fredericton’s Capital City Rollers roller derby league has announced its newest team, the Spitfires, who will kick off their first season May. 28 at the Willie O’Ree Place.

Rachel Harvey, the league’s communications coordinator and player on all three teams, said the Spitfires was created to blend all skill levels in the league.

“There are a lot of different levels of play,” Harvey said. “We wanted to form a team that would allow us to be able play both A teams and B teams.”

Until now, the Capital City Rollers’ 35-member league has only had two teams: the Daisy Cutters, the higher-level A team, and the Bazooka Janes, the lower-level B team.

Full story here.

Standard
Aquinian, Fredericton, News, St. Thomas University, Students, University of New Brunswick

Safety tips sent after suspected drink spiking

The warning issued to students on nightlife safety and drink-spiking is a safety message that never expires, said St. Thomas’s director of communications Jeffrey Carleton.

An e-mail equipped with prevention tips was sent to STU and UNB students on Mar. 4 after the university received reports from three students who suspected they were the victims of drink-spiking after an evening out.

Full story here.

Photo credit: Book Saprasid/The Aquinian

Standard
Aquinian, Canada, Feature, St. Thomas University

Are MOOCs the future of education?

Imagine if you could lay in bed all day, not have to talk to people, pick and choose what you want to learn, and still get an education at your own pace – for free.

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are kind of like that. They are online university courses open to the masses and accessible online. To some, MOOC sounds like the name of a goofy cartoon character, but to many, these are considered to be the future of higher education.

Full story here.

Standard
Canada, Lectures, News, St. Thomas University

Romeo Dallaire says Canada needs to become an ‘activist nation’

Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire urged the current generation to take on a leadership role and move the country towards becoming an activist nation at a lecture on Feb. 18.

Dallaire delivered the 2016 Lodhi Memorial Lecture at St. Thomas University, telling the overflowing audience of more than 400 people in Kinsella Auditorium “we’ve been sitting on our asses too long.”

“This body of humanity has a right to live,” Dallaire said. “It has a right to seek a lie, to see the opportunity to grow, to be positive, to permit their next generations, to have the intellectual vigour that you get in your universities so that you can understand the problems and solve them.”

Dallaire oversaw United Nations forces during the Rwanda genocide of 1994, refusing to pull out of the multinational mission despite orders from Secretary General Boutros-Ghali. He protected as many Tutus as he could until Troops arrived two months later, although hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in the meantime.

Dallaire said when a country massively abuses the rights of its people, it is in the self-interest of the rest of humanity has a responsibility to engage and protect those people.

“We had the capability of attenuating those conflicts in their embryo because we saw those governments moving to massively abuse the rights of their population,” he said. “That permitted us, through the U.N., to engage, to protect those citizens.”

Dallaire spoke of the right to protect, often referred to as R2P, which is a proposed U.N. norm that arose out of the Rwandan genocide. It was championed by Canada during the Paul Martin government and was cited by the U.N. when it intervened in Libya in 2011.

He said the bombing of the army of Mu’amme Gaddaffi, without putting any troops on the ground to prevent the resulting chaos, gave R2P a bad name it doesn’t deserve.

“We had the tools to do it, and we didn’t have the guts to put the boots on the ground,” Dallaire said.

He compared the situations in Rwanda and Libya to the current conflicts in Syria.

The Syrian War began as protests against authoritarian President Bashar al-Assad during the Arab Spring, but soon drifted into a civil war. Five years later, al-Qaeda and ISIS have gained a foothold. The country is in ruins and millions of refugees have fled, living in refugee camps and streaming into Europe.

Dallaire told the crowd that clips on TV and the internet don’t truly depict what is going on in those countries justice, and that people like him who have lived in the midst of it see the harsh reality.

“We can smell the horrible smells of death and decay, we can hear the kids crying, we can see the anguish in the parents, mothers,” he said. “We can see the fear of another bomb falling down, killing; we can see the elderly, laying by the road dying and wondering what the hell happened. We see it and live it.”

Dallaire stressed that is why he believes that today’s “generation without borders” should establish a sort of rite of passage from countries like ours that can take a leadership role because they have the capacity to do it.

“Go and see what’s happening with 80 per cent of humanity,” he said. “Go and see the reality of that humanity and come back after having touched, smelled and heard, tasted, felt – as human beings with others – what they’re going through. And influence this great nation to become an activist nation.”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

Standard
Aquinian, Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

Athlete of the month looks forward to playoffs

Kelty Apperson said it’s a special feeling to be named St. Thomas University Coastal Graphics Athlete of the Month for January.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work,” she said. “But I only received this award due to my team. They are always pushing me to be improving, so their support has allowed me to find success on the ice.”

Apperson, a fourth-year student and captain of the women’s hockey team is second in the Atlantic University Sport scoring race with 22 points.

Full story here.

Standard
Arts, Feature, Fredericton, Opinion, Review, St. Thomas University, Students, Theatre, Theatre St. Thomas

The Bacchae: Lisa Anne Ross tackles gender fluidity and moral extremes

Don’t mess with the gods: advice that is heeded by humans in the latest Theatre St. Thomas production. Enter demi-god Dionysus, son of Zeus, self-indulgent and self-assured as he towers over his cult of sexually spell-bound followers who huff and puff in ecstasy with his every move. Now, enter Pentheus, king of Thebes – the city that Dionysus craves revenge over for disbelieving him as a god. Its ruler is the only one who dares to look Dionysus in the eye without being overcome with the erotic infection the demi-god has begun to spread across the land. Soon, the king will find out that his raging testosterone and prison chains hold no power over the unleashed Dionysian powers.

The Euripides tragic play is over 2400 years old, but feels revived and oddly fit for 2016 with director Lisa Anne Ross’ take on it. Even with the long, complex Grecian dialogues the actors and actresses spit out effortlessly, the audience is pulled in by more than just the story.

Dionysus, portrayed by the uncomfortably captivating Alex Rioux, walks into the first scene from behind the disarrayed walls of the Black Box Theatre. He is dressed in a skin-tight black garment and a lacy black top, embellished with a black sparkly corset, matching elbow-length gloves, Mary Jane-style platform heels, and devil horns. He summons his animalistic followers, the Bacchae, into a dance routine to M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” – something that leaves the audiences wondering how it made its way out of the strip club and into STU’s campus. We are not sure what or who he is, but we cannot look away.

The Bacchae constantly grunt, moan, and sway their hips rousingly at the sight and sound of their beloved Dionysus. Clad in lace, chains, fur and lipstick – though not much else – they look like they’re on their way to a burlesque show or a gothic-themed rave. They murder to the sounds of remixed-Fleetwood Mac and perform rituals to “The Sound of Music.” The group lures in outsiders via sexual summoning and sing and dance in ways that are reminiscent of a tribal cult. They are bad but, for whatever reason, no one can overcome them.

Though the Bacchic frenzy and exploration of movement can be distracting, it doesn’t take away from the messages the story offers. Obvious tones of gender fluidity and homoeroticism reveal themselves. The relationship of religion and sex – and how they overpower or seduce in similar ways – is out in the open for all to see. The riff between Dionysus and Pentheus demonstrates law and order, but also extremes of morals and the ambiguity of madness. The Euripides-meets-Lady-Gaga play suggests that too much madness and excess cause chaos, but not accepting it or maintaining moderation is just as bad. Basically, they’re trying to tell us that extremism of any kind never leads to any good – something that is just as relevant today as it was 2400 years ago.

The Bacchae is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who are uncomfortable being made to feel uncomfortable. But it is for those who enjoy distorted views of reality and answers to questions they don’t want to ask.

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

Standard