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.

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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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Canada, Climate change, Lectures, News, St. Thomas University

‘Canada needs to build a weather-ready nation,’ says expert

The wild storm on Wednesday night animated Blair Feltmate’s warning to an audience at St. Thomas University that Canada needs to build a weather-ready nation.

Feltmate, a professor at the University of Waterloo, spoke as part of the McKenna Centre for Communications and Public Policy Distinguished Speaker Series. He told the crowd of approximately 80 people that climate change is real and it would be nearly impossible to reverse its effects.

“We’ve removed an area of forest from the earth slightly larger than the United States of America,” Feltmate said. “That’s gone for good. Paved over.”

Specifically, Feltmate’s talk focused on floods because he called the “biggest monkey in the room” the fact that there is too much water.

He warned that Canadians will soon no longer be able to afford the effects of this, focusing on the property and home insurance sector.

“If any industry is on the forefront of addressing the challenges of climate change, it’s the insurance sector,” Feltmate said. “They’re not the canary in the coalmine – they’re the ostrich in the coalmine.”

Feltmate said the country needs to be thinking about adapting infrastructure on two scales if it continues to use fossil fuels.

“Maybe there’s not going to be water here now but there might be 25 or 50 years down the road,” he said. “Let’s adapt to the current challenges… but also we have to use models to forward project what the weather’s going to be like in the future and build that into our system.”

Feltmate proposed solutions to these natural disaster issues, including up-to-date flood plain maps, the concept of the Home Adaptation Assessment Program, and building codes and upgrades.

His lecture left the audience with the overall idea that not adapting to climate change is not an option. Feltmate stressed that it is time to forget the talk and act quickly.

“We need to build a weather-ready Canada right now,” Feltmate said. “Not 25 years from now, not 50 years from now, not 75 years from now. We have a formidable challenge on the table at this moment and we need to embrace adaptation currently.”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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Fredericton, News, Politics, St. Thomas University

Fredericton South MLA Coon upset by budget

Fredericton-South MLA David Coon told a class at St. Thomas University that he believes the government has missed the mark on the 2016 Provincial Budget.

“I think they’ve missed a pretty big opportunity to do things different here,” Coon said. “I think what they’re doing is pretty conventional… it just seems like we’re doing something because we’ve been paralyzed for so long and nothing’s been happening.”

Coon won the vote in the 2014 provincial election as the first Green Party seat to ever be elected into the legislature. Since then, he has struggled to go up against the larger parties of the province, who he contests have convinced the public that “as a province, we’re broke.”

“We weren’t broke then and we’re not broke now,” Coon said. “That’s the sort of narrative that, generally, people have accepted… so, some governments love that because people feel like there’s no choice and they can just carry out their program with limited opposition to it.”

Coon said unconventional ways of doing things in politics need to be considered for New Brunswick, as well as appropriate areas for surplus to be directed. These areas included mental health care, poverty, and income assistance.

He said also said that while he hopes things such as increasing the HST can be useful, looking at the province’s assets in an integrative and unconventional way is what will truly build N.B.’s economy.

“The government has been looking for jobs in all the wrong places,” Coon said. “The right places are here in New Brunswick – building on what we’ve got, building on what we have here, what we’re able to do here, building on the great ideas and ingenuity of people in New Brunswick.”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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