Mount Royal University Summit Winter 2023/2024

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meet the team


Summit is published in the fall and spring of each year. With a circulation of approximately 64,000, each issue features the exceptional alumni, students, faculty and supporters who make up the Mount Royal community. Summit tells the University’s ongoing story of the provision of an outstanding undergraduate education through personalized learning opportunities, a commitment to quality teaching, a focus on practical outcomes and a true dedication to communities. Celebrate yourself through Summit.

Spot it!

The Cougar Athletics bus has a brand-new look this season, and the teams have have started off with a roar. The Cougars men’s soccer team took home their firstever Canada West championship in November.

ISSN 1929-8757 Summit Publications Mail Agreement #40064310 Return undeliverables to: Mount Royal University 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW Calgary, AB, Canada T3E 6K6 Enjoy Summit online by visiting If you would like a print copy delivered to your home or office, simply email Mount Royal University is located in the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyâhe Nakoda. The city of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation. Sustainably yours.


Cheer on your Cougars at

Meet the team EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Rossmann EDITOR Michelle Bodnar





ART DIRECTOR Michal Waissmann


DESIGN Leslie Blondahl BCMM ’14

Astri Do Rego Iva Kezic Mike Poon Michal Waissmann Chao Zhang PHOTOGRAPHY Maximillian Krewiak Cary Schatz

CONTRIBUTORS Michelle Bodnar Brad Clark Matthew Fox Peter Glenn Erin Guiltenane Haley Jarmain Dave McLean Nadia Moharib Ado Nkemka BA ’21

Katherine Sharples BCMM ’21


Chao Zhang

ILLUSTRATIONS Astri Do Rego Mike Poon



in this issue 3 Message from the president | 4 Scratch Pad | 11 Snowball Effect | 18 Research Snapshots | 40 You Did What? | 44 The Last Word


Alumni in this issue Tomi Ajele Bachelor of Communication — Public Relations, 2017


Voluntary tip or a rip-off? Tap-to-pay is a convenient way to settle a bill, and also a convenient way to ask (or sometimes demand) a tip. Digitization is contributing to tip creep, where expected percentages just keep rising. Is it getting out of hand?

Tatum Amy Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Physical Literacy, 2023 Dr. Donald Noel Baker, PhD Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2023 Zafina Budhwani Bachelor of Science — Chemistry, 2023






Regenerations Alberta boasts the second-largest farmed area by province in Canada and the business of agriculture has changed a lot. Farmers are living beyond the moment, embracing sustainable practices to help build a resilient foundation for whomever (or whatever) comes next. Robots in the classroom The impact of artificial intelligence in the classroom, especially when tools such as ChatGPT are able to write entire essays, is sparking conversations about how it can help and how it can hinder. One post at a time Social media is where trends are born, where they die and where savvy influencers get famous for their ability to stay ahead of it all. An MRU alumna talks about how to stay authentic amid all the noise. The enduring appeal of print Broadcast media studies professor Brad Clark, PhD, writes about how, despite myriad predictions to the contrary, the print medium continues to be popular.


Hallie Lindstein Social Work Diploma, 2023 Desi Lindstrom (Shebobman) Social Work Diploma, 2019 Makenna Moore Bachelor of Communication — Public Relations, 2021

Chantelle Clairmont Bachelor of Education — Elementary, 2022

Tinashe Mukono Bachelor of Business Administration — International Business, 2022

Megan Davidson Bachelor of Arts — Criminal Justice (Honours), 2023 Gen. John de Chastelain Mount Royal College, 1956 Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2023

Tricia Fehr General Studies, 2003

2023 Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebrate this year’s crop of Outstanding Alumni Award winners. The 2023 recipients are systems thinkers, advocates, leaders, storytellers and compassionate caretakers who make a significant impact in their communities and beyond.

Noah Lewis Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Physical Literacy, 2018

Chloë Chapdelaine Bachelor of Communication — Journalism, 2021

Doug Dirks Sports Administration Diploma, 1983


Jasmine Krawchuk Bachelor of Communication — Journalism and Digital Media, 2023

Will Ferguson Honorary Bachelor of Arts — English, 2016 Cheryl Foggo Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2023 Donald Golden Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Athletic Therapy, 2023 Calla Ha Bachelor of Nursing, 2023 Rosalinda Hernandez Bachelor of Applied Communications — Technical Communication, 2008 Bruce Horak Theatre Arts Diploma, 1995 Erin Kernaleguen Business Administration Certificate — Human Resources, 2009 Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management, 2013 Jeremy Klaszus Bachelor of Applied Communication — Journalism, 2006 Steve Kootenay-Jobin General Studies Arts and Sciences Diploma, 2011 Bachelor of Arts — Sociology, 2015

Ado Nkemka Bachelor of Arts — Sociology, 2021 Leslie O’Donoghue Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2023 Jared Power Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management, 2023 Gabrielle Pyska Bachelor of Communication — Journalism and Digital Media, 2022 Jullien Ramirez Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management, 2022 Michael Rodyniuk Broadcasting Diploma, 1988 David Root General Studies Arts and Sciences Certificate, 2006 Funeral Director and Embalmer Certificate, 2007 Paul Shumlich Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management, 2017 Nancy Southern Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2023 Dit’oni Didlishi (Spotted Eagle) Bruce Starlight Honorary Doctor of Laws, 2023 Spirit River Striped Wolf Bachelor of Arts — Policy Studies, 2023 David Turner Social Work Diploma, 1995 Glen Yang Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management, 2019

message from the president and vice-chancellor

Do you read me?

Chances are, if you’re reading a print copy of this magazine, it is one of the last vessels of engaging content in your life that isn’t attached to a digital screen. You can comfortably hold this issue of Summit in your hands, fold it up, dog-ear the pages and take it anywhere without running out of charge. That’s the magic of print, it is so versatile and accessible that we pretty much take it for granted. If you haven’t heard though, AI is coming for us all. I kid, of course, but the future of everything we do is already shaped by seemingly endless technological innovation. In this issue, Dr. Brad Clark shares his take on why print magazines and books still thrive in a hyper-digitized world, writer Nadia Moharib examines the human element of both the future of farming and why machines are influencing how we tip, and Katherine Sharples definitely did not get ChatGPT to write her story’s introduction about AI in the classroom. (Well, ok, it only wrote her introduction!) The through-line of course, is that Mount Royal alumni, students, faculty and staff are always finding ways to best incorporate technology into their work and lives. From innovations in teaching and research, to refining the way we do business, I know the MRU community is right there at the front of each new technological wave. Here’s a tip though — you may want to hang on to this copy of Summit as it’s chock full of great human stories all connected to our fine University. Besides, you never know when the robots will come and tell us it’s time to put the old print edition out to pasture. Yours,

Tim Rahilly, PhD president and vice-chancellor Mount Royal University

p.s. If you have a story to tell, please share it with me at MRU.CA /SUMMIT


scratch pad R E A DY F O R T H E F U T U R E

Four-year data science degree first of its kind in Alberta Mount Royal’s newest degree will explore the pillars of data science: math, statistics, computer science and domain knowledge, and provide opportunities for concentrations, specialized courses and work-integrated learning. The Bachelor of Science — Data Science will prepare students for careers in a variety of fields experiencing high demand for graduates in this dynamic discipline. Data science practitioners support decisionmaking processes, solve complex problems, and improve efficiency in business, health care, finance and more. The field of data science is evolving rapidly as new tools, algorithms and techniques emerge, giving it vast potential for innovation and discovery. “Governments, organizations and businesses have access to larger quantities and more kinds of data than ever before. Employers have told us that graduates who can extract valuable insights from datasets are increasingly sought after,” said Dr. Jonathan Withey, DPhil, dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at MRU. MRU’s is the first four-year data science undergraduate program in Alberta. The degree includes a mandatory work term that students will engage with towards the end of their third year in the program.


Summit earns editorial awards This year, Summit has been honoured with a number of awards from both provincial and global



organizations dedicated to editorial excellence. The Summit team received the Gold award for Editorial Package at the Alberta Magazine Awards held by the Alberta Magazine Publishers’ Association for the “Stories of Ukraine” section in the fall/winter 2022 edition. Also nominated were two

stories from the spring/ summer 2022 edition: “Tech Transformation” for the Alberta Story category along with “What the Big Smoke Brought” in the Essay category. In June, the “Stories of Ukraine” section garnered a silver in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle

of Excellence Awards. The award judges “appreciated the different approach to covering the content, with the subject matter of interest and value to its stakeholders and the broader community.” The same section went on to receive further accolades by being named a winner in the CASE Best of District VIII Awards.

scratch pad


Study suggests oral rinse could help spot early risks

New research co-authored by Mount Royal University’s Dr. Trevor King, PhD, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health, Community and Education, suggests a simple oral rinse could play a role in identifying the earliest signs of heart disease. Gum inflammation leads to periodontitis, a common infection that is linked with cardiovascular disease. In their study, the team used an oral rinse to see if levels of white blood cells — an indicator of gum inflammation — in the saliva of healthy adults could be linked to warning signs for cardiovascular disease. The scientists found that high white blood cell counts in saliva had a significant relationship to poor flow-mediated dilation, suggesting an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. “Even in young healthy adults, low levels of oral inflammatory load may have an impact on cardiovascular health — one of the leading causes of death in North America,” King said. At the lab, 28 participants rinsed their mouths with water before rinsing their mouths with saline, which was then collected for analysis. Participants laid down for 10 minutes for an electrocardiogram, and stayed lying down for another 10 minutes so that the scientists could take their blood pressure, flow-mediated dilation and pulse-wave velocity. The scientists hypothesized that inflammation from the mouth, leaking into the vascular system, impacts the ability of arteries to produce the nitric oxide that allows them to respond to changes in blood flow. The research team is hoping to increase the study population and further explore the results, suggesting the test could be used during an annual checkup at the doctor or dentist’s office. The study has garnered worldwide attention, with stories ranging from science publications to the tabloid New York Post.






MRU sponsor for festival’s 10th anniversary


Team finds impacts of medical barriers limited and temporary While masks became a key component of the battle against COVID-19, they also became a political symbol and the subject of anecdotal reports of physiological effects. A study by MRU physiology professor Dr. Trevor Day, PhD, and his team have dispelled some of those concerns, finding that the length and magnitude of changes encountered by people wearing masks, the result of heat trapping and rebreathing expired air, were mild and immediately reversible on removal. For their study, the researchers sought to investigate the physiological responses to wearing two types of common medical barriers, surgical masks and N95 respirators, at rest over 60 minutes. Specifically, the researchers found that the face area under the mask gets hotter than normal, as expected, and the effects of exhaled CO2 (a little higher) and exhaled O2 (a little lower) are very mild, and similar between barrier types. Blood-oxygen saturation was also unchanged. The values after wearing the barriers for an hour were all within normal ranges. Day says they made every effort to take a fair-minded and objective approach to assessing the effects of wearing medical barriers.



This year, Mount Royal was an Ignitor-level sponsor of Beakerhead, a unique communitybuilding event that celebrates science, technology, engineering, art and math. Now in its tenth year, Beakerhead provides an opportunity for the community to interact with the diverse intersection of research, scholarship, and teaching and learning done by students and faculty at Mount Royal. Undergraduate students showed off their research in the Thunder Clash Classic, a theatre-style event that saw bright minds from Mount Royal and the University of Calgary compete in a five-minute timeframe.

MRU sent four undergrad students and UCalgary sent four graduate students. The participating students from MRU were: » Marusia Luciuk — Manipulating Vector Graphic in PDF Sewing Patterns. » Emma Ghiultu — Adapted Fishing Rod » Bianca Veltri — Science and Entrepreneurship: Hive » Birhan Gezahegn — Don’t let it get under your skin: wise advice or the analysis of toxic and essential elements in cosmetics Representing faculty members included Dr. Sarah Hewitt, PhD, and Dr. Trevor Day, PhD.

Zacharia Yepes, a passionate aviation student, expresses gratitude for the PrairiesCan funding.


PrairiesCan investment will double MRU’s pilot and flight training capacity A $3 million investment by PrairiesCan will boost the expansion of Mount Royal University’s pilot and aviation flight-training program — doubling enrolment to 80 students per year in the Aviation Diploma program and launching a new Bachelor of Aviation Management degree program in 2024. The federal investment will help equip a new hangar and learning facility at the university’s Springbank campus, including new virtual reality technology and flight simulators needed to train the next generation of pilots and aircrew. “The demand for pilots continues to grow and this announcement speaks to the strength of MRU’s aviation program, the vital role of education in advancing the aviation sector and its importance to the future economy of Alberta,” said MRU president and vice-chancellor Dr. Tim Rahilly, PhD. The aviation industry in Alberta and across Canada is growing, resulting in increased demand for pilots and skilled aviation professionals in the air transportation and aircrew industries. The federal government said it is investing in Alberta’s aviation sector to support the increasing need for pilots and a flight-ready workforce while creating good-paying jobs and diversifying Alberta’s economy. Over the next two years, this investment is expected to create more than 70 jobs, assist approximately 10 small- and medium-sized businesses, and train 140 students — including those currently underrepresented in the aviation industry such as women and Indigenous youth.

scratch pad

Chief James Marlowe and Stephen Price, PhD, dean of the Faculty of Health Community and Education.


MRU and Łutsel K’é Dene First Nation sign practicum agreement


Mount Royal continues Pride traditions, new financial award for 2SLGBTQIA+ students announced This year’s Pride celebrations were particularly special for Mount Royal. Faculty, staff and students showed up in large numbers at the Pride Parade on Sept. 3 and Calgary Pride founded a new award — the Destined Changemaker Award — for 2SLGBTQIA+ first-year Mount Royal students. The Destined Changemaker Award aims to promote equality and the development of a just and inclusive society through continual learning and is intended to assist members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community who wish to continue their education while reducing barriers and strengthening its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality. The award of up to $5,000 will go to two full-time 2SLGBTQIA+ students entering the first year of any degree program at Mount Royal, with a preference for those students from rural communities who may have additional obstacles. This endeavour will allow Calgary Pride to distribute partnership funding to students from vulnerable communities and are demonstrated leaders, volunteers and community advocates.

MRU and the Łutsel K’é Dene First Nation have signed a practicum agreement that will enable students from the Faculty of Health, Community and Education to gain valuable experience working with the Nation by helping to support their recreation needs. Łutsel K’é is a fly-in community on the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Chief James Marlowe, whose daughter Veronica graduated from MRU with a diploma in social work, approached MRU in early 2023 about hosting practicum students with the explicit purpose of having them involved in creating, designing and setting up recreation programs for the community. After a site visit over the summer, MRU and Łutsel K’é have come to a five-year agreement. Marlowe, along with Łutsel K’é councillors Mervin Abel and Charlie Catholique, were welcomed to campus for the agreement’s formal signing on Sept. 30, Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Espoom tah (Helper) Elder Roy Bear Chief greeted the delegation and offered a prayer before an official signing ceremony took place, where Marlowe and Dean Stephen Price, PhD, made the agreement official. MRU.CA /SUMMIT


scratch pad


Convocation ceremonies honour latest Mount Royal grads Mount Royal’s June 2023 convocation ceremonies were full of proud and meaningful moments as more than 2,200 graduates received their degrees and diplomas. The week of celebration began with Indigenous Honouring Ceremonies, which recognized the Indigenous graduates of degree, diploma, certificate and Indigenous University Bridging programs. 8


The perseverance and fortitude of the graduates led them to this accomplishment, said MRU’s President and Vice-Chancellor Tim Rahilly, PhD. “You have all reminded me that the pursuit of higher education is a very vulnerable process.” The pomp and ceremony of convocation was enhanced by students who found memorable ways to cross the stage (roller skates, babies and dancing — this year’s stage had it all), and, of course, the enthusiastic cheers of family and friends in the stands.

Honorary Doctor of Laws Recipients


Centennial Gold Medal This award is given to eligible MRU students based on a nomination system. The students must graduate from diploma and degree programs, have a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or higher and demonstrate leadership through involvement in campus and community activities. Gabrielle Pyska, Bachelor of Communication — Journalism and Digital Media (2022) Jasmine Krawchuk, Bachelor of Communication — Journalism and Digital Media Calla Ha — Bachelor of Nursing

As president of Mount Royal College from 1980 to 1989, Dr. Donald Noel Baker, PhD, led Mount Royal through a critical period in its history. His leadership is often credited as the catalyst that eventually led to Mount Royal’s transition from a college to a university in 2009. He remains connected to MRU through the Donald and Heather Baker Scholarship, which supports Bachelor of Arts students majoring in history.

General John de Chastelain is one of Canada’s most esteemed military professionals and statesmen for peace. He rose quickly through the ranks to become a highly respected leader, including accepting positions as Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff and ambassador to the United States. Gen. de Chastelain attended Mount Royal in the 1950s and to this day remains interested and involved, serving as honorary chair to the Military Memorial Bursaries program.

A Calgarian whose family roots connect to the Black pioneers who came to the province in the early 20th century, Cheryl Foggo is a prominent voice for Black and mixed-race Canadians. She is an award-winning author, playwright and filmmaker whose work over the last 30 years has focused on the lives of Western Canadians of African descent. She volunteers on multiple boards as an advocate for artists and is an active mentor and lecturer.

Leslie O’Donoghue is executive advisor to the CEO at Nutrien and serves on the board of directors for Pembina Pipeline Corporation. Well known for her dedication to community, particularly in advocating for women, O’Donoghue has been named to the WXN Hall of Fame and also appointed to Alberta King’s Counsel. She is an emeritus member of the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Megan Davidson, Bachelor of Arts — Criminal Justice (Honours) Zafina Budhwani, Bachelor of Science — Chemistry M E DA L W I N N E R S

Governor General’s Academic Medal Established in 1873, this medal for exceptional academic achievement in a Canadian educational institution is one of the most prestigious awards that can be earned by a student. Donald Golden, Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Athletic Therapy Hallie Lindstein — Social Work Diploma

Nancy Southern is chair and CEO of ATCO Ltd., which was started in 1947 by her father. As a globally recognized Canadian business leader, Southern is known for her business acumen and leadership abilities. She was named to Fortune’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women” outside the United States in 2016, and in 2022 was awarded the Business Leader Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Dit’oni Didlishi (Spotted Eagle) Bruce Starlight is an Elder of the Tsuut’ina Nation and one of the last fluent Tsuut’ina speakers. As a student of, and teacher, mentor and advisor to Mount Royal, Starlight has played a major role in the amiable relationship between Tsuut’ina Nation and MRU. A well-known advocate of cross-cultural awareness, in 2022 Starlight and his family gifted a tipi and tipi knowledge to MRU’s education major. MRU.CA /SUMMIT


scratch pad



Cougars take a bite out of UBC

Ani to pisi (spiderweb) is a Creation story that comes from Elder Roy Bear Chief ’s late older brother Clement. It speaks to the “interconnectedness” of society. On Sept. 28, dozens of students, staff and faculty joined to create a human spiderweb as part of MRU’s Journey to Indigenization, resulting in a powerful visual of this Creation story.

The Mount Royal University Cougars took home their very first Canada West championship banner in November after a thrilling defeat of the reigning champs, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. It was a great season overall, as Mount Royal finished the regular season in first place in the Canada West Prairie Division with an 11-2-1 record. Their win earned them a trip to nationals, however the team was not able to garner a medal.

Human spiderweb spreads interconnectedness



snowball effect

The power of philanthropy Words by Matthew Fox


ount Royal alumnus Doug Dirks (Sports Administration Diploma, 1983) has witnessed Mount Royal University’s growth from a number of different perspectives. “It was such a small school when I started that you got to know your fellow students and faculty really well,” says the retired CBC broadcaster. Now, his name — familiar to many Calgarians after working in the media spotlight for nearly three decades — will endure in Mount Royal’s journalism program well beyond his lifetime.

“... if everybody donates a small amount, it becomes a large amount; it’s the snowball effect.” With a $50,000 gift to Mount Royal, Dirks has established an endowed scholarship funding the Doug Dirks Journalism Award, supporting a third- or fourth-year student who demonstrates academic excellence and financial need.

Dirks’ approach to philanthropy is grounded in the knowledge that every contribution, no matter the size, is meaningful. “Back when I didn’t have any money and was raising a family, I’d wonder how much difference does a small donation make?” he says. “My answer now is that if everybody donates a small amount, it becomes a large amount; it’s the snowball effect.” Cougars Athletics experience triggered a career in broadcasting As a student, Dirks served as the public address announcer for the Cougars men’s basketball team and did the play-by-play for broadcasts on Shaw. After earning a subsequent degree from McGill, Dirks returned to Mount Royal to work for Cougars Athletics. “Had I not worked in the athletic department on the sports marketing side, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the bug that sent me forward into pursuing it as a career,” he says. By the 2000s Dirks was anchoring CBC Calgary’s supper hour news, broadcasting from four Olympics and

earning a CBC President’s Award for his coverage of the Calgary Flames’ 2004 Stanley Cup playoff run. He also chaired the advisory board as MRU’s journalism and digital media program developed into a four-year program. In recognition of his successes and community contributions, volunteering countless hours to such charities as the Calgary Food Bank and the Immigrants of Distinction Awards, Dirks received the MRU Alumni Association’s 2022 Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award. “It was a humbling experience, but I wasn’t going to turn it down,” Dirks jokes. “I’ve had a very good career by any measure, but it’s not like I’m going to have a building named after me ... unless I win the PowerBall.” Knowing not everyone can have a building named in recognition of their generosity, Dirks is reminded of his theory on the “snowball effect”: “People can give something that will leave a lasting impact — start small and you never know where it’s going to go.”



Words by Ado Nkemka Photos by Chao Zhang

CHANGING LIVES THROUGH SOCIAL WORK By holding up a mirror to reflect the strengths of his community, Desi Lindstrom (Shebobman) — a proud Anishnabe social worker — reveals worlds of possibilities. In his 20 years in the field, Lindstrom noticed many social workers struggling to adopt a strengths-based approach to Indigenous communities. Lindstrom’s own practice blends traditional and Western epistemologies. “That’s how I was able to see the struggle,” he says. “What we were being taught in social work wasn’t doing what it needed to do.” Lindstrom applied his Mount Royal education and experience during his Bachelor of Social Work practicum at the University of Calgary, developing new content for the curriculum. His work equips aspiring social workers with a deeper understanding of the Indigenous world view. “Changing the curriculum, to me, was an act of my passion,” he says.



Each year, the MRU Alumni Association celebrates and recognizes alumni who exemplify Mount Royal’s vision and values in their profession and community through the Outstanding Alumni Awards.

Desi Lindstrom (Shebobman), Social Work Diploma, 2019

Having been through foster care, his life experience fuels this passion. “I’m also doing what I’m doing because of my parents. Because when we were taken, they suffered — to the point where they had both passed on before I even got a chance to reunite with them. So, I do that for my parents, I do it for the children, I do it for the people.”

David Root, General Studies Arts and Sciences Certificate, 2006; Funeral Director and Embalmer Certificate, 2007

DAVID ROOT HELPS HIS COMMUNITY CONTEND WITH THE INEVITABLE David Root approaches his roles as general manager at Pierson’s Funeral Service, president and board member of Alberta Funeral Service Association, and as an instructor at Mount Royal University, with great authenticity. As a funeral director Root’s attentiveness soothes grieving families, especially those who are guarded. “The family will often say, ‘It was amazing and you did everything the way that I wanted it to be. There was no complication. There was no confrontation. You only did what I wanted, and you helped me understand,’ ” Root says.

In his teaching role at Mount Royal, he often speaks about living in a death-denying society. With this in mind, Root walks families through their options with care, whether that means a burial, cremation, carrying out a funeral service or not. “Seeing them go from that place of grief, and pain, and struggle, and at the other end, see them better — having gone through it — that’s what drives my passion,” he says. Root’s faith and family are equally the most important parts of his life. “What drives me is making sure that I am doing everything I can, in every aspect of my life, for others, and having a good time doing it.”




Tomi Ajele, Bachelor of Communication — Public Relations, 2017



A vibrant and passionate community leader, Tomi Ajele co-creates spaces that allow for the multiplicity of the human experience, helping others share their stories and demystifying complex systems of governance. “Those are all things that feel very, very empowering to me, because those are all things that I always felt like I had no place in,” she says. As partnerships and engagement manager at Apathy is Boring, Ajele galvanizes youth to actively participate in civic engagement and Canada’s democracy. She amplifies Black voices and stories through her bold and heartfelt writing, finding words for her experiences to help readers understand their own isolating events. A common thread in Ajele’s work is to establish and nurture community partnerships to bolster the presence and impact of the organizations she represents. She says, “I’ve realized that when I try to lead with my education, or when I try to lead with facts or information, I’m not particularly inspired by what’s coming out of my mouth. But when I … feel confident in the fact that my lived experience [is] a valid enough experience to bring to the table, that’s when I feel like I can say something.”

Steve Kootenay-Jobin, General Studies Arts and Sciences Diploma, 2011; Bachelor of Arts — Sociology, 2015


FINDING HOLISTIC, INDIGENOUS APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Steve Kootenay-Jobin has created transformative opportunities for hundreds of Indigenous postsecondary students, delivering critical programs that remove barriers and provide support in overcoming historic inequities. After leading Canada’s largest post-secondary Indigenous housing program at Mount Royal, Kootenay-Jobin now oversees Indigenous student support services at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). In both cases, helping Indigenous students succeed means understanding how best to support them in their roles as parents and breadwinners.

Reflecting on the low turnout for weekend events for families of Indigenous studentparents, Kootenay-Jobin realized that activities needed to meet existing needs. He redesigned outings as birthday celebrations for the children of student-parents, adding trips to Calaway Park, trampoline parks and laser tag and lessening some of the financial burden felt by student-parents. “All of a sudden, the event outing on Saturday is … ‘Hey, this is my best friend’s birthday, I need to be there!’ ” he says. Now, Kootenay-Jobin is set on nurturing culture, spirituality and community involvement at SAIT. He says, “I strongly believe that when Indigenous students are connected to their culture, take pride in their identity and have the support of spirituality, this is when we see them be successful within their academic studies. They’re no longer wondering, ‘Do I belong here?’ ”

Paul Shumlich, Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management, 2017

Founded in 2015 as the first commercial vertical farm in Western Canada, Paul Shumlich’s Deepwater Farms is cultivating the local economy and satiating a need in the Albertan food industry for local year-round produce. Shumlich is leading the way in what he calls “the future of agriculture, food production and distribution.” Deepwater Farms allows prairie chefs and grocery stores to expand their ingredient choices and product lines with the added confidence of a local, reliable supply chain. In the last halfdecade there have been no delivery interruptions, Shumlich says.

“When anything catastrophic happens, we are still here for them. When COVID hit and borders closed, when floods washed away highways and when growers south of the border had supply issues, they were able to get our product and we were the only ones on shelves,” Shumlich says. Shumlich credits Mount Royal’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the mentorship of its director Ray DePaul with his success. “Because of the community and peers I have at Mount Royal is why I’m where I’m at, and why Deepwater Farms exists. Full stop.”




Rosalinda Hernandez, Bachelor of Applied Communications — Technical Communication, 2008

As chief executive officer and co-founder of thriving game company Red Iron Labs, Rosalinda Hernandez aims to tell uncomfortable narratives from a rich, multi-dimensional perspective. Specializing in virtual reality and multiplayer experiences and simulations, Red Iron Labs’ hits include Muffin Fight, an arena-style, high-action game where players gather ingredients, bake muffins and throw them at each other. While Hernandez appreciates that Muffin Fight is viewed as family-friendly, her vision for Red Iron Labs is not about excluding violence or creating spaces for escapism. Rather, Hernandez sees herself as leading Red Iron Labs to create experiences through a critical cultural lens. When working with co-founder Lloyd Summers on their early game products, for instance, Hernandez would ask, “Who’s the hero? Why are they male? Why are they called Jonathan?” She doesn’t consider herself a gamer, a developer or an artist, in the traditional sense. “I’ve been told that I’m very passionate about inclusion. I don’t see it as passion. I see it as survival.” For Hernandez, fighting for inclusion comes from her lived experience of marginalization. “For me, it’s actual survival — I’m not included otherwise.”




As the associate director for Indigenous initiatives of FearIsNotLove, Turner leads outreach to Treaty 7 community organizations and non-profits delivering culturally-based domestic violence programs for Indigenous men working to create safety for their partners and families. “Culturally based programs offer people a way of life that we had before colonizers and settlers came. And that’s something that helps us regain a sense of who we are,” Turner says. Turner’s own experience attending the Plains Indians Cultural Survival School — a former Indigenous alternative high school in Calgary — showed him the powerful impact of reconnecting with traditional knowledge and practices. He credits Jerry Arshinoff, thenprincipal of the school who became a life-long friend until his passing in 2022, for helping him find his true self. Now, Turner creates those opportunities for others. “A number of men who we’ve been working with, they’re learning how to become fathers, brothers, uncles, as a result of reconnecting to their own cultural values.” In his 30 years as a social worker Turner has watched awareness around Indigenous issues increase. “Having teachers and mentors, from a mainstream background, that understood our traditional ways of life, has given me an unbelievable respect for the life I have today,” he says. “I don’t know everything, but together, we can work on creating a better pathway.”



research snapshots

MRU team looks to Indigenous storytelling for Arctic melting research Words by Peter Glenn


Felix Nwaishi, PhD assistant professor

Ranjan Datta, PhD assistant professor

Jeella Acedo, PhD assistant professor

Beth Richardson, PhD assistant professor


A warming Arctic could release ancient biochemical materials into the environment. Indigenous ways of knowing and storytelling will help a team of MRU scientists discover more about these materials and their implications for human health. Canadian Arctic communities are at the forefront of environmental change associated with a warming climate. Thawing permafrost, for example, is leading to the degradation and collapse of landscapes that support ecosystems and infrastructure. The MRU team was recently successful in securing $248,575 from the federal government’s New Frontiers Research Fund (NFRF) for a project on “Integrating the concept of traditional storytelling in exploring the nexus of Arctic environmental change, landscape transformation and evolution of novel antibiotics and resistance.” The NFRF’s Exploration funding stream supports high-risk, high-reward interdisciplinary research. It seeks to inspire projects that bring disciplines together beyond traditional disciplinary or common interdisciplinary approaches by teams with the capacity to explore something new that might fail, but that has the potential for significant impact if successful. Led by Dr. Felix Nwaishi, PhD, assistant professor in MRU’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Jeella Acedo, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, the researchers explain that permafrost thaw presents both human health risks and opportunities. While the release of ancient biochemical materials into the environment could introduce novel disease-causing organisms or antimicrobial compounds resistant to antibiotics, at the same time the thawing permafrost is a unique environment that could serve as a potential source of alternative compounds to traditional antibiotics. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is listed by the World Health Organization as one of the major threats to global public health. The team aims to help address this problem through AMR surveillance in the Arctic region and the possible discovery of novel antimicrobials. The genesis of the research came during the pandemic when Nwaishi read a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention article and watched a documentary on the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome outbreak on an Indigenous reserve within the “Four Corners” region shared by Arizona, New Mexico,

research snapshots

Colorado and Utah. “One of the takeaways from the article is the significance of Indigenous knowledge and traditional storytelling in providing insights required to finding solutions to current environmental and public health problems, especially in Indigenous communities threatened by climate-change impacts,” Nwaishi explains. In the spring of 2022, Nwaishi got to know more about Acedo’s work on antimicrobial resistance during a presentation to the MRU Board of Governors after both were invited by the dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Dr. Jonathan Withey, DPhil. Shortly after that, Nwaishi connected with Dr. Ranjan Datta, PhD, an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in humanities at MRU and an expert in Indigenous and western science integration. When the call for the NFRF Exploration stream was announced in the summer of 2022, Nwaishi says he saw an opportunity to

Another potential implication of this study is the discovery of new antibiotics that can be used as alternatives to traditional antibiotics, providing another avenue to address the AMR problem ... Jeella Acedo, PhD assistant professor of chemistry

develop an interdisciplinary project that could build on his experience and interest in Arctic environmental change through the lenses of Indigenous communities who live there by integrating traditional storytelling. The team, which also includes Dr. Beth Richardson, PhD, assistant professor in biology at MRU, and the University of Windsor’s Christopher Weisener, will take a decolonized approach by focusing on relationship-building. “An Indigenous elder who is part of the team will lead the relationship-building process, and once trust is established our team will visit the communities to listen and learn from traditional storytellers and knowledge-

keepers,” Nwaishi said. The team hopes to develop a conceptual model of Arctic environmental change; assess the potential for novel antibiotics and AMR genes across landscape units that evolve from permafrost degradation; identify ecosystem factors that interact with the evolution of AMR and the feedback on ecological processes; and evaluate the potential risk of AMR genes from novel permafrost environments to ecosystems functions, wildlife and human health. Youth and elders from the community will lead the environmental sampling of water and soil, while the research team provides a guide on how to probe these samples in-situ using portable analytical tools. The team will integrate traditional storytelling with western field and laboratorybased methods to generate empirical data, which can then be applied to robust bioinformatic analysis and epidemiological modelling. The results generated from the analyses will be interpreted and shared with the community in a format that is accessible by using conceptual maps and infographics. Further analyses will be conducted by the team to inform the potential implication of environmental change and landscape degradation on the food and water systems. The researchers say the project could fill a significant data gap in the ongoing Canadian surveillance programs on AMR, which lacks data from permafrost environments. Resulting data will be critical to mitigate the public health risks associated with permafrost degradation and to ensure

that new ecosystems emerging from permafrost degradation are not hotspots for the emergence of deadly diseases or AMR. At the same time, microorganisms inhabiting a shared environment compete with one another for resources by secreting metabolites as warfare agents. The resulting untapped microbial communities can serve as potential sources of novel antimicrobial compounds. “Another potential implication of this study is the discovery of new antibiotics that can be used as alternatives to traditional antibiotics, providing another avenue to address the AMR problem,” Acedo says. “The project also brings together several researchers from different departments and faculty here at MRU, which highlights the importance of collaboration.”

Read more about earth and environmental sciences, chemistry and biology at Mount Royal at



REGENERATiONS Words by Nadia Moharib Illustrations by Astri Do Rego



We don’t inherit the earth “ from our ancestors; we

borrow it from our children.



iving with the seasons long forced many farmers to focus on the here and now while sacrificing approaches to steward the land for the long-term. It’s kind of the nature of the beast. These days, some are living beyond the moment, embracing sustainable farming to help build a resilient foundation for whomever comes next. “I think the idea of sustainability is a recurring conversation,” says MRU alumna Makenna Moore, PR and content specialist with AdFarm, a full-service agricultural marketing and communications agency with clients in Canada and the U.S. And it’s not just talk. “There is ongoing evolution and investment in the industry to steward the land and establish operational longevity — both critical in sustaining our environment and providing food security for generations to come,” Moore says, who graduated with a Bachelor of Communication — Public Relations in 2021. Sustainable practices and generational success are, after all, interdependent. “Not only does applying those sustainable practices matter for the growing season today, but it matters for tomorrow,” she says. “Farmers want to pass on the family farm, and in order for that to be possible, it has to be sustainable.” Alberta reported $22.2 billion in farm operating revenues in 2020, accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s total farming revenues, according to Statistics Canada. From 2016 to 2021, Wildrose Country, second to Ontario, was one of just two provinces to report an increase in the number of farms. Alberta boasts the second-largest farmed area in the nation after Saskatchewan, and with 41,000 as of 2021, there are more total farms here.

While yield has long been the top pursuit, those focusing on regenerative practices are finding ways to combine healthy bottom lines with a respect for the land they rely on. Saskatchewan farmer and alumna Erin Kernaleguen believes viability and sustainability can co-exist. “When you’re actually stewarding the land … in the long run, it’s going to be a lot more sustainable,” she says. “We’re just happy we’re able to give back to the earth, be good stewards of our resources and also be profitable.”

WHO’S UP NEXT? With roughly two out of three Canadian farmers having no succession plan in place, that is a question many cannot answer. And it is concerning given some 40 per cent of farm operators will retire by 2033, according to a report by the Royal Bank of Canada. Meanwhile, the average farmer is getting older, rising to 56 years of age in 2021 from 50 in 2001. By 2033, 60 per cent of farm operators will be older than 65. Alberta is second only to Saskatchewan among provinces with the highest rate of farm succession planning. That said, the numbers aren’t impressive, with just 14 per cent of Alberta farms reporting to have a written plan in 2021. Picking up where the prior generation left off can be complicated and costly, especially given parents who want to pass down an operation often rely on the income for their retirement. And while those who farm tend to have it in their blood, others simply don’t want to carry on in the footsteps of the prior generation. That’s not the case with Tricia Fehr.



“My parents gave us the land to build a house, and slowly we’ve been trying to take over the farm,” Fehr says, who lives with her husband and their two children near Crossfield, AB. “I’m a fifthgeneration Canadian farmer on both sides of my family and our kids are the sixth. The land we are farming now, my greatgrandparents bought.” On Fehr’s farm, the lessons start early. From cat boss to collector of chicken eggs, the children work their way up to learning how to work safely with cattle. It’s too soon to say whether it will prepare either of her children to follow in the family tradition. They are, after all, just seven and 11. But Fehr, whose family runs cattle and grows grains and produce, knows if her children join that long line of farmers they come from, they will be ready. “We definitely want them to have the option,” she says. The woman who grew up driving a tractor eventually made her way back to the farm. But only after, as per her parents’ wishes, she went out and explored a life beyond it first. Fehr took her first year of science at Mount Royal and later earned a geology honours degree at the University of Alberta before starting a career as a potash geologist. And then she and her young family returned, never looking back. “My dad gave me my first cow. We started buying cows with any extra money we got and it just evolved,” Fehr says. “They wanted to start retiring and heading to Phoenix in the winter, so I started doing chores with my kids in tow and that helped pay for my feed for my cows. Now, I work pretty much full-time as my dad’s hired person to help with the grain farm. And we both have about 75 head of cattle that we run together as one herd and we do all the work together.”



GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FARMS, TOO As a female farmer, Fehr is in good company. Alberta farms with female operators represent 23.2 per cent of the national total, second only to Ontario. In 2021, women accounted for 32.4 per cent of Canadian farm operators, up by more than 30 per cent from the previous five-year period. It doesn’t sit well when Fehr’s children are asked about their tractor-driving father — an honest mistake they are quick to correct. “Our kids get defensive and say, ‘No, Mom is the one who drives the tractor,’” she says. “It’s quite funny.” Fehr worries about who will take on the task of running family farms and what happens if both kids decide not to go into farming. “It’s a tough industry to get into if [you’re] not born into it,” she says. “It’s important to keep that legacy alive.” It’s also crucial that more adopt an environmentally-friendly shift that sees many farmers understanding the soil needs to be protected and not worked so hard. “Our farming methods are so much better [today]. Even on a dry year, we can still get a crop out of this because we have looked after soil,” she says. “Everyone’s thinking more about soil health. So, we use zero till when we plant all our crops,” Fehr says. “Because it gives the soil a lot of armour and protection when it does rain, it’s able to maintain its moisture content. So that’s changed a lot, because the amount of rain is probably similar to what we had in the ‘30s where everyone couldn’t make a living because it was too dry and dusty. And it’s just as dusty, I swear, but things are able to grow because the methods have changed a lot.” Working with funds from ALUS, the couple are trying to do even more.

The charitable organization supports projects with expertise, resources and financial support for nature-based solutions to deliver ecosystem services to sustain agriculture and fight climate change and biodiversity loss for the benefit of future generations. “We’re going to try and plant some more pollinator species and put up some bat boxes and more bird houses. And just try to get a bit more diversity on the farm,” Fehr says. “Our generation is really starting to think about those things. And with programs like this where we’re actually paid to protect them, it makes it more feasible.”

A NEW APPROACH OF QUALITY OVER QUANTITY While some, like Fehr, are born into the business, Erin Kernaleguen was lured by love. Now, the two-time MRU graduate (earning both a Business Administration Certificate — Human Resources and a Bachelor of Business Administration — General Management) lives in Birch Hills, SK where she, her husband and his parents run a dairy farm. And so much more. The couple bring an entrepreneurial spirit to everything they do, which is all grounded in stewarding the land to reap rewards now and in the future. “We practice regenerative agriculture and are a leading farm in polyculture forages in the dairy industry,” Kernaleguen says. “We try to implement the six soil health principles and have gone away

from synthetics and monocropping, creating a higher nutrientdense food and building resiliency into our soils and animals.” Essential to it all is “giving back more to the soil than we take from it” to lay the groundwork for better results. She says the yield mindset can be misleading which is why they don’t let it be their key driver. “You could have higher yields, but it doesn’t mean you have higher nutrients in the food so then you have to consume more to get any value,” Kernaleguen says. “Or, you have higher yields, but you don’t have healthy soil, so the next year you have to put in more chemicals to make something happen. That’s why we practice regenerative agriculture that focuses on soil health.” “We have such a passion for trying to get a better food system going,” she adds. “We are grateful to be able to carry on the family farm.” MRU.CA /SUMMIT


DRIVEN BY COMMITMENT AND COMMUNITY Weathering everything from global market conditions to environmental issues and economic pressures, farming isn’t always easy. “I think what gives farmers the strength or commitment to withstand those pressures comes down to their passion for their land, for their family, to provide food and something they believe in,” says AdFarm’s Moore. “Farmers, from my perspective, are not just your competitor but also your neighbour. It’s about advancing the industry as a whole. It’s not enough for one farmer to do well.” Ultimately, it’s about leaving things better for the next generation. “It’s also about ensuring the land is in the condition that you will be able to pass it on and provide for your families and future families. Sustainability isn’t just about one season, it’s about all the seasons to come,” Moore says.




KNOW YOUR CONTEXT Our soil health practices are a reflection of us and our stewardship of the land. DO NOT DISTURB In nature there are no mechanical or chemical disturbances. COVER AND BUILD SURFACE ARMOUR To protect the soil’s skin. MIX IT UP With a diversity of plants, microbes, insects. Wildlife and livestock. Mother Nature did not grow monocultures so why should we? KEEP LIVING ROOTS IN THE SOIL As long as possible each year. Roots feed soil microorganisms which feed our plants. GROW HEALTHY ANIMALS AND SOIL TOGETHER Grazing has been an essential component of all soils at one time or another. Source —

DOWN TO EARTH Many of us might notice it when we brush it off our skin or sweep it away to make the place tidy, but few give the soil beneath our feet a second thought. Yet, soil is as essential as the air we breathe and the food we eat because it’s all connected. “Basically, we come from it and go back to it, if we really want to get metaphysical about it,” says MRU’s in-house soil expert, Associate Professor Mathew Swallow, PhD. “Where do you as an individual end and soil start? You will see there is no end and no start, it’s the same system.” “Soil is a system that captures carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” Swallow continues. “It collects and stores rainwater and gets carbon which we need to build our bodies and most importantly, it does that by collecting solar energy from the sun and transforms it into a form we can eat. We can’t eat the sun.” But Swallow, who works in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, says it all hinges on healthy soil. “We want to maximize that,” he says. “If you reduce that system down by poor soil health, you are reducing the ability of soil to do those functions.” When Europeans colonized the West they imposed the common practice of soil tillage, disrupting and breaking up and mixing soil to make planting beds. While it paves the way for single crops to do well, it pretty much upsets everything that makes soil, well, soil, he says. “That is not a natural process. The microbial life, insects, small invertebrates and fungi are all disturbed and impacted, typically, not for the better,” he says. “When we had the dustbowl in the 1930s, that was a direct result of excessive land breaking and poor land management techniques and a drought. “When you till soil, you open the doors of the vault … you are basically breaking a carbon bank open and the carbon and nutrients (it) has been storing up for thousands of years. It’s great for growing crops but the nutrients get lost and not replaced.”

Since grasslands were converted to agriculture, probably 50 per cent of the soil’s organic carbon was lost. But Swallow has seen nature’s ability to regenerate after humans have done damage, with healthy soil appearing on landscapes left barren by open-pit mining activities within Alberta’s oilsands and soils affected by urban development. However, it takes time. Typically, under natural systems a grasslands soil will regenerate by about the thickness of one piece of paper a year. “I believe we can speed that process up using regenerative practices,” he says.

Where do you as an individual end and soil start? You will see there is no end and no start, it’s the same system.

Composting helpers spur ROI Erin Kernaleguen and her third-generation farmer husband also have side hustles. Their Red Wigglers composting worm herd is so robust they sell to others and will begin trials to see how it improves soil and plant health on their own farm. “We joke it’s one of the most profitable ventures on our farm with the highest return on investment,” Kernaleguen says.

— M AT H E W S WA L LOW, P h D associate professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Swallow says that starts by adhering to the same Six Soil Health Principles Kernaleguen referenced (see sidebar at left), and essentially “trying to interact with the land in ways that are more similar to how nature does.” That includes everything from minimizing disruption to planting more than one crop at a time and allowing livestock to cycle through the land. “In my mind when you are eating a vegetable or even eating meat, that cow ate a plant on the land and you have a relationship with the soil where that food came from,” says Swallow. “It only makes sense that you want that soil in the best shape. We are not sustaining the land, it is sustaining us. The land really doesn’t care if we are here or not. If soil is healthy, you don’t have to worry about the yield. It just comes with it.”




VOLUNTARY TIP OR A RIP-OFF? Words by Michelle Bodnar and Nadia Moharib Illustrations by Mike Poon


ot long ago, a tip was a way to appreciate the server who delivered your meal, a nod to the bartender who mixed your martini or something extra for the cabbie. Now, an expectation of tipping extends beyond those scenarios, seeping into everything from fast-food outlets to automotive shops and the “sandwich artist” at Subway. According to the Angus Reid Institute, more than three in five Canadians feel they are being asked to tip more, and more often. And many don’t like it, with 83 per cent saying they face that hustle to rustle some extra pay in too many places. Dr. AnneMarie Dorland, PhD, says that human interaction (think eye contact and conversation), once so integral to tipping, is shifting, with it increasingly an impersonalized transaction.



While once a way to say, “Here’s something to show my appreciation for what you did for me,” it’s become more of an expectation, an entitlement and even a sneaky surcharge. “Tipping is not connected to a human anymore. We’re being asked to shift our cultural perceptions of pricing, essentially, when we have tip creep,” Dorland says, who is an assistant professor of marketing, branding and creative strategy in the Bissett School of Business. “I was at a restaurant yesterday and the tipping options I was presented with were 20, 25 or 30 per cent, which is bananas. I know that’s not a technical marketing term, but what? And I have no way of knowing this is being collected by the right person. It’s just going into a machine.” Dorland says it’s even more obnoxious when an online ask comes before the service is rendered, which is what happens when she orders her latte via an app.

Tipping is not connected to a human anymore. We’re being asked to shift our cultural perceptions of pricing, essentially, when we have tip creep. — AnneMarie Dorland, PhD assistant professor of marketing, branding and creative strategy

“I plan to pick it up at the mobile order counter and leave, and it says, ‘Would you like to leave a tip?’ And now I’m in this weird relationship where I’m never going to come in contact with a person and I’m being asked to give the company a tip,” she says. “I’m essentially online shopping.” It’s an example of how old-school thinking about tipping being a voluntary gesture doesn’t really work in the digitized world. “I’m tipping Starbucks, which is weird because Starbucks should already, for the price, be providing me with an excellent latte,” Dorland laments. “And yet now I’m being held hostage in thinking that perhaps, if I don’t hit that tip button . . . it just won’t be as good. It won’t be as full, it won’t be as hot, it won’t be as whatever. So, really, it’s a fee bump and we get mad about that, right?” Right. Two in five Canadians say the extra cost prevents them from dining out, and rather than viewing tipping as a bid for better service, they now see it as nothing but a cash grab. About two in three American adults also hold negative views, saying tipping culture is out of control. Back on this side of the border, nearly 80 per cent of Canadians believe it no longer serves as a shout-out for a job well done, with three quarters calling it a ploy by employers to underpay staff. That said, people not only continue to tip, they’re tipping more, according to the Angus Reid Institute’s study. While 23 per cent said they gave a tip less than 14 per cent the last time they went out for a meal, down from 44 per cent of people in 2016, the proportion who say they left a tip of 20 per cent or higher has more than doubled, to 21 per cent from eight per cent. But why do so many still pay up if it isn’t panning out?

“I think it has become more of a social obligation. We have stopped considering whether it’s optional,” Dorland says. She likens tips, in the more traditional sense, to bait. “We tip because we want good service. I’m rewarding something I expect and because we are humans, we respond well to treats,” she says. But because tipping is increasingly impersonal, it has switched from “an incentivization program for good service” to more of an obligation, making that bait and reward scenario somewhat moot. Like it or not, though, many appear to be on board. Dorland compares it to a slow boil. “The water keeps getting warmer and we just don’t notice. We’re going to complain and moan and the first time we are asked to pay 30 per cent, we’re shocked, but it just becomes a new way of doing business,” she says. “It’s normalized.” The major move in consumer habits into the online world translates into a more disconnected shopping experience where that clink of coins in a tip jar is replaced with an approving beep on a payment machine. “So, it kind of removed the humanity from it,” Dorland says. “I don’t know who I’m tipping. It’s just an algorithm collecting money . . . an additional fee for service without the accountability of improved service, without raising the wages of people doing the work and without raising the expectations of the consumer.” MRU.CA /SUMMIT


For the time being, it appears that society is willing and accepting the changes to the social norm of tipping ... However, it will be interesting if tipping will evolve to a form where society is no longer willing to accept it. — Jason Tang, PhD assistant professor of accounting

The silent endorsement Assistant professor of accounting, Dr. Jason Tang, PhD, says people seem to have strong opinions on tipping, but the fact that they pay, anyhow, endorses the way it is evolving. He, too, says it isn’t what it once was. “Some of the historical rationales for tipping no longer apply,” he says. Now, a number of other influences, including social pressure, promote the practice. Research shows people often tip because others do, he says. Digitization is also a driver. One in three people feel pressured to tip, but they do anyway, with nearly 65 per cent leaving at least 10 per cent more when they digitally tip versus paying cash. While a 20 per cent tip may be generous, Tang says it is commonly one of the lowest minimum options on point-of-sale terminals. That creates an anchoring effect, which means pre-prompting tipping amounts results in people doling out more. Tang, whose dissertation on tipping was published in the Journal of Foodservice Business Research, says the cultural practice originated in Europe. Introduced across the pond, it was initially viewed as un-American, instead seen as a mechanism to keep wages low and a bid to support the servant class. Of course, that’s all changed. It has since become a very American phenomenon, Tang says, and Canadians seem to be echoing U.S. tipping trends, which see higher amounts paid out at more places.



And, yes, it makes sense to help staff pay their bills. In the U.S. in 2019, servers in 17 states earned just over $2 an hour in wages, according to Tang’s research. Here in Alberta, up until 2015, the “server” or “liquor wage” meant pay for those in the service industry could be $1 less than minimum wage. Tang says the minimum server wage has an indirect effect on the tip rate, but everything from food and service quality to atmosphere are also factors. About 13 per cent of Canadians believe customer service has improved as tips have increased, but they appear to be mistaken. “Does [tipping] really ensure service quality? Not from the studies I’ve seen and ones I have conducted,” Tang says. That said, empirical studies find service quality does influence tip rate to varying degrees with ample evidence to show tipping is fairly fickle and far from fair. For instance, research published in the Journal of Economic Psychology found attractive servers earn roughly $1,261 more per year than unattractive ones. And Tang has reviewed literature suggesting the kind of lipstick a server wears can influence patrons to tip more — if it’s red. While many people complain about a sense of entitlement to tipping these days, the fact so many are so generous tells another story. “For the time being, it appears that society is willing and accepting the changes to the social norm of tipping,” Tang says. “However, it will be interesting if tipping will evolve to a form where society is no longer willing to accept it.”

I think the younger generation, the gen-Zers specifically, feel less of an obligation to tip. It’s almost like a push back (saying) being a customer means giving an organization money and that should be enough. — Eric Myers

human resources and finance nstructor

Your tap, your choice Many consumers are well aware there is often a practice we might call “prodding” when it comes to how much to tip. So-called dark design sees people presented with default options on a pay pad that can corner people into picking one — say 15 per cent or 20 per cent or other choices. Dr. Milena Radzikowska, PhD, MRU’s chair of the Department of Information Design, says this is part of a very long history of design working to influence behaviour. “Whether that’s to not cross the street where they’re not supposed to or to go vote or to purchase a particular product, it’s yet another technique to direct behaviour, in a particular way,” she says. That said, design can only go so far. With tipping, for instance, no matter how leading default options might seem, they will not always override the individual values of a consumer who has the final say on what they pay. “From the customer’s perspective, it might be considered to be manipulative, saying, ‘You are assuming I will do this,’ ” Radzikowska says. “Your belief system could be that you only tip for good service and when there’s no good service, you don’t tip, and when there’s no service, you don’t tip. So depending on your own values, you will have an opinion on what you consider to be fair.” Radzikowska can see how the suggestions can sometimes be manipulative but stresses the final choice comes down to the consumer. “I personally have struggled with that, where I’m like, ‘But you literally didn’t do anything other than your job. You literally just poured me some coffee but you’re asking me for 20 per cent. I don’t know what to do with this,’ ” she explains. “And depending on where I am on a particular day or moment, I land in a different spot a little bit, because I also recognize I don’t want to be doing that job. I am grateful that this person has made my coffee, poured it for me.

“Where I think I’ve landed is, if someone is a complete jerk, just not even incompetent … then I will probably not tip because I am not rewarding terrible behaviour. And then, after that, I try to err on the side of, ‘This person isn’t getting paid enough … and they did what I wanted them to do. Maybe they even smiled at me.’ “But again, it depends on your own values and where you sit and what you consider to be fair.” She says it’s encouraging, as a design professor, to see more conversations focus on the powerful role of design in “shifting, changing, reinforcing (and) co-creating” culture. And with that, there needs to be an awareness of how designers’ impact can go beyond the bottom line. “They’re using particular design strategies in order to have a particular behaviour take place. And independent of whatever is happening there, what I appreciate is that we cannot consider ourselves as immune from responsibility. That when we make things, we should be really thinking about, what are the consequences?” she says. “For a very long time in the 20th century, the idea was, the client has this objective or you’re trying to raise revenue by this much or you’re trying to push this product and the designers have the skills to be able to make that happen or to help make that happen. “You are a participant in the things you create which includes the negative consequences those things may have on people.”



TALES FROM A VETERAN SERVER Nadia Moharib, co-author of this story, spent more than a decade as a server and bartender.

The new wave? Eric Myers, an MRU human resources and finance instructor, says data shows financial obligations means some people tip less, or not at all. And that sense of duty to tip hits some harder than others. “I think the younger generation, the gen-Zers specifically, feel less of an obligation to tip. It’s almost like a push back [saying] being a customer means giving an organization money and that should be enough.” That’s why Calgary’s Prairie Dog Brewing has a “no tip expected” policy. The founders feel the front- and back-of-house employees all contribute to the customer experience but traditionally don’t share equally in tips, which is why the company pays higher wages and shares the tips that do come in. No expectation be damned, Prairie Dog customers dole out an average tip of 13 per cent, which adds about $6.50 to everyone’s hourly pay. Supervisor Beth Matsen says the policy improves the experience for guests. “Tipping has become more expected and common in every customer service industry whereas before it was more restaurants and bars. Since it has expanded to a lot more places people are kind of annoyed because we are expected to tip everywhere,” says Matsen, an MRU psychology student. “[Our policy] takes the pressure off them and puts it more into their hands where they can truly tip based on service.” However someone tips, (a Canadian travel companion) figures people have a say in what they pay. “Even though legally, tipping is optional, to not leave a tip is a faux pas when you’re getting table service in a restaurant in Canada,” they say. “Fifteen per cent is the norm, 20 per cent if they exceeded your expectations, 10 per cent if it was below par. No tip if it was despicable, rude service.” 30


It’s a tip from an elder when I tell young ones to get a serving job. Generous folks and regulars who always left a big tip and a tad tipsy offered an upgrade to minimum wage, helping me to pay my tuition and save up for the down payment on my first condo. Beyond the budgetary boost, tips allowed those who wined and dined at my tables to have their say on the service provided. We worked hard for our tips so it was nice when it paid off. And no tip was a commentary, too. We wait staff figured those who left nothing were cheap, rude or thought the boss should hike our pay rather than requiring customers to compensate for low wages. There was no mixed messaging when someone left a lone penny — obviously the equivalent of the middle-finger salute. Back then life was low-tech, however. Tips were hard, cold cash tucked under the salt shaker. Servers didn’t linger uncomfortably close while a customer was pressured to pick between options on a point-of-sale terminal. Tipping was a choice, not an obligation. Like most former servers, I tend to tip big. It’s not the server’s fault but sometimes they suffer because when the point-of-sale machine’s suggested prompts tick me off, I tend to tip less. Seems everyone wants a tip these days. And that’s fine but I’m of the old-school camp that says it ought to go to those who work for it. I’m more inclined to leave a generous one for someone who navigates winter roads to deliver my dinner than I am the server who walked from the kitchen to my table with a plate of pasta. Drive me to the airport and there’s a tip in it. Hand me salad rolls at the take-out? Not so much. Still, I believe tipping is an important bit of human interaction. And as someone who financially benefited from it, I want to pay it forward, but I want it to be of my own volition, not because it is a demand stemming from a sense of entitlement.

LESS PAIN, MORE GAIN Three signs you may need physiotherapy Pain is the body’s way of telling us to take it easy or stop. But how do you know when an ache from a new activity or sport or the twinge you have when you try to get out of bed in the morning needs more than Advil and time? “It is normal to experience some discomfort or pain when starting an activity or doing an activity that our body’s not used to,” says Greg Douglas, a physiotherapist at MRU’s Injury and Prevention Clinic. However, he cautions, time doesn’t heal all wounds. “Patients will come and they’ll say, ‘Oh, is it normal to have pain here?’ or ‘I have had this pain for months,’ ” Douglas says. “Well, it’s not normal to be in pain all the time.” Douglas recommends seeing a physiotherapist if you:

1. Experience constant pain Whether or not you recently suffered an injury, if you are experiencing pain that doesn’t go away for weeks or months, it could be classified as “chronic” and warrants a visit to a physiotherapist. 2. Can’t move the way you used to A person’s flexibility changes as you age. If you can’t walk the way you used to, touch your toes or extend your arms properly, you would benefit from consulting a physiotherapist. 3. Can reproduce your pain with a specific movement If you have ever said, “Every time I reach/bend/move this way, I get pain,” your injury has affected something very specific, and unless you want to avoid that particular movement for the rest of your life, get assessed! Waiting too long to see a physiotherapist, Douglas cautions, can have lasting impacts to your physical well-being. “The longer that you put up with pain and discomfort, the longer it will take to go away,” he says. “If you approach it the right way and gradually work with a physio to build up your tolerance, you can get back to doing those activities without pain.” Pain-free appointments are just a click away. Remember, you don’t need an appointment to visit MRU’s Injury and Prevention Clinic, and assessments and therapy sessions are often covered by your employer’s health benefits.

Take advantage of your alumni discount and book your next chiro, physio or massage appointment with one of our professional practitioners painlessly using our new online booking system. MRU.CA /SUMMIT


Hey ChatGPT!


IN THE CLASSROOM Exploring artificial intelligence in post-secondary education Words by Katherine Sharples and ChatGPT

Hello! How can I assist you today?

I’d like you to help me write an introductory paragraph for an article on artificial intelligence, with a focus on how it impacts post-secondary institutions.

Certainly! Here’s an introductory paragraph for an article on how artificial intelligence impacts post-secondary institutions: “In the rapidly evolving landscape of higher education, artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way post-secondary institutions operate, educate and support their students. With its transformative capabilities, AI is enabling colleges and universities to enhance administrative processes, streamline academic operations and provide personalized learning experiences. From intelligent chatbots assisting prospective students to predictive analytics guiding academic advisors, AI is reshaping the entire educational journey. In this article, we delve into the profound impact of artificial intelligence on post-secondary institutions, exploring its applications in admissions, teaching and learning, student support services and institutional management. Join us as we unravel the dynamic role of AI in shaping the future of higher education and empowering students, educators and administrators alike.”



Nice, thank you! Now can you provide me with personalized quotes from a Mount Royal University professor, librarian, copyright advisor and the associate vice-president of student affairs?

Certainly! Here are personalized quotes from a Mount Royal University professor, librarian, copyright advisor and the associate vice-president of student affairs: Professor John Anderson, computer science department: “Artificial intelligence is transforming the educational landscape at an unprecedented pace. With its ability to analyze vast amounts of data and adapt to individual learning needs, AI holds immense potential in empowering students to explore complex concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking.” Sarah Roberts, librarian: “As a librarian, I have witnessed the incredible impact of AI in revolutionizing information discovery and access for students. Intelligent recommendation systems and automated metadata tagging are enabling us to deliver more relevant resources, helping students navigate the vast sea of knowledge with greater ease and efficiency.” Mark Thompson, copyright advisor: “Artificial intelligence has raised intriguing copyright concerns in the educational domain. From automated content filtering to plagiarism detection, the interplay between AI and copyright law requires careful consideration to ensure the balance between intellectual property rights and educational innovation.” Emily Johnson, PhD, associate vice-president of Student Affairs: “AI-driven student support services are transforming the way we cater to students’ needs and promote their success. From personalized academic advising to AI-powered mental-health resources, we are harnessing the power of technology to provide holistic support and foster student well-being in their higher education journey.”

Please note that the above names and quotes are fictional and were created by ChatGPT. The real story by Katherine Sharples continues on the next page.


Accepting when new technologies become COMMON PRACTICE



oogle defines artificial intelligence (AI) as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decisionmaking and translation between languages.” Concern surrounding AI overpowering human intelligence continues to grow. From May 2 to Sept. 27, 2023, the Writers Guild of America — representing 11,500 screenwriters — went on strike over an ongoing labour dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. While writers picketed on the streets of Los Angeles and New York in July demanding an increase in pay, streaming giant Netflix listed an AI product manager role with a salary ceiling of $900,000. And that’s just one example. If AI has already infiltrated the seemingly untouchable Hollywood, that begs the question: how is AI impacting regular people? Despite its bad rap, AI can be used in a number of positive ways. Its most common use is to simplify and reduce time spent on tasks — including employing its speech-to-text capability to generate interview transcripts for this article. Like any new technology, figuring out how to figure it out is the name of the game, and experts at Mount Royal University have hit the ground running.



ince its release in November 2022, ChatGPT has dominated conversations of artificial intelligence, and nowhere have the discussions been more animated than in higher education. ChatGPT can write a cover letter, create an outline for a novel, create social media captions and, among other things, write entire academic essays. The presence of AIs in education is an ongoing exploration. Chris Rogerson, Mount Royal’s associate vice-president, student experience and success, oversees the student code of conduct and, specifically, the recently updated academic misconduct policy. “The great thing is, our policy is set up to be able to address something like AI and the use of AI for academic purposes,” Rogerson says.

What’s really interesting is that AI is so revolutionary, it is one of those disruptive technologies that is throwing everybody for a loop." — CHRIS ROGERSON, ASSOCIATE VICE-PRESIDENT, STUDENT EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS

Rogerson pulls from an overheard example comparing AI to Photoshop; how it can be used for good to make images clearer and to design innovative marketing campaigns, but how it can also be used negatively, altering images that start to impact beauty standards and body image. The question then becomes, “Is it the Photoshop tool that has caused this issue? Or is it the way that we use the technology?” Rogerson asks. At MRU, the allowance of generative AI in the classroom varies from instructor to instructor. “I love that there are some instructors who recognize that this is out there. And if people realize that this is a tool like spellcheck, when you’re working in the real world, will you ever not be able to utilize something that has spellcheck? Rather, how do you make sure they’re leveraging the technology in the best way possible?” Rogerson says. He emphasizes that each faculty member needs to learn how AI can support and add value to their subject matter.

Leveraging AI through an ACCESSIBILITY LENS

Maintaining and protecting INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY



ools like ChatGPT can assist in creating essay outlines by narrowing down ideas and lending an overall helping hand to busy, overwhelmed and neurodivergent students. For example, somebody with dyslexia can really have a hard time putting written words together, but they have the intellectual capacity and ability to verbally express thoughts and ideas. If they use speech-to-text software, generative AI can put their ideas into a proper grammatical sentence. Another example is somebody with ADHD who has a hard time whittling down their ideas into a cohesive thesis. If they can talk to an AI about their topic, the tool can put those ideas into a 3,000-word essay. “Some people would say, well, then, that’s not them demonstrating it the same way as everybody else has demonstrated it, because something is helping them. But then you have to ask: What are you trying to assess? And what are you trying to get the person to learn?” Rogerson says.

ften the easiest way to test learned knowledge is through written essays and exams. When a student produces a piece of work, their intellectual property will almost always be automatically copyrightable (see sidebar, p. 37). Copyright Advisor Taylor McPeak says students need to be mindful when using generative AI on projects, especially ones they might want to present to recruiters upon graduation. “It’s important to be aware of the copyrightability of AIgenerated works, and to be aware of your rights as a student and as a creator,” she says. “Especially if you want to use or commercialize your work, you’re going to want to ensure that there is more of your personal expression present than there is of the AI, or your work may not be copyrightable.” McPeak says she knows of publishers who demand their authors and creators be explicit about whether or not they used AI in their creative process. “The same level of transparency can apply between students and instructors,” she says.

It’s exciting but it's important we also think about how the technology can be used and ensure it’s used in a way that is ethical, equitable and inclusive." — TAYLOR MCPEAK, MRU COPYRIGHT ADVISOR



Why does


hen it comes to upholding academic integrity, finding and catching people who are using AI to cheat, and therefore not demonstrating their learning in a fair way, is top of mind. If a student asked ChatGPT to write their essay, faculty could use another AI to reveal what percentage of a piece of work was AI-generated. But there’s another tool that can take AI-generated work, reshape and change it in a way that will clear the test in that same AI detector. “So if we continue focusing on how to catch people using AI, the people will always be ahead of us,” Rogerson says. This is where a focus on inclusivity and accessibility of education comes into play. “Oftentimes, we think that people who cheat are lazy and unethical people. But if we look at actual reasons why, it’s usually personal circumstances,” Rogerson says. “Maybe they’re overwhelmed working other jobs and feel like the only way to get an assignment turned in is to cheat in the fastest way.” Rogerson reiterates the importance of shifting away from a focus on

stopping and catching cheating, to engaging students and faculty in a conversation about the ethical use of these tools and protecting the value of education. Where some students view cheating as a victimless crime, upholding the institution’s reputation through academic integrity falls on the shoulders of each student, faculty and staff member. “By working together to maintain a strong culture of academic integrity, our University will be known as a place where people value fairness and hold each other accountable, a place where people embrace the struggle necessary for deep learning and teaching, rather than taking shortcuts,” says Silvia Rossi, a writing and learning strategist with MRU’s Student Learning Services team.

For students who might be thinking of using AI to complete an assignment, Rossi suggests two key questions to ask themselves: 1.

For this particular task, will using AI help my learning or hinder it? (Will using AI help me to think more deeply, or less deeply?)


What are my instructor’s expectations with respect to using AI for this assignment?

Ultimately, academic integrity is about the relationships between the members of this community. In order to trust each other, we need to be honest, treat each other with respect and meet our responsibilities with courage.” — SILVIA ROSSI, STUDENT LEARNING SERVICES WRITING AND LEARNING STRATEGIST





rtificial intelligence is here to stay, so we need to figure out how to use it ethically for learning and teaching. AI can be used in ways that promote learning and critical thinking, but it can also be used to take shortcuts that circumvent learning and deep thinking. Tools like ChatGPT have the potential to increase productivity, but that benefit needs to be balanced with a host of ethical considerations, such as the environmental cost of this energyintensive technology and the human cost to workers who train AI to identify toxic language. Instructors could use ChatGPT to help students develop artificial intelligence literacy. Some are designing activities where students analyze ChatGPT output: students engage in a guided discovery of how ChatGPT can perpetuate biases and generate bland writing, inaccurate information and fake sources. This type of exercise could help students become more savvy users of this technology. Brooks DeCillia, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies, gave artificial intelligence a seat in his classroom this past winter semester, staying mindful of the pros and cons of the technology, especially in the journalism space. “AI has the potential to help and support journalists a lot, but it also has the potential to be a misinformation and disinformation super-spreader,” he says. DeCillia challenged students to demystify generative AIs like ChatGPT by asking such questions as, “What can AI do for you as a journalist to help you? How can it help you prepare for interviews?” From there, the class explored the ethics of using AI by answering: “Could you actually use this? What do you need to do to verify?” “There’s lots of good media literacy out there. People come to my classes already knowing that there’s problems with misinformation, inequality, sexism and racial biases baked into the media,” DeCillia says. “You can’t teach critical thinking, but you try to give people the tools that they need to verify information. The tools are constantly changing and evolving with new technologies, so it’s an ongoing battle.”


In Canada, copyrightability of a work is determined by three conditions: originality, expression and fixation.

ORIGINALITY: your work must be the result of your own creativity and you need to have used your skill and judgement to create the work. “The originality threshold is low and one of the reasons is that we’re not creating any kind of unconscious bias towards what is art or what is ‘creativity,’ ” says Taylor McPeak, MRU copyright advisor. EXPRESSION: you express an idea or facts in your particular way. “For example, a list of ingredients is not copyrightable because it is a list of ingredients. But, if you were to add descriptions to each of those ingredients and steps in your own process, now we’re in copyrightable territory. Now you’ve added expression,” McPeak explains. FIXATION: fixing something into a tangible medium: if you write it down, type it on your computer, record it or take a photo of it, that's fixation.

When all three conditions are met, the work you have created is automatically copyrighted.



micro trends

One post at a time Navigating the ever-changing landscape of trends

Words by Haley Jarmain






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not own a lululemon “Everywhere Belt Bag” (a.k.a. fanny pack). Navigating the balance of being trendy while remaining authentic is an everyday reality for Mount Royal alumna Chloë Chapdelaine (Bachelor of Communication — Journalism, 2021), who gained notoriety and thousands of followers when she redesigned Canada’s moose-crossing road sign to better represent the nation’s largest antlered beast.

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rends influence the clothes we wear, the products we use, the places we travel and what we post online. Historically, trends have been said to follow a “20-year rule,” meaning every two decades or so they return. A 2023 example is the return of “Y2K fashion” from the early 2000s. However, in a world more connected than ever via social media, trends today emerge and die at a much faster pace, and consumers struggle to keep up. While fashion trends are still prominent, microtrends ranging from memes to products have taken the internet by storm. Many of these are closely tied to their online virality. A lengthy list of audio clips (such as the “do you feel bonita” meme based on a Family Guy scene), songs (Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” was used in more than 5.4 million different TikTok videos), dances (check out the abundance of videos produced in response to singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” dance challenge) or products (hello, $45 Stanley water bottles) can trend at any one time, depending on your specific algorithm, but many become so ubiquitous it’s practically an offence to

Chapdelaine boasts over 193,000 followers on Instagram, some 397,000 on TikTok and has mastered the art of testing trends while maintaining her own individuality. “The trends that I follow are the ones that resonate with me,” she says. “I need to feel connected to that trend in some way, whether it’s something I can see applying to my own type of content, or just something that I think is fun and entertaining,” However, Chapdelaine admits there is pressure to partake in trends. “I often choose trends based on what I’m seeing a lot online. If I’m seeing one that is doing well for lots of other people, it might be something fun to jump in on and have my own personal take on it.” As social-media platforms evolve, trends have become more allencompassing. Take, for example, the #cleangirl trend or aesthetic. It’s not a single product, but about embracing a lifestyle focused on wellness, drinking green juice and a well-kept appearance. The trend is largely attributed to TikTok user @xolizahbeauty, whose 2021 video detailing the aesthetic has more than 12.6 million views. There’s no shortage of trends that have shifted more towards overall lifestyles. For example, #vanlife showcases people who convert vans and buses into living quarters and then travel around the world, documenting their adventures on their social media channels. “Initially when I was on social media, a lot of the trends I was seeing were just like a dance or something that was a one-time thing,” Chapdelaine says. “Now I’m seeing a lot of lifestyle trends like the ‘clean girl aesthetic’ where you’re doing all these things to stay active and healthy.” She also points out that “not all trends are healthy,” and while some can lead to improving people’s lifestyles, there are others that aren’t achievable by everyone. Chapdelaine encourages anyone to critically assess trends they want to take part in.

micro trends

‘clean girl aesthetic’

Haste makes waste Take, for example, the trend of doing “hauls”, when a creator shows off their online shopping cart, whether it be makeup, clothing, groceries or even toys for younger audiences. Typically the user explains what the product is, what it’s used for and why they bought it. The items they show are listed using affiliate links — meaning the influencer gets a portion of revenue from the sale.

Videos of #Sheinhauls featuring purchases from Shein, the fast-fashion website, are wildly popular. Creators order dozens of items and then try them on for a haul video. However, virtually all neglect to mention the amount of waste being generated. In 2022, the Shein app was downloaded 229 million times, beating both Amazon and Alibaba. According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, today’s consumers are buying 60 per cent more clothing items than 15 years ago and they are kept half as long as they used to be. Shein produces as many as 1,000 new items daily and its factories have been under fire for their treatment and compensation of workers. Shein

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is alleged to have stolen designs and many have called out the company for its environmental footprint; a Time investigation estimated that Shein factories produce 6.3-million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Societal integration of social media compels many users to feel some pressure to participate in trends. Some are harmless, or even for a good cause (such as the ALS ice bucket challenge) but many come at a cost. Rare Beauty’s liquid blush went viral on social media, amassing more than 500 million views on TikTok, leading to the product being sold out for months as it was a staple in every beauty influencer’s makeup routine.

Rare Beauty liquid blush and its cheaper “dupe”, Quo Beauty liquid blush

At a price tag of $30, it’s not inexpensive, especially considering its cheaper competitor, or “dupe”, of liquid blush from Quo is $14. At a time when the cost of living is high, $30 makeup products aren’t in everyone’s budget, but when every other video on your feed is pushing this product, the pressure grows. The “FOMO” (fear of missing out) has never been more tangible. Chapdelaine says that sometimes online trends are born from a user’s organic post, so staying true to herself is her number-one focus when it comes to creating content. “I think it’s important to realize that when you are following a trend, still stay true to you and do what you love and don’t just do things online because that’s what everyone else is doing.” A LS I c e B u c k e t

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celebrating accolades nominee for the prestigious Edwin Parr Teacher Award. Clairmont, who teaches at Sir John A. Macdonald School, was selected from 700 first-year CBE teachers. The award was created by the Alberta School Boards Association in 1964 to recognize outstanding teaching performances by beginning teachers. If Clairmont is selected as a zone winner of the award, she will be recognized along with five other zone winners from across Alberta in November.

You did what?

Recognizing the Mount Royal community Compiled by Erin Guiltenane

Cougars hockey captain recognized for on-ice leadership

Tatum Amy, Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Physical Literacy (2023), capped off an incredible season by leading the Cougars to MRU’s first-ever national title at the 2023 U SPORTS women’s hockey championships and earning several personal accolades. Amy, who is MRU’s all-time points scorer, led all of U SPORTS women’s hockey with 24 assists and Canada West scoring with 31 points on the season. For her leadership on the ice, Amy was 40


named U SPORTS’ Canada West Female Athlete of the Year, a Canada West First Team All-Star and Canada West Women’s Hockey Player of the Year. Amy also received the Canada West Sportsmanship and Ability Award.

Alumna nabs prestigious teaching award nomination

Chantelle Clairmont, Bachelor of Education (2022), is the Calgary Board of Education’s (CBE) 2023

Sweeping victory at provincial magazine awards

Jeremy Klaszus, Bachelor of Communication (2006), took home plenty of hardware at the 2023 Alberta Magazine Awards, held by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. The founder and editor-in-chief of The Sprawl was recognized as Editor of the Year and won gold for “Alberta Story”, silver for “Digital Presence” and was a finalist for “Editorial Package” in the Showcase categories. The Sprawl also earned the honour of Alberta Magazine of the Year.

New comedic mystery novel a hit with readers

Will Ferguson, Honorary Bachelor of Arts (2016), teamed up (remotely!) with fellow author and brother Ian during the pandemic to co-write their first novel together. I Only Read Murder was published by HarperCollins Canada and is earning strong reviews. Both are established and awardwinning writers, and the Ferguson brothers plan for the novel to be the first in a comedic mystery series.

Alum takes solo play and visual art show on the road

Playwright and actor Bruce Horak, Theatre Arts Diploma (1995), took his solo play, Assassinating Thomson, on a 24-stop tour earlier this year. In it, Horak tells the story of how he became a visually impaired artist, paints a portrait of the audience and solves a mystery. The paintings are then auctioned off, with proceeds going to Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.

celebrating accolades Short film delves into Indigenous heritage

Third-year anthropology and Indigenous studies student Faith Thompson turned a class project into a film taking a deeper look into her Métis heritage. At the encouragement of Dr. Travis Hay, PhD, she submitted her short film to several festivals. Dad was shown this summer at the Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival in Ottawa. The film explored fascinating family stories shared by Faith’s father, Jeremy Thompson.

Esquao Award. The awards, a program of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, have highlighted the achievements and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women throughout Alberta. Foggin’s interests are in community collaboration, mental health, anti-racism, anti-oppressive practices, mentorship and Indigenous knowledges.

Noah Lewis, Bachelor of Health and Physical Education — Physical Literacy (2018), has been named to the coaching staff of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors. The former captain of the Cougars men’s basketball team first began working for the organization after earning a Wayne and Theresa Embry Fellowship in 2021, and subsequently became a player development coach for the Raptors in April 2023.

Funeral service students appear in special CBC feature

Professor receives nation’s highest dance honour

Social work prof awarded for positive contributions

Social worker and assistant professor in the Department of Child Studies and Social Work Audra Foggin was recognized with a 2023

From player to big-league coach

Assistant Professor Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane has been inducted into the Canadian Dance Hall of Fame by Dance Collection Danse. Pheasant-Neganigwane is an Anishinaabe Jingle Dress dancer from Wiikwemikoong on Manitoulin Island, ON, who teaches in the departments of General Education and Humanities and has spent her life recovering, promoting and celebrating the dances of Indigenous Peoples.

Funeral Service Education students were featured in a piece by CBC’s David Mercer in June. The many challenges of the profession, along with the compassion and professionalism demonstrated by the programs’ students, were the highlights of this fascinating piece on careers in a little-talked-about field. To watch the segment, visit

Top business plan a good fit

Mount Royal alumnus Tinashe Mukono, Bachelor of Business Administration — International Business (2022), received a 2022 FITT Educational Award from the Forum for International Trade Training, the national agency that provides international accreditation for trade professionals in Canada. Tinashe won the International Business Plan Award for outstanding work in his studies and the highest mark for a completed business plan. MRU.CA /SUMMIT


paper trail

The Enduring Appeal of Print Words by Brad Clark, PhD, professor, School of Communication Studies


n the late 1980s I was working in one of my first jobs in news media, a very junior position at a daily newspaper. A quirky, slightly odd relative told me at a Christmas party that my career choice was ill-fated at best. “Within 10 years newspapers will completely disappear,” he predicted. “Where will people get their news?” I asked, skeptical and a little annoyed. “From that box,” he replied firmly, pointing at a television set, a source — in his view — not just for video content, but text as well. In the ensuing years, I couldn’t wait to see him at the next Christmas party to point out just how wrong he was. In retrospect, my smugness was misplaced. It wasn’t the TV that would eventually gut the newspaper business, but rather the computer, the internet and the smartphone. And while his 10-year timeline was ambitious, by the 2000s media organizations were already considering a vastly different, digital future. The family futurist wasn’t that far off. For years, pundits have been similarly writing obituaries for print media. Yet printed reading material is everywhere. Book stores are stacked with hard copies of published works, old and new. Magazine racks are filled with titles. And


he book lover loves to have a record of what they’ve read, and it’s about signalling to the rest of the world. It’s about decorating your home, it’s about collecting. ­— Meryl Halls managing director, Booksellers Association



while newspapers have been much diminished, despite efforts to digitize, print editions live on: you can still pick up the local daily at grocery store checkouts. The appeal of the printed word endures, and for good reasons. The market for books is the happiest of the print media stories. The arrival of e-books in one form or another has been predicted since the 1930s. While some promising products emerged in the 1970s, it wasn’t until Jeff Bezos instructed the creative minds at Amazon to develop an e-reader that the conventional book industry took notice. The arrival of the Kindle in 2007, and then the iPad in 2010, suddenly created a mass market for digital reading material. Amazon was soon selling more electronic titles than physical books. Over the years, sales of e-books continued to climb, and then tapered off. Data from Statista’s Advertising and Media Outlook show “e-book penetration still trails that of printed books by a wide margin across the globe.” Statista’s survey of readers in 10 countries finds between 10 and 26 per cent of consumers have purchased an e-book in the last year, while 30 to almost 60 per cent have picked up a printed book. Academic studies have shown that most readers prefer the sensory experiences associated with a printed work. They like the feel of the book in their hands, the smell of the printed page, the ability to fold down corners to mark their place. The book-reading experience also has not been as closely linked to social media the way, say, news is accessed through X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook or Instagram. Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association in the United Kingdom, told CNBC that people still like to collect physical copies of “gorgeously” produced books. “The book lover loves to have a record of what they’ve read, and it’s about signalling to the rest of the world. It’s about decorating your home, it’s about collecting.”

The magazine and newspaper story is more complicated. In many cases, consumers want and expect content to be delivered digitally, increasingly through their smartphones. Even the iconic National Geographic has been forced to lay off its staff writers. A Statistics Canada report from early in 2023 highlights challenges for “periodical publishing” and “declining operating revenue.” Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that a mere 11 per cent of Canadian magazines are digital-only publications. A study of British and American media consumers found that more than half prefer to receive their news from digital sources, suggesting the trend towards online newspapers is likely to continue unabated. However, the same analysis shows the opposite for consumption of magazines, where over half of respondents in the U.K. and U.S. favour print over digital. Last year, Conde Nast’s stable of well-known titles — GQ, Wired, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveller — increased their print subscriptions. The appeal of print magazines is often associated with traditional forms of consumption, but not exclusively. Surveys show print-readers see hard copies of their favourite magazines as a more leisurely way to access information and stories. As with

books, consumers cite the tactile experience of paper and page. And while the number of new titles debuting in recent years has dropped, a European analysis identifies another trend: an emphasis on premium quality, better content, design and materials. This development in some ways mimics the music industry, where vinyl releases of new music have proved remarkably popular. However, in the post-truth era, print enjoys another advantage over digital, namely credibility. Some readers suggest digital media are more prone to manipulation, and concern about the spread of fake news online means that print media are perceived by some as more trustworthy. In the 21st century, technological disruption is a given. Already a new type of paper has been developed that has the capability to connect to tablets, computers or smartphones, opening the doors to a new kind of media experience, “augmented reality.” Readers can access additional, digital content through their “a-book” by turning the page or swiping their finger in the right spot. It might be the perfect compromise for the consumer who loves the familiar feel and look of print, as well as the limitless flexibility of the digital world.

the last word

I want to hear from you If you’re one of the few who reads a magazine from front to back, thanks for reading this issue of Summit. If you’re someone who opens a magazine at the back and works their way forward, welcome, you’re going to love this issue. Our Summit editorial and design team works hard all year round — in addition to their other duties — to pull together the compelling and fascinating stories of Mount Royal alumni, students, faculty and staff, in a well-designed and thoughtful way. Ideally, a university magazine is much more than a marketing tool. In my view, Summit should be a platform for sharing with community, for sparking discussion and debate, and for profiling the extraordinary work accomplished every day at Mount Royal. Putting this magazine together twice a year involves a tremendous amount of effort and collaboration and I couldn’t be more proud of what comes to life on these pages. That said, like everything else, increasing costs continue to put pressure on what we are able to achieve, so it’s important to know what our audience is thinking. Do you have thoughts on the future of our print magazine? I want to hear from you. What stories inspire you? What do you want to see more of? How can we better share the difference MRU is making? Might an online edition suffice? Scan the QR code and let me know what you think. You could win one of five great prize packs. Over the next few months we will be embarking on some amazing activities that we believe will transform our University for the better. I hope you will join us on this journey and I hope that Summit will be one of the ways you’ll stay connected. All the best,

Paul Rossmann vice-president, University Advancement 44


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