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THE CANNON SkuleTM’s Newspaper since 1978

OCTOBER 2019, Volume XLI

Dye Station Politics

Opinion: Does Keeping Tradition Warrant New Divisions? PRERNA ANAND Cannon Editor As the first month of university comes to pass, the entire engineering community reminisces about the hype days of F!rosh week. This year, as many of you already know, F!rosh Week taught the engineering community to embrace change, while at the same time work towards keeping our traditions alive. It all started with a warning from Health Canada during this summer where they issued a health advisory towards the old dye, and recommended to not use it, as they were unable to determine range for safe level of exposure to not be

carcinogenic. Without a doubt ,this became a major cause of concern and the orientation committee started to research on potential alternatives. Finally, after a lot of deliberation they ended up coming with a solution made by mixing blue food colouring with a red dye used to detect leakages in drinking water pipes. This was the safest alternative for the high levels of exposure that F!rosh and F!rosh leaders would undoubtedly achieve. When everything seemed on track, the F!rosh community faced another setback just two THE DYE STATION SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERED FROM PREVIOUS YEARS CREDIT: DINA CASTELLETTO

Dye Station continued on page 7

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Making Sure Students Aren’t Lonely ANONYMOUS Cannon Writer Another student death on campus. The third in a span of two years. I am sure all of you have seen the posts and emails indicating the different mental health resources and counsellors that are available on campus if you need to talk to someone. However, it never feels like enough.

Somebody died. It makes me upset that we were too late. We were not able to help someone who was one of us. Someone who, just like each one of us, came to UofT with goals, dreams and aspirations. Someone who wanted to make something of themselves and hoped for a bright future. I cannot help feeling like in some way we have failed them.

Interview With Dean Yip page 6

In times like this, we usually begin to point fingers at the faculty: “UofT should acknowledge these incidences”, “The University should give more importance to mental health”, “It’s like they don’t even care”. In the last six months, UofT has made more of an effort to address mental health issues. They started a mental health task force and last week the

Scenes From F!rosh Week page 8

Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering even eliminated the ranking system that showed students where they placed in their classes, a change appreciated by many. I am not saying that this is enough. The faculty still has a long way to go, but they have made some initial steps. Only time will tell how effective these measures are and there is

no doubt that more will be needed. However, aside from the faculty, there are things that we as students can do to make a difference. Most of us are not licensed counsellors. We are not in a position to provide professional mental health. But, there are certain things Okay continued on page 3

The ECE Common Room page 16




Letter From The Editor Dear Engineering,


Rick Liu


Diana Li


Raman Mangla


Dina Castelletto


Nadya Abdullah


Alyson Allen Prerna Anand Ruknoon Dinder Najah Hassan Smriti Mehrota Shreya Mehta Jerry Sharp Linda Yu Andrew Zhao

I’d like to give you an apology. There were many newsworthy events that have happened since the 1st issue of The Cannon, ranging from the climate strike, the response to the death in Bahen, and the federal election. We’ve made an attempt to cover these issues in this paper, but I’m sorry that’s it not as immediate as you may like. While we started as a weekly paper in fall 1978, this quickly changed, and ever since the spring of 1979, we’ve been a monthly/bimonthly/semester based paper ever since. Over the years, we’ve changed our style to match this reduced frequency by focusing on magazine-style articles. In the age of social media, and real time news, we feel like our niche has remained as important as ever, as most of you, the way you hear about university news will not be through The Cannon, The Varsity, or even The Toike Oike. However, for events of great importance, we definitely should be reporting on a real time basis, and we’re going to improve that, either using our website, or our new instagram account, to push our writer’s response almost immediately after it happened. While we made a some effort in covering the death in Bahen and the climate strike, Ican’t help but think that we should have done more. So while you sit and read about an international student’s perspective on UofT, or Alyson’s insights with the Dean, I hope you can understand our reasoning for this. Writefully yours, Rick Liu





Maggie Paul Amanda Plotnik Alec Gilvesy


Jin Oh


Blue Sky Solar Racing Concrete Canoe UTHT ISET Katie Allison Ethan Dean Christopher Yip

The Cannon is the official (serious) newspaper of the University of Toronto Engineering Society. Established in 1978, it serves the undergraduate students of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. Submissions are welcome by email to Advertising and subscription information is available at the same email or from the Engineering Society at 416-978-2917.

DISCLAIMER The views expressed in this newspaper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Engineering Society unless so indicated. The editors reserve the right to modify submissions to comply with the newspaper’s and the Engineering Society’s policies.

CONTACT The Cannon 10 King’s College Road Sandford Fleming Building Room B740 Toronto, ON M5S 3G4



Consumerism On a Normal Day ANDREW ZHAO Cannon Editor In recent developments of the global economy, there is one driving factor that stands out: consumerism. This concept has not only established a death grip on markets worldwide but has also extended its roots into virtually every aspect of daily life. As engineers, consumerism has become a major player in the profession; whether this intrusion is an unwelcome one is something that is very controversial. One thing that is certain is that consumerism has brought about major changes in the engineering industry and will continue to do so for many years to come. Consumerism is the practice of selling everincreasing amounts of goods, often characterized more by a display of status than any real necessity or functionality to the buyer. There is no concrete origin for the rise of consumerism, but many point to the rapid growth of the middle class in the 18th century as a possible starting point. The idea of a system of mass production to promote the consumer markets came to life in the Industrial Revolution with people Okay continued from page 1 that we say and do everyday that could do more harm than good and we need to learn to be aware of them. For starters, I would like to point out that when somebody tells you that they are overwhelmed or stressed, one of the worst things you can reply with is “But, school just started!”. It makes the person feel like if they cannot manage this now, there is no way they will be able to survive the next few weeks. It makes them feel weak

such as Henry Ford. This later evolved into today’s culture of conspicuous consumption and emphasis on materialistic status. The engineering profession has become deeply affected by consumerism in recent years. One of the areas that we may encounter on a regular basis is cost cutting. This idea in of itself is not a fully detrimental one, but the methods that many corporations attempt to achieve it lead to a lackluster quality in products. This is often due to financial constraints on the engineering teams tasked with the manufacturing of these products. Some might say that the engineering profession has been misled by the dubious glories of consumerism. Instead of pursuing an optimal design, financial gain and consumer pressure often take precedence and become the defining factors in a project. On September 11, Apple revealed their newest addition to the iPhone family. With only select major upgrades, such as the triple camera setup, over the previous model, one might wonder if this was merely a lackluster effort to please those who expect a new

model released annually. This was but the latest in a series of product by Apple that have demonstrated a decline in the engineering prowess of the company. Where once Apple stood at the forefront of innovation, it’s now too concentrated on making profit to achieve any real breakthroughs anymore. In a similar fashion, the food industry has been excessively impacted by

the idea of consumerism. With recent developments in technology, genetic manipulations and chemically induced growth have become commonplace. Corporations neglect to consider the side effects of such methods in favour of the cheap and drastic increase in production, which is often followed by an increase in profit. As a result, the people who have to suffer the consequences

of these actions are the consumers themselves. Professional integrity is an important part of the engineering industry. However, the current state of affairs in the global market will often put pressure on us to prioritize profit over anything else. It will be up to ourselves to decide whether to heed our inner compass or follow the lures of consumerism.

and incapable, like maybe there’s something wrong with them. Maybe this is easy for everyone else and they are just not cut out for this. I do not know how many of you have been on the receiving end of this comment, but as someone who has, I can tell you right now, it does not help. It only adds on to the stress because now not only am I overwhelmed, but I also feel incompetent. Everybody’s situation is different. You cannot compare someone else’s situation to your own. Yes,

there’s only one problem set due this week, but Sam has to work at his part-time job every night and is in classes all day. She is afraid to ask for help because everyone else in her class thought the problem set was “so easy”. There are things we say that seem like no big deal, but the impact they can have on somebody who is in distress is something you cannot understand unless you have been on the other side. When somebody tells you that they are stressed out, the last thing you should do

is to try to explain to them why they have no reason to be. People are allowed to feel how they feel. They have their reasons for it; reasons that you may not understand. But that does not give you the right to invalidate their feelings. It makes them feel like there is nobody out there who understands what they are going through. It makes it harder for them to ask for help. I am in my fifth year at UofT. I have only made it this far because I had some amazing friends

beside me who were there to listen to me when I was overwhelmed, who held me when everything felt like it was falling apart and who listened, with no judgement, when I talked. All I am saying is that we as a community need to be there for each other. Be careful with your words, listen more and try to understand where the other person is coming from. Sometimes, it is okay to not be okay and to ask for help. Because, trust me, there are people out there who genuinely want to help.





A Rundown On The 2019 Federal Election

RUKNOON DINDER Cannon Editor I feel like I’m making a poor attempt at a joke by mentioning Russia at the very beginning of an article about another big Western election but allow me to

spilling over into their borders. Hypernationalistic movements are sweeping across India and they are once again locked in a fierce battle with Pakistan over every issue. Turkey is trying its best not to become the rest of Middle East and Brazil,

The world is heading towards an increasingly perilous scenario no matter which angle you look from: social, economical, militaristic, environmental, even cultural. So why should you care? Because Russia somehow stayed

With the next federal election at our doorstep, Canada is going through the same predicament as the USA.

explain myself. Canada’s neighbour down south is waging everything short of a full-scale war against everyone and our great nation is following something closely akin to appeasement (sounds familiar?). China is back to making concentration camps. The UK is trying to get the EU to pay them to leave while EU itself can’t stop people

surprisingly, might be the one that kills us all by burning down the Amazon. Hopefully this made you sad today. But talks like these happen almost once every few years. Every election comes with the rhetoric that humanity is on the brink of extinction and voting for the right person will somehow prevent Armageddon.

unaffected, and now Putin remains the sole player left in a global game taken over by madmen. To some, that should ring a few alarm bells. Now, you may ask why that is so significant. Well that’s because a similar situation occurred only 4 years ago. Destabilised regions in the world, financial crises and bipartisan divides


fracturing nations left North America without a strong national leader to sway the masses. Everyone made the most out of it. Russia [allegedly] fixed the US elections and even made headways into Canadian and Mexican politics. China took this opportunity to bolster their tech and dominate in their regional conflicts while Germany conquered Europe economically. Now I am not trying to say that the good guys are losing to the bad guys. There is no such distinction in world politics. Instead, the important thing to note is that strong leaders are necessary to hold a country together, more so for countries as large and divisive as ours. Just look back to the 90s and you will see that it is true in the cases of Russia, Turkey and many more. These countries started to stabilise at the start of this century when charismatic

leaders such as Putin and Erdogan arrived at the helm. With the next federal election at our doorstep, Canada is once again going through the same predicament as the USA. Our nation doesn’t have that anchor we can all rally behind. In the eyes of many, the Liberals have failed to offer any real good news for the past year or two and it has soured the minds of their voter base with the SNC Lavalin controversy. On the other hand, there is still widespread mistrust against the Conservatives since they nearly ran our economy to the ground 5-6 odd years ago. NDP and Green still don’t have a large enough majority to really challenge for government and they are doing everything in their power to come 4th in any case. So what can we do in this scenario? Election continued on page 5

OCTOBER 2019 Election continued from page 4 Much like the majority of the voters this year, our candidates party leaders are largely young and inexperienced in the governance of a country. Justin Trudeau, at 47, one of the youngest PMs in history, is still seven years older than his main opponents, Conservative Andrew Scheer and New Democrat Jagmeet Singh. Either challenger would be the second-youngest Canadian prime minister ever, barely older than Joe Clark was in 1979. Of course, age is no guarantee of wisdom, but neither of Trudeau’s opponents bears distinguished records of achievement. They may yet become great public figures. But that will have to come later, if it ever does. Ideologically we have hit a dead end with them as you cannot vote them on their legacy or principles. Promises are all we can rely on. But

which promises exactly? This election will be the election for our environment and it shows. 2 out of the top 5 trending topics are about the environment and most parties are basing their platforms around that. Apart from that, conversation is revolving around our economy as always and, with the recent headlines on mass shooting, gun safety.

another Liberal tax grab. Instead, they are going to offer tax credit towards the reduction in carbon footprint. The methods in reducing the impact on the environment has also varied. The conservatives have not offered a timeline for their projects, the NDP has set some extremely unpopular and relatively unachievable targets. Liberal support for pipelines and oil projects has left many questioning Climate Change: If where their allegiances we can discount the truly lie. Amidst this, People’s Party’s belief the Green Party seems to that climate change is have realistic goals which not a human caused do not hamper economic predicament, all parties progression while aiming agree on taking steps to towards total carbon mitigate the damage to neutrality by 2050. our environment. The most divisive issue seems Winner: Green Party to be the Carbon tax. While most left leaning Gun Regulation: parties argue that it is a Trudeau’s party seems good method to reduce to have the most emissions according comprehensive plan for to the Paris Accords, increasing gun regulation. Conservatives seem However, those who to believe it is simply believe gun ownership is

not related to shootings will find the Conservative plan more appealing. The other parties have not offered plans that cover all bases or flatly refused to admit the reality of mass shootings. It boils down to individual preference but for the time being, the liberals seem more ready to tackle the issue with their well-fleshed out plan of action.


but one recession with the deficits could ruin the economy built over the years. The other parties have released no tangible plan to balance the budget so this remains a two horse race. Winner: Conservative

Before I wrap this up, I must add a disclaimer. Everything I said is solely how I view things based Winner: Liberal on the information I have gathered. I don’t Taxation: The expect everyone to agree Conservatives are going with my views. This is against the flow to merely to help you make lower tax rates for all. an informed decision. How Scheer’s party will If you would like to recoup the deficit from discuss your views, I am this remains to be seen. always happy to talk and However, the Liberals learn. However, partisan have failed on their attacks on my beliefs promises to balance the are something I don’t budget and as long as tolerate. Failure to reach they keep increasing a common ground is why their spending on social there is presently so much reforms, increased taxes divisiveness between us will not reduce deficits. and we must attempt to With a growing economy remove this plague. it may not be a problem

Changes In Our Student Body SMRITI MEHROTRA Cannon Editor A “generation gap” is a term used to describe the difference in characteristics of one generation of people from another generation. A generation is estimated to be a time period of about 30 years. However, after meeting and interacting with this year’s frosh, I’m forced to believe that a generation gap can now occur within the span of three years. The frosh of 2T3 are essentially everything I planned to become by the time I reached fourth year in university. This opinion is based off meeting about 15 first year students, and may seem extreme, but the fact that every one of those 15 students were similar in their confident and mature attitudes speaks volumes

about the rest of their class. I remember how unsure and visibly overwhelmed I was as a first year student at UofT. I was a nervous wreck for most of first semester, and to cut myself some slack, I assumed that this was a normal reaction, especially given I was an international student in a totally alien environment. This opinion was echoed by a majority of my classmates and friends. From what I’ve seen, that excuse would not be accepted by the 2T3’s. These are students who have assimilated all the information about where they are, how things work, and what the bigger picture of university education is to them. They might not have planned the next ten years of their lives, but they understand what’s expected of them, and have

no inhibitions towards achieving these goals. The 2T3’s (and other classes) might scoff after reading this, but the fact is that students are improving with every passing year. I’m not talking about academic performance, but rather the work ethic and habits of the students. Any class of students can achieve a high average, but what has changed now is the degree of effort required. From a young age, the incoming frosh have been exposed to a demanding and competitive environment, given the rate of advancement of technology and related industries. The rapidly developing tech fields have increased exposure to millennials in unimaginable ways. As people witnessed such improvements and feats in creating a smarter

society, they gradually raised the bar on expectations. Our incoming frosh are a product of this smarter society, and uphold the same level of expectations from themselves as well as other members of society. Given this general escalation in work expectations, you can be assured of standard of overachieving students UofT has admitted over the past few years. The major difference between the 2T3’s and their seniors is in their approach to work. These students tend to seek nothing less than perfection in their work, but their focus is process optimization. Anyone can achieve the required quality of work, given sufficient time. The younger generations strive to accomplish tasks through smart work, not hard work.

Since the frosh have such high expectations from their work, it’s natural for them to be significantly more ambitious than we were in our first year at university. They are familiar with the accelerated pace of work at university, and rarely require time to adjust to a new environment. The most admirable trait of the frosh is their level of self awareness. This makes their transition into new phases of life smooth and not nearly as daunting as it would’ve been for us seniors. Here’s a message for the frosh: this article may seem like a long pep talk you’ve all heard before, but your inculcated work skills are your most valuable assets, and if you use them to your maximum potential, there’s almost nothing you can’t achieve.



A Talk With Dean Christopher Yip ALYSON ALLEN Cannon Editor In July of this year, Christopher Yip was appointed the new dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. As a Chemical Engineering 8T8 alumni, Dean Yip started his career by pursuing a PhD at the University of Minnesota and then later focused his work in the area of medical imaging. He then became the director of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) here at UofT, where he spearheaded the addition of new minors and collaborations. In mid-September, the Cannon Newspaper had the opportunity to sit down with Dean Yip to learn

more about him and his goals as a Dean. What inspired you to become the Dean? The opportunity to give back to engineering. It’s a packaged answer. To see what engineering was doing from the university lens showed me the impact of engineering, I want to see how to improve the student experience. It’s about the students, staff, and faculty. Moving the bar further up – I mean it’s already high. There’s always things we can improve on. How can I help individuals achieve what they want to get out of the opportunities we have, remove these barriers. What are your goals for this position in the upcoming

year? I want to get coffee with all the students. We are rolling out initiatives around full-time summer opportunities, especially for international students. We want to build where we know where we send students and bring some here for a centralized summer program. That’s one thing I’m trying to put in place for next summer. A lot of efforts are going to be focused on improving the student experience. For example, mental health and wellness focused initiatives are ones that we continue to drive. How do we get better accessibility? How do we get rid of student rankings? How do we make the transition in the fall term smoother? I want the students to

connect the dots and to meet people. It’s not all about getting problem sets done. It’s also about the experiences. What is something that makes U of T Engineering special and unique?

that we have rolled out various different minors and certificates, allowing students to uniquely tailor their education. I see engineering as being agile with student interests. We partner with different faculties to collaborate on different minors and certificates for our students. Name another accredited discipline that accommodates so many interests.

What I think is unique in U of T Engineering is that our community is very diverse. We have more female students [compared to any other canadian engineering schools], we’re What are some tips that you bringing more faculty in. would like undergraduate What’s impressive is our students in engineering to know as they pursue their international diversity – we have students from degree? 59 different countries. My [faculty] need to Another thing that’s unique in our program , is that realize is that you are all we have not changed our unique, with [your] own core disciplines. However, Dean continued what we have done is on page 7


OCTOBER 2019 Dean continued from page 6 goals. You don’t [need to] compare yourself to how the rest of the class is doing or performing. You went through 12 years of high school. This is your opportunity to really understand what it is that drives you to [do] engineering. Figure out what you are keen on doing, where your strengths and weaknesses are and use that to build your own unique portfolio. Look into how the school and faculty can help you get there. We aren’t mandating what that is. We want you to figure it out. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Dye Station continued from page 1 days before the F!rosh week. The Engineering Faculty deemed it unsafe to have students to have high levels of exposure to this modified dye and laid down additional conditions. The Faculty permitted dying of only one hand, an arm band or hair. The F!rosh committee decided to abide by this as confronting the faculty would create more problems in future F!rosh events, and risk losing control of F!rosh activities to the faculty, as opposed to the current student-run structure. This notice had caused a steer as many felt the community was abandoning time honoured traditions. The purple dye originally started as a way to honour naval engineers, who’s arms would be dyed through the constant presence of a purple armband signifying that they are an engineer. Engineering communities has adapted this tradition as an initiation for new students and to honour the legacies of previous engineers. It was inevitable

Many people know that I’m a runner I take out the time to go for a run to get rid of mental fatigue. To me, it’s decompression time. Typically people I run with are not from the university and so I get to have different conversations. I’ve got two kids, they’re immediately things that balance it out. It’s very easy to detach from work. That kind of stuff is super important. It’s important that people take that time to do self care, wellness, go for a walk and decompress. Do whatever it takes. The supports are there. All those resources are there. Take full advantage [of them]. Students can reach out to the Dean. If great stuff or cool stuff happened, I would like to know. for the community to become upset at the change in tradition. Unfortunately, things got more serious than a few upset leedurs getting upset. On the first day of F!rosh week all the leedurs and F!rosh got an email from a few members from the committee who had resigned from their positions and wanted to act against the faculty’s decision. According to the email, they felt “The Faculty has been overbearing, unreasonable, and blatantly tyrannical in their words and actions.” As retaliation they organized their own dye station using the old dye. This became a major complication for the committee and created chaos as they had to warn all the leedurs and F!rosh about this event being held outside skule, how this is against the faculty’s decision and that they won’t be allowed to participate in F!rosh if they decide to dye. Even after multiple warnings, a few students went to the secret dye station, and were not allowed to participate in future F!rosh activities. The rival dye station,

You have mentioned that people’s success drives you. How would you define success? Success is an individual decision; you define success. I like hearing how we (faculty, me, city) have enabled you to be successful. I see myself as an enabler. I identify resources, help with mechanisms to see how people can get their success. Making “you” address what you’re interested in doing, your life goals, career goals, whatever. That’s how I define a successful day – helping people. I’m happiest when I help people succeed.

I have always been very flexible with what I do. I never really had a focused effort on doing “this”. And so, I’ve always rolled with the opportunities as they appear. I just go after them. Another is understanding of engineering and how to apply it to the real world. I got opportunities and advice from mentors in industry. For me, success is taking advantage. I never thought I’d be a dean or associate vice president of the university or director of biomedical engineering. Stuff just happens and you try it out. Every experience you have, you learn from and it’s what you take away from that.

What were your goals in undergrad, and how have they changed since then?

If you could be a flavour of timbit, what would it be? Why?

while intended to honour traditions, may have undermined the whole point of dyeing. Dyeing was something universal that all engineers, either as a naval engineer in the 1800s or as a new F!rosh in todays time, had to do, and created a sense of community and belonging. Having an alternative dye station created a rift in the community, as it divided those who believed in the spirit of community and collaboration against those who honoured traditions. Many things transpired in those two days, and

many felt let down because of it, but we should not forget that we still managed to pull off the biggest F!rosh week till date. The one thing that went unnoticed that there were more F!rosh interested in dyeing small portions as they didn’t feel the pressure of full body dye, stripping down to their underwear in front of 40 strangers, which seems like a win-win situation, and serves to strengthen the community by making this tradition more inclusive to those who have personal or religious reasons against the full body dye. We had


For me, I’d create a new timbit that has a jam core and is covered with sprinkles on the outside. An inside that has deep depth with an exterior that builds on that core. The multicolour sprinkles is because I’m interested in many things. I started as a chemical engineer, went into nanotech, then moved into bio physics, and all these other things. Lots of things built on a strong core. A diversity of interests. The Cannon wishes Dean Yip the best of luck for his term and looks forward to the positive changes him and his team will continue to make to our school.

successful armory and charity events, an extremely loud downtown tour and most importantly we created amazing memories. The most valuable lesson we all learnt this year is that there always exists a compromise, and our role as engineers is to find a compromise amongst all the other stakeholders present in the room. Much like real engineering work, we could have rebelled against everything but by finding an alternative we were still able to give 2T3’s one of their best memories they have so far.




Memories From F!rosh Week

DINA CASTELLETTO Cannon Photography Editor





Design Team Reflection: Goals We asked 4 design teams on how they embraced their goals and objectives for the upcoming year Here is what they told us.

Blue Sky Solar Racing

This summer our team has been busy building and testing out our 10th generation solar car, Viridian. Our team is currently in Australia for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. This race is a 3000 km race across the Australian Outback. After we return, the team will be looking to further develop it’s next generation sustainable vehicle!

Concrete Canoe Shortly after coming back from the 2019 CNCCC competition, the Concrete Canoe Team is back on track working towards the 2T0 canoe. From mould preparation, to concrete testing, to casting and sanding, all the way to race day, our “One Canoe” goal drives us to always design, build, and race the canoe to its best performance and overall sustainability. In Canoe, we also value every member’s personal goal. Be it learning to design a hull model, contributing

to the aesthetic displays, improving physical fitness to paddle like a pro, or hanging out with friends to de-stress from school work, we move forward as a team, assisting members’ personal growth and making sure everyone is happy. Oh, by the way, we just moved into our new workspace in Myhal this summer. Join us in building our new home!


University of Toronto Hyperloop Team (UTHT) The University of Toronto Hyperloop Team (UTHT) is a new design team working towards competing in Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Competition. Since its inception, UTHT expanded to over 100 members and completed this year’s pod preliminary design. UTHT will engineer a pod that will accelerate to 250km/h on the 1km test-track at the SpaceX headquarters in California. The following sub-teams welcome undergraduate and graduate students: Core (building this year’s pod), R&D (working on advanced levitation and propulsion for next year’s pod), TestTrack (building a 100m

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test-track with UWaterloo and UWindsor) and Business (marketing, sponsorship and finance). We are recruiting students experienced in SolidWorks, ANSYS, electric vehicle design, power systems, carbon fibre, electromagnetic simulation, aerodynamic analysis, controls, communication, manufacturing, videography, photography and more. If you are interested, please send an email to hyperloop@ and attend our kick-off meetings on Sept. 20th and 27th in BA1130 from 5-6pm.

ISET - Interplanetary Space Exploration Team Over the past year, ISET was able to successfully complete its design for a partially deflatable airlock capable of resisting Martian radiation, protecting astronauts from dust storms and allowing them to change into and out of their space suits. The ISET design placed 2nd place at UBC’s Project Airlock Challenge. This year, the ISET team aims to continue on it’s Mars-centric trajectory by pursuing four more projects aimed at supporting potential colonies on the planet. These include designing electricity generation systems, Martian suits, transportation systems and more generally develop the layout of a complete settlement on Mars. Carrying forward our knowledge about the geography, geology and atmosphere of Mars, we hope to devise innovative solutions to the unique problems humans are set to face on Mars if plans to colonize the planet come to fruition.



Far From Home SHREYA MEHTA Cannon Editor When I arrived in Canada two years ago, with brimming suitcases in hand and an entourage of family members pouring in to say their goodbyes, I had little idea how wildly different my life would become in the coming years. As familiarity was gradually replaced by reminiscence, the adult world began to shape itself into an experience best described as bittersweet. As someone who has been moving countries all my life, it was inevitable that I would end up pursuing an education abroad to start afresh yet again, and immerse myself in a brand new culture. Canada is one of the countries that caught my attention from the very beginning: popular media is brimming with depictions of its exhilarating maritime and mountainous landscapes, and its mooseriding, maple-syrupchugging populace. When the opportunity to live in this country known for its friendly, polite people presented itself, I did not hesitate to accept the U of T Engineering offer letter and hop on a jet 14,991 kilometers from home. My hometown Singapore is a tiny city-state in Southeast Asia. The once turbulent country has quickly established itself as a global hub for education, finance, technology, innovation, and trade, in addition to ranking highly on every standard of living index in the world. As such, moving to another metropolitan city like Toronto did not seem like too much of a change from home. However, when I arrived in Canada two years ago, I had no idea how nerve-wracking the experience of moving away from the comfort of home


would turn out to be. The beginning of a college career is always stressful, and comes with a tonne of learning and demanding experiences that shape your personality as you transition into adulthood. This experience is a thousand times more daunting for international students, who have to simultaneously adapt to a brand new country with barely any time to figure things out. The first blow came when I perched myself upon the 23-hour flight, and the abrupt realization hit me all at once: I would soon be all alone. My parents, who have been incredibly nurturing

throughout my childhood, would no longer be there to love and support me. My sister would no longer be the best friend just a room away. The last hug with my family crushed my heart in ways I cannot describe, and moving away from the loving embrace of home made me quickly learn that I was no longer the sheltered cocoon in the nest — there was no longer anyone to cushion the blows. The whirlwind of emotions I felt in the first week while surrounded by hyped-up Frosh made me feel like I did not belong here. I was an anxious mess, overwhelmed by simple

things such as figuring out transportation, groceries, or how to do laundry and cook meals while I had a mound of unfinished homework waiting on the desk. To top it off, it took me a month to finish unpacking my suitcases and setting up my place. In the midst of it all, overcoming my fears about fitting in seemed impossible: What if I picked the wrong major? What if I did not manage to connect with the people here? What if I could not make any friends? The fears were understandable, but that did not mean that I would let my anxiety triumph over my

goals and aspirations. After a brief period of accepting my fate, I got tired of wallowing in my own self-loathing and took a leap: yes, I joined a club. When I initially saw the columns and columns of reddit armchair advisors talk about how clubs and societies was the easiest way to expose oneself to likeminded people, I initially thought it was just generic meaningless advice. Taking that leap of faith at a low point slowly but surely began to fill the gap that the lack of support system, such as family and Far From Home continued on page 13

OCTOBER 2019 Far From Home continued not so hard anymore. Of course, the emotional from page 12 poignancy of starting afresh high school friends back would always be lurking at home, had provided. As I the back of my mind, but was patient with my growth learning to be comfortable and allowed myself to make and happy in moments of mistakes over time, I was loneliness and diverting my able to establish routines; energy towards academic tackling life by the day was growth powered me through

the tough days. College is an opportunity for liberation: many people were not as fortunate as I was growing up, and coming here gives them the chance to be exposed to new perspectives and redefine their entire persona if they so desire.

While I was once comfortable in my own space, university has made me a strong proponent of trying new things: whether it be that one food item from a certain cuisine, travelling to the far-flung corners of the country I just moved to, or joining

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an intense looking design tea. Taking leaps of faith whether small or huge - and putting myself in situations where I stepped out of my introverted, socially anxious comfort zone was the best way to turn college life into one of the favourite moments of my life.

Dear Engineering Kids, Love An Artsci MAGGIE PAUL Cannon Writer “So, what’s the Cannon?” One of my friends asks while we’re studying. They’re staring at the big “The Cannon Newspaper” sticker next to my laptop’s trackpad. “It’s the engineering newspaper.” I reply. “Oh. I didn’t know non-engineering students could write for them. Why not the Varsity?” This is pretty much a snapshot of a lot of conversations I’ve had with my artsci friends about the Cannon and my new involvement for the past

couple of weeks. I, A quick bit about me, I’m in my third year, and I’m a major in the Criminology and Sociolegal Studies program, with a double minor in Sociology and Political Science. So, pretty much the opposite of engineering in every conceivable way. Usually, the response when I tell Art Sci people that I’m writing for the Cannon is one of two things: “Oh that’s cool.” and “Oh Arts and Science students can write for them? Why not the Varsity?” Firstly, the Varsity is very big and I am,

admittedly, a little afraid of it. Secondly, engineering kids are the best. Sorry, not sorry Art Sci, you guys just aren’t as fun. One of my good friends is a 2T1 (2T1, that’s something new I learned!) MSE, and she would always send me engineering memes and inside jokes. Don’t get me wrong, I love my programs, but we just don’t have the same zing as engineering. We don’t spell everything weirdly and we don’t have a hot tub full of medical-grade purple dye. There has been a very long-standing rivalry

between engineering kids and ArtSci kids, and I’ve never quite come to understand it. It could be Bnad waking people up at 1am in the Colleges, or Artsci viewing Engineering as a “cult”, but if I’m honest, it’s arisen from a misunderstanding of what it means to be in Artsci and in Engineering. Perhaps I’m stoking it a little by gassing up engineering, but I’m not sorry about it. Maybe, instead of fighting over pranks, and trying to steal each other’s tiny cannons (another engineering highlight,

really), we could come to understand each other more. I think that if we were to look past our differences, all of us (even you, Trinity College), could unite against the common enemies I feel we all face; overpriced textbooks, professor and lecturer contracts without benefits, and people who take up the whole sidewalk and walk way too slowly. Sincerely yours, An Art Sci Kid, Who Still Doesn’t Understand Why Things Are Spelt Strangely.




The SCI Is Here, Now What? RICK LIU Editor-in-Chief As stated in the disclaimer, articles published in The Cannon are solely the opinion of the author and do not reflect the position of EngSoc or The Cannon. This applies to all opinion pieces, written by writers or Cannon executives. On September 20, the University organized a career fair in the Exam Centre. For many, including myself, it was not a pleasant experience. There were lines going past the Nursing Building, and it took roughly an hour for students waiting in line to get in the building. Once inside, the crowds were just as bad, with the atmosphere being hot and humid. Students could barely pass by one another, and the lines to talk to the employers, who were split across multiple floors, were enormous. Much of it was caused by students in unrelated fields lining up at every booth, since there was no information of which employers were looking for who. I personally observed a Life Sciences major lining up at the Arup booth, only to be told that Arup was primarily looking for Civil Engineers interested in structural or transportation design. The quality of employers were also questionable. While it’s understandable that for a career fair that caters to the entire school, there would be many non-engineering companies, many companies were clearly geared to software and hardware companies. In the 100 companies that were present, around 30% were software and hardware companies, while a surprising large number of companies were not geared towards full time or even PEY work, such as Tutor Doctor. There were very few companies catering to the policy, medical or finance fields that so much of the undergraduate are enrolled in. On September 27th, students from around

engineering collectively organized the YNCN Fall Career Fair. This career fair not only featured 70 engineering companies, including around 20 companies hiring for my discipline (civil engineering), but YNCN listed both on its website and at the event which employers were looking for each discipline. The venue, the Mars Building, is bigger than the Exam Centre, with space being easily navigable. Many top tier engineering companies, including Facebook, Proctor & Gamble, and Accenture had a presence at the career fair, and all companies were clearly looking for PEY and new grads. The YNCN career fair also had other benefits such as a LinkedIn photo booth, and onsite interviews for certain companies. For most students, the question as to which career fair was better is obvious. YNCN had more top tier engineering companies, with less students, in a bigger venue, catering to all sectors of engineering. This has been the mission behind YNCN’s existence, which was partially created by students who were unsatisfied behind the services offered by the Engineering Career Centre. Ask any engineering student which of the two organizations offers the more comprehensive career fair, more detailed resume critiques, and more thorough panels, and it’s YNCN rather than the Engineering Career Centre. This is because students know what other students want the best, and are uniquely motivated and possess the experience and skillset to make this happen. This extends way beyond the simple issue of which organization offers better career services. For most international students, their go-to to help them transition into engineering is their respective cultural club, such as the Indian Student Society or the National Society of Black

Engineers, rather than the UofT International Student Center. For all the noise the administration makes about ensuring a vibrant student life and community to ease the transitions of students into engineering, clubs such as Skule Nite and Concrete Canoe are the ones who are actively creating a student life scene. For many students, it’s the quality of student clubs and services that exist to specifically cater to students that convince them to come to UofT. And the university realizes this; the advertising brochures and videos the university creates to attract high schoolers are filled with happy students building a concrete toboggan sliding down a giant hill or the dinner dances that are the biggest social events of the year, rather than endless facts about how UofT is home to one of the most comprehensive structural analysis facilities in the country.

For many of these services, their budgets are going to be significantly cut by the Student Choice Initiative. The final numbers aren’t out, but one club I’ve talked to has predicted a 30% cut to their budget. This article isn’t a plea to you, the student community, to opt in. Some students are going to opt out no matter what - that’s a fact. Rather, the university should recognize that most students rely on student services for a variety of reasons, and they perform a critical role that many people in the administration, most of whom are not engineering graduates, cannot fully grasp the context of as much as students themselves, and cannot organize as effectively as motivated students. The career fair saga is only the latest example of this. As a current and former club leader for multiple clubs, I personally feel frustrated that the faculty constantly

shows off the work made by student organizations, such as the next generation solar car roaring down the highways of Australia, or LGTQ+ students providing support to one another in one of LGBTOut’s events, without providing much financial support to these organizations. In the past, the bulk of the funding has been from student fees, which mitigated this funding issue. As the Student Choice Initiative comes into full effect however, the administration should realize rather than offering duplicate but lower quality services, they should increase their support of the organizations they’re proud to put on admission brochures sent around the world. The faculty’s upcoming round of Centralized Process for Student Initiative Funding, the faculty’s main mechanism for providing student funding, will test if that is the case.



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The Story of the ECE Common Room JERRY SHARP Cannon Editor Ah, the ECE Common Room. The spot where me and a few of my buddies would spend hours just chilling between classes during our first year. However, a large part of why we enjoyed staying there so much was that it was largely unused by students other than ourselves, and we could do whatever we wanted in it as a result. It is right around the corner from the Pit, yet even many ECEs don’t realize it exists. It is quite small, yet personal. However, visiting other discipline common rooms with my friends, I can’t help but wish it was something better, somewhere that would actually attract more ECEs to use it more often, somewhere I could spend even more time in, somewhere that could be used more than just for lunch breaks, pre-exam cramming sessions, and a good place to sleep overnight on campus. Of course, ECE has its much more widely used ECE Study Hall, however it is just that: a study room in Bahen with only chairs, sofas, tables, and a whiteboard, that always smells kind of funny. However, the Study Hall’s existence is a doubleedged sword. While it was originally intended to be a new common room, those in charge of room allocation at Bahen insisted that it only be used as a Study Hall, citing the existence of both the ECE Common Room and the ECE Club Room as sufficient for social tasks. The Common Room is also a sad tale of once was. It currently contains three sofas and a chair with enough space to comfortably seat around eight, although the two cloth sofas are quite filthy and in a state of disrepair. It also has two footrests, which are mostly used to throw stuff on instead. It temporarily

hosted two tables and some additional plastic chairs; however, they have since been removed, and this is a recurring theme. It currently has one HDTV as its centerpiece; however, it is a shell of its former self. There used to be an Xbox 360 hooked up to it, but it redringed two years ago, so it sits back in its both with about 20 games collecting dust in the Club Room. It also used to have a Chromecast attached for easy streaming, however it too has seemingly disappeared. Now all it has left connected to it is a single HDMI cable that is far too short. The only place you could keep your laptop high enough for that cable is on top of the Foosball table, which is probably the only thing it’s good for anymore as the balls required to play have also left the Common Room in recent times. It is also currently home to the ECE Arcade Machine, which was created for a prank this past year. Unfortunately, it often breaks down and is unplayable, but your mileage may vary. The ECE Club is also quite proud of its vending machine with “The Cheapest Pop on Campus,” at 75¢ apiece. However, that is only when the pop is in stock, as it is up to the discretion of the ECE Club Facilities Manager to decide when to refill it, and it is usually not frequent enough, sometimes going as long as two whole weeks to refill, by that time every single pop can going out of stock. Additionally, the machine only takes change of a loonie and under, making it quite inconvenient to buy from. Lastly, the ECE Common Room is also the home of the SkuleTM Smash Club. There are two CRT TVs in the back, with a GameCube and Wii both housing copies of Super Smash Brothers Melee. However, there are no

controllers anywhere in the room so you have to bring your own. Additionally, one of the CRTs takes up the entirety of the only table in the room, and both the GameCube and Wii are locked in cages so you can’t play other games even if you wanted to. Which is quite baffling considering there are cases for other games and some movies sitting doing nothing on that table. And of course, they only play Melee, when clearly Ultimate is the superior game. The presence of the Smash Club in the Common Room has created friction between themselves and many frequent Common Room denizens, as it is quite a small room, and the setups cause some deal of noise and distraction. Combine this with the Smash Clubs large membership, and it is literally impossible to sit in there doing anything else almost every day of the week after around 5pm. The majority of the Smash Club is not from ECE, and there are a good number that are not in Engineering altogether, so some ECEs really despise their presence. Many don’t enter the Common Room when there are Smashers present, while others have gone to the extremes of attempting to sabotage their equipment. Overall, the ECE Common Room is quite unpopular among ECEs, and is often considered to be a “man cave,” and it isn’t hard to see why. There is little to do other than sleeping on one of the couches or playing Melee, as the Xbox and Chromecast are gone, the foosball balls were stolen, the arcade machine works only half of the time, and the cables to the HDTV aren’t long enough. It gets quite stuffy with no good way to keep the door open. There are no tables to do work on anymore, and the Study Hall is better for

that purpose anyways. It is constantly neglected, both in terms of the notoriously empty pop machine, and in general cleanliness, you will undoubtedly find garbage lying around, or the floor sticky. Most of the valuables and pretty much anything of interest owned by the ECE Club, which is actually a lot mind you, are kept locked up in the elusive ECE Club Room, which can only be accessed with one of around six keys given out only to the highest-ranking club members. But I cannot really blame them, with all the stuff that’s been stolen or just simply removed from the Common Room, like the foosballs, Chromecast, tables, and even one of my friend’s bookbags during a SUDs once. So, what can be done to improve it? Well plenty, and it’s easy to take some notes from the other common rooms. The first priority: find a new permanent room for the Smash Club, and kick them out, as this is a major deterrent for a lot of ECEs I spoke to. Get the tables that were removed back, so we could have the option of productivity. Invest in a new Chromecast and longer cables for the TV, and potentially lock them into place like the Smash systems. Get some more balls for the foosball table, and keep a few spares in the Club Room just it case. Get some more

volunteers in the ECE Club for maintenance, in stocking the vending machine, cleaning, and making sure the arcade machine works properly. Figure out a way for the pop machine to accept toonies. Refurbish the couches, and potentially swap them for ones in the Study Hall. Finally, do something about the state of the Club Room vs the Common Room. There is so much extra stuff in the Club Room that most ECEs cannot access, and even some borderline pointless stuff like the Xbox disks that cannot be played without the Xbox which no longer works. Sell some things off, invest in new equipment, and share more with the Common Room, the Club Room has two refrigerators, while the Common Room has none. I was a part of the ECE Club in the second semester of last year, only because I, like many, literally didn’t realize it existed in the first. But besides the Dinner Dance and a few small events and builds, even I as a club member didn’t feel like it did too much for the greater ECE population. However, with only one of the eight elected executive positions filled for this coming year, and only one class rep elected, there seems to be a severe lack of interest in the ECE Club and functions in general, so things aren’t looking too bright for the year ahead.


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The Cannon October 2019  

The Cannon October 2019  

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