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Produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Volume 68, Number 13

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Graphic evidence in Ryerson murder trial

En Garde

By Matthew Kennedy Ryersonian Staff

Ryerson fencer Joanna Kolbe will pick up her sword to compete at the varsity level for the last time when the OUA women’s fencing championship begins on Feb. 8. Kolbe won gold for the past three years, but is looking forward to relaxing after her last competition. See page 10 for the story.

A common kitchen knife covered in blood. Unmarked pill containers holding psychoactive drugs. A camera pointed at the bedroom door. No photos of friends or family, no letters. Without a health card found in the room, there would be no indication that Farshad “Shawn” Badakhshan lived in the small basement apartment at 502 Huron St. Firefighters responded to a call for an apparent house fire at that housing complex in the Annex on July 2, 2010. There, they pulled 23-year-old Ryerson criminology student Carina Petrache from the residence. She suffered from multiple stab wounds, severe burns, and a slit throat. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Badakhshan, who lived in the Annex rooming house with Petrache and multiple other tenants, now stands on trial for firstdegree murder. Badakhshan has pleaded not guilty, but isn’t contesting that he physically inflicted the wounds and burns that led to Petrache’s death. The defence is arguing that Badakhshan, 31, is not criminally responsible due to suffering from a mental disorder. Det. Const. John Smissen, who testified Monday, told

and John Scott, both second-year students. Although Hoilette previously ran with the Students United slate, this year he’s running with Unite Ryerson, which he claims is an entirely new group with a similar platform. “I think that the Students United team that has run in the past has done a lot of really good work and we’ve seen the students union grow over the years, but (Unite Ryerson) is a team of individuals who are unique in their own aspects and have different aspirations than folks that have come before,” Hoilett said. Hoilett, the RSU’s current vice-president equity, won the

politics and governance student. “You go and you look at where they’re campaigning around campus, just look at who’s at the table. It’s the people who have won the elections before and who have sat on the RSU.” Current RSU president Melissa Palermo was at Unite Ryerson’s campaigning table outside the library last week. However, she declined to comment on any similarities between Students United and Unite Ryerson. Dergalstanian said it was difficult to run independently against Students United last year because the members had one another’s support. Despite her

Sebastian Novais / Ryersonian Staff

the court that analysis showed a drug called clonazepam (Klonopin), usually prescribed for epilepsy or panic disorders, was in the unmarked bottles in Badakhshan’s home. The trial began last week, when Crown attorney Jennifer Stanton told the jury in her opening statement that Badakhshan slit Petrache’s throat from “ear to ear” and set her on fire, also getting caught in the blaze during the struggle. Badakhshan appeared in court in a wheelchair, with severe scarring across his face and scalp, and missing his left leg. Petrache’s best friend, Adriana Moraru, testified the following day. Moraru said the relationship between the victim and the accused was a “vicious cycle” of breakups and arguing. Petrache told Moraru that instead of going out with friends, Badakhshan preferred to stay home alone and drink, Moraru said. Another tenant in the housing complex, Volodymyr Selivanov, testified later in the week. He said he saw at least two instances of “angry” arguing between the two, including one that saw Petrache physically brace her bedroom door to block Badakhshan from entering. Please see TRIAL, page 5

Unite Ryerson slate dominates RSU election By Jayna Rana Ryersonian Staff

Competition is scarce in the Ryerson Students’ Union general election this year. Unite Ryerson is the only slate running, with a member campaigning in each of the five executive categories. The positions for four vice-presidents are uncontested and based on “yes” or “no” votes. The major competition for the slate lies in the presidential position. Rajean Hoilett, a third-year social work student, is a Unite Ryerson member running for president against two independent candidates, Roble Mohamed

elections last year while running on the Students United slate.

“Look at where they’re campaigning around the campus ... It’s the people who won the elections before.” — Ani Dergalstanian Ani Dergalstanian, a Ryerson student who ran for vice-president equity against Hoilett in last year’s election, said she’s convinced that the two slates still have a connection. “It is the same people,” said Dergalstanian, a fourth-year

disappointment at the low number of independent candidates this year, she said she’s glad to see some competition for president. Dora Adobea, a fourth-year finance student running for vicepresident operations, is uncontested, but said that wouldn’t diminish her campaigning efforts. “One would think it’s an easy task, but it’s still a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote, so students still have to decide and choose whether or not they want me, because I could be voted ‘no,’” Adobea said. Please see SLATE, page 3


2 • The Ryersonian

EDITORIALS

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The

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RSU: Ryerson’s Shady Union “What have you done for me?” It’s the first question that comes to mind when the RSU comes up. In the past four years at Ryerson, the students’ union has acted less like an open and accountable student government and more like a bureaucratic collective that is notorious for dodging questions and restricting interviews with the student press.

The slogan, “your union, your choice,” loses its meaning when there’s only one party running. An upcoming election usually holds the promise of change, but in order for there to be change, there have to be options. Only one slate is running in the election, with a representative for each position in the executive. The four vice-president positions are uncontested and based on a yes or no vote. The slate, Unite Ryerson, is a thinly rebranded Students United. If one of the independent candidates was elected president, they would be the outlier in a predominantly Unite Ryerson union. The RSU slogan, “your union, your choice,” loses its meaning when there’s only one party running. The RSU elections have a voter turnout of about 10 per cent each year, meaning that of nearly 35,000 students, only 3,500 play a role in deciding who governs the student body. This unfortunately low number is at least in part due to the inaccessibility of the RSU’s voting process. Ryerson is well known as a commuter campus, with many students coming from outside the downtown core. Being on campus during election days is not always feasible for them, or is simply inconvenient. Unlike the school’s other governing bodies, the RSU

Managing Editor Print Kelsey Rolfe

Managing Editor Broadcast Nicole Brockbank

doesn’t have an online voting system. Current RSU president Melissa Palermo asserts it’s to assure the validity of the voting process, but the senate and the board of governors have conducted online voting with no problems and a higher voter turnout. This type of inaccessibility points to one of two disturbing possibilities: either the RSU has opted out of online voting in order to shamelessly cater to noncommuter students, those 3,500 who are downtown, able to vote, and continually support the same party; or else the former Students United party has no concept of the nature of Ryerson and its community, which demonstrates how ineffectual, obsolete and unfit to lead a student body it is. The indifference also stems from the one-sided nature of RSU elections.

It’s impossible to walk through campus without being bombarded by Unite Ryerson posters plastered over nearly every inch of wall space, leaving little room for the opposition’s scarce campaign. This, and past years’ results deter students from voting if they already know what the result will be. So should students vote? Does voting really matter? While supporting this democratic right is important, voting just to vote, not to actually achieve results or change, is an insult to the practice. There is no point in supporting a party that neither knows nor caters to its constituents.

Allie Coulman Meaghan Yuen

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A sports journalist and his lapse in judgment

By Arti Panday Ryersonian Staff

In order to be a good journalist, you must be a good person. Throughout my time in journalism school that phrase has been frequently repeated and I couldn’t agree more. It was recently brought to my attention that Grantland, a website for sports journalism, published an article exposing the creator of a revolutionary golf putter as transgender against her wishes. The article even states that founder of Yar Golf, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, wanted the piece to “focus on the science and not the scientist.” As the writer Caleb Hannan continued

to badger her, Vanderbilt ended her life. Hannan discovered that while Vanderbilt had produced one of the most scientifically and physically sound putters, she had no background in science and she definitely wasn’t involved in any of the classified government work she said she was. Vanderbilt was a pathological liar and she didn’t do a very good job of covering her tracks. In the course of his research, he found out that Vanderbilt was born in a male body with a different name, which she changed decades later. In addition to posthumously outing her in what he called his “eulogy,” Hannan also revealed her transgender status to one of her investors while she was still alive. As a journalist, I feel obligated to follow a set of ethical guidelines. Hannan didn’t exhibit the moral fibre of an ethical journalist and stirred up controversy when he chose to write about Vanderbilt’s gender transition, which added nothing to his story. Hannan’s treatment of Vanderbilt’s transition is, if not defamatory, ethically unsound. His narrative seems to say her gender transition is more noteworthy and “odd” than her golf putter, and the fact that her claims about her extensive edu-

Arti Panday Rebecca Sedore

cation and previous work experience are false. By publishing the article following her death, Hannan avoided the possibility of a defamation lawsuit. Journalists have a moral responsibility to respect their sources and to show compassion for vulnerable ones. It’s wrong to harass sources the way Hannan badgered Vanderbilt; there’s a line between dogged reporting and bullying, and Hannan crossed it when he made Vanderbilt’s gender part of the story. The majority of suicides go unreported, out of respect to the family of the deceased and because it’s not something that should be glorified. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention says there is evidence of increased risk of others in the community replicating suicide following publication of it. Whether it was due to the fact that she was exposed without her consent, or she was experiencing other personal issues (she had previously attempted suicide in 2008), we’ll never know for certain why Vanderbilt chose to end her life. Including the very private details of her transition in an article that should have been about a revolutionary new golf club and the outrageous lies of the woman who made it was irrelevant, wrong, and unethical.

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While supporting this democratic right is important, voting just to vote, not to actually achieve results or change, is an insult to the practice.

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Emma Childs Christina Ciddio Angela Hoyos Matthew Kennedy Leena Latafat Sebastian Novais Jayna Rana Chelsea Shim Amanda Soufi Jason St. Jacques Erica Whyte Hillary MacDonald Bryan Sparrow

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NEWS

The Ryersonian • 3

RSU opts for paper ballots over online voting By Victoria Kuglin and Cosette Schulz Ryersonian Staff

Next week, students will get the chance to once again elect a governing body for the Ryerson Students’ Union. But there is one difference between RSU elections and elections for other governing student bodies: there is no online voting system. “We’ve found that paper ballots are the most democratic way to vote,” said current RSU president Melissa Palermo. “There are more checks and balances in place, and we’ve gotten a consistently higher voter turnout than other student elections.” According to Palermo, paper voting is also easier to keep track of: if a candidate loses by a small margin, paper ballots make it easier to do a recount, whereas for online voting, this data is “inaccessible” once voting closes. Though Palermo believes this is a more accountable system, and affords more transparency, both the Board of Governors and senate elections have made the decision to switch over to online polling stations to help give commuter students a better chance to get involved in student politics. The union’s chief returning officer, Zachary Smith, and internal co-ordinator Casey Chu

Ryersonian file photo

Ryerson students will cast their ballots at voting stations across campus.

Cheong oversee the voting process: where and when the voting happens, as well as the method of polling. This year, there are nine voting booths at what Smith calls “high volume areas.” “I don’t know whether (their choice of location) is based on past practice and they know where to put it,” said Smith. “But I guess it’s based on that.” The chief returning officer position is a short-term job posted by the RSU, which Smith said he will hold until a few

weeks after the election. After an election, the chief returning officer prepares a report evaluating the election process and making suggestions for the future, which is then made available upon request. Smith said the subject of online voting has never been discussed with him. “I’m not sure what the numbers tend to be in previous elections,” he said. “If … I could see that the numbers of participation have officially lowered, that might be

something I’d be willing to put in my report.” In order for online voting to be implemented, a policy would have to be drawn up and discussed by the students’ union. Corey Scott is the Equity and Campaigns Organiser for RyeACCESS, a collective that concerns itself with improving life on campus for students with disabilities. Scott recognizes the importance of accessibility for students with mobility issues, though says

that there are visible declines in voter turnout when polls are opened online. “We worry that there is a trend to appropriate and assume the experience of students with disabilities rather than to understand what accommodations could look like,” Scott said. “For instance, if polling stations are located on the main floors, in high traffic areas on campus, why would it be any different than a student without a mobility device or accommodation? If the polling booth was on the plateau of a staircase we would be much more concerned.” The notion of online voting may seem convenient, but it can prevent exposure to campaigners and remove students from the actual election process if they’re simply using a screen reader rather than walking through school buildings with polling stations, Scott adds. “Instead of treating disability and accessibility as a subtext for online voting, I think that a lot of students would rather see mental and physical accessibility issues as the main text for election issues,” he said. “That’s how we get engaged.” Voting stations are typically open for three days. Polls for the 2014 elections are open on Feb. 3-5.

Election debate Student politics a family affair postponed a day By Amanda Soufi Ryersonian Staff

By Samuel Greenfield Ryersonian Staff

The Ryerson Students’ Union election debate scheduled for Tuesday was postponed because of a scheduling conflict with the chief returning officer. The debate will now be held today from 12-4 p.m. This year’s chief returning officer, York University grad student Zachary Smith, could not attend the event Tuesday. “The date just had to be moved because I have to be there as part

of my responsibility. So it was just a mistake in respect to putting it on the calendar,” Smith said. Posters around campus notified students that the debate was to take place at Tecumseh Lounge in the student centre on Tuesday. On Monday the RSU announced on its Twitter account that the debate had been bumped to Wednesday. But around noon on Tuesday, there was no posted notice outside the lounge that the event was rescheduled.

Executive positions uncontested yet again SLATE cont’d...

Jesse Root, the lone candidate for vice-president education, also said he would have welcomed opposition. “In election campaigns, it’s easier to have a dialogue when you can kind of contrast yourself against someone,” said Root, a graduate student in immigration and settlement studies. Root added that his goals would remain the same no matter who becomes president. “I know I would work well with Rajean and I hope he’s elect-

ed,” he said. “However, if he’s not, I will continue doing my work.” Other sole executive candidates are second-year journalism student Pascale Diverlus for vice-president equity, and Saphi Subendran, a final-year business technology management student, for vice-president student life. The RSU executive positions have been largely uncontested for several years now. This year is the least contested election since the Students United slate won in 2007 because all executive positions were unopposed.

Political ambition runs in the Diverlus family. Pascale Diverlus, a second-year journalism student, is campaigning to be the next vice-president equity. Her older brother Rodney held the same position when he first joined

“He did his thing and he was great, but I think that I have something to offer as well.” –

Pascale Diverlus

the students’ union in 2012. He later moved on to the role of president. But she insists she’s not following in her brother’s footsteps.

Courtesy Pascale Diverlus

Siblings Rodney and Pascale Diverlus.

“This is something close to my heart. It’s the work I want to do,” she said. “He did his thing and he was great, but I think that I have something to offer as well.” Pascale is the youngest candidate on the Unite Ryerson slate this year. The 19-year-old’s involvement in campus organizations laid the groundwork for her interest in student poli-

tics. In the last two years, she has worked at the Centre for Women and Trans People and volunteered for the RSU. She is also the director of events at the United Black Students Ryerson club, where Rodney is president. “I want to work and talk about how we can make the world safer and inclusive for all kinds of different people,” she said.

Stay in touch for all the latest election news Website: www.ryersonian.ca

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4 • The Ryersonian

NEWS

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RSU budget a tough document to track By Leena Latafat Ryersonian Staff

The Ryerson Students’ Union budget is kept in a secluded area in the student centre. It’s located on the third floor of the building, in a tiny room with bright lights and nothing but a round table. The budget could easily be mistaken for any other document — less than 20 pages in length, it is stapled neatly and without a mark. While paying members of a union are legally entitled to financial statements including budgets, the RSU’s budget is kept under lock and key. Copies are not available online or at the union offices on campus, and can only be viewed by appointment under surveillance and strict guidelines. All undergraduate students at Ryerson pay a $60 mandatory annual union fee to the RSU. How this money — $1.8 million

— is spent is unknown to the average student. The RSU doesn’t make its annual budgets available or provide information on how members can access the documents. RSU president Melissa Palermo said the union isn’t willing to make the budget publicly available or accessible online because it’s only accountable to its membership, not the greater community. When asked why there was a lack of information on the website, Palermo said, “As executives of the students’ union, we try to make ourselves accessible to students. I think in every aspect we make ourselves available for students to ask questions.” As the budget is not available online, members who wish to see it must contact the students’ union, and set up an appointment. “We do our best to make it available to all students, and we make ourselves accessible to set up an appointment with students

The Ryerson student centre, where the RSU budget can be accessed.

to come see the budget,” Palermo said. Once granted an appointment to view the budget, members are accompanied by an RSU staff member or executive for an allotted viewing time. “I actually like to sit down and go through (the budget) with students,” Palermo said.

Leena Latafat / Ryersonian Staff

According to Palermo, this is to help members better understand the budget. Whether it’s Palermo or another executive in the room, there is always a second person present while members view the budget. Members cannot take photos of the budget, and are not allowed to make a copy for themselves. However, they may take notes.

Palermo said this practice is in place to ensure that the budget is not shown to the general public. Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said that students should ask for access to the budget at the RSU’s annual general meetings. “There’s nothing that prevents students from demanding or securing access to whatever information they want,” he said.

November to the beginning of the winter semester. He also said he made “substantial changes” in marketing strategies, focusing on promotions and daily drink specials. The pub also gives away a pair of tickets to Leafs and Raptors games at least once a week, and has launched two new weekly events, including Monday night

pub trivia and Wednesday night’s open stage. Knapp said he always expects higher sales in the beginning of the fall and winter semesters. “Before studies get heavy for students, they tend to get out more,” he said. With the new efforts in place, Knapp said he expects a considerable jump in business moving forward.

Marketing efforts increase sales at campus pub

By Chelsea Shim Ryersonian Staff

The Ram in the Rye is making big marketing changes to draw in crowds and increase sales at Ryerson’s campus pub. Rick Knapp, food and beverage manager, said promotional events and social media publicity have helped stabilize sales for the first few weeks this year. Overall

sales at the Ram decreased to $880,000 in 2013 from $910,000 in 2012. Knapp, who oversees operations at the Ram and Oakham Café, said the decrease in sales last year was likely because of increased competition, changes in programming, and an increase in education costs, which forced students to eat out less often.

Matthew Kirchknopf, a fourthyear Ryerson psychology student, said the Ram is still one of the most affordable options, despite the competition in the area. He said that he has noticed the pub is busier than usual. Knapp has also noticed the change. He said there was an increase in events at the Ram from last

The Office of the Ombudsperson at Ryerson presents its

2012-2013 Annual Report The pillars of the Office of the Ombudsperson are: Independence Impartiality Confidentiality Fairness Read the report online at:

www.ryerson.ca/ombuds


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NEWS

The Ryersonian • 5

New birth centre hiring midwifery grads

Although completion of the Regent Park facility was set for summer 2013, setbacks delayed development. After a few finishing touches are added, however, the facility will be fully operational for

expecting mothers in the coming weeks. The centre has three birthing rooms – Ash, Birch and Cedar – each with a full-size bed, bright white birthing tub and private bathroom.

The Ontario government is investing an annual $1.3 million into the centre, which will be able to oversee up to 450 deliveries a year. There has been a push for birthing centres in Ontario since the 1970s. These centres give women a third option beyond athome or in-hospital births when choosing where to deliver their babies. Despite the excitement surrounding the centre and its addition to the revitalization of Regent Park, Pauline Becker, co-chair of the Association of Ryerson Midwifery Students, said it’s important to note that this is not the first birth centre in Ontario. “The facility is wonderful and they did an amazing job of providing a really special, comfortable and safe atmosphere,” Becker said. “But it’s important that we recognize that it’s not the first.” The first centre was the Six Nations Birth Centre in Ohsweken, Ont., which has been delivering newborns since 1996.

By Shannon Cuciz Ryersonian Staff

ing photos, Coxon received many comments from her friends back home saying they were jealous and wanted to go where she was. “People wanted to travel because of what they were seeing on my Facebook,” said the fourth-year journalism student. “The pictures I posted were different than the photos you can Google of the places ... they gave an intimate and real portrayal of the countries.” Ted Rogers School of Management exchange co-ordinator, Kristy Holzworth, agrees that social media influences the number of students going on exchange. In the past, she had between 20 and 30 students at her exchange information sessions. In 2013, Holzworth started working with the TRSM marketing and communications departments to reach out to more students using social media. Since then, the number of students at the exchange information sessions has tripled. “Social media is an effective tool to reach students early on and

make them aware,” Holzworth said. She starts informing students about international opportunities in their first year at Ryerson because the exchanges require a lot of planning. Going on exchange can enhance students’ degrees by giving them an education about the world outside the classroom, Begg said. It also adds a valuable experience to students’ resumés and expands their social network for future jobs. “By engaging deeply with new cultures and understanding that people have different worldviews … you grow as a person,” Begg said. “You may not realize it while it’s happening, but when you get home and reflect, you’ve changed because you see the world in a different way.” Ryerson International is partnered with 127 institutions in 32 different countries. “The more interest we receive from students wanting to go on exchange, the more universities we can partner with,” Begg said. “This is a trend we hope will continue.”

By Rebecca Sedore Ryersonian Staff

A pair of umbilical scissors snipped the ribbon to mark the grand opening of the Toronto Birth Centre on Jan. 22. In March 2012, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews and then-Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty came to Ryerson to announce the development of two midwife-led birthing centres in Ontario. The Toronto Birth Centre will provide women with low-risk pregnancies with the opportunity to have non-hospital births, promoting natural birth and ultimately freeing up hospital beds for high-risk deliveries. Mary Sharpe, director of the midwifery education program at Ryerson, said the building will be an asset to Ryerson’s midwifery community. “We’re incredibly lucky to have the centre situated so close,” Sharpe said. “There will absolutely be a connection between the centre and our students since the Toronto Birth Centre is an

One of the birthing rooms at the new centre.

educational facility dedicated to helping midwifery students.” Ryerson midwifery graduates already make up 14 of the 17 midwives on staff at the facility, which is led by Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto.

Presidential search committee named

By Arti Panday Ryersonian Staff

Members of the search committee that will choose Ryerson’s next president were named at the board of governors meeting Jan. 27. In addition to the four members who were appointed by senate and named two weeks ago, nine members of the board of governors were put to the task of choosing president Sheldon Levy’s replacement. One of the appointees is undergraduate student Curtis Yim, a member of the board of governors. Yim declined to comment on what he will be looking for in Ryerson’s next president, but Levy himself had some thoughts on his replacement. “The person must be one that respects the special mission of Ryerson, someone who would want to advance it,” said Levy. “Someone who will ulti-

mately be able to fall in love with the place.” The chair of the committee is ex-officio Phyllis Yaffe, who is also the chair of the board of directors of Cineplex Entertainment and the lead director on the board of Torstar Corp. Also on the committee are government appointees Janice Fukakusa, chief administrative officer for the Royal Bank of Canada, Jack Cockwell from Ryerson’s board of governors, Michèle Maheux, the executive director and chief operating officer for Toronto International Film Festival and Nadir Mohamed, CEO in residence at Ryerson. Manager of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, CarrieAnn Bissonnette and George Kapelos, an associate professor in architectural science, and Ryerson alumnus Darius Sookram were also appointed to the committee.

Victoria Kuglin / Ryersonian Staff

More Rye students going on exchange Social media brings the world to students and is encouraging them to go out and see the world. “Once classmates see and hear about what their friends are doing around the world, they want to get involved too,” said David Begg, Ryerson’s international engagement co-ordinator. This year 212 Ryerson students are leaving Canada on international exchanges, which is the university’s highest number of outbound students to date. The exchange program saw a 22 per cent increase in applications since the 2012-2013 school year, which previously had the highest number of outbound students. Begg believes that students sharing their international experiences through social media have impacted the number of students wanting to travel. Former exchange student Lisa Coxon used Facebook and Instagram every day when she was on exchange. After post-

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‘He looked ... like a zombie.’ TRIAL cont’d... “It was not a friendly conversation,” Selivanov said. Selivanov’s conversations with Badakhshan, which were once friendly, “came to zero” once he and Petrache started dating. The accused was drinking more frequently and often carried a bottle of whiskey as the day of the incident grew closer, Selivanov said. Selivanov says he discovered Badakhshan sitting in a chair ablaze in their communal kitchen, unmoving, on the day of the incident. When he tried to put out the fire on Badakhshan, he was pushed away and told to “leave me alone,” Selivanov said. “He looked dazed like a zombie,” Selivanov said. The trial continues.


6 • The Ryersonian

FEATURES

Wednesday, Jan

The race for R

Two independent challengers t United candidate. The Ryerson Students will be heading to the ballot boxes next week to elect their representatives for the 2014-15 academic year. The upcoming Ryerson Students’ Union elections take place on Feb. 3, 4 and 5. Ryerson’s website explains that the RSU’s mandate is to lobby on behalf of students, save money for its members through “cost saving services” and create a strong student community through groups and events. The RSU is a member of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), an organization that advocates for issues it believes are in the interest of all its members nationwide. Some of the CFS campaigns have been adopted by the RSU, like the “Bottled Water Free” initiative and the “Drop Fees” movement.

Emma Childs / Ryersonian Staff

The topmost positions the executive team: pre of equity, vice-president president of education operations. In the past few years, have been filled by cand same slate, a group ca This group has seen som of closing Gould Street fountains with “refill stat but there has been little ch 14 academic year. This name has changed to Un again they have a studen the five executive positio In the upcoming elect president candidates is ru

Unite Ryerson presidential candidate Rajean Hoilett.

Independent presidential candidate Joh

Rajean Hoilett, running under the Unite Ryerson banner, is a third-year social work student. He has been a part of RyePRIDE, RyeACCESS, and the Racialized Students’ Collective since joining the RSU as vicepresident of equity in 2013. “It’s been an amazing experience so far, being able to get involved in a bigger capacity in the work that goes on here at Ryerson,” he says. Unite Ryerson, which won last year’s election as Students United, is mostly concerned with maintaining and improving current initiatives like the Canadian Federation of Students’ Drop Fees campaign. However Hoilett wants to open up opportunities for students to take part in RSU initiatives. “We want to build a volunteer portal so that students can really take the lead on the work that gets done in the students union,” he says. “We want to build upon the programs we offer and the way that we engage students.” Hoilett envisions an online system through which students can sign up to volunteer for events. He plans to use this volunteer labour to organize a free lunch program on campus, “no questions asked,” to ease financial burden on students. He also plans to launch RyAds, a Ryerson-specific database of online classified ads for student housing and used textbooks. “I think we need to continue to find new ways to bring students into the campaign to fight for more affordable and more accessible education,” he says. “The only way to do that is to get out and vote and ensure that your students’ union is doing the work that you want them to do.”

John Scott doesn’t care too much to stop him from running. “I personally believe that student to create an affordable education f journalism student, whose involvem to a stint as Fun Editor at the studen Scott is running to subvert the sch to represent the apathetic student vo his platform. Scott says he thinks that initiatives are a waste of RSU resources, and su projects. Among his proposals are a year-r an option for cat lovers, and a rene program to “(find) good ways to bui Scott says that he couldn’t care les important to vote if you want to voi cally, if you don’t care about voting vote, just vote for me.”


nuary 29, 2014

FEATURES

RSU president

take on a rebranded Students nian’s Emma Childs reports

s on the RSU make up This means that students will vote either esident, vice-president “yes” or “no” to the single nominee. If the “no” t of student life, vice- votes outweigh the “yes,” there will be a byelecand vice-president of tion to determine a suitable opponent. If there is still no second candidate, the position will fall , all of these positions automatically to the original candidate. Unless a didates running on the majority of students oppose the movement, the alled Students United. position is essentially handed to the student in me success in the form the running. and introducing water There are three candidates for president: tions” for water bottles, Rajean Hoilett, member of Unite Ryerson hange during the 2013- and current vice-president of equity, Roble s campaign the slate’s Mohamed, runner-up in the 2013-14 presidennite Ryerson, and once tial elections, and newcomer John Scott. The nt running for each of Ryersonian has interviewed the candidates, and ons. compiled their platforms here for our readers to tion, each of the vice- make an educated vote. unning uncontested.

hn Scott.

Emma Childs / Ryersonian Staff

about the RSU. But that isn’t going

government doesn’t have the power for anybody,” says the second-year ment with campus groups is limited nt-run newspaper, The Eyeopener. hool’s election process. “I would like oter,” he explains when asked about

s like the CFS’s Drop Fees Campaign uggests redirecting the funds to other

round Ryerson “puppy clinic” with ewed focus on the school’s robotics ild robotic arms and legs.” ss about winning the seat. “It’s only ice your opinion,” he says. “So basig, or you want to throw away your

Independent presidential candidate Roble Mohamed.

Emma Childs / Ryersonian Staff

Second-year engineering student Roble Mohamed is running independently for the second consecutive year. Last election, he was the only candidate to oppose Students United’s Melissa Palermo for president. “There’s one major group that keeps on winning,” he says. “And they have the same people running each year.” Mohamed says he has faith in the role of student government, but doesn’t feel the RSU’s mandate is being properly utilized. He says the lack of transparency hinders student involvement, and as president he would hold press conferences weekly or once every two weeks to update the Ryerson community on the allocation of their funds. “A lot of (our) tuition is mandatory fees toward services,” he says. “I think students should have a choice to decide what they want to pay towards.” Mohamed also says the student body should re-evaluate its affiliation with the Canadian Federation of Students. “I wouldn’t support our student union answering the calls of another organization,” he says. “We have to be our own thing.” While vague, Mohamed’s platform revolves around a simple principle: “give more power to the students.” “I do think there needs to be change,” he says, “but there needs to be a strong candidate, too.” Taking a moment to reflect, he adds, “I plan to be that candidate.”

The Ryersonian • 7


8 • The Ryersonian

ARTS & LIFE

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Limits of Rye’s health coverage By Avital Borisovsky Ryersonian Staff

Despite the many Ryerson students who take advantage of opting out of RSUs health and dental plan, many more decide to stick with it. According to RSU president Melissa Palermo, around 17,500 students are currently enrolled in the health plan, compared to the 12,500 students who have opted out. She said most students do take advantage of the benefits provided, especially for things like prescription medication, antidepressants, and contraception. Students who have dependants or who are not covered by external coverage are those who benefit most from the plan, Palermo said. In the 2012 school year, the RSU paid $4,452,446 in insurance premiums to Green Shield Canada for students who stayed in the plan. Some students, like secondyear biomedical student Aashish Toor, didn’t know they could opt out. “In first-year I wasn’t aware (about opting out), and this year I forgot to,” he said. Toor has external coverage and doesn’t

Ryersonian Book Club

Shannon Cuciz / Ryersonian Staff

Laura Zizek reading. By Laura Zizek Ryersonian Staff

for students to see. Next year he says he will consider opting out. “The RSU does our best to give out information a lot in the first week of school (about opting out) and do our best to promote it,” said Palermo. Many students who keep their coverage say they enjoy the benefits that are offered. One is fourth-year social work student Megan Skelly. “It’s easy and included in the tuition, and there’s no better option for students,” Skelly says. She has used the benefits for dental care and contraception. The plan also covers other services such as use of a chiropractor, massage therapist and physiotherapist. However, even under the plan, these services aren’t fully covered. Third-year nursing student Krystal Lau says she needs several services, including acupuncture and physiotherapy.

When she was younger she was fully covered by her mother’s plan, but now that she is 25 the plan the RSU offers is her only option. The plan covers only a portion of some services. For a $40 acupuncture service, only $20 is covered. “I used to always get acupuncture, but I don’t have the money,” Lau said. Lau is also unable to attend necessary physiotherapy sessions, since the plan covers a maximum of $240 a year. “After I found out how much it covered, I had to stop,” said Lau, who stopped her physiotherapy after three visits. For the many students who don’t have external health coverage like Lau, the plan is the “only alternative in case something bad happens.” Students starting classes in the winter term have until Feb. 7 to opt out.

Title: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh Genre: Graphic Memoir/ Humour Pages: 384 Plot: Brosh’s playful memoir seamlessly brings together stories about cakes, dogs and depression in one colourful book. Why you should read it: You may look like a laughing fool on the subway, but it’s all worth it. Brosh came to Internet fame with her blog by the same name, and her memoir compiles some of the website’s most popular posts. She mixes the written word with her Paintbrush illustration, and manages to balance humour with recollections of her depression. Hyperbole and a Half is a refreshing, quick read which will surely have you in stitches.

By Jason St. Jacques Ryersonian Staff

The film, which the festival showed on 290 screens across 60 subway stations, is a showcase of the city’s diversity. It won the festival’s Viewers’ Choice Award as well as the Emerging Toronto Filmmakers Award.

Documentary Festival caught their attention. They were given a theme, and had five days to shoot and edit their film. The result was a rough version of The Missing. When they didn’t place in the festival, they decided to

Courtesy Creative Commons

Students who use the RSU’s plan use it for medication, antidepressants and contraception.

use the services that Green Shield provides. Matthew Tulloch, a first-year business management student, has external coverage but has kept the RSU health plan as well. He was aware of the opportunity to opt out, but didn’t know it involved receiving a $300 reimbursement. Tulloch hasn’t used the coverage at all and says “the campus should have more signs about it”

JANUARY STUDENTS OPT OUT FOR A REFUND Are you a full time student just starting classes in January? If you are a full-time student, you pay $200.00 for the Members’ Health and Dental Plan.

If you have comparable Health and Dental coverage, get a refund!

OPT-OUT ONLINE

by Friday Feb 7, 2014 @ 6pm No exceptions to this deadline.

For more info and to opt-out visit optout.rsuonline.ca Winter opt out cheques will be available for pick up in early March from the Member Services Office Student Centre Lobby 55 Gould St. Please check our site for any updates at www.rsuonline.ca/services Any questions, please contact Dawn Murray, RSU's Health & Dental Plan Administrator at 416-979-5255 x2311 or email at: health@rsuonline.ca

Documentary brings success Three Ryerson graduates have been nominated for Canada’s National Screen Institute (NSI) Online Short Film Festival. Emerging filmmakers and alumnae from the master of journalism program, Althea Manasan, Elaine Zlotkowski and Ramya Jegatheesan, along with York University graduate Ilana Pluchik, produced and directed the short documentary, The Missing, which looks at the oil paintings of Toronto artist Ilene Sova’s The Missing Women Project. Sova’s project features 30 large-scale portraits of women who disappeared in Ontario between 1970 and 2000. Eighteen of the portraits were displayed at the Creative Blueprint Gallery in Toronto, in an effort to draw attention to the stories of victims who have been largely ignored by police. The Missing is a continuation of Sova’s efforts. The Missing was the second project for the four directors and founders of Beyond the Rabbit Hole Productions. Their first short film, Footprints, is silent and a minute in length, and won big at the Toronto Urban Film Festival, which they entered without any expectations. “Sometimes you just have to throw yourself in there,” Zlotkowski said.

Courtesy Greg Bunker

From left to right: Ilana Pluchik, Elaine Zlotkowski, Ramya Jegatheesan, Althea Manasan, pose at the Toronto Urban FIlm Festival at the Drake Hotel.

The four say they were surprised by their success, and Zlotkowski admits she thought it was a fluke. “We considered it an honour just being selected for the competition,” she said. Manasan attributes their decision to continue making films to the awards Footprints received. “I’d say that’s when we were like, ‘we can do this thing,’” she said. Soon after, the Hot Docs Canadian International

re-edit and submit it to the NSI. The group is currently waiting for word on how their documentary ranks. “I hope that this (festival) pushes us again,” Manasan says. After submitting to the NSI, the part-time filmmakers have put their productions on hiatus to work on other pursuits. They do, however, have another project in mind, focusing on a new form of opera in Toronto.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ARTS & LIFE

The Ryersonian • 9

Street Style: All the colours of the wind

Text and photos by Hillary MacDonald

Jenna Saunders Fashion design (3rd year)

Saunders wears pink perfectly by balancing out two shades of the colour to create an overall adorable look.

Victoria Basova Graduate in master’s in media production

Ashley Schwartz Fashion design (2nd year)

Her colours pop. The purple and red play peekaboo from under her black velour coat.

Schwartz’s look just makes us want to say, “Aw!” Her outfit is feminine and playful, and the red scarf ties it all together.

a glass of water with raw honey or eaten whole, but never cooked, as that would lessen its bacteriafighting and properties. Baer also notes the importance of onions. They contain phytochemicals which strengthen the immune system and are rich in vitamins A, B6, C and E. Onions should also be consumed raw, for optimal benefits, she says. Another super food is ginger. It contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that specifically target cold and flu viruses. Baer recommends cutting up raw ginger and drinking it in hot water as a tea. This spice can soothe a sore throat, and serves as a sedative which can help with sleep. Next are fruits and vegetables with bright colours like dark greens, purples, oranges and reds; the brighter the colour, the greater the nutritional value. Kale and blueberries, for exam-

ple, are full of phytonutrients, which fight off infections and will prevent you from getting sick. Number five on her list are naturally fermented foods, such as unpasteurized miso made from fermented soybeans, yogurt, kefir, and drinks like kombucha, which is sweetened tea fermented with yeast and bacteria. These foods are rich in probiotics, healthy bacteria that help the digestive tract and maintain a strong immune system. Ara Wiseman is a nutrition expert and author who specializes in disease prevention. She recommends that budget conscious students make a healthy, inexpensive soup of onions, garlic, turmeric and a medley of bright vegetables to get all of those vitamins and minerals. Ishneet Singh, a third-year business management student,

Manuela Bartolomeo Fashion design (2nd year)

There are not many ways you can wear the same colour from head to toe, but she pulls it off like a pro.

Hillary Daniel Fashion design (3rd year)

She has a great name, and a great scarf, too. This neon pink pops, which is perfect to perk up her overall dark outfit.

An onion a day keeps the doctor, and a date, away By Angela Hoyos Ryersonian Staff

It may give you bad breath, but a glass of garlic water and some chopped onions can help you stay flu-free this winter season, says a Toronto nutritionist. Jennifer Baer, a naturopathic doctor and nutritionist, treats different ailments like colds and flus with diet and exercise. She says students are more susceptible to getting sick, especially during the winter months, because of poor eating habits and lack of sleep. She says the body, with the help of certain foods, can heal itself and fight off infections without taking antibiotics. Baer recommends five super foods every student should have in the kitchen. At the top of her list is garlic. Students should consume raw garlic every morning, chopped in

IBS and Probiotics

Rebecca Sedore / Ryersonian Staff

Liam Scott demonstrates how a raw onion can keep you healthy.

says she would make Baer’s super foods part of her recovery plan. “I already eat ginger when I’m sick,” she says, “but I would definitely try some of the other ones.” Baer says healthy eating is accessible and affordable. “Garlic, onions and ginger won’t cost you much and you can go to your local market to buy some

great fruits and vegetables,” she says. She adds that naturally fermented foods cost a little bit more. “It’s all about budgeting,” she says. “If you’re not sick you’ll have energy to spend on assignments and exams and when you’re a student, every little advantage helps,” she says, “It’s important to invest in your health.”

Design creates a spark for change Chow is one of the group’s designers. She explained that the entire design is something out of A tunnel and a triangle can the ordinary. lead you to change — or at least, In fact, she claimed it is intethat is what a group of student rior design, but with a bit of a designers believe. twist. Ryerson students Agnes The design itself is a tunChow, Carley Crossman, Vivian nel, and as you walk towards Kwok, Nisha the end of it, S e w e l l , see a “We wanted to make some- you Janine Yeung, triangle that Jing Yang thing that would resonate says “design and Norain with people.” change.” Chang are As peo— Agnes Chow ple reach the founders of Activating the end of Pro Bono Design Practices. They this tunnel made of environmenhad their designs featured in last tally friendly materials, the triweek’s Interior Design Show, an angle is filled with light. event held at the Metro Toronto The Ryerson design student Convention Centre that cele- collective also had its work feabrates contemporary design. tured at the TO DO Festival, They were among four of the which took place from Jan. groups selected from Ryerson’s 20-26, and included several parSchool of Interior Design to take ties and exhibitions, providing part in the event. student designers with an opporWith the use of a triangle, tunity to network and share their they hoped to spark a conversa- work. tion about climate change aware“This is the first time we’ve ness through design. It seems to done something so full scale, and be the perfect symbol: a triangle so tangible,” said Chow. “We is the mathematical symbol for wanted to make something that change. would resonate with people.” By Leena Latafat Ryersonian Staff


10 • The Ryersonian

SPORTS

A weekend in sports

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Showcasing the best photos from a wild weekend in sports where the Rams volleyball, basketball and hockey teams were in action

Jason St. Jacques / Ryersonian Staff

The Rams C’airah GabrielRobinson passes the ball, while three Laurentian players trail during the Rams 65-54 loss on Friday.

Chris Babic / Ryersonian Staff

The Rams Adam Voll (9) slams the ball with authority while Nabil Ibrahim (12) looks on, during the fourth quarter of the Rams 81-55 blowout of Laurentian on Friday.

Sebastian Novais / Ryersonian Staff

Rams third-year defender Victoria Arci pinches to keep the puck in the Brock zone during the Rams 3-2 defeat on Thursday.

WED

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MON

5 4 3 FEB ION YOUR CH ICE YOUR UN

CAST YOUR BALLOT FOR Faculty Directors, Executive and Graduate Council Executive. Polling Stations: ENG

1) Engineering Building (Lobby)

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6) Library Building – LIB (Ground Floor)

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7) Business Building – TRSM (7th Floor)

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3) Kerr Hall East (1st floor near Room 127)

TRS

8) Business Building – TRSM (8th Floor)

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5) Sally Horsfall Eaton – (Ground Floor)

Questions? cro@rsuonline.ca

Students may vote at any polling station. Polls are open daily from 10:30am-5:30pm

You must bring valid student I.D. or valid I.D. to vote and be a current RSU member (full time undergraduate student or full or part-time graduate student)

On the record with Michael Landsberg By Erica Whyte Ryersonian Staff

Michael Landsberg knows what it’s like to feel alone, helpless, and depressed. The former Ryerson student and current TSN personality has been struggling publicly with depression and anxiety for almost five years, and he says that some days are infinitely harder than others. “Sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed,” he says. “The idea of facing the day is torture. I’ve been there, I’ve lived that.” Landsberg has been hosting TSN’s sports debate and interview show, Off The Record, for 17 years. Even now the host of Canada’s longest-running talk show says he has his good days and bad days. Despite this, he insists that he wouldn’t be where he is today if he wasn’t vocal about his ongoing battle with mental illness. “The single most important thing to do is share,” he says. “If you don’t share, there is never help. You can’t ever do it on your own.” Tuesday was Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day dedicated to being vocal about mental illness and raising awareness. Bell Let’s Talk is a wide-reaching, multi-year initiative designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health across Canada. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donated five cents to a Canadian mental health program for every text message sent, every phone call made, every #BellLetsTalk tweet, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image. The amount of money given this year has yet to be calculated, but between its launch in 2010 and 2013, Bell donated over $62 million. For

Courtesy TSN

Michael Landsberg is open about his struggles with depression.

the past three own story will Let’s Talk Days, “The idea of facing encourage others Landsberg has the day is torture. I’ve to share theirs. dedicated a show “Any chance to the issue. been there, I’ve lived that I get to He has dealt that.” talk about this with the case issue, I will,” – Michael Landsberg Landsberg says. of John Wood, a Canadian “We can proOlympian who committed sui- mote sharing by sharing our stocide a year ago; brought on Clara ries.” When asked about the Hughes, Canadian Olympic one thing he wants everyone to champion and spokesperson for know, Landsberg says, “If you’re the Bell initiative; and created a out there learning about depresdocumentary entitled Darkness sion or mental illness and you’re and Hope: Depression, Sports, thinking, ‘Wow, this is me,’ there and Me. This is all done with is help for you, and there is hope the hope that talking about his for you. But the first thing you have to do is tell someone.”


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SPORTS

The Ryersonian • 11

Kolbe takes her final stab at fencing By Sebastian Novais Ryersonian Staff

Joanna Kolbe will pick up her sword one last time for Ryerson on Feb. 8. Heading into her fourth Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s fencing championship, where she has won gold for three straight years, Kolbe is looking to relax after her last tournament. “I decided to quit a long time ago, so I’m pretty much going to finish fencing,” said Kolbe. That may seem surprising, given Kolbe is one of Ryerson’s best athletes. Her accolades stack up with the best. In 2013 she was named Ryerson’s H.H. Kerr Female Athlete of the Year, an honour she had been nominated for three times previously. She has won three OUA gold medals. “This year I am trying to have more fun,” said Kolbe. “I don’t treat it as serious as I did before. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, but I still want to do well.” After this season is finished, the fourth-year computer science student doesn’t see herself continuing to fence. Kolbe said she wants to spend more time focusing on her future, which might include further education. She applied to graduate school for computer science at the University of Toronto. Having fenced since the age of 12, Kolbe is at the top of her game in épée fencing. The sport of fighting with swords is broken up into three weapons categories: épée, foil and sabre.

Her style, épée, uses a stiff blade and the entire body is a valid target area. Even a tap of the wrist or the toe of a shoe can count as a point. Kolbe likes to call herself a more laid-back player. “Everyone has their own style of fencing. I would say that I am pretty passive,” she said. “I don’t attack much, I mostly try to defend myself and use other people’s mistakes against them. I’m a smart and lazy fencer.” With the women’s championships just around the corner, Kolbe isn’t putting too much pressure on herself to win a fourth straight gold. “My coaches and everyone are expecting me to do well,” said Kolbe. “I’ve been focusing more on school and work. My goal is top four, but I see myself coming top eight.” But she still wants to win. “You always want to win, right,” she said. “You always try to win your next match.”

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• • •

ACNE and ACNE SCARRING

On the offensive Ryerson’s top fencer, Joanna Kolbe demonstrates the four most common fencing moves. Top left: Stop Hit – A counterattack into an oncoming attack of the opponent. Top right: Parry #4 – Parry is a defensive movement used to deflect an opponent’s strike. Right: Lunge – The lunge is one of the most basic and most common offensive attacks. The fencer stretches forward with their weapon. Bottom Right: Flèche – A surprise running attack from out of distance. Flèche is a French term meaning “arrow.” Sebastian Novais / Ryersonian Staff

Gunslingers of the OUA West

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Erica Whyte / Ryersonian Staff

Domenic Alberga and Jamie Wise played together as teens and reunited on the Rams hockey team. By Erica Whyte Ryersonian Staff

Sportsnet is calling Ryerson’s men’s hockey team “the biggest threat in the OUA West.” The Rams are a top contender in the division, and it’s in no small part due to linemates Jamie Wise, 22, and Domenic Alberga, 21. The two forwards lead the Canadian Interuniversity Sport in overall points; Wise is first, with 40 points in 21 games, and Alberga’s in third place, with 38 points in the same time frame. Alberga was a new addition to the Rams this September, but the duo has years of expe-

rience playing alongside each other. In their teens, Wise and Alberga were linemates on the Peterborough Minor Petes, and then played against each other in the OHL, with Wise playing for the Mississauga Majors (now Steelheads) and Alberga for the Kitchener Rangers. They were reunited as teammates this past September. “We just find each other on the ice,” said Wise. “We know how one another plays, and it’s working.” Alberga agrees. “There’s good chemistry,” he said. “We’ve played a lot together, so it feels easier to read.” Linemates, then rivals, now linemates again, Wise and

Alberga prove that knowing your teammates and finding chemistry are key components to winning games. However, Wise insists the success of the Rams is not centred on the duo. “It’s not just us two, it’s our whole team, our goalie, our defence, everyone,” he said. “Everyone is playing well, so you know we’re just going to keep rolling with it.” The Rams have a good shot at finishing the season strong, because they’ll play their final five games at home. They take to the ice again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against the Brock University Badgers.


12 • The Ryersonian

VOICES

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How I planned my dream exchange By Shannon Cuciz Ryersonian Staff

My worst day of university was when I found out I couldn’t afford to go on an international exchange. I still remember the sick feeling in my stomach when my academic co-ordinator told me I needed $15,000 to make my dream happen. Tears welled up in my eyes. Since high school, I worked two jobs at a time to save up for my dream exchange to Australia, but after paying tuition for three years and rent in downtown Toronto, I didn’t have enough money saved to make that a reality. For years, I had my mind set on leaving the freezing cold Canadian winter to study in the scorching hot Australian summer. I read every Australian travel guide, researched all the universities there and even looked into setting up my student visa in advance. I knew this missed opportunity would turn out to be one the biggest regrets of my life and I had to do something about it — fast. I researched hundreds of international exchange programs online. I looked at other parts of the world I could study in, thinking they would be cheaper, but every program was out of my price range and lasted only a couple of weeks. I was about to give up when I decided to scan Ryerson International’s website one last time. At the very bottom of the exchange program page, I saw a link to Ontario-wide agreements. After being redirected to the Ontario Universities International (OUI) website, I found out that I could apply to one of four summer exchange programs in France, Germany, India or China. If accepted, I would study a new language and culture and receive a scholarship to do so. It seemed almost too good to be true. I sent in my application the next day to do an exchange in Germany, because the program there also included travel to Austria and Switzerland.

Courtesy Shannon Cuciz

Two months later, there were tears in my eyes again. This time, they were happy ones. I was going on exchange. The program in Germany was just over a month long. I wanted to extend my exchange experience so I planned a backpacking trip across Europe. The university program was paid for with a $1,000 scholarship from OUI, which included food, rent and travel costs. All I had to pay for were flights and my backpacking trip. After searching for cheap

Shannon Cuciz / Ryersonian Staff flights and scanning TripAdvisor for recommended budget hotels, I booked my international adventure. I would spend a month and a half splitting costs with a friend in Greece, Italy, Spain and France. Then I would go alone to Germany where the exchange program would begin. The best part about creating my own exchange experience was that I could cater it to my individual desires. Instead of spending all my time abroad with other Canadian exchange

students and being limited to weekends for travelling, I was able to make friends with the locals and stay for at least a week in each country. That meant I could indulge in every country’s culture because I got to know people who wanted to share the hidden secrets of their cities with me. Instead of taking pictures at tourist attractions and posting them on social media, I was digitally disconnected, learning first-hand accounts of history in different countries and experiencing what life would be like if I lived there. One of my favourite experiences was going on a road trip along the coast of Athens with a couple of locals. We stopped and ate at family-owned, traditional Greek restaurants and talked to other locals about everything from the corrupt government to the best souvlaki. Another experience I will never forget is being shown the optical illusion of St. Peter’s Basilica

in Rome by locals while eating homemade Italian gelato. When it came time for my exchange in Konstanz, Germany, I continued making an effort to become friends with the locals. Not only did this improve my German, but it also gave me the chance to see more than just the tourist attractions in my temporary home. Living beside the Rhine River with students from Australia, Russia, China, Norway and America, I learned about the beauty of new cultures through new people. I had intensive language and culture classes several hours a day during the week where my classmates and I could speak only in German. Every week, the program organizers scheduled different excursions to neighbouring countries and nearby cities. The trips included learning about German auto history at the MercedesBenz museum in Stuttgart and celebrating Liechtenstein’s national holiday with the prince at Vaduz Castle. I also had the chance to hike up the Liechtenstein Alps and the Swiss Alps, go to Austria, and spend two weekends in Zurich eating Swiss cheese at European music festivals. My entire exchange trip, visiting seven countries and four islands over two and a half months, cost $4,000 including roundtrip flights, accommodation, food, shopping and entertainment. While most university exchanges last four months and cost a minimum of $12,000, I was able to create a shorter exchange experience that fit my budget through OUI’s program. Going away to study and live in a new country during university is an invaluable experience. While regular exchange programs might not be affordable for everyone, there are other ways to experience new cultures and learn from new people. With a little planning, working and saving, any international adventure is possible.

Ryerson Speaks

What was your exchange experience like? Bonnie Chow

Fourth-year graphic communications management Exchange to Sweden

Angela Sucee

Second-year business management Exhange to France

“Studying abroad near Paris was most challenging and exciting “During the second semester adventure of my life. Balancing of my third year, I went on the very intense school workexchange to Linköping Univerload from eight courses was a sity in Sweden. I was worried serious challenge. I wanted my about making new friends and exchange to be academic-focused graduating on time. I worso I concentrated on studying ried and stressed more than I should have. Exchange was an amazing experience that provid- for a significant portion of my semester. However, it’s important to ed me the opportunity to explore, learn and step out of my com- seize every opportunity, so when I wasn’t studying, I was visiting fort zone. I was able to travel all over Europe and meet people new cities. Overall, I visited seven countries while abroad. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit so many famous sights, from all around the world. As cliché as it sounds, my time on exchange was the best time of my life and I have so many great to wander around ancient cities, to taste foreign delicacies and to meet interesting people. I learned how rewarding it can be to step and rewarding experiences that I will always remember and out of your comfort zone and experience new places.” cherish.”


January 29, 2014 issue