May 24, 2022

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Arts advising will likely cut international student advisors

Teaching tech to empower voices of marginalized youth

The Thunderbird recruited me for varsity hackysack

Mapping the smellscape of Metro Vancouver

UBC Recreation to host ‘Free Week’







A bridge across oceans

Reconciling Asian identity as a Chinese adoptee

// 8–10


MAY 24, 2022 TUESDAY




2022/23 AMS President Eshana Bhangu is ‘ready to kick some ass’ race car style




means person after person hanging up on you or yelling at you to stop calling them with only the occasional pleasant interaction. But, Bhangu’s experience wasn’t typical. “[I was] obviously a child so nobody was hanging up on me as they usually do when you’re canvassing,” she said. That day was enough to get her hooked. A few years later when she was in grade 10, she went on to volunteer at Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal’s office and by grade 11 she was employed by Dhaliwal. Despite her long-lasting interest in politics, Bhangu didn’t originally plan to get involved in student politics at university. “I was at Imagine Day in the crowd of like 8,000 students and I saw [former AMS President] Chris Hakim speaking and I’m like, ‘I wonder if that could be me one day,’” she said. “But again, I really didn’t know about the AMS at all … I just stumbled upon the nomination form [for the Senate].” She went on to win her bid for the Senate and has served as a student senator since 2020. Now, as Bhangu enters her fourth year at UBC and her third year in student government, she hopes to continue her work advocating for students as next year’s AMS president.




Coordinating Editor Charlotte Alden

Business Manager Douglas Baird

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News Editors Nathan Bawaan and Anabella McElroy

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LEGAL The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of British Columbia (UBC). It is published every Tuesday by the Ubyssey Publications Society (UPS). We are an autonomous, democratically-run student organization and all students are encouraged to participate. Editorials are written by The Ubyssey’s editorial board and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the UPS or UBC. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is the property of the UPS. Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of the Ubyssey Publications Society. The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP’s guiding principles. The Ubyssey accepts opinion articles on any topic related to the UBC and/or topics relevant to students attending UBC. Submissions must be written by UBC students, professors, alumni or those in a suitable position (as determined by the opinion editor) to speak on UBC-related


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Bhangu in her VPAUA office.

Nathan Bawaan Web News Editor

Entering then-AMS VP Academic and University Affairs (VPAUA) and President-Elect Eshana Bhangu’s office in late March, the celebratory energy lingered. Congratulatory messages from fellow student politicians were still scrawled across her whiteboard, painting a picture of an intimate celebration following the announcement of the election results on March 11. One message clearly read, “That’s my AMS president.” The crowded whiteboard contrasted with the rest of the largely blank white walls. The office was largely undecorated, despite being occupied for almost a year. The only other decor was a set of photo booth-style photos of Bhangu and 2021/22 AMS President Cole Evans taped next to the whiteboard, a small, polaroid-covered bulletin board propped up against the wall on the desk and an unhung painting shoved behind a chair under the office’s window. A miniature Max Verstappen — a racer for Oracle Red Bull Racing and the 2021 Formula One (F1) World champion — helmet in a glass case also sat on her desk, propping up her lamp so it stood taller. “I really like Formula One racing,” said Bhangu. “And I am an OG fan. I just want to highlight that I am not from Drive to Survive. I didn’t become a fan after that.” Bhangu can often be seen wearing a Verstappen racing jacket around campus and at AMS Council meetings. She even wore it the night she was elected president. Bhangu said she couldn’t remember when she first got into

F1 but that it was probably from a cousin of hers watching it while they were babysitting her. From there, it was love at first race. Bhangu said she loves the innovation of the car designs, as well as the competitiveness of the racing. She also likes the environment of “constant improvement.” “You can be a world champion by three tenths of a second,” she said. “I really like that part where you can make marginal changes to just get better and better.” The joy of seeing small changes make a big difference spans many aspects of Bhangu’s life, including her work at the AMS and her plans for her presidency. “Marginal changes [are] really important,” said Bhangu. “I better not be at a point this year where I think I’m doing great as president .... I think seeking out that feedback is really important.” AN EARLY START Much like Bhangu’s love of F1, she also absorbed her political passion from her family. In late elementary school, Bhangu’s mom volunteered to phone canvass for a candidate in Metro Vancouver (Bhangu said she would rather not mention the specific candidate or party). Bhangu would spend her time after school at home alone while her mom volunteered. One day after school she didn’t feel like hanging out home alone so she tagged along with her mom to the campaign office. “Oh, my god, I’m gonna sound like such a try hard, but I made a phone call that day,” she recounted with a smile to The Ubyssey. Phone canvassing typically

THE ROAD AHEAD In this year’s election, Bhangu beat out a crowded field of competitors for president including fellow AMS exec VP External Saad Shoaib, AMS newcomers Wesley Choi, Sydney Harakal and Tate Kaufman and joke candidates The Pan and Remy the Rat. Although she was ultimately victorious, she only beat out Remy the Rat by almost 1,600 votes. Students said they voted for the joke candidate due to dissatisfaction with the other candidates and the AMS. She said she plans to incorporate some points from Remy’s and her competitors’ platforms in an effort to keep a pulse on the student body. “I think elections also are seen as a time we’re discussing student issues. And there’s no better way to do that with a crowded race for president. We had seven people and all of them brought up such important things.” Bhangu specifically mentioned affordability, mental health support and engagement as common themes she saw on other platforms in which she hopes to make progress. Bhangu recognizes that not every student voted for her or has faith in the AMS to get things done. But, she hopes to improve the relationship between students and the student society as president. As AMS president her primary job is being the figurehead of the organization and managing her fellow execs. The success of this year’s AMS executive ultimately rests on the shoulders of Bhangu’s leadership. She described her leadership style to The Ubyssey as “student-centred and results oriented.” As far as Bhangu’s initial plans, “I’m just ready to kick some ass.” U


MAY 24, 2022 TUESDAY




Arts advising will likely cut international student advisors next year

Aside from general advisors, some faculty academic advising offices also have international student advisors.

Khushi Patil Senior Staff Writer

The faculty of arts may cut its international student advisors in the next academic year. Academic advising at UBC serves various functions, including helping students with planning their degree and filing academic concessions. Each undergraduate faculty has its own advising office, with several general academic advisors that students can book appointments with. Aside from general advisors, some faculty academic advising offices also have international student advisors, who have more training and experience specific to international student needs. However, in the past few years there have been cuts to the number of international student advisors across faculty advising offices on campus. Viola Chao, the vice-president academic of the Arts Undergraduate Society in the 2021/22 academic year, said that science and commerce advising have removed the position entirely. Susanne Goodison, director of arts academic advising services, said that other faculty advising offices “have already transitioned away from specific roles for international students,” but did not specify whether science or commerce had done so. Both faculties did not reply to requests for comment. Chao added that arts advising

has cut down the number of international student advisors. “I believe there used to be a team of eight of them who [were] specifically catered toward supporting international students within the faculty of arts but … a lot of advisors who are specifically focused on international students have just been adjusted to being general academic advisors,” she said. Chao said that there are currently two international student advisor positions remaining in arts advising, but these may be removed by the next winter session. “I don’t know if this change has been confirmed yet, but it seems very likely that this will happen,” she said. Dayle Balmes, the president of the Science Undergraduate Society, declined to comment on the matter, citing a lack of sufficient details from the faculty. The Ubyssey also reached out to the Commerce Undergraduate Society, but did not receive a response. Over 27 per cent of UBC Vancouver students are international, indicating the need for an academic advising system that provides sufficient international student support. “I think just from the work that I’ve done as VP academic this year and having peers who are international students, the difficulties that they’ve faced ... especially during COVID[-19], have brought a lot of unique challenges,” Chao said.

Chao said she thinks it’s important for international students to speak with advisors who are more equipped to address these unique concerns. She also noted that an understanding of the cultural nuance reflected in being international is a benefit of the position. “I feel for so many international students who are struggling and trying to balance academics, … and wanting to talk to someone about, ‘Hey, this is going on with my family right now in Ukraine [for example] and I just can’t handle this course load, I may need to drop a class,’” she said. “If they’re able to speak directly with an academic advisor that knows how to delegate that situation, I feel like they would benefit a lot.” Shambhavi Srivastava, thirdyear arts student, said that arts academic advising wasn’t able to support her when she could not travel to Vancouver in the first term of the 2021/22 winter session due to the flight ban on India. When she reached out to arts advising about her classes, they said there was not a lot that could be done besides dropping the classes or reaching out to individual departments about potential online alternatives. She said she hopes to see increased support for students undergoing unexpected circumstances in the future. “[There’s] disappointment with the fact that they haven’t been able to help me,” she said.


Goodison wrote in a statement that the removal of international student advisors is part of a transition to an advising model that will allow international students to access better support. One of the reasons for this change is to minimize confusion between academic advising and support services from the international student advising office, she said. Aside from academic international student advisors, UBC has an international student advising office which includes trained and registered immigration consultants, and can assist international students in transitioning to life in Canada outside of academics. “We heard from students that the job titles and roles of different professionals on campus was confusing,” Goodison said. “Students oftentimes come to our office for immigration support and guidance, but academic advisors … cannot offer specific immigration support.” Muskan Shukla, another arts student going into her third year, said she did not know that arts advising had international student-specific advisors. In her past experiences with drop-in advising, she had been “handed to an advisor” that took care of her needs. Shukla also said that accessing arts academic advising was “confusing at first,” but that they’re a helpful resource for her. “They’re there for you. You just have to look for them,” she

said. Another issue Goodison noted in her statement is that international students are not always able to meet with international student-specific advisors when attending academic advising, due to limited availability. Chao also said that long wait times frustrated students. “Our goal is to support all students and we believe that the type of support should not be dependent on who a student sees in our office on any given day or time,” Goodison said. The new advising model seeks to train all arts academic advisors with the knowledge and tools required for international student-specific concerns. Goodison said the training for international student advisors is “largely similar” to that of general advisors. The key difference is that the former get trained on handling study and post-graduate work permits and must attend the International Student Working Group led by international student advising. With the removal of international student-specific advisors, all arts academic advisors will now have this additional training, along with an increased focus on equity and inclusion training for the whole office. She noted that arts advising is developing a knowledge base to best work with specific international student populations. U — With files from Nathan Bawaan


Post-secondary funding review could improve student affordability Elif Kayali Senior Staff Writer

The provincial government has announced a funding review to look at how it’s allocating funding to 25 post-secondary institutions, a potential step toward making higher education more affordable. As the first of its kind in two decades, the review will examine what the province calls “block funding,” which is given to institutions for their general operations, amounting to around 75 per cent of the government’s operating grants. Each year, block funding is given based on the previous year’s grants, independent of the number of student seats or specific programs at an institution. UBC received $952 million dollars from the province in 2021 — 32.6 per cent of the university’s total operating revenue. “The current funding model has not been updated in over 20 years and has created constraints and inequities for public post-secondary institutions,” wrote Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang in a statement to The Ubyssey. According to a press release by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, the review aims to establish a model that “fairly and impartially” distributes funding to public post-secondary institutions. Additionally, it will look into supporting students by making sure they can access


The current funding model has not been updated in over 20 years.

“affordable, high-quality post-secondary education” and “expanding key student supports.” Saad Shoaib, the 2021/22 AMS VP external, said the AMS has been pushing the government to start this review. “We understand and we recognize the urgency of a lot of the affordability problems that students are facing [and] that post-secondary institutions are having to shift the burden on students,” he said. Last year, 31.6 per cent of UBC’s operating revenue came from tuition fees.

Shoaib said the review’s results could be an opportunity for the society, informing its advocacy on affordability and tuition increases at UBC – given the wide student opposition to tuition increases this year. “I think [the review] will really allow the AMS to … put pressure on [the] university when it comes to tuition increases without having deferments to the provincial government,” Shoaib said. Board of Governors student representative Max Holmes previously argued that the continuous

increases were not a sustainable tool for the university to raise funds long term. He also said that UBC could call for more government subsidies amid the provincial review announcement. Holmes and two other student representatives, Georgia Yee and Shola Fashanu, voted against the latest tuition increase. “As a revenue source, we can’t continuously increase tuition, especially if we’re trying to keep up with inflation because we’re going to have to outpace inflation,” Holmes said at the March 31 Board

meeting. The ministry’s website states that the review process will start with stakeholder engagement, including labour and sector associations, student societies and public post-secondary institutions. A separate process to consult with Indigenous peoples will be “co-developed with Indigenous partners,” according to the press release. Kang wrote that the review will be conducted “at an arms length from the ministry,” and that she is “glad to see this critical work to support students is underway.” U


UBC students advocate for universal access to contraception Bernice Wong Staff Writer

On May 9, a group of UBC faculty of medicine students gathered in Ottawa to advocate for universal access to contraception. As part of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students first annual Follow-Up National Day of Action, medical students from across Canada travelled to Parliament Hill to advocate for universal access to contraception. UBC sent a group of six faculty of medicine students to meet with MPs and senators to propose changes to the health care system. “It was very rewarding to bring our medical knowledge and our voices to advocate for women and reproductive rights, especially in the context right now of Roe v. Wade,” said Michelle Lisonek, one of the UBC students sent to Ottawa. This year’s Day of Action came a week after a draft decision of the US Supreme Court leaked that would overturn Roe v. Wade — the legal precedent that protects abortion rights — in February. Saman Fouladirad, another UBC faculty of medicine student that was in Ottawa, outlined the three main requests he and the other students presented in the past week: universal coverage of contraception, evidence-based sexual education and increased accessibility through allied healthcare providers.

“It was really empowering to see how many students were fighting for this issue.”

“There is a lot of misinformation about birth control and all the different options including efficacy or what’s covered [and] what isn’t covered,” said Lisonek with regard to the students’ second request to Parliament about education. The group advocated for an increased number of public education campaigns that used information from the Society of

Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, a national medical society representing thousands of obstetricians and gynecologists. Lisonek also said the group advocated for the importance of catering information to different equity-seeking groups. “For example, [for] newcomers to Canada, or the Indigenous populations, [we talked about] how


we can use their cultural beliefs or different practices to integrate that into birth control education,” she said. Another main obstacle regarding contraception is accessibility. BC has nine abortion clinics, but some provinces and territories have four or fewer abortion clinics. “For us, in terms of physical

location, it’s very attainable to obtain the necessary [medical] things that we need. This is not always the case in more rural or northern communities. For example, these people may not have that timely access to a primary care physician to get the appropriate contraception,” explained Fouladirad. Abortion clinics are often centred around cities, meaning people who seek abortions who live outside those areas must travel long distances and spend more money to access these services. Many smaller cities and neighbourhoods across Canada are located more than a six-hour drive away from an abortion clinic. Reflecting on their Day of Action in Ottawa, Fouladirad and Lisonek said it was a rewarding and fulfilling opportunity. “Going to Parliament and talking to the MPs and Canadian leaders is an absolute privilege and honour, something that I don’t take for granted,” said Fouladirad. As a 2022 medical school graduate, he hopes to bring this advocacy into “residency and beyond.” “It was really empowering to see how many students were fighting for this issue and were passionate about it,” said Lisonek. “We just want to continue to fight and show that it is morally and medically a good decision to have access to safe abortion and contraception.” U

Asian Heritage Month | 5

How UBC is celebrating Asian Heritage Month this year Laurissa Cebryk It’s Asian Heritage Month and groups across UBC campus have planned events for this month, and year-round, to celebrate.

culture or help those of Asian heritage connect with their roots.

Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated in Canada since the 1990s, but 20 years ago, the federal government officially designated May for the month-long celebration.

“There are so many diverse stories to be told and to be heard,” said Wu. “We hope that by celebrating Asian Heritage Month, we can spread more diverse words to more people in the world about Asian heritage and the beauty of it.”

UBC has officially celebrated the month since 2004 when the school became a title sponsor of explorAsian. The explorAsian festival is put on annually by the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society to highlight Asian Canadian artists and culture.

She also said she hopes UBC will have an in-person celebration for Asian Heritage Month next year to help showcase the different aspects of Asian Heritage and the cultures associated with it.

In a video about the significance of Asian Heritage Month produced by UBC, Dr. Henry Yu, history professor and principal of St. John’s College, said this month is important to celebrate given the recent large increase in anti-Asian racism in Vancouver. “The celebration is a way of recognizing [our ancestors’] struggles to belong; to be given the opportunity to be able to achieve,” said Yu. “We’re celebrating how far we’ve come in Canada and British Columbia, but we are also acknowledging with this month that there has been a long history of anti-Asian racism.”

Outside of Asian Heritage Month, student clubs like the UBC Mahjong Club offer students of all backgrounds a chance to learn more about their own heritage or about East Asian culture more broadly — like learning to interpret the symbols on the tiles or going for dim sum. “It’s very funny to think that millions of people from before my time have played this game — [my] ancestors have played this game,” said Nathaniel Ming Ki, the external social coordinator for the UBC Mahjong Club, who learned to play mahjong from his grandparents. “It’s a very fun way of connecting with your culture ... It offers you the opportunity to engage with something that not only your parents but potentially your grandparents and your family prior to that have all done for years.”

Even as Asian Canadians and immigrants now have many of the same rights or experience the same opportunities as white, European Canadians, anti-Asian racism continues — and has increased amid racially-charged scapegoating during the COVID-19 Amanda Ho, the club’s social coordinator, echoed pandemic. Ming Ki’s comments in a separate interview. In the same video, UBC President Santa Ono reflected on the importance of celebrating this month at UBC, as over 50 per cent of students identify as having Asian heritage. “They’re a very diverse group and it’s a little moment to really celebrate what they bring to the institution,” said Ono. Some of these events are hosted with the Asian studies department, such as the online webinar titled “The Hong Kong and Taiwanese Diaspora in the Literary Imagination.” Connie Yuchun Wu, the communications and event coordinator for the Asian studies department, encouraged students to attend these events in hopes that it might give them a new perspective on Asian

This year, the hope is that celebrating Asian Heritage Month and continuing to encourage engagement with cultural clubs and groups on campus — despite the rise in anti-Asian racism — will help uplift students with Asian backgrounds and reduce the misconceptions about what it means to be Asian. “I understand that some people have [misconceptions] because they don’t know the culture,” said Wu. “I think by having [Asian Canadians] develop a voice and spread the diversity of Asian culture, it would maybe give them a new perspective of Asian language and culture.” U

6 | Asian Heritage Month

Navigating Asian heritage The Ubyssey’s 2022 AHM guide

Iman Janmohamed Happy Asian Heritage Month! The Ubyssey has compiled a list of resources within UBC and Metro Vancouver that celebrate Asian Heritage Month through education and creativity, and provide support for people in cases of anti-Asian racism. CAMPUS COMMUNITY UBC Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO) According to its website, the EIO’s mission is “to advance equity and human rights at UBC by promoting diversity, eliminating discrimination, and engaging the community in dialogue and action.” It provides education on and community support regarding equity and inclusion. AMS Peer Support AMS Peer Support provides free and confidential support for UBC students. It also provides workshops to UBC student groups and community members.

wellness advice from trained UBC students. It is home to the Wellness Mentors programs, where students who identify as BIPOC can receive specific supports from fellow BIPOC students. Clubs There are various student associations representing different countries in Asia. Visit CampusBase for more information and to browse clubs at UBC. VANCOUVER Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society This non-profit organization has been operating in the Metro Vancouver area for over 25 years. According to its website, its mission is to “foster, promote and celebrate the arts and cultural diversity that Asian Canadian communities bring to Canadian society.”

Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) VAFF was founded in 1995. Its website states that it is “dedicated to promoting and celebratUBC Wellness Centre ing the diversity and depth of Asian culture Located in the Life Building, the UBC Wellness and identity in film and media.” Through Centre is a place where students can receive VAFF’s annual four-day film festival, it strives

to “amplify Asian presence in film and television.” Elimin8Hate Vancouver-based organization Elimin8Hate was established by VAFF and works to use creative outlets to eliminate racism against Asian Canadians. Elimin8Hate hosts programs, allows community members to report an anti-Asian incident and offers education on anti-Asian racism. Sher Vancouver Sher Vancouver is a Metro Vancouver-based charity that was founded in 2008 to work with Queer South Asians. It provides crisis counselling, peer support groups, outreach workshops and awards and mentorships. project 1907 According to project 1907’s website, it “provide[s] spaces for diasporic Asians to understand our histories, explore our identities, examine our privileges and reclaim our power.” project 1907 collects data on racism incidents in Vancouver and this data is used to “develop strategies, design interventions, raise awareness [and] advocate for policies and improve outcomes for our communities.” U

‘Stories that Haunt Us’

A conversation with Jamie Liew and Lindsay Wong Lucy Luo On April 5, the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration (ACAM) department invited Jamie Liew and Lindsay Wong, two female Asian Canadian writers, to a reading and discussion at the Arts Student Centre. The event title “Stories that Haunt Us” eloquently described common narratives and experiences surrounding immigrant decisions, trauma and mental illnesses — themes addressed in both authors’ work.

representations of Asian migration, mental illness and motherhood.

Liew’s upcoming novel Dandelion is about a woman searching for the story of her mother’s disappearance and tracing her migration journey back to Southeast Asia. Wong’s 2018 memoir The Woo-Woo tells stories of her childhood among “ice hockey, drug raids, demons and [her] crazy Chinese family.”

After the readings, a discussion about the intersection of their works began. Moderated by Dr. Amanda Cheong, an assistant professor of sociology, the writers discussed how memories of their mothers’ harsh, honest and humorous communication styles worked their way into their work.

Experiences of migrating from Asia to Canada often come at high costs to belonging, social status and generational connection. Emotions and traumas from migrant journeys can seem to become ghostly hauntings — mystical family stories used to explain away mental illness or other unexplainable occurrences. For the reading, both writers selected passages that featured the mother character of their stories. Each passage took a nuanced tone in their

Liew’s passage illustrated elusive memories of the cold north, set in a small BC mining town. Meanwhile, Wong’s darkly witty passage set a scene of her mother taking her and her siblings to hide in the mall from ghosts who she feared would possess them.

Liew, with backgrounds in law and academia, spoke about the cathartic and healing power of creative writing. She described how creative writing allows her to approach her research on statelessness in Southeast Asia with a different perspective. Then, the writers discussed the importance of building community within the Asian Canadian writing circle, citing the richness of history and of our foreparents’ stories. In many Asian cultures, ancestors often come mani-

fested as ghosts. Homage and respect is paid to these ghosts and they in turn bless their descendants with protection and guidance. Though these ghosts can seem to haunt their descendants, the foreparents (in both the biological and literary sense) are also a vast source of knowledge and wisdom. An emerging writer in the audience asked, “How can I keep searching for stories when I’m running up against ‘I don’t know’ walls put up by my family members?” There seems to be no easy answer to the complexity of accessing family stories and histories, especially if those stories seem painful or shameful. “Have you tried chatting over dim sum?” Wong responded. As a first-generation Asian immigrant myself, I too wondered how I can connect to the stories that I’ve often neglected, the stories that haunt us — stories of family, home, identity and belonging. While the book signing commenced, and the room erupted into inspired chatters, I picked up both books. Let this be a part of paying respects to my foreparents and understanding where my own story fits into the Asian Canadian migration history. U

Asian Heritage Month | 7

UBC student’s short film Imran and Alykhan brings bittersweet Queer romance to Muslim youth camp Aadya Arora

Third-year Sauder student Shakil Jessa’s short film Imran and Alykhan debuted on May 12 at this year’s Crazy8s Gala, a competitive opportunity for emerging filmmakers to showcase their work.

of the outside world is gone.”

Crazy8s is an eight-day filmmaking challenge — three days to shoot and five days to edit — which gives 6 filmmakers out of 150 applicants support to produce their short films.

The film starts with a Euphoria-style party scene but smoothly transitions into a romance set in a cabin in the woods. The characters are dressed in vibrant polo shirts and button-downs that go well with the earth tones of rustic blue, green and brown that make up the background.

Imran and Alykhan is the story of a teenage boy, Imran (played by Moheb Jindran), who hopelessly falls in love with another boy called Alykhan (played by Harnoor Gill) at a Muslim youth retreat. In the beginning of the film, it is unclear both whether Alykhan is gay and if he shares Imran’s feelings. The 15-minute short film explores the uncertainties and subtleties of young Queer love forced to remain unspoken. The setting and the screenplay bring alive bittersweet memories of a childhood romance — innocent, wishful and expressed through vivid fantasies. The film brings Muslim and South Asian characters into the spotlight, straying from the common and harmful practice of casting Queer people of colour only in side roles (if at all). Jessa told The Ubyssey that the film is based on his personal experience of falling in love with a boy at a Muslim youth summer camp. But because the movie was shot in Vancouver in March, the summer camp instead takes on a rain-soaked winter setting which contributes to the film’s dreamy atmosphere. “It’s about two boys who are just in a place in their lives where they are completely vulnerable and open,” said Jessa. “Especially with social media, there’s so few times where you can disconnect yourself and be with someone wholeheartedly. That’s why I chose the setting of a summer camp because it’s a time where all

Jessa channels an element of nostalgia through cinematography, costuming and old-school set design reminiscent of a typical camp setting.

The first conversation between the characters takes place when Alykhan makes fun of Imran for listening to music on an iPod Shuffle — a symbol for how Imran soundtracks his daydreams rather than living them. The iPod also adds to the vintage feel of the movie. “I didn’t want to set it in a certain time period … which is why we didn’t show phones because I wanted it to feel timeless,” said Jessa. The movie does not shy away from wholesome romantic aesthetics. A sequence of the protagonists sneaking out in the middle of the night is followed by a beautifully shot scene of lanterns in the dark, which creates a paradise or getaway with no rules that the protagonists have to abide by. However, their environment does not allow them to express their feelings openly: the two boys are reprimanded by the instructor for sneaking out together.

Beyond the iPod, Jessa uses the soundtrack to separate Imran’s daydreams from the world that surrounds the character. In the title track, “to the parents of antisocial teenagers,” by UBC student and artist Krtvi, the lucid, free-flowing lyricism accompanied by strong vocals makes the daydream sequences feel realistic and youthful. The two daydreaming sequences slightly overwhelm the short film by taking up a lot of the screen time without moving the narrative forward. But, at the same time, Imran can only convey his wish for Alykhan to reciprocate his love through the daydream sequences since their environment represses more explicit affection. Although Imran’s affection is ultimately forced to remain in the closet, Jessa’s story is not: the film, which was screened alongside five other remarkable short films, earned a huge round of applause from the audience. U Information about the film’s screenings at other festivals can be found on its Instagram page: @imranandalykhan.

8 | Asian Heritage Month

A bridge across oceans

Reconciling Asian identity as a Chinese adoptee Isabella Falsetti 阳淑娇

Asianness can be multitudinous and complex. It’s not merely dependent on a shared language, food or experience, though these things can still foster a sense of cultural community. It’s also deeper than where you were born, how you were raised and what your family looks like. Yet Asian identity can sometimes become muddled when one has been transplanted between homes and across oceans within the first few years (or months) of life. This transplantation is something many Chinese adoptees are familiar with. China enacted its one-child policy in 1980 under Deng Xiaoping as a response to unchecked population growth. Following its institution, the policy received backlash from both do-

mestic citizens and international spectators who criticized it for violating women’s bodily autonomy and cited it as a severe human rights infraction. The one-child policy was finally terminated in 2016 in favour of a two-child policy and later succeeded by a three-child policy in 2021, but its repercussions are still deeply felt across generations. To say that all Chinese adoptees share the same uniform experience would be far from the truth, but there are fundamental commonalities in how our lives were shaped: we were not raised by our biological parents, grew up outside of China and have endured bureaucratic processes to validate the creation of our adoptive families. It’s also likely that we all have a photo of our adoption group sitting on

the famous red couch at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou — the prime choice of hotel for adoptive parents due to its convenient location in the city’s consulate district. Not always, but often, being an adoptee also comes with a sense of imposter syndrome. This could be due to the mismatch between one’s ethnic background and that of their family, unfamiliarity with one’s culture or the general uncertainty around one’s origins. For me, it’s a combination of all of these. To honour Asian Heritage Month as a celebration of all Asians, regardless of upbringing, here are the stories of three Chinese adoptees at UBC.

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“There’s two very different parts of my origin and who I am: … my cultural heritage as a Chinese person and then my family ties and how they raised me.” Poduch’s background as an adoptee has been influential in informing her degree path: she is currently pursuing a major in Asian studies, which has included accelerated Chinese language courses. “Whatever I do with my degree, adoption will have shaped that in some capacity,” she said. For Poduch, her perception of her Asianness differs based on the people she is around. She describes Vancouver Island — where she lives outside of the school year — as “really white.” She often stands out as the only Asian in the room. “But then internally, when I interact with other Asians one-on-one, that’s where I start to lose some feeling of Asian[ness].”

Online communities like the Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits tend to perpetuate an East Asian stereotype that is supposed to represent an entire continent and its billions of people. Many posts suggest that there are certain experiences one must have to earn entry into an exclusive (and mythical) tier of the East Asian community. This leaves the question of where all other Asians — and Asian adoptees — are meant to fit in.





Poduch has still found ways to connect with her Chinese heritage on her own terms. She enjoys trying new restaurants and eating Chinese cuisine, like pork buns. Learning how to cook Chinese food has been challenging without guidance from an Asian parent. While she acknowledges that her mom’s Chinese cooking may not be the most authentic, there is still value in the comfort a home-cooked meal brings, especially when prepared by a loved one.







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Poduch’s identity as an adoptee has also shaped how she views the role of family. Since most adopPoduch recalled feeling imposter syndrome tees do not have ties to their biological family, the when interacting with some of the first- and strength of their relationships is not defined by second-generation Chinese Canadians at her high genetics. The definition of family is more open school. to interpretation, and is not limited to those you share a name with. She described the embarrassment she felt when topics came up that she couldn’t relate to, like “I think you can still find that familial fulcelebrating Chinese holidays and growing up fillment absolutely with other people …. Your with a Chinese family in general. It wasn’t quite family is not who you’re related to by blood.”

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shame, but a feeling of exclusion. “I’d be like, ‘My parents don’t do that’ …. I can’t relate as much to the classically Asian American experience.”

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JIALIN PODUCH is a third-year arts student. She pronounces her name “Jalen” but has kept the Hanyu Pinyin spelling as a marker of her Chinese heritage. She was adopted from the city of Anqing at 11 months old.

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MYA BALLIN was born in the city of Jiangmen, Guangdong, and adopted at half a year old. Ballin is about to graduate with a dual master’s in library information science and archival studies. For her thesis, she interviewed 12 transracial and transnational adoptees from China and Korea. Her goal is to redefine what is typically considered an archival record, specifically in the context of the international adoption process. Adoption records are typically products of bureaucratic processes, Ballin explained. “It would be the literal papers that facilitated the adoption.” These could include documents signed by the adoptive parents, the adoption agency or the country of the adoptee’s birth. However, Ballin stressed that “that body of records does not encapsulate all of the materials that are made in relation to adoption.”

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An example of an alternative record could be the clothing an adoptee wore on the day of their adoption, according to Ballin. This type of relic carries significant emotional weight but is typically excluded from traditional scholarship.




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Xiǎo Lì — small, beautiful Jiangmen, Guangdong Province

Through her research, Ballin hopes to shift narratives surrounding adoption and some of the assumptions that are made about adoptees. “What it means to … accept or what it means to understand adoptees and their experiences shouldn’t just be focused on how we fit into traditional heteronormative, very blood-based family narratives,” she said.


Jiā Līn — beautiful jade Anqing, Anhui Province tion narratives shouldn’t automatically revert to this objective. Ballin said that being an adoptee — specifically an Asian adoptee — “is a lot of being a bridge … it’s a lot of having to sort of make connections between two very distinct and very different cultural communities.” Ballin finds herself bridging both the Asian and German Jewish (her mother’s ethnicity) sides of her identity while still exploring how she fits into each and where they intersect. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve continued to want to be in those spaces. And yet at the same time, I’ve more and more noticed the fact that I’m not automatically considered to be someone who belongs in those spaces,” Ballin said — referring to her presence as an Asian in the Jewish community. Like Poduch, Ballin revealed that she “[feels] imposter syndrome all the time,” especially coupled with the independence that comes with entering university. “People make assumptions about you when you first introduce yourself based on your race, right, like what you look like.” Understanding the sheer multiplicity of Asian identity has helped Ballin come to terms with her Asianness. Being raised by Asian parents doesn’t guarantee one’s knowledge of their language or culture. “And so I think that’s definitely … boosted my ability to feel like I can claim being Asian or being Chinese.”

Ballin explained that it’s easier to feel Asian in her own right than it is to justify and provide Ballin aims to foster more open conversations proof of her Asianness to others. Now that about adoption — Chinese or otherwise — so intersectional approaches have begun to guide that others can better understand “the myriad discourse about race and identity, “there’s of things that adoption can affect.” Imporless pressure, I think, for my Asianness to be tantly, “not everyone is interested in searching like the same Asianness as everyone else,” said for their birth parents,” she said, and adopBallin.

10 | Asian Heritage Month

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Shū Jiāo — refined, delicate Yangxin County, Hubei Province

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I am in a unique position as a combined writer, photographer and source for this piece. This is not typically done or encouraged in reporting, but since there is such a small population of Asian adoptees at UBC, I felt including my voice could be a worthy contribution. So here is a bit about my experience as an adoptee — in my own words. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a region that had a fairly large FCC — Families with Children from China — group. Looking back, it seems unlikely for northern Illinois to have such a sprawling Chinese adoptee community. I never questioned it when I was young because that was just the norm for me, but whatever the reason, I’m grateful to have been a part of it. There were around 50–75 families altogether, and we would gather in smaller groups for Lunar New Year banquets, mooncake and dumpling making, and Chinese language and culture classes every Saturday morning. Since pretty much all of us are grown up and either finishing university or already graduated, the group has mostly gone our separate ways. I’m still close with a few of the girls and their families though. One remains like a sister to this day. When I was little, I didn’t question my identity as an adoptee very much because there were so many other adoptees that I interacted with who had lived experiences like mine. I’m thankful I was able to grow up around people who looked like me and knew what it was like to not look like our parents. But as I’ve grown older, it’s a topic I can’t help but think about more and more. I consider how adoption has influenced my everyday decisions, maybe even subconsciously, as well as larger ones

about the broader trajectory of my life. I wonder what growing up in China could have been like. I wonder if I had siblings. I wonder if I’ll ever meet my biological parents. There are a lot of ifs. I was born in Yangxin County in China’s Hubei Province in 2001 and adopted as a 13-monthold in 2002. I grew up in the midwestern US as an only child raised by a single mother. I had a happy childhood. But as I’ve come to learn, not all other adoptees can say the same. After coming to UBC for university, I’ve begun to realize how well-off I had it, growing up among a huge community of Chinese adoptees. Of the UBC adoptees I’ve spoken to, it sounds like that wasn’t always the case. Like Jialin, I am studying Chinese language and culture in the Asian studies department, though as a minor rather than a major. This was also sparked by a desire to learn more about my Chinese heritage. Having just completed my minor requirements this term, I think I’ve accomplished that: I can speak conversational Mandarin, have a decent understanding of modern Chinese history and am able to analyze Chinese media through a critical lens. However, these courses have also brought out something else in me: a looming sense of imposter syndrome. This became more noticeable after the shift to online classes. In Zoom lectures of 100+ students where no one bothered to turn their camera on (myself included), I found myself engulfed in a sea of gray rectangles with undoubtedly Chinese surnames. Then there was mine — almost aggressively Italian, suggesting that I was too.

I know that the facets of one’s entire identity can’t be summed up into a single name, and it would be foolish to think they could. But in an online classroom where space, body language and social interaction are compressed into one dimension, we only have so much to go off of to form impressions of each other. When the visual component is removed as well, all that’s left is a name, and sometimes a voice, in a breakout room. I know I’m more than my name. My mom kept my Chinese name, Shujiao, as my legal middle name, so I still have that attached to me. I’ve been trying to use it more as a way to visibly connect myself to my heritage. As a way to say, “Yes, I’m Asian too.” Sometimes I ask myself if it’s all just for show. Still, I think I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with my identity. I’ve made new Chinese friends at UBC who I can at least attempt to practice Mandarin with, and who have introduced me to other aspects of Chinese culture that I may have missed out on. It feels welcoming, like returning to a long-lost home. I’m continuing to reconcile the dual parts of my identity. There isn’t anything I would change about myself, my family or my friends, but I still wonder what my life would have looked like in an alternate reality where the one-child policy never existed. I’m working to quiet my imposter syndrome and the lingering feeling that my Asianness — the Asianness of adoptees everywhere — is not enough. But it is. It always has been. 家


MAY 24, 2022 TUESDAY




Your Voice is Power: Where computer science and social justice hit the right notes Kaila Johnson Senior Staff Writer

Computer science can be a creative outlet for more than just robots or delivery apps. Amazon Future Engineers and education network TakingITGlobal are teaming up to bring the Your Voice is Power program — a course which combines music, coding and racial justice to empower marginalized youth — to Canada. Project lead Christine M’Lot and other Indigenous educators from UBC were consulted to help “Indigenize the program.” This eight-module course teaches middle and high school students how to code using EarSketch, a free program created by Georgia Tech University, to remix songs from featured Indigenous artists Dakota Bear, Jayli Wolf and Samian. Teachers can access the lesson plan through the program’s website which can be translated to French, Ojibwe and Inuktitut. “Students code in different elements of a song into their own original song,” said M’Lot in an interview with The Ubyssey. “They’re deconstructing songs and then reconstructing them with their own remixes. And all of this is done by coding instructions into the program.” Alongside the fundamentals of computer science and entrepreneurship, the curriculum educates students on Indigenous history, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, and encourages them to “use their voice in a powerful way.” According to UBC enrolment statistics, the enrolment of In-


Featured Indigenous artists Dakota Bear, Jayli Wolf and Samian.

digenous students has increased over the past five years. Within the computer science department in the same time period, however, the percent of Indigenous students enrolled has decreased from 0.76 per cent to 0.62 per cent. “Where this project comes in is creating a curriculum that is aimed at bridging that gap and bringing other ideas together [in] a holistic stream to say, ‘Here is computer science and here’s what we’re

going to be doing,” but we’re going to wrap that around cultural ideas, and in this case, it’s with music and connected to artists, musical artists that were also Indigenous,” said Indigenous studies and computer science PhD student Jon Corbett. Corbett researched Indigenous musical artists for the program to find samples for students to remix. Alongside six of his colleagues, he curated a list of potential musicians to work with that varied in style.

This year’s program is focused on hip-hop and could expand to other genres in the future. As this course is used for both middle and high school students, the curriculum differs between the two age groups. “We’re trying to look for things that can [be] accessible and you can use at school, so if there’s profanity in the music, we can’t use that … you have to weigh who to pick and stuff based on

the audience that is going to be interacting with. You also want something that is meaningful and culturally relevant to the students that you’re trying to target,” said Corbett. “The goal is to look at alternative ways of engaging with computers. The racial makeup of that student body is not necessarily that relevant, it’s about really giving identity a chance to express itself in computer programming and in computer sciences.” The Canadian version of the program was created during the COVID-19 pandemic which changed how students work through the modules and interact with featured artists. “Through this program, all students need is a laptop. They can make their own beats, record their own songs and they learn to code while doing all of that. So, I think it makes [the program] even more accessible for students, especially during COVID[-19] time,” said M’Lot. M’Lot described this course as a “living program” and would like to highlight different Indigenous artists every year. “We do hope to make the program relevant each year so if something changes or something comes out we’ll definitely be updating the modules as well,” said M’Lot. “I’m proud of it all. I hope that the program does what it intended to do. And that’s to inspire, particularly Indigenous youth in seeing themselves potentially having a career in computer science and technology.” U


Campus Clubs: UBC SISU Khushi Patil and Riya Alluri Senior Staff and Staff Writers

‘Sisu’: the Finnish concept of bravery, strength and resilience. “[These] are the values that we try to encompass,” said Masha Shcherbyna, fifth-year kinesiology student and president of UBC SISU. UBC SISU is a club focused on the intersection between physical activity and women’s empowerment. What started out as a fitness and outdoors club promoting health and outdoor sports among women has quickly expanded to include all genders in their events, while retaining the original focus on empowerment and inclusivity. “We really like to … create a [safe] space for everyone to celebrate health and wellness in whatever shape or form it takes,” Shcherbyna said. WHAT DO I DO AS A MEMBER? Members get discounted or free access to events, which happen at least twice a month, and are based on Instagram poll responses so that members have their voices heard.

Members also are welcome to join the club Facebook group where they can connect with other members and find like-minded people to take part in outdoor activities with. SISU’s primary objective is getting members outdoors, with activities like hiking, beach yoga, kayaking and cycling the seawall, to name a few. In recent years, though, as a response to the unruly weather and the pandemic, SISU holds a mix of outdoor, indoor and virtual fitness events, such as heel dancing at the Luminesque, climbing at the Aviary in the Nest, various yoga events and more. Aside from getting people moving, SISU also places an emphasis on health education. “As much as we are an outdoor girls club, we also really like to promote all forms of health and wellness [to everyone],” Shcherbyna explained. SISU has a monthly themed book club, with topics such as body image, self love and sexual health. They also have panel discussions centered around holistic wellness, where they invite speakers, usually local women, that work in the health field, like coaches, nutrition-

‘Sisu’: the Finnish concept of bravery, strength and resilience.

ists, physiotherapists and more. ONE HIGHLIGHT Shcherbyna said her favourite memory as part of UBC SISU was a yoga and boxing event that they held pre-pandemic. “It was really,

really great to get a sweat in, do some meditation and then just share wisdom and insights ... and just see what’s possible and get so inspired through that.” Their discussion panels are similarly inspirational, Shcherbyna said, but she hopes to do more


in-person events of this kind in the future as restrictions ease. HOW DO I GET IN TOUCH? More information can be found on Instagram @sisu.ubc or Facebook. U


MAY 24, 2022 TUESDAY




The Dingbat: The Thunderbird tried to recruit me for varsity hackysack

I made like the 99 and B-Lined.

Rachel Marr Contributor

Campus groups are constantly trying to recruit me, but all I want to do is pass my classes and drink bubble tea. I’m always on the lookout to avoid these clubs, but the efforts of one group, specifically the recruitment strategy of their mascot, went a bit too far last semester. CLUBS DAY I was searching the Clubs Day displays for free candy — as we all do — when I heard the rattle of a bean-filled bag being tossed around. I turned and saw the Thunderbird throwing and catching a hackysack at the athletics booth. As soon as it saw me looking, it held out the hackysack toward me. I floundered for an excuse to get away. “No thanks. Sorry. I have asthma. In my arms.” The mascot tilted its head doubtfully at me, staring right into my eyes. Staring back, I oddly couldn’t make out any silhouette through the mesh costume eyes. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a bowl of candy at another table. I made like the 99 and B-Lined toward the ‘Student Arts something Community whatever Club.’ Mascot forgotten. MACINNES FIELD I slept through my alarm the next day and was running late to my


7:30 a.m. STAT 101 class. Making the executive decision to have slightly damp sneakers over the perceived judgment of my classmates, I cut across MacInnes field. I was halfway across when I spotted a hackysack flying through the air toward me. Reflexively, I kicked it up and caught it, then lobbed it back in its original direction. When I turned back to see who threw it, the T-Bird was standing two feet behind me with the hackysack in its beak. The mascot said nothing, while holding out an athletics lanyard. “No thanks. I’m good,” I said, shifting restlessly. I started walking away, but the lanyard clip swaying in the breeze was weirdly entrancing. Watching it, I began to sway side to side in a daze, like a grad student who has yet to down their third cup of coffee. Whatever trance I was in broke when the wind changed direction and a cloud of artificial marshmallow scent wafted in my face. I hunched over, coughing. Who’s vaping this early in the morning? When I straightened up, the field was empty. I shrugged and continued my trek to class. THE NEO TABLE As unsettling as my encounters with the T-Bird were, it still paled in comparison to what stood before me: two Neo representatives at their usual table in the Nest, scanning the crowds for signs of weakness. I would normally pass right by, but I forgot my smooth-

ie shaker bottle on the bus that morning and needed a replacement. Mustering some resolve, I made my way over and put on my best impressionable freshman-ready-to-feel-financially-empowered expression. The employees immediately began pitching me their revolutionary new local sustainable vegan credit card, apparently perfect for buying avocado toast and NFTs. “Sounds interesting,” I managed to reply. “Can I have some free stuff?” They handed me a tote bag filled with a shaker bottle and other swag and continued with their spiel. There was something about their wording that gave me pause, though. “It’s easy to feel thrown when dealing with big banks run by corporate hacks. No need to have everything up in the air, with Neo you’ve got your finances in the bag! Your other cards can get the sack!” Something fell out of my swag bag. I looked down and saw a single long feather. I had to leave. “What are your interest rates?” I blurted out. I sprinted off while they were still gathering their wits. KRISPY KREME SALE Should I have gone home to avoid the T-Bird? Yes. Did I want donuts? Also, yes. I glanced around anxiously, then crept up to the table. “One

dozen, please.” I went to tap my card on their tablet, but instead of the cost, the display read “HAIL UBC.” I turned to the fundraiser. “I think there’s something wrong with your card reader.” She looked at the screen, furrowing her brow, then took out her phone. “Sorry about that, I don’t know what’s up with it. I’ll text my teammate to sort it out.” As soon as she sent it off, a buzzing sound came from under the table. I closed my eyes, praying to Santa Ono it was just someone else’s cell phone in their backpack going off. But, then the six-foot tall mascot with a giant costume head clambered out awkwardly from underneath the tablecloth, taking several minutes to squeeze out but maintaining eye contact with me the whole time. I was frozen in dread as I stood watching. The fundraisers opened up the Krispy Kreme dozen box, filled instead with hackysacks. They pelted my back as I fled. BASKETBALL GAME After the Krispy Kreme incident, I was careful to steer clear of athletics. I avoided events, fundraisers and even student-athletes themselves. I carried around an old Pez dispenser to use as a fake asthma inhaler to ward off any recruiters. My efforts all proved fruitless when I got an unexpected text from my friend. Apparently, he had agreed to go take photos at the

next UBC basketball game for The Ubyssey, but had fallen sick at the last moment. That’s how I found myself at a basketball game, with the Thunderbird staring me down from across the court. Determined to do my job, I ignored the bird and focused on the game. The first quarter went by fast, but it was in the second quarter that my trouble began. The announcer’s voice rang out through the gym. “UBC is calling a timeout. They’re subbing out the centre for the photographer and the basketball for a hackysack!” I shot up and dashed toward the door. I saw the T-Bird go to block the door, hackysack in hand. Distantly, I could hear the cheerleaders chanting, “Two! Four! Six! Eight! You can’t leave us, it’s too late!” “Please,” I begged. “I’ll buy an athletics hoodie. Just don’t make me do this!” The T-Bird advanced, ignoring my pleas. In my panic, I did the only thing I could think of: I yanked off the mascot’s head. There was no one inside. Hundreds of UBC athletics risk liability waivers spilled out instead, the costume falling limply to the ground. I dropped the head, then stumbled shakily away to the boos of the crowd behind me. I never saw that bird again, but every thunderstorm since then, I swear that the patter of the rain sounds a bit like the rattle of a bean-filled bag being tossed back and forth. U


MAY 24, 2022 TUESDAY





Ask Iman: Home doesn’t feel like home

Mind Your Mind: SMART Recovery

Iman Janmohamed Opinion + Blog Editor

Hi Iman, I’m back home this summer, but home doesn’t feel like home. Any advice on how to deal with feeling out of control? I completely get where you’re coming from. But, here’s the thing: your hometown is changing, but so are you. I love living away from home, but it’s an awful feeling to come back and realize that the streets you used to walk, the school you used to go to and the friends you used to see all the time are a bit different. But that, dear reader, is completely okay. Growing up is difficult and it hurts to see things change somewhere you grew up, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. You’ve met great friends, you’ve joined cool clubs and you’ve enriched your mind with a university education. You’ve grown! You’ve grown up! Instead of trying to make your hometown feel homey, take it for what it is: a complex place that changes just like you do. You can’t always be in control of what happens to your surroundings, but you can make the best of it. Getting back into things you loved to do when you lived at home — like going to your favourite coffee shop and hanging out with


SMART stands for self-management and recovery training.

Daphnée Lévasque Columnist


You’re constantly growing and changing and so is the world around you.

those friends you only see four months a year — might make you feel closer to home and who you were when you lived there. Home was home and it is home. It’s just different now since you’ve been away. I used to feel guilty for feeling like Vancouver was becoming my home. But it’s natural to put down

roots in the place where you spend the better part of a year. Just because home doesn’t feel the same as it used to doesn’t mean that it’s no longer home. Learning that it’s okay to have two or three or four homes that can hold different versions of you as you grow is important. No one said that you can only have one

home. You’re constantly growing and changing and so is the world around you. U Want to ask a stranger for advice? Well, you’re in luck! Send all your burning questions to advice@ or submit anonymously at!


Unwreck the Beach: Introducing The Ubyssey’s new sustainability column and moving stories to tell, the far-reaching and entangled implications of the climate crisis have caused Forrest to agree with Bill McKibben that “Climate change is the single biggest thing humans have done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.” JASMINE CADELINA MANANGO

Unwreck the Beach is The Ubyssey’s new sustainability column.

Matthew Asuncion, Forrest Berman-Hatch, Iman Janmohamed and Jasmine Cadelina Manango Columnists

From stairs as steep as the end of Mann’s hockey stick graph to fiery sunsets on everyone’s Instagram stories, Wreck Beach has become a staple of campus life for students at UBC. But what happens when our beaches get wrecked? Well, we have to do something about it. Unwreck the Beach is The Ubyssey’s new sustainability column, written by UBC students, for UBC students. Our columnists are passionate about all things

environment, from the climate crisis and sustainable food security to cool initiatives and events on campus and intersectionality within climate justice — they’ve got you covered. It’s time to Unwreck the Beach! MATTHEW ASUNCION Matt is in his fifth year at UBC majoring in media studies. He explores how social forces shape the way individuals perceive ‘climate change’ and seeks out stories that share why folks care. He has written the gamut from climate finance to university climate policy, but strives to centre justice and


student voices within these discussions. Above all, Matt believes in the power of community-driven action, the perspectives of those at the front lines of climate and environmental injustice and the promises of a brighter future rooted in collective care — for our planet and each other. FORREST BERMAN-HATCH Forrest is in his fifth year at UBC majoring in anthropology with a minor in political science. He is excited and honoured to cover climate and ecological issues for the UBC community. While there is never a shortage of important

Jasmine is in her third year at UBC majoring in gender, race sexuality and social justice and minoring in creative writing. She is passionate about intersectional climate justice and is adamant about understanding the climate crisis as interlinked and inextricable from other global and local crises. She understands how overwhelming and frightening the media coverage and academic findings about the climate catastrophe is and hopes to use her reporting as a way to make understanding and combating the climate crisis more accessible and less paralyzing for students. Regardless of whether or not someone actually manages to find ‘Planet B’, she’s quite fond of ‘Planet A’ and would rather spend her time protecting it than abandoning it. U Unwreck the Beach is The Ubyssey’s new sustainability column. Do you want to be a columnist for Unwreck the Beach? Are you a campus group looking to chat? Got tips on topics you’d like to see covered? Email opinion@

According to its official website, SMART Recovery is an organization that aims to help people struggling with all types of addiction. I haven’t facilitated one of its meetings yet, but I’m currently completing their facilitator training. SMART Recovery is so unique and customizable to each community, allowing for differing ways of organizing meetings throughout the program. SMART stands for self-management and recovery training. The program offers mutual-support groups led by a facilitator and participants learn tools and strategies to help them manage addiction. Its ‘4-Point Program’ includes: • Building and maintaining motivation to change. • Coping with urges to use. • Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviours in an effective way. • Living a balanced, positive and healthy life. It’s important to know that SMART Recovery uses an abstinence approach. This means that the goal is to refrain from all behaviours related to a person’s addiction. Some other programs use a moderation approach, which means that it is okay to engage in the behaviours from time to time, as long as it’s effective for the person in the moment. SMART is grounded in evidence-based therapies, including cognitive behaviour therapy, rational emotive behaviour therapy and motivational enhancement therapy. It is also important to mention that counsellors and therapists are not the only people who can be facilitators. Anyone who completes the SMART Recovery training can lead a meeting. Each meeting starts with a participant check in and an agenda is set. The focus of a particular meeting might be to review the pros and cons of engaging in addictive behaviours. Each meeting also includes a group discussion. Participants help each other and focus on the idea that they are not powerless and can make changes in their lives. U The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need support, please contact Student Health Services. In case of an emergency, call 911.


MAY 24, 2022 TUESDAY




Meet the UBC researchers who are mapping Vancouver’s smellscape Tova Gaster Culture Editor

Catching a whiff of sewage, exhaust or vape smoke in a city street usually isn’t anything to write home about. But if a smell in the Lower Mainland makes you wrinkle your nose, a UBC research study called SmellVancouver wants to know. SmellVancouver, or SmellVan, is a citizen science experiment which collects anonymous tips about smells via a web-based app. To file a tip, you can rate smells on a scale of mildly to extremely offensive, describe the scent and mention any steps you took to deal with it — such as closing the windows or using an air freshener. While each odour complaint is personal, smell trends can also be political. SmellVan is partnered with the regional government, and it hopes that its research can help Metro Vancouver create air quality legislation that represents the publics’ priorities. The project reveals that odour may tie into bigger issues including air pollution, environmental injustice and a municipal debate about the health implications of cannabis traces in public spaces.

FOLLOWING THE SCENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE Smell can majorly impact people’s psychological state and mood. SmellVan’s dataset reveals not only odour descriptions, but also emotional cries for help. “​​People really express themselves,” said SmellVan researcher and UBC mechanical engineering postdoctoral fellow Sahil Bhanderi. “If they’re upset, they say things like, ‘I don’t even know what to do anymore. I just want to flee, I just want to hide.’” Industry does not distribute odour pollution equally. The SmellVan team sees its research on smell not only as an atmospheric science study, but as an environmental justice issue. “Work done over the past two decades has shown that environmental injustice is very prevalent — it’s everywhere,” said Bhanderi. “People who are living near polluting sources are more likely to be of a minority community — it’s a fact.” Vancouver is no exception. In a 2020 study, UBC environmental scientists Dr. Amanda Giang, associate professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), and Kaitlin Castellani, research assistant at the IRES, found that the Downtown Eastside’s Indigenous population faces elevated levels of air pollution, as do the majority-racialized South Vancouver suburbs. “Even though we’ve made tremendous progress in reducing air pollution … those gaps are still there across communities,” said Bhanderi. “​​We are identifying specific census tracts where there are pollution hotspots … so we are doing this targeted analysis of communities that are worst hurt or the most affected.”


Science is in the air.

Once SmellVan finds these hotspots, its main goal is to identify the odours’ causes. In comics, tracking the source of a smell is as easy as floating along the scent lines to a pie on the windowsill. For scientific purposes, it’s more complicated. How can you systematically and analytically distinguish one smell from another? “As soon as [a chemical gets] emitted in air, it starts reacting with other things: traffic emissions would react with emissions from trees, which would react with emissions from factories, and also emissions from restaurants and every other source,” said Bhanderi. One way to accurately track a scent is to follow the wind. The SmellVan team utilized a technique to systematically analyse wind patterns called dispersion modelling, where wind parcels are tracked to determine where a smelly breeze may have originated. The team also uses what UBC atmospheric sciences PhD student in the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences Davi de Ferreyro Monticelli calls the “Plume Van” — a mobile unit with air quality monitors to test for pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. “Eventually we would like to … take the reports from SmellVancouver, see the regions where people are complaining the most, take the Plume Van to those places and try to have an analysis of the air quality situation there,” he said. “[Then] we can analyse environmental variables, such as temperature and wind direction, and see how they contribute to the particular odour event.”


To get to the source though, SmellVan needs as much information as possible about what people are smelling and where.

CROWDSOURCING POLICY WITH CITIZEN SCIENCE SmellVan uses a method called citizen science, in which data for analysis is shared by the public. “What we’re trying to do is use this odour experience of people, which is our citizen science source, to link to chemicals which are quantifiable and which policymakers and policy researchers can measure and then control,” said Bhanderi. Regulations might look like setting maximum allowable levels of chemical concentrations in the air, noted Bhanderi. For policy to serve the public, it helps to get data on what smells ordinary people perceive as problematic. “Odour complaints are the biggest source by which the public gives feedback [on air pollution] to policymakers,” said Bhandari. “If you think about it, it makes sense, right? I can’t see those small particles in the air, I can’t track it, but I can smell stuff. And if it’s making me uncomfortable, well, I need to voice it.”

‘STINKY’ IS SUBJECTIVE How people perceive the same smell might vary widely based on preference, brain chemistry and personal history. That’s why SmellVan provides the option to report smells on a spectrum, from neutral to negative. Whether you think a noticeable odour smells nasty or normal, if you detect it, the Vancouver Smell Map team wants to

know about it. Another common yet controversial smell in Vancouver? Weed. “Cannabis is actually one of our priority industries for the SmellVan analysis,” said Bhanderi. “That’s a source [of odour pollution] that Metro Vancouver is concerned about.” While many enjoy or are indifferent to the smell of cannabis, others find it nauseating. Since Canada legalised recreational cannabis in 2018, farms and dispensaries have been increasing throughout the country and so have smell complaints in Vancouver. In 2019, an air quality planner proposed recommendations for Metro Vancouver to regulate odour pollution from the cannabis industry on the grounds of environmental and public health impacts. Industrial cannabis agriculture produces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). When exposed to sunlight and combined with nitrogen oxides in the air, it creates ground-level ozone, or smog — a harmful air contaminant, especially for asthmatics and those with other preexisting conditions. However, some cannabis industry professionals argue that Metro Vancouver is targeting them unfairly. Many other industries produce VOCs as part of their regular operations, including organic manure farming and their odours are not regulated by the provincial government, though Metro Vancouver does issue “discharge limits in some industrial permits.” However, the specific industries being impacted are not specified. For SmellVan, the priority is the science. Its goal is to collect a meaningful sample of public

perception about who is smelling what and where, and let the data speak to policymakers for itself.

‘LIMITATIONS OF CITIZEN SCIENCE’ However, Bhanderi said that the respondents so far skew older, whiter and wealthier than the general population of Vancouver. This represents “one of the limitations of citizen science,” they said. Without a representative sample to inform policy-making on air pollution (including cannabis smoke), privileged noses may shape legislation — echoing existing socioeconomic biases in Canadian voting trends. SmellVan hopes to get more engagement from youth and low-income populations. Bhanderi mentioned that SmellVan’s Instagram and Twitter (@smellvancouver) post regularly to try and reach broader audiences. “We need more young people to report odours,” said Bhanderi. “If you ever experience any odours, whether they be pleasant, or not so pleasant, feel free to report to us.” Despite its limitations, SmellVan sees citizen science as a powerful tool to build civic engagement and public trust in science — a trust which has been dangerously eroding in recent years. “With great communication between scientists, the regulators and the public, eventually, everyone grows into a more engaged community,” said de Ferreyro Monticelli. “[When the public] sees the science working for them on their behalf, it’s something very, very positive.” U

16 | GAMES | TUESDAY MAY 24, 2022



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