AMS President-elect Esmé Decker is ready to cook in a new kitchen
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THIS WEEK IN UBC HISTORY
1948: Students launch flying club
In a sitting area tucked away from the noise of the lunch rush at Open Kitchen on a Friday afternoon, AMS President-elect Esmé Decker sat comfortably on a green couch, her right arm resting on the back as she leaned against it.
This place is significant for Decker as it was the birthplace of the face of her campaign, Remy. In January 2022, dining staff removed a rat — who was later named “Remy the Rat” by the UBC subreddit — after it was spotted at a grill station in Open Kitchen.
Decker said it was Georgia Yee, a student senator-at-large and Board of Governors student representative, who proposed that she run under the name “Remy the Rat” after speaking at a Climate Justice UBC (CJUBC) meeting before the 2022 AMS Elections.
“She was like, ‘You know what a good idea could be is having a joke candidate … Remy the Rat could be a really fun joke candidate. And it would just engage people more in the election again,’” Decker recalled Yee telling her.
“And I’m like, ‘I’m all about voter turnout, raising; getting out the vote,’” Decker said.
Two years and two campaigns later, Decker seems to have achieved her goal of increasing voter turnout — this year’s elections saw the highest number of votes in a presidential election ever, although other factors could have led to this. Decker was also elected the next AMS president.
She won under the Remy the Rat name, but Decker said she intends to serve as president as herself.
“As time passes from the election, Remy will kind of fade into the background and it’ll be more about me doing the job, representing students,” she said.
Decker will be the first non-AMS staff member to be the society’s president since 2017, but she has been involved with student activism on campus with groups like CJUBC, the Climate Hub and Sprouts.
Her interest in this work came from growing up in a household with what she called a “casual political bias.”
“I grew up in a family where my parents have been part of unions for decades,” she said, adding that her parents were involved in campus activism when they were in university and continue to support organizing around issues like the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Decker said she plans to draw on this activism experience as president — much of her platform centred around climate justice — noting that she has developed an understanding of UBC’s governing structures, including the AMS, as well as the university’s finances from this work.
She added that she plans to work with these and other student groups like the AMS resource groups as president.
“I think that even though I am an outsider, I’ve been engaged on the margins.”
A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
While Decker ran as a rat twice, she said only the first time was a joke. This year’s campaign relied on Remy as a representation of a group of students and symbols.
“I think that I wanted to continue the work that we’d already put in last year and like the community that we’ve made as a base,” she said.
Remy came in second during last year’s AMS Elections, losing to
current President Eshana Bhangu by a margin of almost 1,600 votes.
Rats also serve as a symbol of student movements elsewhere, according to Decker. She referenced the “rat rat” meme in China as an example of young people using a rat to represent their frustrations with the status quo.
“I want to be transparent about who I am and what I get to bring to the table, but also saying it’s not just about me, it’s about representing more of a community of students,” she said.
While Decker intends to serve as president as herself, she said Remy will still continue to make some appearances. For example, the Remy doll that Decker carried throughout the campaign will live on her desk in her new office.
She also said she’ll still use the @ubcrat Instagram account to engage with students.
“I might kind of just keep the fun going around that. But yeah, obviously taking my role seriously,” she said. “It’s a big responsibility that I’m really honoured to be voted into.”
READY TO SERVE
In the week since she won the AMS president race, Decker said she is being recognized more onand off-campus.
She said she was recognized at Earnest Ice Cream where she works part-time (her favourite flavours to eat are London Fog and Cardamom, and her least favourite to scoop is Rocky Road) the weekend after she won because she was wearing the same yellow sweater she wore at Results Night.
Decker said she has also been meeting with current AMS student staff and next year’s team of vice-presidents to gain some institutional knowledge and start planning for next year.
While Decker will be the next AMS president, she only beat current AMS VP Administration Ben Du by a little over 600 votes.
When asked what parts of Du’s platform she intended to incorporate as president, Decker said she planned to use it as an example of how to create realistic expectations on what can get done within a year-long term. She added that her and Du aligned on wanting to conduct a procurement audit of AMS businesses to address food insecurity.
When asked if she would bring a Ferris wheel to the Clubs Fair as Du had promised, she laughed and said, “maybe not.”
Ultimately, Decker plans to bring the experiences she has gained from working with different communities to the AMS presidency.
“I’m excited to just bring in my principles, like community-based culture.” U
• Remy the Rat (Esmé Decker)
VP academic and university affairs
• Kamil Kanji
• Abhi Mishra
• Tina Tong
• Ian Caguiat
• Kareem Hassib
• Mathew Ho
• Kamil Kanji
• Davey Li
• Sultana Razia
Board of Governors
• Eshana Bhangu
• Kareem Hassib
• Bylaw changes and Indigenous constituency — Passed
• General AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan fee increase — Passed
• Gender-affirming care fee — Passed
• Bike Kitchen fee increase — Passed U
AMS Elections results analysis
CharlotteAlden Coordinating Editor
For the first time since 2017, students have elected someone from outside the AMS (and a “joke” candidate) to serve as their AMS president. Remy the Rat, (Esmé Decker), will take control of the proverbial AMS kitchen starting May 1.
This year’s AMS Elections also saw four referendum questions pass — mostly with wide margins — and some interesting abstention trends. Here are some key takeaways from the unofficial election results. Results will be approved and made official at the next AMS Council meeting on March 22.
OVER 20 PER CENT OF STUDENTS TURNED OUT TO VOTE
This year’s AMS Elections saw a 22.9 per cent voter turnout — or 14,065 students. This is the second highest voter turnout in AMS history, according to AMS Elections Administrator Max Holmes. Last year’s elections saw a turnout of 17.4 per cent, and the year before a turnout of just 6.9 per cent.
The highest turnout was in 2013, when 43.9 per cent of students voted with a U-Pass referendum on the ballot.
Notably, Holmes said more students voted in this year’s presidential race than any other in AMS history, with over 10,000 students casting a vote in that race.
THE AMS IMPLEMENTED A NEW VOTING SYSTEM
AMS Elections switched from the Condorcet system to using an instant run-off, or Single Transferable Vote, system this election. Under this system, voters have the ability to rank any of the candidates in order of preference. When calculating the results, the system first calculates all of the voters that placed each candidate as their first choice.
As an example, in the presidential race, 4,509 voters ranked Ben Du as their first choice, 1,396 ranked ChatGPT as their first choice and 4,932 ranked Remy the Rat as their first choice. Since ChatGPT is the lowest in first preference votes, it was eliminated.
Ben Du: 4,509 1st preference votes
ChatGPT: 1,396 1st preference votes
Remy the Rat: 4,932 1st preference votes
Eliminated ChatGPT due to lowest 1st preference
However, in order to make the final decision as representative as possible of voter preferences, the voters who ranked ChatGPT first had their votes transferred to the candidate they ranked second.
In the case of the presidential race, 709 of the ChatGPT voters ranked Remy the Rat as their second choice, while 506 ranked Ben Du as their second choice. Voters did not
have to rank all of the candidates, so the 181 people who just ranked ChatGPT’s votes were not passed on to any candidate.
Since Remy the Rat came out with the most votes and was able to pass the 50 per cent threshold needed to win (5,419 votes) with 5,641 votes, Remy was elected president.
Ben Du: 5015 1st preference votes
Remy the Rat: 5641 1st preference votes
Elected Remy the Rat due to highest 1st preference
LOTS OF VOTERS ABSTAINED
Voters had the option to abstain for every race in this year’s elections, and 53 per cent of voters abstained for the VP administration race — the most contested AMS executive race with five candidates.
The rest of the executive races also had fairly significant rates of abstention — 44.2 per cent of voters abstained in the VP finance race, 42.2 per cent in the VP external race, 36.7 per cent in the VP AUA race and 23 per cent in the AMS president race.
Nearly half of all UBC Vancouver student voters abstained from voting in the Board of Governors and Senate races.
Voters who select ‘abstain’ effectively do not vote in that race, unlike ‘no’ votes on contested races or votes for other candidates.
UNCONTESTED CANDIDATES ELECTED EASILY
Two executive positions were uncontested this year — Kamil Kanji for VP academic and university affairs (VPAUA) and Tina Tong for VP external. In the case of uncontested races, voters can choose ‘yes’ ‘no,’ or ‘abstain.’ Both candidates were elected with wide majorities, with Kanji receiving 80.7 per cent ‘yes’ votes, and Tong receiving 77.1 per cent ‘yes’ votes.
Abstention rates were high for the uncontested candidate races, but not higher than abstention rates for the most contested executive race, VP administration.
ALL REFERENDUM QUESTIONS PASSED
The nailbiter of this year’s elections — besides the presidential race — was the fate of the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. Voters turned out, and 8,907 voted in favour of the $52.50 fee increase, while 3,693 voted against. 1,465 voters abstained, the lowest abstention rate of all questions on the ballot this year.
Most of the referendum questions passed fairly easily, with a referendum on bylaw changes and the creation of an Indigenous constituency seeing 85.9 per cent ‘yes’ votes, the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan fee increase seeing 70.1 per cent ‘yes’ votes, the gender-affirming care fee increase seeing 65.5 per cent ‘yes’ votes, and the Bike Kitchen fee increase seeing 59.9 per cent ‘yes’ votes. U
Clubs seeing improved reimbursement times from AMSNathan Bawaan Web News Editor
Clubs are beginning to see a faster turnaround for their reimbursement requests to the AMS, although some club executives say there is still room for improvement.
The AMS has had a longstanding issue with slow reimbursement payments to club and constituency executives, worsened in recent months by a transition to a new financial system and personnel turnover in November 2022.
But, according to AMS VP Finance Lawrence Liu, the AMS has started to stabilize its financial system with the help of MNP, an external firm hired by the student society to help with the transition. This effort has in turn sped up the reimbursement process. He said it now takes between five to ten business days depending on if the paperwork is filled out correctly.
Previously, the process could take months.
Laura Gordon-Mitchell, one of the vice presidents of Sprouts, said she was waiting over a month to get reimbursed for a $1,900 purchase she made for the student-run cafe in a February interview with The Ubyssey
She said the main reason for the delay was because the AMS requires a formal credit card statement during the reimbursement process — something she did not have as she had just paid for her last month’s statement at the time
ONE WITH THE TREES //
of the purchase.
“I’ve done multiple screenshots and sent, in my opinion, what appears to be proof of transaction [to the AMS],” she said. “And they said, ‘Yeah, not sufficient.’”
Gordon-Mitchell has since been reimbursed, but said the process could still create financial stress for students.
savings to cover [rent]. But that’s my personal situation, and definitely not everyone’s when you’re a student,” she said.
hosting larger events.
limited club members’ abilities to participate in events as well.
“[The delays were] pretty difficult for some of the people that did go on [debate] tournaments because they couldn’t go on the next tournaments because they had not yet been reimbursed for the previous one,” she said.
Al-Tabbaa said she has noticed a faster turnaround time with reimbursements since the AMS started working with MNP.
Liu added that he would focus on creating training materials for club treasurers, including a manual in partnership with MNP, to ensure these people are filling out the reimbursement form correctly — something that Al-Tabbaa said could be more clear.
“I think it would definitely be more helpful if they were clear on exactly what they wanted to speed up reimbursement time,” she said.
“Sometimes I would submit a reimbursement but it wouldn’t be clear exactly what supporting documents they would want. So until they get back to me on that, and then me retrieving those documents and resubmitting that also would add to the time.”Rhea Beauschene Contributor
Forestry students are about to see a big change in how their faculty grants undergraduate degrees. Starting in fall 2024, five of the Faculty of Forestry’s seven existing bachelor’s degrees will become majors under a new, unified bachelor’s of science in natural resources.
Currently, the faculty offers seven direct-entry undergraduate programs, five of which are bachelor’s of science. These five will be combined into the new program, with students having the option to choose bioeconomy sciences and technology, conservation, forest management, forest operations, forest sciences or wood products as majors.
New students will no longer need to choose which bachelor’s of science program they want to pursue before coming to UBC. Rather, they will take a common core of 20 credits in first year before declaring going into second year.
According to Director of Curriculum for the Faculty of Forestry Patrick Culbert, the faculty has been working on this change for four years, consulting with students and faculty members to ensure that the new degree captures the breadth of students’ interests.
Culbert said the faculty wanted to simplify the program and
James Ross, president of the Data Science Club, echoed Gordon-Mitchell’s concerns around the additional financial stress caused by delayed reimbursements. He added that the delay could also limit some clubs from
“For smaller clubs or for clubs where you’re not lucky enough to have a few people who can hold on to that added cost for a little while, then it definitely would limit the kinds of events you can host and limit the kind of activities clubs can actually host,” he said.
Liu encouraged students to contact the AMS VP finance office if they have any concerns.
“We’d be happy to expedite any large payments or really just payments for students … who have been waiting so long,” he said. U
New, unified forestry undergraduate program to start in 2024
“I’m in a position that I have enhance community among first years. With a broader first-year cohort, students will have the opportunity to make connections across the faculty early on.
“We’ve heard from students
that they felt community in our faculty is really strong from second year on, but they didn’t necessarily feel that in the first year when they were taking lots of courses across campus,” he
Debate Society VP Finance Seema Al-Tabbaa said this barrier said.
Liam Doering, a second-year student studying natural resources conservation, thinks this is a valuable change, also noting the chance to build more community.
“[This change will] create, I think, a bit more solidarity in the faculty,” he said.
Doering sees other benefits too, especially in terms of future employability.
“I think [the unified program] gives people a broader likelihood of being a good candidate for a job,” he said.
The first-year curriculum won’t completely eliminate the choices first years need to make. Beyond the 20 core credits, students will choose an additional 12–13 credits as prerequisites for courses in the major they are most likely to pursue.
However, Culbert said the faculty made an effort to design the new degree to accommodate students whose interests evolve after first year.
“Our hope is that … with use of electives and things like that, [students] should be able to switch to a different major without too much of an impact on their schedule,” he said.
This new degree will come into effect for students entering UBC in fall 2024, but current students have the option to remain in their original program or transfer to the unified one.
Doering said he was interested in pursuing the new degree considering all the benefits.
“Combining the six options that are currently there … does seem like a more versatile degree.” U
UBC’s real-life Emilys in Paris face culture shock
Lindsay Wong’s haunting immigrant horror collectionJasmine Cadelina Manango Senior Staff Writer
Author and UBC creative writing alum Lindsay Wong started writing her new book, Tell Me Pleasant Things About Immortality, by accident. She started working on the manuscript while querying for her debut award-winning memoir, The Woo-Woo. It was only after noticing an emerging pattern in her work that Wong realized she had a short story collection coming along.
A lot of dead people.
“Maybe that’s a theme I could pull on,” she realized. After being raised on ghost stories, it just felt right.
“It just felt very natural for me to gravitate towards the supernatural,” Wong told me, “to gravitate towards family mythology [and] Chinese mythology.”
The UBC/Sciences Po Dual Degree Program gives UBC social science students the opportunity to spend their first two years of college at one of France’s elite universities. As a first year in the program from Vancouver, France has certainly not disappointed — from European nightlife, to trench coat season, to regionally-correct champagne.
However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from our French peers since our arrival, it’s how to complain about everything. Here are some of the biggest culture shocks my UBC dual degree peers had to share.
While it sounds like a stereotypical take from the controversial Netflix series, dual degree students confirmed that French people’s attitudes are harsh compared to trademark Canadian friendliness. Rasee Kachchakaduge, a first-year student, found that people were much more outwardly judgemental and that it was more intimidating to ask for help.
“I’m not saying Canadians aren’t judgmental, but I think we keep it more to ourselves,” she said.
Mayya Chaykina, also in her first year, said she doesn’t mind the bluntness.
“As someone who worked as a receptionist myself, I know we were trained to be very friendly. Here, things are a lot more straightforward, which I personally like. You just go into a bakery, you order, and you’re out of there very fast.”
Students also pointed out the lack of diversity in Reims, the small city outside of Paris where Sciences Po is located. Kachchakaduge said she missed the abundance of cultural food and authentic restaurants to choose from in Vancouver.
Deon Feng, a second-year student, mentioned Orientalist and xenophobic attitudes that left them feeling stared at on the streets.
“It’s like some French people have literally never seen an Asian person in their life. I’ve crossed the street and I’ve heard a kid say, ‘Regarde maman c’est un Chinois! [Look mom, it’s a Chinese!].’ That
would never happen in Vancouver.”
For newcomers, both social environments and bureaucratic systems can be hostile.
French administration, both public and private, is also incredibly slow and convoluted at times. Chaykina described it as a “never ending loop.”
“For example, to get a French phone number, you need a French bank account; but to get a French bank account, you need a French phone number.” While she admits that there are loopholes, it can get ridiculous.
The same can be said for visas. Kachchakaduge mentioned how difficult it was to navigate through the application process on her own: “It’s a mess and no one really prepares you for it.”
The social environment of Reims can be challenging, but financially, at least it’s relatively affordable.
What most tourists might not know is that the abundance of social services in France makes it a relatively economical destination for international students.
The government partially subsidizes rent for domestic and international students through the CAF program. The state-funded Crous program also gives students access to affordable housing and three-course lunches for as little as one euro for scholarship students.
Paris is only a short trip from Reims, and from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame to the Panthéon, the capital is an incredible destination for history and the arts. However, the dual degree students felt like the city was often over-romanticized by their friends and family back home and wanted to debunk some misconceptions about the City of Lights.
“It’s dirty, it’s crowded and it’s not as romantic as you might think it is,” said Kachchakaduge. “There are so many gorgeous places around France, and so much more France has to offer than touristy Paris.”
Feng shared a similar sentiment.
“It’s not the 1920s anymore,” they said, “but I still like it all the same, for all its dirtiness.” U
Tell Me Pleasant Things About Immortality is a collection of 13 “immigrant horror stories.” Each story is set in a different universe, featuring a diverse cast of Chinese characters in bizarre and often spooky situations.
Yet, her stories are often as funny as they are frightening. Wong tackles heavy subject matter throughout the collection. Her use of humour made the stories a little easier to stomach during nausea-inducing scenes and offered much-needed reprieve during traumatic ones.
“The horrible is hilarious and the hilarious is horrible,” Wong said. “They go hand in hand.”
Wong often used the supernatural as a metaphor for the everyday horrors that immigrants and woman of colour face, including intergenerational trauma, sexual assault and domestic abuse.
“As a woman of colour, every day life is horror,” said Wong.
Every story in the collection is rife with intergenerational trauma and complicated family dynamics. Often, these characters’ core wounds started forming in the womb.
“In Asian American and Asian
Canadian lit, we’re always writing about our mothers.”
Wong wanted to write about motherhood and daughterhood in ways that weren’t “necessarily cloying or sentimental.” The mother-daughter relationships in her stories brims with yearning, pity, resentment, admiration and everything in between. None of it is mutually exclusive.
“Our mothers really shape us whether or not we want them to,”
The complicated mother-daugh-
ter relationships in her stories are inspired by Wong’s own lived experience and fixation on whether her own mother would come back and haunt her.
“There’s this idea in [my] family that you never really die,” Wong shared. “The ancestors are always watching.”
Would she ever be rid of them? Would these “horrible personalities” ever leave her alone? Wong became obsessed. So, as many writers do, Wong turned her obsession into art.
Importantly, Wong’s characters are always complex and compelling outside of their roles as parents and children. She wanted to challenge the often overused and undermining tropes about Asian people, especially women, by portraying them as flawed as they are resilient. Many stories shed light on the marginalization and oppression that communities of colour face but Wong wanted to imagine her people beyond their victimhood; she wanted to highlight their ability to survive.
“If you lived forever, would you be happy or would you be sad?” she wondered.
She sought an answer to her question by writing about people who came face-to-face with the unpleasantness of eternal life. What is it really like being confined to that liminal space between life and death? And in that space where you’re stripped of both your humanity and mortality, how would you make your existence worth clinging to?
“Maybe you’d only want people to tell you pleasant things about immortality.” U
Campus clubs: Winter sunsets, Dance HorizonsJulian Forst Senior Staff Writer
March in Vancouver is a month of expectation — everyone seems to be waiting for something. Students coming out of midterms gear up for the long trek toward finals, optimistic couples lay on the hardpacked grass waiting for the thaw. But those things aren’t here yet, and waiting always makes time crawl. Instead of wasting away in pre-spring limbo, why not do some stretches, find a bamboo pole and make the limbo work for you?
Dance Horizons is the largest of UBC’s many dance clubs, with a team of over 40 executives and a membership of more than 250 dancers of skill levels ranging from beginners to competitive veterans. It offers 10 classes in a variety of dance genres; maybe you want to dance to steady beats and crisp snares in a hip-hop class, or live out your multi-chapter La La Land fanfic in a jazz dance lesson. If you’re into moving around while listening to music, there’s likely something here for you.
“We range from beginner, intermediate, advanced and open levels of all different kinds of styles,” said Dance Horizons President Alina Kuk. “And all of our teachers are actually professional dancers and choreographers [from] around Vancouver, so you’re learning from the best of the best.”
I had the opportunity to do just that when I dropped in on a
beginner hip-hop class in the performance theatre. It was organized by Grace Chen, Dance Horizons’ VP of public relations, who helped connect me with the club.
I arrived a bit early, accidentally walking in on a martial arts class just winding down. I wondered why everyone in this hip-hop dance class had wrapped their hands in tape and taken off their shoes. But I’m a pretty sharp guy; when they started punching each other, I figured it out real quick.
When the class got started for real, the execs wheeled some mirrors up against the far wall and we lined up behind the instructor as she fiddled with the speaker. Before long she was leading us in some improvised moves as a quick warmup before the true heart of the lesson: a full dance routine that the class had been working on since the beginning of term.
“All of our classes are commitment-based,” Kuk said. “What that means is that you’re there every week … so you get a chance to learn choreo, learn technique, all of that kind of stuff, and then [you] get to perform it in front of hundreds of people, all your friends [and] supporters, to showcase your hard work throughout the term.”
Even beginner classes, with the exception of one for absolute newbies, build toward Dance Horizons’ bi-annual shows, the next of which is happening on April 15 in the Norman Rothstein Theatre in Kerrisdale.
Dance Horizons is the largest of UBC’s many dance clubs. What this meant for me as I tried to look natural and keep up at the back of the performance theatre is that I had some catching up to do. Despite my lack of experience with the routine, though, (and, let’s face it, dance as a concept), the instructor moved at a pace that even I could keep up with. They explained the moves slowly and clearly, giving us multiple runs at each one before incorporating them into the routine. When the class ended and we all filed out of the theatre, I had a pretty good idea of the dance’s
progression and rhythm.
But maybe you’re more interested in watching others dance to your tune. If so, Dance Horizons lets you indulge your darkest puppet master fantasies in their choreography sessions. You can learn the fundamentals of the art, and even assemble a group to guest perform your routines at the club’s shows.
The past few years have been hard on almost every AMS club, and Dance Horizons was no different. It was forced to move all their teams online and suspend classes.
“Our year end show [in April]
is the first one in three years that’s in person,” said Kuk. “[We had to] come up with new, different ways to keep Dance Horizons alive. I think it’s been really successful.”
Dance can be intimidating. I, for one, had no clue what to expect when I walked into that class, and the unknown is scary. But whether you’re a seasoned waltzer or a two-left-foot novice like me, Dance Horizons offers you a place to take an old cliche’s advice and dance your troubles away. If nothing else, it’s a way to keep warm while we wait for summer. U
Good luck students!
GOONS: THE TOP FIVE ENFORCERS IN UBC MEN’S HOCKEY HISTORY RANKED BY PENALTY MINUTES
The UBC men’s hockey program has a history of success. If the team’s appearance at consecutive Canada West finals the last two seasons is any indication, the ‘Birds are a force to be reckoned with. And sometimes, to show that you’re on top of the game, you have to get your hands dirty.
There are six former Thunderbirds among the top 100 Penalty Infraction Minutes (PIM) collectors in men’s U Sports history.
Who are these goons that spent so much time in the sin bin?
55: BRAD ZANON (D) – 330 PIM
Player GP G A PTS PPG Period
Brad Zanon 142 29 58 87 0.61
Those early 2000s Thunderbird teams were replete with tough-as-nails players that loved to rack up minutes. I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the other end of one of those games.
Zanon is ranked 99th on the list. His best year with UBC was in 2006/07 when he tallied 14 goals and 33 points over 36 games. After his successful career with the ‘Birds, Zanon spent some time in the East Coast Hockey League and made a few appearances in the American Hockey League.
4: TREVOR SHOAF (D) AND LOUI MELLIOS (D) – 331 PIM
Player GP G A PTS PPG Period
Trevor Shoaf 148 12 50 62 0.42
Loui Mellios 135 13 50 63 0.47 1993–1998
Since Mellios put up the same number of minutes in 13 fewer games, you could place him ahead of Shoaf on this list. Considering their other statistical similarities and the fact that they were teammates for two seasons, I think we might as well stay true to the numbers and group the d-men together.
Shoaf and Mellios rank 98th and 97th respectively on the top-100 PIM list. That kind of tough play likely served them well in an unforgiving mid- to late90s era when referees would have been less likely to make some of the calls that they do today.
After their Thunderbird careers, both defensemen played briefly in the United Hockey League before hanging up the skates.
3: SCOTT FRIZZELL (LW) – 358 PIM
Player GP G A PTS PPG Period
Scott Frizzell 122 32 52 84 0.69 1989–1994
Frizzell ranks 66th on the top 100 list. After a long career in junior hockey, one that saw him put up 120 points in his final season in the British Columbia Hockey League, Frizzell brought his talents to UBC where he saw continued success. His best season came in 1993/94 when he put up 20 goals and 37 points in 28 games. He placed 7th in PIM that season with an even 100.
Frizzell recently worked as a scout for Kootenay and Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League.
22: NICK MARACH (RW) – 491 PIM
Player GP G A PTS PPG Period
Nick Marach 105 15 36 51 0.49 2002–2006
This is where it starts to get really interesting. To rack up 491 minutes in 105 games, Marach would have headed to the box for an average of four to five minutes per game, certainly an impressive pace.
1: SHON JONES-PARRY (D) – 564 PIM
Player GP G A PTS PPG Period
Shon Jones-Parry 89 4 10 14 0.16 2001–2004
Marach’s PIM total is a bit misleading. He tallied 491 minutes at UBC, which would be good for tenth all-time. After his time at UBC, he played the 2006/07 season at the University of New Brunswick and racked up 70 more minutes, bringing his total up to 561 and placing him at third all-time. 1
I would definitely want Jones-Parry on my team. Over three seasons, the defenseman tallied 564 minutes in just 89 games, an astounding mark that places him second in all-time U Sports PIM. Forgetting the raw numbers for a moment, I would argue he should be considered for the number one spot considering the fact that the only player ahead of him played 54 more games and four seasons.
Before playing for UBC, Jones-Parry won the Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup with the Portland Winter Haws during the 1997/98 season. U
CANADA’S MOST DECORATED UNIVERSITY SWIM PROGRAM HAS SEEN 40 ATHLETES GRACE OLYMPIC, PARALYMPIC STAGE
“O Canada” plays during the medal ceremony once a Canadian athlete wins gold at the Olympic and Paralympic games.
The anthem has been played 9 times for UBC swimmers, with the Thunderbirds placing 19 times since the 1972 Summer Games.
Back at home, the university’s varsity program is the most decorated swimming program in Canada — both women and men currently dominate in Canada West and U Sports titles with women’s holding 32 and 24 wins respectively, and men’s holding 21 and 19.
Since 1948, 40 students, alumni and
coaches have represented UBC and their country across 22 different Games. However, most Thunderbird athletes, whether they have coached or swam for UBC, started their swimming careers from humble beginnings.
Paralympian and world record breaker Walter Wu started with his parents driving him and his sister back and forth from Richmond to the UBC pool to swim.
Eventually, Wu attended UBC from 1990 to 1992 and then went on to become UBC’s most decorated Paralympian with 14 paralympic medals. In 1996, Wu broke two world records and two Paralympic records and was also the most decorated Canadian that year.
an eye opener seeing what the world competes like.”
“When I got to the national and international level, it was mentally a bit different. I didn’t know the people I was competing against,” said Wu. “The international competition piece was a bit of a mystery — you didn’t know exactly what they were doing. I knew what my teammates were doing, but then again, I wasn’t competing with my teammates.”
Tom Johnson, a former UBC swim coach, understood the disadvantages Canadian athletes were facing at that time. From 1978, Johnson had been a constant in Canadian high-performance swimming, starting Olympic coaching at 21 years old. Johnson, along with his twin brother, started developing training and competition programs.
“We started developing programs to expose [athletes] to higher and higher levels of competition so they could actually compete on the world stage and not feel like they were disadvantaged or less prepared than anybody else,” said Johnson.
“There’s just so much going on inside Canadian sport and so many demands being made of those athletes that lack coordination and integration,” he said. “And so that became an issue and we tried to solve that issue by creating options inside Canada.”
Johnson’s goal was to allow athletes to pursue high-end training and education in Canada. Previously, athletes would normally leave Canada to pursue their swimming careers and would often not come back to represent their country. Throughout his career, Johnson coached over 50 athletes in international competi -
tions including 10 Olympic Games, 14 world championships and 11 Commonwealth Games.
Under his leadership from 1989 to 2005, the Thunderbirds won 11 women’s and 8 men’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships with a combined 16 Canada West titles, and through the UBC swimming program, Johnson led 13 athletes to the Olympics.
Johnson helped set up the Swim Canada High Performance Centre at the UBC Aquatic Centre in 1998, which allowed athletes the necessary facilities, training environment and support to develop their sport.
This training and study environment was what led Martha McCabe to join UBC and the swim program in 2007.
“I knew that if I wanted to take my sport to the next level, I needed to get myself around the best possible people I could within that sport,” she said. “At the end of high school, I chose swimming. And UBC had an amazing swim program and still does.”
As a student, McCabe participated in the 2012 Olympic Games and was named 2012 Female Swimmer of the Year at Swimming Canada’s Big Splash Awards.
“I basically just wanted to surround myself with people who were world class in swimming,” she said. “At the time, there were a ton of Olympians training at UBC and swimming. And lastly, for me and my family as well, having a good education was really important.”
“I wanted to make sure that I had all those pieces. And UBC was the one that was going to offer that best for me. It was kind of a no-brainer.” U
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR YEARLY $240.14 ATHLETICS AND RECREATION FEE
Your student fees contribute to paying for many amenities on campus. Still, many students are unaware of all that is available to them and where their fees are going.
Full-time undergraduate and graduate students pay a $240.14 Athletics and Recreation (A&R) fee every year as of April 1, 2022. According to UBC A&R’s 2021/22 budget, A&R gets most of its revenue from student fees. Its expenses support facilities, varsity programs, recreation and salaries in descending order.
While you cannot opt out of the A&R fee, undergraduate students can get refunded if their sessional credit load drops below 18 credits on or before the withdrawal date. In this case, the A&R fee is adjusted based on credit load.
Since this fee is mandatory, what can you do as a student to get your money’s worth?
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STUDENT GYM MEMBERSHIP
Students get discounted rates at the ARC
and BirdCoop fitness centres. The three current membership options are $40 per term for fitness centre access, $80 per term for group fitness classes and $120 per term for both group fitness classes and fitness centre access.
UBC Recreation’s Free Week — a week when you can try out a variety of fitness programs and activities the first week of each semester — can be a way to see if a full membership is right for you.
ATTEND FREE DROP-IN SPORTS
UBC Rec also offers a variety of drop-in sports that all UBC students can attend for free with a valid UBC card at the SRC. This includes regular sessions of basketball, badminton, table tennis, volleyball and more.
WATCH A THUNDERBIRDS GAME
All 2022/23 season conference games are free for students. Festivals like Courtside and Winter Classic are only $5 for students.
SWIM AND SKATE FOR FREE
With a valid UBC card, students can access the Aquatic Centre for free. This includes a leisure pool, recreation pool, competition pool, steam room and hot tub. It also hosts activities like aquafit and hydro board classes.
As a student, you can sign up for discounts on drop-in programming at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Programs include figure skating, stick and puck, or hockey as well as skate rentals and hockey and skate lessons.
JOIN AN INTRAMURAL LEAGUE OR EVENT
There are many intramural leagues that span the winter terms including a cross volleyball league, dodgeball league and an inner tube water polo league. You can join as a group or as a free agent.
As a student, you are also eligible to participate in intramural events like Day
of the LongBoat and Storm the Wall. Participation in intramural leagues and events often costs an additional $10-20 per student.
GET DISCOUNTS AT THE TENNIS CENTRE
Students have access to student drills sessions which are a dedicated program specifically for UBC students to improve their tennis game and discounted court bookings during student hours.
PARTICIPATE IN MOVE UBC EVENTS
Move UBC is a university-wide initiative aimed at increasing physical activity within the UBC community. For Move UBC month in February, UBC Rec held a yoga rave event and a lunch and lift workshop. There are also physical activity peer coaching sessions hosted by the Move U Crew. U
Jersey numbers hold significant meanings for many athletes — some similar and others unique — that can be attributed to different people, places and things in their lives.
Some people wear a number that has an unspeakable influence over them, while others find themselves realizing the number had grown on them throughout their journey.
The Ubyssey asked each member of the UBC women’s softball team why they picked their jersey numbers. The answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
‘FEELING AT HOME A LOOK
INTO THE THUNDERBIRDS
#3 KAITLYN KIM – INFIELDER
My number at home was 32, then when I came here they had 3 available and I’m an ‘03 so I guess that works out. I’ll probably stick with it unless 32 becomes available one day.
#4 GABRIELLE DORVAL — CATCHER/ INFIELDER
I chose it because four is one of my lucky numbers. I just have set lucky numbers.
#9 KAITLYN ENG — OUTFIELDER
I used to be number eight when I played minor ball, but that number was already taken. So then I thought the next best number would be my sister’s birthday on December 19, but they didn’t have 19 either. So I just took nine and now I don’t think I’ll ever choose a new number again.
#10 CASEY LO — OUTFIELDER
I grew up playing hockey and ringette, which my dad is a big fan of. He wanted me to be fast, so he picked the number 10 because it belonged to Pavel Bure (the Russian Rocket) and it’s just kinda stuck since then. Especially because my dad picked it and he loves it so I guess I really wear it because he loves it.
#11 HANNA HANSEN — OUTFIELDER
When I first came to the team my original number was taken. So when I was trying to pick my new number, I settled on 11 because that was the number that my dad grew up playing with.
Growing up I was always number 24, but when I came to UBC the jersey numbers only went up to 22. I had to make a change so I picked 17, and I honestly didn’t think I would stick with it throughout all of my years here but it really grew on me after my first season.
#19 BRITTAIN HUNSBERGER — PITCHER/ INFIELDER
I chose 19 because I wanted 10, but 1 plus 9 equals 10, so that works!
#20 SHAE SEVER — PITCHER/INFIELDER
My birthday is August 20 so I’ve always just stuck with number 20 because it feels like a part of me.
#5 CAITLIN BRADLEY-TSE — OUTFIELDER
I chose the number five because I have five members in my family, so that’s kind of meaningful. Also, I just like it because it’s a factor of 10, which feels right.
#12 LINDSAY BELL — PITCHER
Originally my number was 11, but Hanna Hansen had it. Recently 12 has become more special to me though because it represents my college career, so I can’t really go back now. Twelve forever!
#7 OLIVIA MALESKU — CATCHER/INFIELDER
There are seven wonders in the world and this one year, for Halloween, I dressed up as Wonder Woman, so I just thought that it would be cool to be wonderful.
#8 ARSHLEEN BAJWA — OUTFIELDER
IN YOUR NUMBER’ SOFTBALL TEAM’S JERSEY NUMBERS 5 7 8 12 14 16
I’ve always been number eight, since I was younger, and it’s just kind of stuck with me. It was lucky that it was available as soon as I came to UBC.
When I was in my senior year of high school, I was number 12. Then coming to college, I wanted to change it a bit so I just flipped it backwards and made it 21! It’s been a good vibe since then and it still feels connected to my past seasons.
#14 KENNEDY AINGE — CATCHER/OUTFIELDER
I chose 14 because my sister wore 14 when she played sports, so I wanted to choose her number. Now, she comes to the games and sees me in our number.
#27 TAYLOR MCRAE — PITCHER/INFIELDER
My birthday is on March 27, so when I was younger that was always my number. I had to switch out of it for a while when it wasn’t available but then when I got the chance to choose at UBC, I thought it would be nice to come back to 27. It has made a difference, feeling at home in your number.
#16 MIA VALCKE — OUTFIELDER/SHORTSTOP
I think I was just given number 16 when I was a little Timbit in hockey and it stuck. It’s also the day after my birthday, so I thought maybe that had some significance. But there’s really nothing to it, and now it’s my favourite thing ever.
#77 AVERY MOSSOP — OUTFIELDER
I chose it because I like the number seven, and I thought: “What’s better than one seven? Two sevens.” U
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY CAN HELP RELIEVE EXAM STRESS
During the fall 2022 term, UBC’s fitness centres — ARC and Birdcoop — saw a 25 per cent decrease in average daily gym attendance in the exam period.
While the decrease may be partially due to fewer students being present on campus at that time, many students indicated that increased stress played a role in how frequently they exercised.
Kinesiology professor and public health researcher Dr. Guy Faulkner said, “During exam time is perhaps the best time that you should be exercising, and that it’s not time lost to studying, but time exercising, that could actually improve the efficiency of your studying and your learning.”
For first-year grad student and T-Birds track and field athlete Kiana Gibson, life revolves around training and school. She said that these activities complement each other and give her balance.
“I kind of see them as breaks from one another,” she said.
Faulkner sees physical activity and mental health as a virtuous cycle. He said when you are physically active, your mental health thrives and, at the same time, having good psychological wellness helps you be more physically active.
Second-year arts student Kevin McKay-Barona said working out is a good way to gauge how he is doing mentally.
“It’s an objectively miserable thing,” he said. “If I can’t motivate myself to do that, I definitely can’t motivate myself to do schoolwork.”
Second-year political science student Michael Vento said exercising helps clear his mind.
“When I go into the gym, sometimes things aren’t going the way I want or it’s cloudy and raining outside. And I have this gray filter on,” he said. “But as soon as I exercise and as soon as I leave, I always feel better.”
Canadian physical activity guidelines recommend that people aged 18-64 get 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
“Sometimes during normal term time, you accumulate some of [those minutes] at the gym,” said Faulkner. “But then perhaps
during exam time, that’s when you’re being more conscious about … getting off the bus a couple of stops earlier and walking the rest of the way, going for a walk in between classes.”
Gibson said she incorporates physical activity into studying by repeating her notes aloud on walks or working at a standing table.
“I think it’s so much more realistic when we can celebrate small movement that makes you feel good,” she said.
Second-year international economics student Savindya Mudadeniya recently started doing group fitness classes at the UBC fitness centres and has really been enjoying them. She said she tends to exercise less during exam periods, but goes back to her usual exercise schedule once exams are finished.
“Three weeks even a month isn’t actually a long time for you to lose a lot of progress,” she said. “I don’t think people should get disheartened by it.”
Faulkner added that occasional lapses in your exercise regimen are understandable.
“I think we shouldn’t be too self-critical of these temporary lapses … as long as we have those intentions to resume when some kind of other pressing priority has passed,” he said.
While December 8–9 had an average of 1,176 daily visits, the number increased to pre-exam levels of 1,522 visits per day in January and has maintained though February.
Faulkner said that the ‘feel good phenomenon’ we experience when we are physically active may be very important in the way we learn and are able to concentrate.
“Students who are more physically active report lower levels of psychological distress, lower levels of loneliness, higher rates of flourishing.” U
ADVANCED ANALYTICS ON A BUDGET: UBC HOCKEY EMBRACES THE CHALLENGE
When German-Canadian Sven Butenschön was playing for the Canucks in 2006, he didn’t think much about his stats beyond games played, goals and assists. No one did. But by the time he retired in 2013, a new trend was picking up in hockey worldwide.
In the early 2010s, amateur hockey bloggers who opposed the overuse of ‘mainstream’ statistics in hockey burst onto the scene. Beyond the traditional stats, these bloggers calculated expected goals, shot attempts and more. NHL executives and others in the pro hockey world met these bloggers with immediate hostility, but things have come a long way since then.
Many former analytical bloggers work in the big leagues today, and the career path from hockey blogger to professional analyst is well-established.
One of these bloggers turned NHL professionals is Rachel Doerrie, whose analytics blog led to a role as the youngest ever member of an NHL analytics department at 20 years old. After working with the New Jersey Devils for two years, Doerrie went to York University for her master’s of science in sports science and analytics. While at York, Doerrie was director of analytics performance for the York Lions athletics teams.
“Hockey analytics is essentially an unbiased way of evaluating team play and individual play,” said Doerrie. “It’s just a really good way to get more context into where you are in your process.”
Butenschön’s transition to coaching coincided with the abandonment of what many believed to be outdated methods of statistical evaluation. In 2015 he joined the UBC men’s hockey coaching staff as an assistant coach and has been at the helm of the program since 2016.
“My first year [at UBC] I was [introduced to] a couple of awesome young people who wanted to get involved in analytics,” said Butenschön.
One of those people was Dara Festinger,
an English language and literature student with a passion for the numbers side of hockey. Festinger led the way in developing a program that has only grown in importance over the past six years.
“She was right on top of that analytical world,” said Butenschön. “She really got me into all of it … and it’s become a really awesome family.”
Festinger has since moved on, recently stepping into a role with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League in senior management. Still, her innovation has left a lasting impact on the Thunderbirds program.
Butenschön has come to see a lot of value in the analytics his team collects.
“It solidifies what [we] see out there,” he said, “and over the course of the season it [provides] a database … that we can use to improve our team.”
In the heat of a game, when the goals aren’t coming, the intermission statistics report from the analytics team helps the coaching staff see what’s working and what needs to change.
Jordan Priest, the current head of analytics for the T-Birds men’s hockey team, got his start when he responded to a call for volunteers on Facebook. Today, he oversees five to ten volunteers at every home game who track statistical events, organizing them into a report that is run down to Butenschön at each intermission.
He also prepares extensive pre-scouting notes on opposing teams and wants to delve deeper into ‘hard analytics’ in the offseason.
“The more advanced model [based analytics] ... of play is very much in its infancy for us,” said Priest.
“But we’ve got people working on them right now, and I’m really hoping we can make some strong progress on that over the summer, and provide some quality material for the coaches.”
These analytical models like expected goals (Xg) have only recently been welcomed
into the mainstream hockey sphere. Despite being volunteers, Priest and his team understand the value they provide to the Thunderbirds’ on-ice results, and they’re committed to playing a part in the development.
“There’s no budget [for analytics] at the U Sport level,” said Doerrie, herself having spent time with York University’s hockey program in the role of advanced performance director. Tracking stats takes a lot of manpower and expensive software. “It’s very rare that you have a school that is able to fund [a department]... but it is absolutely valuable to track the data [at this] level.”
Doerrie considered that, though metrics such as Xg are more indicative of the game flow, when they aren’t available, tracking other advanced stats like Corsi and Fenwick (USAT) can “give you an idea of who is performing and who isn’t, and how the team plays with certain individuals on the ice and their success rates.”
Fenwick is one such advanced statistic, that measures unblocked shot attempt differential by subtracting shots on goal and missed shots directed at a team’s net from the same shot attempts directed at the opposing team’s net. It is a stat that the T-Birds value highly not just in game evaluation, but also in season-long goal tracking.
“In between periods you only have 16 minutes to regroup,” said Butenschön. “You don’t want to spend it with your head down in the book, but that’s when I usually [take] a look at the Fenwick. It’s reassuring.”
Butenschön also said Fenwick is a valuable tool in telling the story of a player beyond the eye test, or the basic stats.
“Sometimes guys are just snakebit and you can just keep encouraging them and tell them the [analytics say] that if you keep [doing] what you’re doing, you’re going to be rewarded,” he said.
“I often track Fenwick during the game, but [we also] go and manually watch video and record our own Fenwick for [opposing
teams],” said Priest. “It gets the full scope for the coaches … because if your team is strong on Fenwick, they probably win the game.”
With both Butenschön and his analytics department happy with their growth and contribution as of late, there are no plans to downsize.
“We always have a debrief meeting at the end of the year, and if Jackson Playfair, our [assistant coach] who’s had us on a solid system for a couple years, finds that he’s interested in or values an area more, we’ll add it to our repertoire.”
Head coach of UBC’s women’s hockey program Graham Thomas said his team has mostly been using video software VidSwap and Steva as well as the U Sports-provided InStat to track analytics.
“We have, over the years, used many different computer programs and different people,” said Thomas. “But this year, and even coming out of COVID, it’s really just been a little bit more simple.”
Thomas said that coaching staff use the analytics data on a day-to-day basis and hold meetings to go over stats with players once every three weeks. While he partially attributes a lack of budget to the team’s current approach, Thomas said that putting too much importance on tracking can be harmful.
“We found at times and early on we did get overly concerned about the numbers,” he said.
“We’ve kind of found a sweet spot of the numbers that we use. There are still some numbers and categories that we don’t have numbers for that we would like to track more. But again, [we] don’t have the budget or the man or coach power to have those tracked.”
Doerrie believes tracking analytics are invaluable, but cherry-picking to make stats look nice can be dangerous. She said it’s all about finding a balance.
“Analytics are not there to be the be-all and end-all,” she said. “They’re there to provide context.” U
HOME AND AWAY A BREAKDOWN OF VARSITY ATHLETES’
On a campus as vast as UBC, it can be difficult to quantify where students are from. But when it comes to our Thunderbird athletes, you don’t need to wonder anymore.
The Ubyssey broke down where varsity athletes hail from.
According to UBC, 28.6 per cent of UBC Vancouver students are from outside of Canada. However, international students only make up seven per cent of Thunderbird varsity athletes.
“It is a little bit noticeable that there aren’t as many international kids [playing varsity],” said Tenniel Cowne, a thirdyear rugby player from the UK.
After moving to Vancouver, Cowne noticed that many of his rugby teammates had either played with or against each other.
“There was already this Canadian group of friendly faces,” said Cowne. “And I was kind of outside that.”
Generally, cross-country yields the most international athletes proportionally, followed closely by rugby and soccer. Ice hockey, volleyball and basketball have the lowest percentage of international athletes.
But on all teams, international athletes comprise less than 20 per cent — a noticeable difference from UBC’s general student population’s makeup.
However, when compared to the number of individual athletes, as opposed to the percentage of the team, rugby takes the top seed. Soccer maintains its second place spot and track and field rounds out the podium.
In terms of unique countries, rugby is the most country-diverse sport, with nine countries represented, followed by soccer with five. Six sports are only made up of two countries, five of which are only made up of athletes from Canada and the United States.
T-Birds basketball is the outlier, with athletes from Canada and Germany.
Despite the statistics, the biggest pattern is not something data and charts can really analyze. It seems that the beauty of Vancouver — with its mountains, ocean and outdoorsy culture — recruits athletes earlier than UBC Athletics does.
“I mainly came over because of Vancouver itself, the city, for the opportunities with the skiing mountains nearby and the outdoors activities I could do,” said Cowne.
Vancouver’s appeal extends across the country, as well. Out-of-province athletes make up 39 per cent of domestic athletes.
“I fell in love with the city. I fell in love with the environment, the oceans and the mountains and for a really long time I had dreamed about going to UBC,” said Sage Stoyka Kay, a pole vaulter on the women’s track and field team. She is from Toronto, but after visiting family in Vancouver during summer vacations, UBC became the goal.
“I was actually accepted as a student
first, and then reached out to [the head coach].”
Like Stoyka Kay, most out-of-province athletes come from Ontario, followed by Alberta and Manitoba. There are currently no varsity athletes from Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island or Nunavut.
Football and swimming have the most provincial diversity among athletes, each representing seven different provinces and territories. Softball has the least provincial diversity, representing only two.
Volleyball and football are the sports with the most equal distribution among provinces, both with only 44 per cent of the team hailing from BC. Although there is some diversity, the most dominant province for every sport at UBC is BC.
Rugby, field hockey and softball are the sports with the largest percentage of athletes hailing from BC. Football, volleyball and hockey have the lowest percentages of BC athletes.
A potential explanation from Stoyka Kay is the difference between BC’s training conditions and other climates. There’s a difference between outdoor and indoor training facilities, especially for predominantly outdoor sports like rugby and softball.
“Because of the weather and the temperatures, [track and field] is a sport that can be in BC done outdoors all year. Whereas if you’re going ahead to Ontario, there has to be indoor training facilities,” she said. “You have to take those factors into consideration.”
Of the Thunderbird athletes who grew up in BC, 70 per cent hail from the Metro Vancouver area.
The most common hometown is Vancouver. North Vancouver and Surrey round out the top three.
For Vicarte Domingo, a third-year baseball pitcher from Vancouver, it makes sense for athletes to stay local.
“Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities, if not the most beautiful city, I’ve ever been to,” said Domingo. “The culture here is amazing.”
Domingo also praised how well athletes are treated at UBC. “This new lululemon deal has been sick,” he said. “You don’t really see that at any other school.”
He also noted that staying close to family and the connections he’d built through the UBC Thunder program — a baseball team for high school students to develop their skills for university — as a major influence to stay in Vancouver.
“If you’re able to stay close to home or at home, why wouldn’t you?” said Domingo.
Regardless of which city you call home, Stoyka Kay urges prospective varsity athletes to talk to coaches.
“It’s worth a shot to try and reach out and start those conversations,” said Stoyka Kay. “You never know where it can go.” U
Black Voices at UBC: Afro-Canadian Diaries
friend for further information — then go ahead.
I’ll rebut by saying you’re spiritually ashy and then give you “abeg” as a piece offering — refer to your highly melanated compadre for more information. I’m Nigerian-Canadian, African-Canadian, Afro-Canadian or whatever the oyinbo yutes want to call us today. I think they settled on Black Canadians because it’s easier. So, I’m a Black Canadian from Forest Lawn, a neighbourhood in Calgary deemed by suburbans as the trenches just because you might see the occasional sex worker and what the mandem might call a crackhead. I smoke weed the way stay-at-home moms guzzle boxed wine so no judgment.
Enough about my all my life I had to fight origin story — refer to your hickory-brown compatriot for more information. Back to what I look like.
I have medium to small traditional-style box braids with curly ends because that’s the vibe right now, at least in Vancouver. If you ever see a Black girl with a durag tied to the side with fake eyelashes heavier than student loan debt then you know she’s from Toronto — I decided to be your Hershey’s Kiss-coloured confidant this timeStephanie Okoli Columnist
Wagwan bro, it’s Esther. I’ve been told to describe myself in my journal by my therapist. I’ve been slinking around my micro-suite ever since graduation — uni tings, ahem — and now I ruminate on my next move.
I’m Black obviously. You can tell by my biblical name and my use of Jamaican Patois known as Toronto Slang by the Liberaliqua’s. I’m not Jamaican or from Toronto for that matter, but I still use it.
Caribbean-Canadians, if you want to use that as ammo for the ongoing Diaspora Wars — refer to your Black
As most POC stories go, I’m a child of an immigrant and my parents came here looking for a better life and blah, blah, blah. I know that’s what the multicultural’shaquans want me to say but let’s skip to the racism — just kidding, but am I? Anyways, I graduated from UBC, formally known as the University of British Columbia, informally as U’d think there would Be more people of Colour with all them damn POCs on the recruitment ads. If it wasn’t for the Black Student Union, my only Black friends would be the frat boys that think Black Pete is a cultural icon — how do I sing diversity in Dutch?
I dress differently for every occasion. The theme is what do the suburbans deem as not suspicious? Clearly, that’s a trick question — at least in West Van or for those whose Black friends don’t consist of the help. And yes, Melanie, the Trinidadian woman that waxes your balls counts — I pray the only one that didn’t get that joke was Dave Chappelle. For work, I look like Liz Lemon from 30 Rock but, on the block, English-Canadian Karens ask me if I’m a rapper whereas French-Canadian Karens say Sacre bleu! For a coloured woman, you can really dress, how you say, litty! Like Beyonce or Madea! I think the Blacks say “yas, Queen!” Needless to say, I usually got on a trackie or some forces — refer to your Hennessy-flavoured Nubian homie for more information
I can’t cook jollof rice to save my life. Instead, I cook what I call bootleg jollof. I combine gentrified fried rice with No Name tomato paste and hit it with a dash of Walmart’s Cool Runnings Jamaican curry. Side note: Let Cool Runnings go, white people. That movie came out 30 years ago and Caribbeans hate it ‘till this day. And no, using your Jafakin’ accent won’t save you this time. You sound like a leprechaun who just found out they’re a transracial Jamaican. Oi! Those wasteyutes are after my rice and peas! Headass — refer to your mahogany tinted playmate for more information
To wrap this up, I’ll tell you about my hobbies.
I go on long walks and listen to audiobooks. I listen to authors like Tina Fey, Charlamagne tha God and the scholars behind Critical Race Theory, the 3rd Edition. Don’t tell the Conserva’lashawns that information though. Or I’ll disappear faster than the Raptor’s chance of ever winning another championship — Siri, play “I Will Remember You” while I scroll through Kawhi Leonard’s Instagram.
All in all, I’m just Esther. U Black Voices at UBC is an open-form column publishing work by Black writers in UBC’s student community. If you’re interested in getting involved, reach out to email@example.com
The Dingbat: I’m sorry I almost fell on you on the busHarry Sadleir Senior Staff Writer
Let me set the scene.
You: A face in the crowd, just trying to get from some unknown point A to point B on an overcrowded rapid bus.
Me: A 6’2¾” person with bad balance, a heavy backpack and a very mild case of sleep deprivation.
How’d it all go so wrong?
We shared nought but a threefoot circle on this 8:50 a.m. R4 bus. We should have had no cause to exchange words or pay any particular notice to one another. We deserved nothing less than the joy of staring out of the bus window for 20 minutes, packed tighter than a can of sardines listening to our separate podcasts before going our separate ways.
But the world is cruel. Instead of what should have been we have this — a tragedy of happenstance and clumsiness.
First, it was an entirely predictable but all too severe swerve of the R4 to enter and exit a roundabout, and then it was me: leg kicking up to balance myself, arm swung involuntarily from the pole it had been too loosely clutching. I was the picture of a jive dancer having just witnessed a murder.
Oh how precarious it was! How nearly an ‘almost fell on you’ could have been a ‘fell on you.’ How does one reconcile the impromptu and entirely undesired interaction we
LET’S GET COOKIN’! //
I am so, so, so, so, so sorry!
have both just shared. If our position were reversed, what would you say? What would you do?
I simply attempted to regain my composure, gave my head a quarter-turn and said ‘sorry,’ before retreating to my phone to pretend I had something to check. Did my voice crack too much while saying ‘sorry’? Did I play it off like it was no big deal? Or, to you and our fellow bus riders, did I look the fool I felt inside?
I shouldn’t ask questions I already know the answer to.
I glanced back at you, and you had already resumed your previous window-staring as if nothing had happened at all. What
a noble act, pretending as though it hadn’t just thrown off your whole morning like it had mine. I wish I believed you, but I am not so naive.
As the R4 pulled into the bus loop and we went our separate ways, the experience continued to weigh on my consciousness for several entire minutes. Now that you have heard my side of the story, I say to you once more and with more assuredness than I could previously conjure:
I’m sorry I almost fell on you on the bus. U
The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. Send pitches and completed pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org
Comic: Remy the Rat is the new chef
— I mean president — of the AMS
EVER BEEN POOPIN’ IN IKB? //
The Dingbat: Nine reasons you should shit at IKBTalia Peck Contributor
It’s ten minutes before your next class and you’ve just eaten some questionable poutine from Triple O’s when you feel it.
The rumbling in your tummy, the gurgling of your bowels, the urge to take the biggest shit of your life consumes you and you don’t know where to go. Fear not my friend, for here are the nine best reasons why you should take your life-altering dookies at IKB.
The stress-filled air of hundreds of students cramming for their next exam, the silent crying of the person in the stall next to you, the palpable tension of trying to find an outlet to charge your phone and the buzzing lights reminiscent of the rug shop on Dunbar and 16th that’s definitely not a front. What more could you ask for?
Studies show sleeping with a textbook under your pillow lets the knowledge seep into your brain overnight.
Similarly, leading experts in the field of pooping science suggest knowledge can easily inhabit the space in your body left by the expulsion of solid waste. So, think of shitting at IKB like that type of vibe, just poop instead of sleep. By pooping at IKB, you will gain a few more brain cells from fellow students by dropping the kids off at the pool.
3. WORKING UNDER PRESSURE
If you’re like the rest of us here at The Ubyssey, you work well under pressure.
What’s more stress-inducing than taking the biggest shit of your life surrounded by a dozen other people trying to use the stall after you? It’s like Master Chef with Gordon Ramsey — there’s one minute left on the clock (you’ve already been in the stall too long), your potatoes are still in the oven (you’ve really gotta go) and Dave at the station next to you finished his Miso-Glazed Chilean Sea Bass five minutes ago (Dave only had to piss, so now you look stupid!).
In layman’s terms: pressure
plus high stakes, multiplied by an incoming number two, equals an all around super great shitting experience.
4. I SAID SO
You may not know me, but let me assure you, I have taken dozens of shits , if not hundreds. And I’ve pooped at every building on campus (don’t ask me how, there were some dark times).
So, as someone who considers themselves a connoisseur of washrooms, let me assure you IKB hits different. I love shitting there so much that I renamed all my poop-related social media accounts to @IKnow(bowel)Movements, just so I could also be called IKB.
5. ASSERTING DOMINANCE
Taking a dump in a public washroom is no easy task, in fact it’s one that many people actively avoid. However, if you really want to feel like the baddest bitch on the metaphorical playground that is our university campus, dropping a deuce in a stall with cracks so wide you can make eye contact with the person in front of you is the way to go.
7. ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT
I know, I know, “If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?”. The answer is yes, I am incredibly susceptible to peer pressure, and I’m hoping you are too. I heard from an anonymous source that while filming on campus for that Netflix movie that no one watched, Ryan Reynolds himself unleashed the kraken in the third floor washroom (second stall to the left for any of you freaks who want to know specifics).
It’s like an unofficial version of that bathroom at Glitch, except instead of pictures on the walls, it’s the remnants of a truly epic shit.
9. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS, YOU WEIRDO? U
The Dingbat is The Ubyssey’s humour section. Send pitches and completed pieces to email@example.com
ChatGPT has entered the chat, bringing UBC challenges and opportunitiesTova Gaster Culture Editor
ChatGPT — OpenAI’s language model that took the world by storm last December — has been called many things. Depending on who you ask, ChatGPT means the end of the college essay or “the best thing to happen to teaching since the Socratic method,” according to one Toronto Star article. It even ran for AMS president.
Computational linguistics professor Dr. Garrett Nicolai warned against thinking of ChatGPT as “artificial intelligence,” instead describing it as a chatbot or an automated language model.
“I hesitate to say ‘intelligence’ in this case, because it’s not actually doing any thinking,” said Nicolai. “It’s just producing words based on previous stuff that it’s seen.”
Still, it can provide a passable approximation of many basic writing forms, including essays and articles. So, how are UBC professors and experts dealing with this new technology?
UBC does not currently have a campus-wide policy on the use of technologies like ChatGPT. A committee did convene in early 2023 to discuss its implications and released an FAQ page that says ChatGPT policies are up to instructor’s discretion.
The FAQ also says passing off ChatGPT-generated text as student work is plagiarism.
Detection software can identify whether text was produced by ChatGPT, so Nicolai warned students to think twice before using it. However, the technology is evolv-
HOLD YOUR NEURONS //
ing fast, and the detection software that works today might be obsolete tomorrow.
“Computational linguistics and natural language processing are the fields most closely related to something like [Chat]GPT, and they’re moving along really, really quickly,” said Nicolai. “I see more advanced versions of ChatGPT coming along every week.”
In response, some UBC professors have shifted how they
Nicolai said professors are “changing the types of questions that are asked, so less … simple factoids that you can get out of looking at the internet … maybe going towards more applied-type questions that are more difficult for ChatGPT to be able to mimic.”
Some institutions like Sciences Po, which partners with UBC to offer a dual degree program, have outright banned use of the language
model in coursework.
According to Nicolai, some of those concerns might be overblown. While ChatGPT can complete simple tasks that follow common linguistic patterns, it is not very successful so far at producing longer pieces of writing.
“It might be able to write something that looks a little bit like an essay, but using things like rhetorical devices to build upon an argument, it’s probably not going
to be able to do that.”
Citations are another area where ChatGPT struggles — it may be able to apply patterns from academic papers to identify what types of sentences should end with a citation, but rather than pull a relevant source from the internet, it will more often just make up a name. That does not hold up under scrutiny. It has similar issues with math, and often fails to perform calculations accurately.
Dr. J. Logan Smilges, an English professor who specializes in the rhetoric of technology and Queer and disability studies, is not concerned about ChatGPT. Rather, they describe the panic about AI plagiarism as “reactionary.”
“To me, the concerns that other faculty have, that administrators have, about students’ use of the technology has absolutely nothing to do with their learning and all to do with whether or not they trust their students,” they said.
“When I give an assignment, I trust that students are going to do it, if they have the time to do it, if they have the capacity to do it, if they feel competent and supported and encouraged to do it.”
Nicolai and UBC spokespeople also emphasize that ChatGPT is a source of opportunities: to generate ideas, to spark dialogue and to promote critical engagement with the ethics of machine learning.
“There are other ways of approaching this technology a little bit more generously, that communicates trust in our students,” said Smilges. U
Expanded undergraduate neuroscience program is a brain nerd’s perfect fitLauren Kasowski Staff Writer
UBC has introduced a new undergraduate neuroscience specialization for bachelor of science students.
Introduced for the 2022/23 academic year, the program is a collaboration between the Faculties of Science, Arts and Medicine. The program is interdisciplinary in nature, with students slated to take courses on neuroscience, biology, psychology and more.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect from [the program], especially from a completely new program. You don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into,” said Tanisha Kadia, a second-year student in the program. “But it’s really fun. I wouldn’t want to be studying anything else.”
The Faculty of Science has offered a behavioral neuroscience specialization since the 1970s, which has been folded into the new program. But changing times called for something more.
“Neuroscience has moved on beyond just behavioral neuroscience,” said Dr. Steven Barnes, director of the undergraduate program in neuroscience, in an interview with The Ubyssey.
After 30 years in development, a recent “perfect storm” made the program’s introduction possible,
Students can apply to the program during the specialization application period.
according to Barnes. He said that based on a survey sent to students in fields related to neuroscience, more than half of respondents said they were likely or very likely to take this program, if available.
“The fact that there was student demand was critical for driving the university to support
this [program],” Barnes said.
The foundational knowledge that students cultivate in the program can prepare them for a future with UBC’s esteemed graduate program in neuroscience, but Barnes emphasized that the specialization isn’t meant as a feeder to graduate school.
“We realize that the vast majority of our students are going to go into [a] health science profession,” he said. With this in mind, the program is designed to give a broad spectrum education in neuroscience, with exposure to academia, industry and health care professions.
After second year, students can choose one of two streams. The cellular and molecular stream has more of a biological emphasis and the behavioural and cognitive stream has a greater focus on psychology. Regardless of the stream, there is a lot of freedom for students.
“There’s lots of experiential learning opportunities in [the program],” said Kadia, noting a course where her study group chose to look at the longevity of relationships forged on dating apps.
To further experiential learning, the program includes a capstone course. Students in their final year will have the opportunity to develop a thesis, giving them the benefits of an honours program but without the extra tuition costs, said Barnes.
“There’s no reason that students should be required to spend that extra money to get a quality education,” he said.
Students can apply to be in the program during the specialization application period. For students thinking about entering the program, Kadia recommends it.
“If you’re looking for a degree that gives you freedom but is also very applicable to everything … I would say neuroscience is the way to go,” she said. U
Neuroethics 101: A student’s guide to ethics of modern neuroscienceStuti Sheth Contributor
Neuroethics at UBC is a world-leading program, established in the early 2000s and pioneered by UBC Faculty of Medicine and the School of Population and Public Health professor Dr. Judy Illes.
The Ubyssey sat down with Illes to discuss the purpose of neuroethics and learn more about the questions at the heart of the field, from the role of technology in healthcare to the ethics of medically-assisted dying, and consent.
THE BASICS OF NEUROETHICS
Neuroethics aims to align “ethical and social and legal issues with advances in neuroscience,” according to Illes. It raises and anticipates pertinent questions about current and forthcoming practices in neuroscience while taking an evidence-based and nuanced approach.
“[Unlike] people who do a more philosophical kind of neuroethics, ours is always grounded in research methods,” she said. “So it’s a scientific approach to a question or results, and then an interpretation very rigorously of the results that we receive.”
Much of this evidence is gathered through interviews, focus groups and workshops with various groups including students, professors, policy-makers, patients and their families.
Topics approached by neuroethicists are diverse and complex.
KILLAM WITH KINDNESS //
They range from assessing the invasiveness of tools and technology used in neuroscience research to exploring how to “bring together different cultural understandings of brain diseases” when designing treatment plans.
For example, Illes and her team worked with Indigenous groups to understand perspectives on individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those with genetic predispositions to the disorder. They aim to understand how “biomedical understandings of a disease like Alzheimer’s can coexist with tra-
ditional beliefs and approaches to wellness,” said Illes.
TECHNOLOGY DRIVES NEUROETHICAL QUESTIONS
Neuroscience can rely on technology such as robots, virtual reality programs, wearable headgear and many other devices. Neuroethics stops to consider how research tools may be physicaly invasive or skew results, and aims to proactively ensure that the introduction of technology does not cause more harm than good.
Modern neuroscience relies heavily on a technique called magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which recognizes brain activity by measuring oxygen used across the brain. This technique has applications in neuroscience research, while also being applicable in ethical discussions surrounding disorders of consciousness.
In one of Illes’ recent projects, fMRIs were used to assess brain activity and consciousness in people suffering from severe brain injury who were in a seemingly unconscious state. However, despite their
physical state, scans revealed one in five patients demonstrated signs of “wakefulness” or a “minimally conscious state.” For these individuals, it is possible that “they are able to process information and maybe even understand it,” according to Illes.
In the health care industry, if a patient is incapable of making their own decisions due to physical or psychological reasons, a medical proxy consents on their behalf. Neuroethics considers how medical professionals can ethically inform proxies and advocate for patients who are physically or psychologically unable to consent.
The question for neuroethicists is whether this information could be used to understand patient wishes, including possibly a preference to die. However, Illes emphasized the “dicey” nature of this ethical problem and the dilemmas it raises surrounding will and consent.
Neuroethics can inform health care policy. The Office of Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as Health Canada, hope to promote safe and ethical uptake of new medical technologies and practices.
Illes said the heart of her neuroethics work lies in supporting people and patients.
“Our work at Neuroethics Canada mostly informs our health care and health policy, as well as research,” she said. “We think that we’ve had a tremendous impact.” U
UBC researchers win national honour for vaccine, health researchSophia Russo Science Editor
Two UBC researchers were awarded the Killam Prize, a national honour, on March 15.
Professor in biochemistry and molecular biology Dr. Pieter Cullis and professor in zoology Dr. Sarah Otto were each awarded the prize for their research contributions in the fields of health and natural sciences, respectively. The Killam Prize is a prestigious national award that aims to recognize the research excellence of Canadian scholars through a $100,000 prize.
The Ubyssey sat down with the honourees to discuss the research milestones behind their wins.
FROM COVID-19 VACCINES TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP
After 40 years in his field, it is difficult to distill Cullis’s research contributions to a singular achievement. However, the pandemic saw an important application of his pioneering work on lipid nanoparticles — the development of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.
mRNA vaccines work by introducing RNA that codes for the spike protein belonging to the novel coronavirus, allowing the body to produce antibodies for immunity. This process requires a delivery system like the lipid nanoparticle, a fatty ‘package’
that can be loaded with nucleic acids, like RNA, under specific conditions.
Seeing a technology that he helped develop be critical to the vaccine effort was “unbelievable,” said Cullis. He spoke fondly of a pivotal moment where data revealed the vaccine’s 95 per cent protection rate and the subsequent billions of doses that have been distributed globally.
“It’s just enormously gratifying to have something like that happen and it’s really been the work of a large team that we’ve kept together over the years,” he said. “It’s just been an amazing ride.”
Beyond his UBC research, Cullis also has an affinity for entrepreneurship: He co-founded 11 biotechnology companies. These ventures aim to translate academic discoveries into products that can help people, while also creating jobs. According to Cullis, his companies employ around 500 people in the Vancouver area — he estimates over half of which are UBC graduates.
Cullis has been recognized internationally, but he said it was particularly meaningful to be given a Canadian award. In light of this win, he looks forward to using this momentum to pave the way for future research. He hopes to further apply his lipid nanoparticle technology for new drugs. In theory, this tiny delivery system could be applied to treat a host of diseases,
“It’s revolutionizing medicine,” he said.
SOLVING THE SEX PARADOX
Otto has similarly been a leader in her field for decades, contributing to research on the evolution of the novel coronavirus and answering fundamental questions in the field of evolutionary biology.
One of Otto’s many contributions lies in their resolution of a classic evolutionary problem called the paradox of sex. For decades, scientists have puzzled as to why sexual reproduction is so common among living organisms, as unlike asexual reproduction, it is a costly process that relies on genes from two organisms combining to create offspring, combinations that might not be functional. Existing mathematical models suggested that sexual reproduction should not be so common.
This was until Otto identified a key problem in prevailing assumptions — while old models assumed an infinitely large population, this isn’t practically the case. Her work, which incorporates realistic population sizes, finds that sexual reproduction substantially increases the efficiency of selection. This is now a leading theory for the evolution of sexual reproduction, changing the game of evolutionary biology.
Otto is also a key researcher in the BC COVID-19 Modeling Group
and an expert on the evolution of the novel coronavirus. Their expertise has been instrumental in informing the public and policy-makers on key variants in the population and supporting efforts to properly communicate the science of evolution as well.
When asked about the significance of this win, Otto said that they are honoured to see evolutionary biology be recognized at this level.
“For me, it’s the significance of having evolution really elevated to this central important role in society today,,” they said. For the field to be recognized by this award and for her to be chosen as a representative, is deeply gratifying — especially as a woman in STEM.
“There aren’t that many women
on the [Killam Prize] list,” she said. “I think even having a woman as the face of excellence in science and candidates is a great thing.”
Moving forward, Otto is excited to mentor their students in the many projects in their lab. For Otto, this win goes beyond their contributions and stands as a testament to what a dedicated team of bright scientists can accomplish together.
“It’s wonderful to get this award but it really reflects more on this awesome community that I get to work in,” they said. “I credit my students and my colleagues for creating this intellectually vibrant environment in which creativity is supported and breaking the bounds of science [is] encouraged.”
“This one is an award for the team.” U
Thunderbirds beat Spartans for thirteenth national title
digits in the race to 15 points.
The T-Birds match point started with an Oxland serve, forcing the Spartans to send over a freeball. Oxland dished to Petit, and she hit off the block, but TWU was ready with the cross court dig. A TWU tip put the ‘Birds in trouble, but Vermette was there to pick up the ball, allowing Oxland to chuck a butter set, and Petit to get a career-high 20 kills and clinch the national championship, 15–12.
This is the second time UBC has won U Sports volleyball national gold at home, the first being in 1974. Vermette jumped for joy, Jost and Oxland immediately fell to their knees and Pasin turned around to her team off the court to welcome them into the huddle.
playing this game at home was special for the team because of “all our fans, alumni, supporters are able to share, and almost will us, to victory.” Reimer, who won his ninth national championship with UBC, reminisced on past wins — “Nothing’s gonna top this,” he said. “It never gets old.”
As the crowd’s buzzing subsided, medals were handed out of the ‘Birds and the names of the athletes were read aloud. When the announcer got to outside hitter Akash Grewal’s name, he paused and mentioned she wanted him to wish her mother a happy birthday.
Seventh-seeded UBC women’s volleyball defeated top-seeded Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans in five sets to win the program’s 13th national championship on Sunday night.
The sold out game hosted over 2,000 attendees, with a mix of UBC and TWU supporters. In the UBC crowd were alumni in Big Block sweaters, the men’s volleyball team with t-shirts sporting the women’s team’s faces, and many more supporters in blue and gold face paint.
After losing to the Spartans three times in five sets this season, the pressure was on the ‘Birds. They started the first set slow, with a series of attack errors and a pair of Spartan aces, but a kill by UBC’s Erika Vermette followed by two blocks from middle blocker Cara Kovacs changed the pace of the game for the ‘Birds.
UBC supporters brought as much passion to the game as the Thunderbirds did, erupting in cheers — whether a chant or banging on a bright orange Home Depot bucket — before and after each rally.
The connection between T-Bird setter Kayla Oxland and the front row brought success to the ‘Birds throughout the championship game, with the first set culminating in a kill from Kovacs to take the set 25–23.
The second set started off rough for the T-Birds. Attack errors, a Spartan ace and kills dug UBC into a 11–2 deficit early in the set. But, kills from Akash Grewal, Elise Petit and Kovacs brought momentum back to the ‘Birds, tightening up the gap to 23–20. Another kill from Kovacs, followed by a block from Kovacs and Brynn Pasin stole match point away from the Spartans twice, but a monster kill by TWU’s Kaylee Plouffe sealed the deal at 25–22 and left
the ‘Birds hungry for a win.
The momentum TWU built up in the second set slowed down in the third with neither team able to pull away with a lead, and a Spartan kill cut off UBC’s chance of winning the set, 25–21. Another Spartan’s run kicked off the fourth set, but the ‘Birds brought the heat — led by steady serving from Jayde Robertsen and a series of Petit kills — to go on an eight point run. But, the Spartans came back and the two teams stayed close with each other until a series of TWU attack errors allowed UBC to catch up. An Issy Robertshaw set to Petit brought home the fourth set for the Thunderbirds, 25–18.
Tensions in the War Memorial Gym were high going into the fifth set, with Spartan and Thunderbird fans going back and forth with cheers and noise-makers. Both teams stayed close with each other, but a Lucy Borowski kill brought the ‘Birds to double
“It was freaking crazy,” said Petit about the win. “To put in all this hard work for the whole year, but especially the last few weeks [and] to come in as the seventh-seed and to go take it all the way [is] just a crazy feeling. I feel like I need to pinch myself.”
And to the fans and loved ones, Petit had one thing to say: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. We could never have done this without you.”
Head coach Doug Reimer said
This is Grewal’s first university national championship win, and she worked as a steady force on the court with a .286 attack percentage, with 1 error on 7 swings.
“We brought ourselves together when we needed to most,” she said.
And when it comes to winning gold, Am Grewal, Akash’s mother, said it “feels absolutely amazing.”
“This was the only thing I asked Akash for — a gold medal,” said Am while smiling at her daughter. “And she delivered with her team, so I can’t explain to you in words how happy I am.” U
OUR FAVOURITE SUBMISSIONS
“Hey, have you heard of Neo Banking?” — Marie Erikson, student
“It’s neck and neck.” — Rachel Marr, student
“If animals can run, animals can vote!” — Henry Waatainen, student