Erin Purghart shares Queer experiences through comedy
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Erin Purghart always loved the performing arts.
They began to dance at the age of two, and in grade nine, they started doing improv. “I need more, I need more stage time,” Purghart joked in an interview with The Ubyssey
The next year, they started to act. Though Purghart loved the stage, they didn’t consider attending acting school until their senior year of high school after their theatre teacher brought it up to them.
Purghart told their father, expecting to hear “Oh no, don’t do acting!”
“You’re conditioned to believe ... that it’s not an actual worthwhile pursuit,” they said.
But instead, their father was encouraging.
So they got to work, applying to UBC and prepping their program audition. During the first round of auditions, Purghart learned acting is what they wanted to do.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want to do French. I don’t want to do general arts. I want to do acting,’” said Purghart.
Throughout Purghart’s acting career, they’ve seen the gender binary represented on the stage. The now-UBC alum is demolishing the binary while creating spaces for Queer artists through their comedy show That’s Gay!
IN THE CLASSROOM
In 2017, Purghart began their BFA in acting at UBC — a four-year degree that combines acting training and theatre history in a small cohort-based program.
For a 2019 commedia dell’arte theatre mash-up of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, Purghart played Ariel. Ariel was the only Queer character Purghart ever played at UBC.
Purghart’s cohort made the “executive call to not address the character’s gender.” Ariel was originally gendered as a man but popularized as a woman, according to Purghart.
“They’ll just be non-binary, or they’ll just be a nymph. It’s really not important,” said Purghart. “That was one of the first times I was like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t actually matter whether this character is a man or a woman ... They just are.’”
Purghart said “We just kind of assume that characters are straight unless we say they’re Queer,” but while characters might not have a visibly Queer storyline, “something about seeing a Queer actor in a role, makes the role Queer. You carry your identity with you.”
STARTING TO STAND-UP
Purghart’s introduction to stand-up comedy wasn’t all positive. The first shows they went to showed “straight comics making horrible jokes that were offensive.”
This led Purghart to ask them-
self an important question — why are there no spaces for Queer comedians to share their experiences?
“[Queer comedians] go and see lineups and [witness] a homophobic joke and transphobic joke in one breath,” said Purghart. “[We’re] not safe to access these spaces, and so people need to stop hiring standup comics who make homophobic and transphobic jokes ... and make an effort to hire Queer comics.”
Purghart also said the stand-up scene can be nepotistic, leaving out marginalized communities.
“What happens is the bros hiring the bros and you see all these lineups for only these people ... aren’t being given the space or tools to start doing stand-up comedy,” they said.
It was becoming increasingly clear that traditional theatre and comedy spaces weren’t making space for them — casting directors wouldn’t see them for female or male roles because of their gender presentation. Roles reinforced gender stereotypes and left Purghart out — they were “pigeonholed” into comic relief characters.
But then they had a revelation. “I knew that space wasn’t for me. And that’s okay. You can push your way.”
“Above all, I love making people laugh. I love entertaining people.”
So Purghart decided they’d take matters into their own hands.
They founded That’s Gay!, a comedy group that showcases Queer comics. Originally a onetime show for Pride 2022, the group has evolved to put on regular shows by popular demand.
Purghart doesn’t just tell jokes or do improv at That’s Gay! shows, they also host, produce, market and organize each event.
Before each show, Purghart also sends out an email to the comics to
relieve some pressure before the show. Specifically, to make sure comics know their set doesn’t have to be about their Queerness. The comics “just all happen to be gay.”
“That’s really not the most important thing about us,” said Purghart. “But it has made us … really funny.”
Purghart said that many Queer stories can romanticize suffering and tragedy, leaving the audience with the idea “‘Oh my god, it’s so sad to be gay.’”
“It’s not,” said Purghart. “It’s this beautiful thing.”
With That’s Gay!, Purghart wants to break this pattern and “make light of [the] shared experiences with the Queer audience members.”
“Queer people are more than just Queer,” said Purghart. “The show is called That’s Gay! comedy … but I want the comedy to hold just as much weight as the gay ... They’re Queer, but they’re also comedians and we’re really damn good at it.”
Purghart emphasized staying true to yourself, whether that’s with comedy or in traditional theatre circles. “You’ll have a much happier life and career … being unapologetically yourself,” they said.
Before they graduated from UBC, Purghart wanted to cut their hair but was conflicted. “Should I keep it long?” questioned Purghart. “Does it make me more castable?“
So they decided to talk it through with a professor.
“You won’t have a good career off of trying to be something you think they might want,” said the professor according to Purghart. “Just be yourself and the roles will come.”
Purghart cut their hair. U
love making people laugh. I love
PC1 and PC2 indefinitely postponed amid community concernIman Janmohamed Features Editor
The Alma Mater Society (AMS) policies on respectful workplace (PC1) and sexualized violence (PC2) have been indefinitely postponed following ongoing student critique and concerns.
Students expressed concerns over PC1 and PC2 in April, and again during an August 23 AMS Council meeting.
PC1 and PC2 were first passed by the student society in 2019 and are required to be reviewed every two years. These policies have been under review since September 2021. In a May Council meeting, AMS President Esmé Decker said the society would “ideally” have the policies approved by September.
During the August 29 AMS Council meeting, students affiliated with the Social Justice Centre (SJC) said that the policy draft will harm survivors if it passes.
PC2’s false claims clause allows the AMS to take “corrective action” for people who “intentionally make malicious and false allegations of Sexualized Violence.”
Decker said the policy has a false claims clause “to address the past history of PC1 and 2 being weaponized, particularly in retaliation to other PC1 and 2 reports.”
Students-at-large criticized the clause for its potential to silence
SOME UPDATES //
“We deserve to have our voices heard,” said Sienna Nargang-White, a coordinator for the SJC. “There are already a multitude of people who feel that they can’t come forward in fear of not being believed and [the false claims clause] only exacerbates that.”
SJC chair Mariam Abdelaziz said UBC’s sexualized violence policy, SC17, includes a rape shield and substance-use amnesty clause and called on the AMS to create a policy that meets the “standard” of the university.
A rape shield clause prohibits including evidence or questioning complainants about prior sexual behaviour in decision-making processes.
“This decision may not follow the AMS execs after they leave their positions, but the aftermath and the consequences of this verdict will fail those who are brave enough to reach out for help,” said Abdelaziz.
Luke Forrester, an educator at the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) agreed the PC2 investigations and decision-making should be independent of the AMS through a third-party.
Decker said they appreciate student feedback and the policy will continue to develop throughout the academic year.
“Our team is committed to working and continuing work on these
policies, making them more readable, more accessible and taking in this feedback and incorporating it as much as possible,” said Decker.
On August 29, Council voted on a motion to rescind the 2019 PC1 and PC2 policies and replace them with the new drafts.
Decker said passing these drafts is “just the beginning” and “a huge step forward from the 2019 policies.” Decker also said clauses 13.6 in PC1 and 11.7 in PC2 are
substance-use amnesty clauses.
Holleh Hajibashi, a SASC educator, said SASC was not properly consulted and the policy draft does not reflect SASC feedback. Decker said she “recently” met with SASC employees about this policy.
“This was not a consultation. This was a performance,” said Hajibashi. “The AMS counselor and the AMS students have a right to transparency and accountability.”
Savannah Sutherland, the inte-
rim SASC manager, said SASC was only consulted about specific parts of the policy and did not receive a full draft at that point. Additionally, Caitlyn Doherty, the SASC support and advocacy coordinator, said the SASC was only given a draft of the policy when providing feedback in a survey that was sent to AMS staff. The motion to postpone the approval of PC1 and PC2 indefinitely passed with 13 votes in favour, 5 against and 3 abstentions. U
AMS unveils new health and dental plan to improve stability
reserves in the future.
Mishra also said the AMS also formalized a Reserve Fund Policy, which mandates the organization to hold at least 10 per cent of the premiums held separately in a “rainy day reserve.”
“If there are any uncertain issues that take place, we wouldn’t be in a position where we fail to support students with this reserve,” he said.
REDUCTION IN MENTAL HEALTH COVERAGE
The most notable change in this year’s plan is the reduction in coverage per visit for mental health services. The previous plan covered 100 per cent of the costs per visit, but the new plan covers only 80 per cent. Both plans still cover up to $1,250 in claims.
feels this approach discourages students from using the service because they will inevitably have to pay out of pocket to use any part of the coverage.
In addition, he believes that the percentage-coverage model “interacts terribly” with sliding-scale payment options, the general approach that mental health practitioners take when reducing fees for low-income individuals.
“This policy change is an absolute disaster and it should be reversed before someone gets hurt or killed,” wrote Lin.
Senior Staff Writer
AMS President Esmé Decker presented changes to the 2023/24 AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan at the August 23 council meeting involving reductions in certain coverage areas.
Next year, as a result of two successful referendums, a basic fee increase of $52.50 and an $8 fee to support gender-affirming services were added. Students will pay an annual fee of $338.00, an increase from last year’s $277.50.
Changes in the new coverage plan result in four main changes for students. The first change outlines a 10 per cent reduction in coverage
for basic dental services, including fillings, oral surgery, root canals and gum treatments. The second change is a 20 per cent decrease in coverage per psychologist visit from 100 per cent to 80 per cent. The third reduction results in a decrease for eyeglasses and contacts coverage from $100 to $80. Finally, Gardasil (HPV vaccine) coverage will also be reduced from $250 to $150.
With the current changes, VP Finance Abhi Mishra said the AMS hopes to accomplish a “twopronged” goal. The first priority is to ensure students have access to as many resources as possible, and the second is to steer the plan to long-term stability amidst increasing per-capita claims.
“We were seeing a lot of cost increases and the AMS’ internal reserves depleting,” said Mishra.
With increasing costs of dental care and general inflation across several insurance categories, he explained that the plan was not sustainable to continue operating in its current state.
Coverage reduction is only one step the AMS took, with Mishra explaining how they were able to negotiate with insurers for a reduced cost to help “bridge the gap” between the plan’s fee and the plan’s premium.
The plan has been moved from a refund accounting model to a fully-insured model, meaning the AMS is no longer liable for the plan’s deficit and will not have to touch its
Decker explained that the 20 per cent decrease amounts to an approximate $20 that a student would pay out of pocket per psychologist visit.
A student-at-large responded in the meeting by noting this 20 per cent decrease in coverage potentially being the difference between having groceries and attending counselling.
Lester Lin, a fourth-year student, echoed similar statements in a written statement to TheUbyssey He considered it “disingenuous” and “dishonest” for the AMS to cut mental health coverage with no prior announcement.
“The psychological barrier between something that is free and something that costs money is huge,” he continued.
Lin is against the idea of cutting mental health coverage by percentage, rather than overall amount. He
Mishra said that the AMS took into account the backlash that was received last year when the overall principal coverage was reduced from $1,500 to $1,000. He said this is partly what motivated them to reduce the percentage of coverage instead of the dollar amount.
“If anybody on this campus is experiencing any mental health issues, there are a lot of resources available to them,” added Mishra. He said that the AMS continues working to provide students with as many accessible resources as possible and hopefully will make more improvements in the next year.
“We’re here to support students in every capacity that we can, and that’s what we plan to accomplish,” he said, regarding the upcoming school year.
The current policy year for these changes began on September 1. U
Lester Lin has previously been a contributor for the Culture section of The Ubyssey. He was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.
Provincial government increases funding for grad scholarshipsAlexei Villareal Contributor
This year, UBC graduate students will receive $2.175 million in funding for graduate scholarships from the provincial government.
On August 22, the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills announced that the province will be investing $15 million in graduate scholarships over the next three years as part of the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan.
First introduced in 2018, the province began rolling out the B.C. Graduate Scholarships program to “break down barriers to post-secondary education” and encourage the pursuit of “research and skills training to find solutions to pressing real-world challenges,” according to its website.
“The addition of over $2 million of scholarship funding for UBC’s graduate students will enable UBC to better support our graduate students over the next two years, during a time of increasing challenges in meeting the costs of living,” wrote Dr. Susan Porter, dean and vice-provost of graduate and postdoctoral studies, in a statement to The Ubyssey
She also wrote that the extra funding will “allow some students to start a graduate degree who otherwise would not have been able to do so.”
According to Porter, this announcement recognizes how
essential graduate students are to the province’s social and economic prosperity, and she hopes for a continuation of the program into the future.
that request remains in place,” said Kenston.
While Kenston maintains “this recent initiative by StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan is laudable,” he noted that the increase in funding will only benefit a small number of graduate students.
“UBC receives $2 million and UBC has over 10,000 graduate students, of which 40 per cent are in the PhD program ... and master’s students don’t have any form of guaranteed funding,” he mentioned.
Kenston also acknowledged for progress to be made it would be “a very collaborative effort.”
He said he had recently met with both representatives from the BC government and UBC to provide input and recommendations.
Going forward, Kenston hopes to see an increase in UBC’s minimum funding policy for PhD students.Fiona Sjaus Senior Staff Writer
Cases of plagiarism plummeted while sexual misconduct charges tripled by three times at UBC Vancouver (UBCV) in the 2021/22 Student Discipline report.
The annual report breaks down all instances of academic and non-academic misconduct from the previous year.
The 2021/22 report saw a total of 98 cases that appeared before the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline or Non-Academic Misconduct Committee, as well as those investigated under violation of UBC’s sexual misconduct policy, Policy SC17. This is a decrease from the previous year’s total of 122 cases.
This report categorizes cases into counts of plagiarism, cheating, document falsification and impersonation per UBC’s official definitions.
PLAGIARISM CASES DOWN, BUT CHATGPT RAISES NEW CONCERNS
The 2020/21 report saw 45 cases of plagiarism at UBCV. This year, that number decreased more than twofold to 19. UBC Okanagan’s (UBCO) cases of plagiarism remained the same with both years seeing only five cases.
Plagiarism refers to any academic misconduct in which someone else’s ideas and work are
“This is a very good initiative considering most of the challenges that students face, someway, somehow can be linked to affordability,” said Kenston.
However, Kenston also said that further steps need to be taken to ensure the continued success of graduate students nationwide.
The policy, introduced in 2018, provides graduate students a guaranteed minimum funding package in the first four years of their PhD research. However, with the disruption of COVID and the cost of living being at an all-time high, Kenston hopes that “UBC will take action and increase the stipend for graduate students.”
“UBC, I believe, has students at heart … we want the best for the university and we can only get the best for the university with satisfied graduate students who can focus on their research.” U
Breaking down UBC’s 2021/22 misconduct report
These numbers reflect the previous 2021/22 academic term and do not factor in the influence of ChatGPT on academic authenticity.
In an interview with The Ubyssey, Graduate Student Society (GSS) President Sam Kenston shared his optimism about the province’s decision to increase used as someone’s own without explicating the proper due credit.
As these numbers reflect the previous 2021/22 academic term, the breakdown does not factor in the influence of ChatGPT on academic authenticity since its inception during the last winter semester.
“[AI] are all rapidly improving in terms of what they can do,” said Vice Provost and Associate Vice President teaching and learning Dr. Christina Hendricks. “I think
what’s really important is for faculty and students to have conversations in their classes about what these tools can do, and in fact, what they cannot do.”
Hendricks added it was important for faculty to clearly define what is and what is not allowed in their classroom, as AI technologies such as ChatGPT become more widely accessible.
UBC will take on an educative approach to promote shared understanding between faculty and
“This initiative by the province does not replace our request for the federal government to put in or to increase the funding for research … A few months ago, students and faculty across Canada went on a reminder notice to inform the federal government that the funding allocation to research is woefully inadequate, students regarding how to appropriately use these innovations.
“[UBC is] not looking to try to ban AI technologies,” explained Hendricks. “Number one, I don’t think it’s feasible. And number two, I don’t think it’s useful.”
“It’s important for students to have access to learn about, discuss and understand how to appropriately use these kinds of tools because I would imagine they’re likely to use these after they leave the institution in their careers.”
AI-generative platforms can also be expected to influence counts of cheating.
Cheating refers to providing or utilizing unauthorized methods or information to gain academic credit using dishonest means. Instances of cheating increased only slightly from last year’s count of 43 to 45 at UBCV. Cases of document falsification — providing false or incomplete documentation — increased last year from two to seven at UBCV.
Most of these cases were observed amongst prospective students applying to UBC graduate programs.
Impersonation was the least reported form of academic misconduct across both campuses. This refers to pretending to be someone else to achieve a task on their behalf or doing so yourself. There was only one instance of impersonation across both campuses this year, a decrease from last year which recorded 14 cases at UBCV.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT CASES INCREASED AT UBCV
These cases are all instances of violating UBC’s sexual misconduct policy, SC17. Reported sexual misconduct cases at UBCV rose from 4 in 2020/21 to 12 in 2021/22. Similarly, violations of the UBC Student Code of Conduct refer to inappropriate, non-consensual or harmful behaviour. There were two incidents at UBCV last year. U
Landbridge reclaims the Cambodian refugee narrativeElena Massing Culture Editor
Former UBC English professor Dr. Y-Dang Troeung was thrust into the spotlight at an early age, as a member of one of the last families to escape genocide in Cambodia by seeking refuge in Canada. Photos with Pierre Trudeau and countless articles told a story of her family that she spent much of her career reclaiming.
Throughout her life, she was expected to be many things. As a refugee, she was supposed to be grateful for a chance to start over in a new country. As a daughter, she was supposed to be dutiful to the parents who put their lives on the line to protect their children. As an academic, she was supposed to be objective in her work — but how could she possibly distance herself from the war her family survived?
In her memoir Landbridge, Troeung pieces together memories, retellings of historical events and letters to her son, observing the ways these different facets of her identity interact with each other.
“It really is a way to comprehend the war and its aftermath from as many angles as she possibly could, even through her own body and the illnesses of her body,” said Troeung’s husband, Dr. Christopher Patterson.
When Troeung was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021, she gave Patterson a document of her writing — hundreds of thousands of words, collected over a lifetime — and told him to “‘reorder it, try to figure out if any of this is any good.’” She thought that he might only be able to find a few pieces to submit to journals, but it gradually evolved into the larger work that is Landbridge
Despite going through rigorous treatment at the time, Troeung was still eager to be involved in the ed-
iting process. Patterson and close friend Madeleine Thien read it aloud when Troeung did not have enough energy to do so herself. She put together the final draft of Landbridge from her hospital bed, before she passed in November 2022.
Having the opportunity to share her own story, as well as those gathered from the people that surrounded her, was critical in supporting Troeung during her final months.
Patterson believes that “being able to write something that was so authentic and so true freed her from all of that performance that she was meant to do, and that she felt compelled to do.”
As someone who has been expected to represent Cambodian refugees since before she could even speak for herself, Landbridge, for Troeung, was “partly an effort to take control of narratives, not just for her, [but] for her family and for so many other people,” said Patterson. “That’s better than the alternative, where it’s more speculation — it leaves things open for exploitation, for people to circulate those narratives in their own way.”
Before Landbridge, Troeung had attempted to publish a book about Cambodian art and history, but was rejected by a press’ editorial board.
“In their rationale, the board stated my work was not academic enough, that its subjects — Cambodia’s civil war, the US bombings, the Khmer Rouge takeover, work camps, genocide and its aftermaths — were too minor for a scholarly book, unless these issues were ‘ported’ to speak to histories and places closer to the West,” Troeung wrote in Landbridge
“But their most devastating comment was that I, as an author, could not claim to be an expert on the subject matter — that is, on my own history.”
“There are so few scholarly, research-driven books about Cambodian experience authored by Cambodian refugees themselves,” wrote Troeung, as she pointed out the constant pressure she feels to educate others, and to do so flawlessly.
“If we fail, we fail not just ourselves, but our entire history.”
In Landbridge, Troeung steps away from the persuasive rigidity of most academic writing, opting instead for non-linear fragments that are carefully worded, yet ambiguous in their interpretation.
“I think Y-Dang’s real writerly gift that shows all throughout Landbridge is that she doesn’t try to convince the reader to think a certain way, to take on a certain argument,” said Patterson. “She would want people to walk away just with a better understanding of what refugees go through and what happened in the war, and trust in the reader to do their best with that information.”
Above all, Landbridge is a love letter to Troeung’s family. She is not afraid to be vulnerable, recognizing both the good and bad, the hurt and healing, the hardship and joy.
As she recounts how she watched her parents and brothers comb through graveyards searching for earthworms to sell to fisher-
men, Troeung acknowledges that she and her siblings had to grow up more quickly than other kids they knew. But even when “deprived of leisure or vacation, we created our own magic. We turned hardship into opportunity, labour into fun, worms into gold.”
Snippets of conversations with her therapist reveal Troeung’s difficulties in dismantling intergenerational trauma and building an environment where her own child would not be forced to take on the same responsibilities that she held.
In letters to her son Kai, Troeung shares her dreams of the shape his life may take, but emphasizes that she hopes he “will come to these letters to give [him] life, not restrict it.”
Whether that be connecting with his Cambodian heritage among the trees of Angkor Wat, or venturing to the Philippines to learn about the other side of his ancestry — she assures him that she is there, supporting him, in some form.
“Your father likes to say that I will one day see the impact of my work, but I will be inhabiting the soul of a different body. Perhaps I will be a child in your present,” Troeung wrote.
“Perhaps my new self will pick up one of my books and some part of me, deep inside, will understand that I am not alone.” U
New poetry book challenges perceptions of addictionRhea Mann Contributor
UBC Master of Fine Arts alumnus
Spenser Smith invites readers to reflect on British Columbia’s toxic drug supply crisis in his new poetry book A Brief Relief from Hunger
He begins by painting the picture of a childhood in Regina, Saskatchewan, working for his father’s roofing company in “Hundreds of Men: A case study.”
“He employed a lot of different men … so they were always around me. Going into manhood, I had a lot of different models on what it means to be a man,” said Smith. Because he was surrounded by a more traditional view of masculinity, Smith always felt slightly out of place. He describes “Craving men, unshaven men, men who can’t fend, tender men, men who rate women 1 to 10.”
Combined with memories of a childhood in Regina are more recent excerpts detailing Smith’s struggle with substance abuse. He eloquently weaves together anecdotes from his childhood, vivid imagery of his grandmother making cabbage rolls and his IV drug use.
Smith’s writing is a testament to how media misconstrues the lives of drug users, showing that people are more than their addiction. Each moment is a part of his story and has its own right to be told.
“It’s not all using under a bridge or in an alley,” he said. “There is a whole life people are living; I want to explore that and show that.”
“I want people to have a piece of literature that represents some of their experiences, especially in the context of the toxic drug crisis in BC. A lot of the stories [currently] surrounding that are not from people who have experienced it.”
Many of Smith’s poems quote and respond to comments left on CBC News articles regarding homelessness, overdoses and the toxic drug supply crisis — “Eventually the problem should fix itself,” a Facebook user wrote.
“I felt, to some degree, just hurt by reading these comments. Especially in the context that I was in at the time, being pretty new into recovery and having a lot of people in my life who were [also] trying to recover from addiction. These were really good, lovable people that were supporting me, and I just knew that their lives are worth so much more dignity and respect.”
He does not limit his work to personal accounts — he draws connections between his life and the societal issues that surround him, demanding more from those with the most power to create change.
“Small deaths’’ is a poem that points out Vancouver’s inaction towards the toxic drug supply crisis, highlighting the casual nature in which the city addresses it. Overdose resulting in death ultimately gets categorized into yet another statistic, minimizing life to a numeric value. Their deaths are viewed as “small” — grieved less than others because of the cause.
“If drug users were listened to, especially in the context of the current crisis, we would have policies in place that respond in more prompt and effective ways,” said Smith. U
Upcoming arts and culture events
Elena Massing Culture Editor
IMAGINUS POSTER SALE
September 11-15 from 9a.m. – 8 p.m., AMS Nest
Grab some dorm room decor at the poster sale in the Nest! From Studio Ghibli to Van Gogh, there’s something for everyone (and at pretty reasonable prices, too).
COME TOWARD THE FIRE FESTIVAL
September 16 from 1–6 p.m., Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
Musqueam and the Chan Centre have joined forces to put on a festival celebrating Indigenous creativity. Free daytime events include local vendors, storytelling and film screenings. The ticketed evening performance is headlined by Black Belt Eagle Scout and Mato Wayuhi. Information about the event can be found at cometowardthefire.com
CALL FOR ARTISTS: ARTIVISM
WONDERLAND, THE MAGICAL, RADICAL & THE MAD
September 21 from 6–10 p.m., Venue subject to change
UBC Arts and Culture is looking for creatives that want to participate in an event celebrating radical creativity. The link to sign up can be found on the UBC Arts and Culture Instagram page (@ ubcartsculture).
OPERA TEA IN THE GARDEN
September 24 at 2 p.m., UBC Botanical Garden
Feeling fancy? Enjoy arias performed by new UBC opera students in the stunning botanical garden. Sit back, sip on some tea and enjoy! Tickets can be purchased from chancentre.com
HATCH X ARTIVISM: REVEAL/ REFORM EXHIBITION OPENING RECEPTION
September 26, Hatch Art Gallery
A new exhibit is opening at The Hatch Art Gallery! The theme is individual and collective liberation and resistance. If you’d like to perform at the opening reception, performance artists of all styles are invited to apply by September 18. The link to sign up can be found on the Hatch’s Instagram page (@hatch-artgallery).
BARD ON THE BEACH
Until September 30, Vanier Park
It’s not too late to catch a show at Western Canada’s largest Shakespeare festival! This season, shows include As You Like It, JuliusCaesar,HenryV and Goblin:Macbeth. Information about tickets and showtimes can be found at bardonthebeach.org U
Letter from The Ubyssey’s Board of Directors President
Welcome home UBC!
As the President of The Ubyssey Publications Society, your student newspaper and Canada’s #1 student newspaper, I am excited to welcome you to our campus!
The Ubyssey Publications Society is a nonprofit newspaper by the students and for the students. Our amazing team of editors, contributors and business staff work hard to keep UBC students informed about what’s going on around campus.
I ran for The Ubyssey’s Board of Directors in 2022 on a promise of transparency, and I am looking forward to continu -
ing that again this year.
The Board of Directors is the governing body of The Ubyssey that directly overlooks the business operations of our paper. Our board consists of nine members, including five that are directly elected by the general student body. Each year in March, our elections for directors will occur, where any members of our society may choose to run.
If you are interested in learning more about our board, or about running in the next elections, please do not hesitate to reach out to me!
Last year, our board passed a new 5-year strategic
plan (available at ubyssey.ca/ pages/how-we-run/ ), revised outdated internal policies, expanded our high-school scholarship to be open to more students than ever, and began the process of formally updating and reviewing our bylaws.
The Ubyssey’s revenues come from a mix of advertising, and student fees. Each student at UBC pays this membership fee, but may also choose to opt-out of paying at the cost of losing their membership in our society. Keeping student affordability in mind, our long term goal for the annual fee is to place a cap on
the inflation-linked increases. This can be achieved through strong fiscal management and investments by our board of directors and business office, and through the amazing support we get each year from the students.
If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me in Room 2209 of the NEST! Have a great year UBC!Jalen Bachra Board of Directors President email@example.com
Letter from the Business Office: The Ubyssey ’s 2022/23 financial update
To the members of the Ubyssey Publications Society (UPS),
As the business manager for the UPS, I would like to thank all members for their continued support throughout this past academic year. This business update covers the period September 1, 2022–August 31, 2023. This year’s editorial and web development team have combined efforts to create and produce an award-winning publication. The Ubyssey received nine awards for excellence at this year’s Canadian University Press’s annual meetings held in Hamilton, Ontario, including Canadian University “Student Publication of the Year”! These awards are reflective of the outstanding work and unwavering dedication exhibited by our team of student editors, contributors, developers and volunteers throughout the year.
Moving forward into the 2023/24 fiscal year (FY), The Ubyssey will continue to publish in both print and online. Print editions will be published bi-weekly and our online publication will continue to be updated daily.
The Ubyssey’s operating budget for FY 2022/23 ending August 31, 2023 was $530,000 in total income
with expenditures coming in roughly in line with income at $532,000. As always, it is our stated aim to strive to achieve our budgeted forecasts and this past FY we were able to do so.
During FY 22/23 we accessed the Canadian Periodical Fund ($37,000) which allowed us to do a complete overhaul of our web based online publication. We also received, $29,000 through the Canada Summer Jobs Program which assisted us with our summer student employment program. These government grants helped enormously in not only student employment but also in completing several much-needed initiatives.
Going forward, The Ubyssey is obligated to repay in full our CEBA loan of $40,000, obtained during the pandemic, this December. We have already set aside funds for this so no impact is anticipated on our plans for FY 23/24. Our continued efforts to modernize our website will be aided by a second application to the Canadian Periodical Fund for monies designated for further web development.
Overall, The Ubyssey projects that student fees, advertising revenues and Government of Canada grants will combine to keep The Ubyssey on solid
financial ground through FY 23/24. We anticipate revenues (fees, grants and advertising) to provide up to $520,000 with projected expenses accounting for $512,000. We will monitor our expenses closely as there is no certainty of being awarded the periodical fund grant for a second time. Currently, wages account for 75 per cent of the projected budget, equipment purchases and office expenses 15 per cent and conferences travel and professional development the remaining 10 per cent.
Adjustments to the budget will be made to compensate for shortages and monies will be allocated as appropriate while striving to balance the books.
As a non-profit entity, we are obliged to provide transparency to our membership on budgetary matters and will make available financial information to members who seek a more detailed breakdown of expenses. I can be reached at business@ ubyssey.ca and would be more than happy to discuss the business side of The Ubyssey, on request, by any member of the UPS.Douglas Baird MB CD UPS Business Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
How the kitchen and chow mein brought together a new generation of Japanese Canadian studentsRenée Rochefort
Hannah Takasaki and Troy Chong first connected over chow mein.
A chance encounter in the Sprouts kitchen allowed Takasaki, a third-year land and food systems student, and Chong, a fifth-year microbiology and immunology student, to discover their shared Japanese Canadian heritage and to chat about chow mein.
Made of stir-fried celery, onions, noodles and a handful of other ingredients depending on which family you ask, chow mein is a staple for many Japanese Canadian families.
But, chow mein isn’t traditionally made in Japan. It’s a classic Chinese comfort dish that has become a Japanese Canadian staple. The Nisei generation — second generation Japanese immigrants — had only Chinese spices readily available due to their internment in Interior BC.
“Japanese people from Japan don’t make [chow mein],” said Takasaki. “It’s a uniquely Japanese Canadian thing, which is really cool and shows how robust Japanese Canadian culture is.”
Takasaki and Chong both have great-grandparents who immigrated to Canada from Japan, making them part of the Yonsei generation, a term used to describe fourth-generation Japanese diaspora. Their family histories show how Vancouver’s Japanese community has grown and changed across its 150 year long history.
The first known Japanese immigrants arrived in Canada in 1877, forming the Issei generation.
These immigrants and their second generation children, part of the Nisei generation, were denied citizenship, voting rights and were banned from some professions alongside other immigrant and racialized communities.
Between 1942 and 1949, 22,000 Japanese Canadians along the West Coast were forcibly evicted from their homes, and some were sent to internment camps following the
bombing of Pearl Harbor.
During this time, 76 Japanese Canadian students at UBC were forced into internment before they could complete their degrees.
In 2012, UBC held a ceremony to grant these 76 students honorary degrees following years of advocacy to have UBC acknowledge its complicity in internment.
Now, a new generation of Japanese Canadian students have made their way back to campus.
The Japanese Canadian experience in BC is one of loss and reconnection, but the Yonsei generation seems keen on focusing on the latter.
Chong’s grandparents were born in Vancouver before the start of the Second World War. Internment sent the family to Kamloops, where they eventually settled down and raised his mother.
“There was a lot of moving and resettlement due to the internment camps,” said Chong. “They had their home in Vancouver and they had to lose everything.”
Starting over in the interior wasn’t easy.
Chong’s grandfather, the eldest sibling, learned how to speak English independent of his parents who spoke Japanese. This allowed Chong’s grandfather to help his family run their own business — a successful Kamloops Toyota dealership.
“My grandpa really sacrificed quite a lot, and he really worked really hard especially to give the rest of his siblings a future,” said Chong. “With everything that happened, they had to make the most of it.”
Chong said his family still lives there, and he visits often.
Growing up in the Lower Mainland, Chong felt “very in-between” his backgrounds. During his high school years, Chong said he “could just tell” his experience with Japanese and Chinese culture was different from most of his peers
— he didn’t relate to the experiences of more recent Chinese and Japanese immigrants.
For Chong, his inability to connect with common “cultural cues” meant he felt like an outsider with his Asian peers, while stereotypes kept him from forging connections with his Canadian peers.
“I had that Asian stereotype of working pretty hard,” said Chong. “I couldn’t really connect with them, because they kind of saw [me] as a super big stereotype.”
The inability to resonate with any dominant cultural experience led Chong to mixed feelings about his cultural heritage.
“For a long time, I really struggled,” said Chong. “I spent a lot of that time resenting a lot of my background.”
But Chong has made efforts to keep in touch with his Japanese heritage. This year, he accepted a co-op position in Japan.
“My Asian culture is something that I didn’t have a lot of time to connect [with] … I’m going to take that effort to learn about it,” said Chong. “I guess that’s the reason why I’m here in Japan, right now, working.”
Learning about his heritage later in life has allowed Chong to view Japanese culture through a nuanced lens.
“What a great opportunity to learn about my roots and my culture, to actually learn the language and to learn where I’ve come from,” said Chong. “I think being able to learn about this later in my life gives me a deeper appreciation and understanding of where I’ve come from … I can see the good things and the bad things about our culture.”
Takasaki grew up in Natick, Massachusetts, a town of around 36,000 in the Greater Boston area.
“It’s a very white town,” said Takasaki.
Growing up, Takasaki didn’t consider herself “very Japanese”
because she’s a fourth-generation Japanese immigrant, but she said she dealt with others mispronouncing her last name and made fun of her for being smart “because she’s Asian.”
Takasaki faced similar stereotypes to Chong during her childhood.
“I played piano, and I was very academically driven as a child,” said Takasaki. “I kind of fit the stereotype of a classic Asian kid.”
Takasaki’s time at UBC has helped her to undo years of internalized racism — the internalization of racist stereotypes and ideologies perpetuated by society.
During her first campus tour, she had mixed feelings when seeing the number of Asian communities at UBC. Since then, the diversity has since become one of her favourite things about UBC.
“I kind of thought of [being Asian] as a bad thing,” said Takasaki. “And then, after about a year or two, I was like ‘Wow, I can’t believe I thought of that as like a negative thing.’”
Takasaki traced a disconnect from her Japanese heritage to her father’s experience growing up.
Takasaki’s grandmother’s family owned a store around Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood, but moved back to Japan because of anti-Japanese sentiment following the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
The federal government started a program to disperse the Japanese Canadian population, allowing those who are “loyal” to stay in Canada and “repatriating” the disloyal to Japan, according to the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
“I feel like a lot of Japanese people moved away from Vancouver because … the BC government took everything from these Japanese people,” said Takasaki about internment. “If I were my great-grandparents, I wouldn’t want to stay in Vancouver. I get released from the internment camp, but I have no business, I have no home, I
have no place to go.”
While her grandmother and her family moved to Japan, her grandfather’s family fled into the BC Interior. Once her grandparents met, they eventually settled in a Montreal suburb where Takasaki’s father was raised.
Takasaki said the move pushed her father to hide his cultural heritage.
“It was a very white suburb,” said Takasaki. “He was bullied growing up because he was Japanese … I think he internalized a bit of racism and also relinquished his Japanese identity to fit in.”
Takasaki said this impacted her growing up. Her family didn’t regularly celebrate Japanese culture and traditions and growing up and she didn’t think of herself as Japanese.
The University of Victoria and the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre collaborated to create the Landscape of Injustice’s database, which archives and provides access to records on Japanese Canadians in BC during the 1940s and the interment period.
The resource helped Takasaki learn more about her Japanese ancestors and discover their Vancouver connection. She realized she had a familial connection to the city through her Japanese side.
“This database [shows] where my grandparents were born and where they grew up, and their addresses before they were displaced,” said Takasaki. “I was able to see exactly where my grandmother and my grandfather were born and where they lived.”
Growing up, Takasaki watched the documentary One Big Hapa Family which highlighted the growing number of mixed-race members of the Japanese diaspora, helping her relate as a mixed white and Japanese person.
But it made her question if her Japanese heritage could be in danger of fading out.
“I worry that if I don’t marry a Japanese person and have Japanese kids, my Japanese
heritage and my culture is gonna get lost along the way,” said Takasaki.
Takasaki, the eldest of four, began encouraging her father and siblings to “celebrate [their] Japanese side” and learn more about the family’s history during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“It’s cool to learn about these things and feel some sort of connection to it, even if it’s pretty distant,” said Takasaki. “[You] are part of this culture that you’re removed from but you’re trying to learn again for yourself.”
And for the Takasaki family, the kitchen played a central role in building that connection.
Some of Takasaki’s fond memories include being in the kitchen with her grandma and making yaki manju cookies, small dough cookies with red bean filling.
Making ozoni, a mochi rice cake soup served at New Years, and cooking soba noodles and chow mein have all become ways to seek out connection for Takasaki.
“I definitely think that I want to continue [those] traditions,” said Takasaki. “I want to keep making chow mein for my kids.”
Exploring their Japanese Canadian identity as they navigate adulthood has been a purposeful journey for Chong and Takaski, and Chong said it was “pure luck” that they met.
“I’m sure that there’ll be more and more of these kinds of stories popping up here and there … Hopefully I’ll meet more people like myself,” said Chong. “It was very cool to have met Hannah … Hannah’s the first fourth gen that I’ve met.”
With over a century’s worth of history in Canada, the Japanese Canadian community holds a unique position in the broader Asian diaspora.
For Chong, being part of the Yonsei generation is a source of pride. It’s given him a unique perspective on the world.
“I’m very proud of being a Japanese Canadian.” U
at work. I was interning at a local food non-profit, and it was a rare day when there was no food to be made in the kitchens and no work to be done in the gardens. My table was crammed up against the hallway wall, the floor carpeted and the humid air exposed.
For months I’ve been wanting to write about my dad’s experience growing up alongside my grandparents’ business. But when I started scribbling grey-penciled ideas across a scrapped piece of paper, I created a landscape that pointed not to what I knew, but everything I
How could Aunt Linda have such a conflicting image of my Yeiyei from my dad? Why did my dad never bother to mention Ama’s key role in the business? Why does it seem that Aunt Jane doesn’t remember any of it?
Perhaps it was the age gap — the siblings’ young emotions bounded to like-events that happened at different times and in different contexts. Perhaps it was the pressure of being the oldest sibling, the invisibility of being the middle child or the freedom that came with being the only boy, younger by so many years. Or perhaps we just remember the stories of people we are most alike. Maybe Yeiyei’s presence in my dad’s memory is the same reason I chose to write about my dad.
Regardless of what the three of the siblings knew, or what they thought happened, my grandparents’ business remains a thread that connects our family through space, time and the rapidly changing societies that each generation learns to navigate. It has influenced my decision to study agriculture and has shaped my identity as a third-generation Chinese-Taiwanese Canadian.
Today, my dad no longer buys doujiang from the grocery store — he makes it from a recipe clobbered together by internet forums and Ama’s anecdotes. So, when I go back home and wake to the sound of a blender, I immediately know: doujiang.
The direct translation is “soy milk” but I hate it when people call it that. Soy milk is the tasteless liquid reserved for white veganism, health blogs and beanie-clad baristas.
Doujiang is the bean that spent careful nighttime hours soaking. Doujiang is the cloth used to filter the liquid from its grounds. Doujiang is a slightly sweet steaming bowl that takes more than a slight amount of sugar to make it taste just
I sit down at the dining table and slide out the hot youtiao from the toaster oven with the tips of my fingers so I don’t get burned. Beside me are my two older sisters while my parents occupy the other half of the
Doujiang is the first thing I have for breakfast when I visit relatives in Taiwan and the first thing I have for breakfast when I visit my parents’ home in Ontario. Because food is home. Food is family. Food is history. And if memory changes, then I know that no matter what, I can rely on doujiang. U
Ask Iman: How do I pick which classes to drop?
Dear Iman, I’m in way too many classes right now and need to drop some. One of the classes seems super fun, but doesn’t apply to my major. What should I do?
A tale as old as time itself.
To drop, or not to drop. That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer. The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…
You can tell I’m an English major, huh? But seriously, figuring out which class to drop is always super tough — you pick classes based on how much you anticipate you’ll like them, and then suddenly you have to pick one of them to get chopped.
I’m notorious for attending a million classes in the first week, then really only ending up in about three or four of them. I need to get a feel for things, get a sample (in the next Ask Iman — how school is like Costco) and I like to shop around before I buy anything, so why would classes be any different?
I totally understand being in a super fun class, yet the subject matter itself has little (or no) relevance to your degree, and having a snoozefest of a class that you need to graduate. Which one you drop/stay in is totally up to you — but here’s my advice.
If you’re nearing the end of your degree, if a class is a degree requirement that you need for the next year or if a class is a prerequisite, don’t drop it.
As much as your fun exciting elective is fun and exciting, it’s
not worth stressing out about not having your science requirement completed well into your senior year. If you’re in your last year and want to drop a required class, make sure that you can take it the next semester or have a class that your advising office said can replace that course. But remember, you’ll have to take that class eventually, so might as well do it now.
But let’s say the elective class is super cool. Like SO cool. You’ll never be able to take a class as interesting ever again, the professor is an award-winning cool guy who is at the top of their field and the class has no final exam (flex, in my case). Should you take it at the expense of not completing your requirements? It depends.
If this class can contribute to your elective credits and really is something you’ll never get to do again. I’d stay in the class — elective credits are required credits, so all’s well that ends well. But if it won’t count toward that, or has little relevance to your future or interests (even though it’s a cool class), take the L, drop it and try to enjoy your required class.
Life is all about balance — maybe you won’t get to take a super silly elective credit this semester, but you will get to later. Maybe you’ll get out of taking a required course you’ve been dreading, but you’ll have to finish the class eventually. Think things through and weigh your options — the add/ drop date is September 18.
You’re doing great. Keep it up! U Need advice? Send your questions, queries or problems to advice@ ubyssey.ca, or submit anonymously at ubyssey.ca/pages/advice!
Why are you a member of the Ubyssey Publications Society?Anabella McElroy Coordinating Editor
As a UBC student, you’re automatically a paying member of a few societies.
The biggest is the Alma Mater Society (AMS), your student union, which charges an annual $48.23 membership fee. The Ubyssey is also an independent society — so that $7.86 you paid us in your student fees makes you a member. But what does that mean and why are we set up this way?
The Ubyssey was established in 1918, but we’ve only been independent from the AMS since 1995. After that year’s satire issue, the AMS locked us out of our office in the old Student Union Building, now the Life Building, and fired our editorial staff, effectively shutting down the paper.
The then-editors decided to run a referendum for a new structure, establishing the Ubyssey Publications Society as an independent non-profit, with its own student fee.
Being a member of The Ubyssey means you can participate more in our work — you can become a staff member, editor or member of our board of directors. You can also look at our financials anytime by visiting our business manager (there’s a letter from him on page 7).
We run on a volunteer system — no experience is required to write an article, make an illustration, film a video, take a photo or join our web development team, and over 200 people did last year.
But even if you never set foot in our office, being a member means you are supporting an informed campus community.
Our contributors write about everything UBC governance, from what AMS Council is doing to who’s paid the most on campus. We publish articles about campus arts and culture, sports and research. Our funny guys write Onion-style satire about UBC. Plus, anyone in the community can submit an opinion letter about an issue they care about.
Our independence means neither the AMS or the UBC can tell us what to publish (or not). That’s up to our team of editors, elected by Ubyssey staff members each year.
The funds from The Ubyssey ’s student fee go toward keeping the essential operations of our paper functioning. A majority of our budget goes towards salaries — editors are all full- and part-time employees paid to pitch, edit and publish articles in their section, and senior staff members are paid a per-article rate. Our business manager works on our budget and our web development team
keeps our website running and improving.
It also costs money to print a newspaper! We publish a print issue every two weeks, and while it’s a bit old-fashioned it’s still an important function of the paper as big tech companies limit the news that can be seen on their platforms. Newspapers are distributed for free around campus.
The Ubyssey also makes some money from advertising, which goes toward professional development and conferences.
I’ve been talking up The Ubyssey a lot in this article, and that’s because I really believe in the work we do. That being said, our organization is built to serve the UBC community, which means adapting to their needs and feedback.
If there’s anything you want to see covered in The Ubyssey, reach out and let me or one of our section editors know! We’re students like you, so we are bound to miss something we really should be covering.
I’m also the person to reach out to if you have any broader questions, concerns or even compliments.
Send feedback to feedback@ ubyssey.ca or reach me directly at email@example.com. U
WHY DEVELOP AS A PERSON WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A WHISTLE WITH A POTTERY CLUB LOGO ON IT INSTEAD? //
Imagine Day clubs be imagining they’ll see me againHarry Sadleir Senior Staff
There are two types of Imagine Day goers: the starry-eyed first years forming a love-at-firstsight style connection with a club dedicated to an obscure niche they’ve been obsessed with since elementary school and those of us who attend with one clandestine mission — to gather free stuff like the loot goblins we are.
Those in the former group need not read on. I hope you have already started your journey towards “genuine interpersonal connections,” “future career prospects” and “developing a functional machine to clone Taylor Swift so she can perform at UBC.” The rest of us have been busy looting and pillaging, and it is time to share my haul.
But first, some personal background.
WOLVERINE: ORIGINS (EXCEPT
IT’S ABOUT BECOMING A LOOT GOBLIN)
I stumbled upon this timehonoured tradition in the heat of the moment. It was first year and I was wandering the streets of Main
Mall like everyone else, when I saw it: a little booth with a strange box that stood out from the rest. They were giving out some little trinkety thing. It was a 3D-printed cairn replica. It has been in my backpack for four years now.
Feast your eyes on my tiny prize:
I hope they’ve had a good four years. They haven’t seen me since. It would have been downhill from there had our relationship continued. Instead I did what any reasonable person would do and continued down the line of booths. My eyes scanned for stickers, little candies and trinkety guys. My inner loot goblin won, and now it comes out again every year to take advantage of Fantasy Foursquare club’s desperation to
JUMP STARTING A CAR IS FINE THOUGH //
get more than three members (to complete the game of foursquare).
THIS YEAR’S LOOT
• Six identical single-mouthful M&M bags from six different booths. Put them together and that’s like one regular sized bag.
• Spun a big wheel with a grand prize of a $5 gift card. Won some pocket lint instead, but the thrill was prize enough.
• Joined 37 mailing lists on a burner email so I can check in when I’m feeling parasocial.
• Two oranges, which is not a lot but it’s weird that it happened twice. Appreciated the healthy options as a break from the sugar bricks on offer elsewhere.
• 14 blank smiles and nods at boothers while pretending to scan a QR code. I was actually just taking pictures of the QR codes to print out and put up as decoration in my hoard.
Don’t make these Jump Start mistakesIllustrations by Anya A Ameen Words by Jocelyn Baker
THE OFF SEASON
After a successful Imagine Day, it is time to retreat with my winnings to The Loot Cave (trademark pending). The Candy Wall (trademark pending) will grow two inches and Used Gift Card Shrine (trademark unfortunately rejected) will gain several offerings. Now I can live in peace staring at my winnings as I enter a deep sugarinduced hibernation until next year’s Imagine Day. U
Research road trip maps regeneration after wildfiresTova Gaster Science Editor
Under Saskatchewan skies thick with wildfire smoke in July, a bright blue UBC Forestry truck blaring country music headed west.
While particles of burned forests clouded the sun, the researchers behind the wheel set out to understand how to help forests regenerate after the flames cool.
“Every time I see smoke in the air, I think my research is applicable because things are actively burning and we have to think about how things look in the future,” said UBC PhD student Sarah SmithTripp.
Members of the UBC Integrated Remote Sensing Studio, including Smith-Tripp, took a two-week remote sensing fieldwork road trip across the country. From the Acadian broadleaf forests of New Brunswick to BC’s temperate rainforests, they used drones to scan landscapes from timber plantations to bare ash.
The researchers call themselves the “Scantiques Roadshow.”
The Scantiques Roadshow is a part of a Canada-wide study that focuses on developing new methods to monitor how forests respond to disturbances like wildfires, droughts and pests.
Canada’s forests are incredibly diverse, both in the species they host and in how they’re managed. What unites them all though is that as the climate changes, forests are changing too.
Groups including the timber industry, provincial governments and First Nations need to know how they are changing so they can prepare.
That’s where the Scantiques Roadshow’s mission to develop better remote sensing methods comes in.
BC WILDFIRES OUT OF CONTROL
From when the Scantiques Roadshow left from Halifax on June 30 to their return to BC 12 days later, Canada experienced over 500 wildfires — a brief snapshot of the country’s most severe fire season on record.
Driving through recently-burned forests, the earth still looked burned out and barren.
“It’s quite like a moonscape — hours of trees laying on the ground,” said Smith-Tripp. “It’s somewhere that doesn’t function like so many other forests.”
That’s her description of the site of the 2017 Plateau Complex fire, an amalgamation of several smaller fires in Northeast BC that burned a total of 5,451 square kilometers — larger than Metro Vancouver.
It includes parts of the Quesnel Forest District, which is one of Smith-Tripp’s main study sites. Smith-Tripp said that it’s too early to tell whether the burned parts of the forest will regenerate — but that it is likely more resilient than it appears.
These forests have bounced back from, and sometimes because of, disturbances for tens of thousands of years — something that the Indigenous communities of the region know well.
The Plateau Fire site overlaps the territories of First Nations
including Dakelh and Tsilhqot’in communities. They have practiced controlled burns for thousands of years to minimize the risk of bigger runaway wildfires.
Controlled burns usually occur in the wet season to clear out dead wood, germinate fire-dependent seeds and make room for biodiverse new growth. Often led by expert elders, burns also connect communities to traditional cultural practices and help new generations learn from the land.
Provincial settler forest management has suppressed those fires and outlawed controlled burns since the 1870s — a paradigm that has only started to shift in the last five years, according to research by UBC’s Tree Ring Lab.
Not only has state fire suppression stolen First Nations’ sovereignty, research shows it has harmed the forests by making them more susceptible to bigger fires and invasive species.
Colonialism doesn’t show up directly on remote sensing scans, but it has shaped how forests grow and how they burn.
“That’s something that as a remote sensing scientist I’ve started to grapple with because it becomes so easy to be removed from your studies,” said SmithTripp. “You can’t be remote in your actual science.”
To fix that disconnect, SmithTripp said that her study site engages with the local community. People from the city of Quesnel, including forestry experts from the Nazko First Nation, come to conferences to share their priorities, which helps shape the data that the researchers collect.
According to Smith-Tripp, the Nazko First Nation was particularly interested in “managing and restoring forests for important
Slowly, some state policies may be listening. BC Community Resilience Initiative Grants are funding education and planning for fire in the Nazko First Nation. It won’t fix centuries of mismanagement, but according to Smith-Tripp, it’s a place to start.
REMOTE SENSING FOR RESILIENCE
From the ashes, sometimes new growth emerges. Smith-Tripp described a burn site from 2006 that is now lush and green.
“In areas that have good regeneration, they don’t feel so apocalyptic,” she said. “Sometimes, when you leave the forest alone, it’ll just fix itself.”
Could that lush landscape be what the sites of the 2017 Plateau Complex fires near Quesnel look like in twenty years? Part of the Scantiques Roadshow team’s job is to find out why some forests grow back relatively quickly while others falter.
“Understanding what forests look like after a disturbance occurs is really important, “said Smith-Tripp. “We also should plan for that sort of resiliency within forests because we know that our forests are operating under greater stresses.”
While BC is currently dealing with the direct impacts of wildfires, the slower work of regeneration that happens next is just as important.
William Nikolakis is a UBC researcher that works with the Tsilhqot’in First Nation to restore controlled fire to the landscape.
According to Nikolakis, forest fire agencies often direct all their energy to salvage forests that are still standing, instead of rehabilitating burn sites.
“Now’s the time to put attention into those lands that have been burned, not turn away from them,” said Nikolakis. “Otherwise … we’re essentially kicking the can of wildfire risk down the road for future generations to deal with it.”
Climate change impacts forests in complicated ways that are often difficult to predict — from wildfires that burn hotter, longer and more frequently to insect outbreaks as species’ ranges change.
Smith-Tripp is still in the data analysis phase, developing categories for different types of regeneration to try and identify what contributes to each outcome.
This can hopefully help forest managers know what they need to do to help forests recover and adapt.
“Climate change is a global problem with local solutions,” said Smith-Tripp. “What is happening at a site in BC is not the same thing that’s happening at a site in Acadia, but the technology that we can use to monitor and make suggestions can be the same.”
LIDAR HELPS RESEARCHERS AVOID MISSING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES
To keep track of Canada’s huge and rapidly-changing forest ecosystems, remote sensing technology is becoming increasingly important.
“The value of remote sensing is that it takes people out of the field, it decreases the cost and it increases the amount of data that we have to give managers,” said Smith-Tripp.
Their study is part of a larger project called Silva21, a $5 million National Science and Engineering
Research Council grant dedicated to getting as much data on different aspects of Canada’s forests as possible.
Smith-Tripp’s team uses a remote sensing method called LIDAR, which stands for “light detection and ranging.” LIDAR works by scanning objects or landscapes with a light pulse. By measuring the time it takes for light to reflect back, it can map out the contours of landscape — from forested mountain to bare ground — onto an accurate 3D model.
They combine LIDAR data with high-definition aerial photography and multispectral drones, which collect detailed colour data.
Combining these methods can create detailed 3D models that can be analyzed remotely to diagnose problems, monitor progress and keep tabs on hundreds and thousands of miles of forest.
Some forestry professionals raise doubts about whether remote sensing can achieve the same accuracy as old-fashioned measurements. However, SmithTripp said the Integrated Remote Sensing Lab actually does the most fieldwork of any Faculty of Forestry researchers, combining methods for better results.
“I went into forestry because I wanted to walk in the woods,” Smith-Tripp said. “My favourite thing is to tromp around in burned forests.”
She still tromps — and flies drones — around in forests, both burned and whole. With help, maybe burned can become whole again.
“There’s some areas where it’s just like, wow, how could this regrow?” said Smith-Tripp. “But at the same time ... woods can be really resilient.” U
PRESEASON REVIEWS //
Soccer, rugby teams set up for repeat championshipsLauren Kasowski and Jade Quinn-McDonald Sports + Rec Editor and Contributor
With three of the four sports teams defending Canada West (CW) championships, the fall varsity season will be one to watch. Here’s what you should expect from your Thunderbird teams.
WOMEN’S SOCCER HOPES FOR ANOTHER HISTORIC SEASON
After winning a historic 16th CW title last season and placing 5th in the nation, the women’s soccer team is looking ready for another competitive season.
Although star player Danielle Steer, who broke the CW points record last season, graduated, veterans like Katalin Tolnai and Sophie Damian, along with recruits such as Bailey Doerksen and Sarah Rollins, are keeping this team looking strong for a successful season.
Doerksen is usually an attacking midfielder, but has versitility to play as a striker to give the team an extra threat. Rollins previously played for the semi-professional North Toronto Nitros and will likely see good minutes on the defensive line.
SEASON PREVIEW //
The season officially started two weeks ago and the ‘Birds wasted no time in asserting their dominance. They have won all five of their conference games and sit atop the Canada West standings.
The team will look to stay undefeated on the road on September 15 against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
MEN’S SOCCER AIMS TO TURN EXPERIENCE INTO EVEN MORE SUCCESS
Hopes are high for the men’s team and for a reason — as the five time defending CW champions and national runner ups, the T-Birds have a lot to live up to.
But it looks like they can live with the pressure. Although there are some notable changes to the roster — like Victory Shumbusho and Tristan Nkoghe graduating — the majority of the roster is returning and with more experience.
Second-year Chris Lee returns from a year with the Vancouver Whitecaps and second-year Eric Lajeunesse was selected sixth in the Canadian Premier League draft. Veteran player Sebastian Dzikowski is also gearing up for what could be the best season of his U Sports career to date.
The Thunderbirds have had a golden season thus far, only dropping points in a 1–1 draw against the Trinity Western Spartans.
The ‘Birds travel to Alberta on September 16 to play the MacEwan Griffins where they will hope to stay undefeated.
WOMEN’S RUGBY RECRUITS TO BE IMPACTFUL
Women’s rugby head coach Dean Murten is optimistic about this season. Last year, UBC had a successful season with a 8–1–1 record. After winning their third consecutive CW championship, the team moved on to U Sports women’s rugby nationals where
they finished fifth overall for the second year in a row.
The team maintains their prestige, being ranked first in the CW division and third in U Sports.
The roster is mostly returning athletes but with the addition of strong rookies like Olympic bronze medalist Sara Kaljuvee and two-time provincial champion Lana Dueck.
“We have to be a little bit more patient, we have to be a little bit more adaptable, we have to be a little bit more physical. We have the personnel to do it, we just need to come together collectively,” said Murten.
The ‘Birds started their season strong by beating their rivals,
the University of Victoria Vikes, 29–12.
The team’s home opener is Thursday, September 14 against the University of Alberta Pandas.
MEN’S RUGBY COMPETING INTERNATIONALLY
Hot off last season’s national win, the men’s rugby team is fired up for the upcoming season. With rookies fresh from the Canadian U18 team and new interium head coach Didier Banse, the team is carrying a new energy into the fall.
With all the new talent, the team is lucky to have some key players returning this season. Izzak Kelly and Jacob Bossi are dynamic forwards to watch while brothers Takoda and Talon McMullin are strong back players.
Last spring UBC won the BC Premier League, making them the team to beat. They currently have a 1–1 record. The T-Birds will soon travel to Bordeaux, France for the World University Rugby Invitational Tournament to compete against the best university rugby teams in the world. This experience should help the team continue building their chemistry. The team’s next chance to prove themselves is September 16 versus the Pacific Pride at the Gerald McGavin UBC Rugby Centre. U
New roster, same goal for UBC football this year
the T-Birds’ younger defensive linemen, particularly secondyear Kendrick Diedrick. Diedrick didn’t play in his first year at UBC, but “had a tremendous, tremendous offseason,” said Nill.
Nill additionally pointed out Mark Webb, a first-year receiver from Ottawa, as another new face to watch out for. “He’s going to help us right away,” Nill said.
The 2023 Thunderbirds roster is undoubtedly different from last season’s, but Nill believes that’s a good thing.
“We’re older,” he said. “In football, there’s a significant correlation between physical maturity and success.”
But regardless of the changing roster, UBC’s mission and game plan remain the same — they are a physical team, both offensively and defensively.
Friday, September 8
SOC (W) at Heat W 3–2
SOC (M) Cascades W 2–0
*HKY (W) Delta W 4–0
*HKY (M) SFU W 5–3
Saturday, September 9
SOC (W) at Wolf-Pack W 3–0
SOC (M) Spartans T 1–1
RUG (W) at Vikes W 29–12
FHKY (W) at Dinos W 4–3
FB Dinos W 45–15
*RUG (M) Spartans W 61–22
*HKY (W) Rink Academy W 5–2
On September 9, the UBC Thunderbirds won against the University of Calgary Dinos in their first home game of the 2023 season. They begin the season ranked 9th out of the 27 teams in U Sports. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who have held the Canada West title for two consecutive years, are the only divisional rival ranked higher at third.
Last season, the T-Birds scraped their way into the playoffs with a 4–4 conference record at the cost of starting quarterback Garrett
Rooker, who sustained a serious leg injury in a game against the Huskies. The Thunderbirds managed to make it to the Canada West finals with back-up QB Derek Engel at the helm, but fell 23–8 to the Huskies in an offensively lopsided match-up.
UBC hopes to overcome the Huskies this year and ultimately win the Vanier Cup, but they face an uphill battle and new challenges complicating their path.
According to head coach Blake Nill, Rooker has fully recovered from his injury, but coaches are still unsure if he is ready to return.
The team has yet to name a starting QB, with both Rooker and Engel
competing for the job.
Quarterback isn’t the only position facing a shake-up. Several defensive linemen left UBC last year, notably Luke Burton-Krahn, who is now a long snapper for the Edmonton Elks, and Lake Korte-Moore, who was selected third overall in the CFL draft. On offense, the T-Birds lost receiver Lliam Wishart, who totaled 29 receptions for 368 yards in 2022.
However, Nill is confident that some of UBC’s incoming players will have an instant impact on the team, filling the gap left by departing players.
He has high expectations for
“We build our program around our concept. Very, very seldom do we change our concept. So you won’t see much change, you’ll just see different people executing the same type of strategy,” said Nill.
This strategy was highlighted when the ‘Birds beat the University of Regina Rams at home 25–10. Kicker Kieran Flannery-Fleck proved to be a key player, making all six field goals he attempted. Over the weekend, the Thunderbirds also beat the University of Calgary Dinos 45–15 with commanding offence.
But the season is still young. So how will this new team fare? The next chance to find out is Saturday, September 16 at 1 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium when they play the University of Manitoba Bison. U
Sunday, September 10
FHKY (W) Dinos W 1–0
1. What’s going on the floor?/I love this record baby but I can’t see straight anymore
9. The Weeknd’s fifth studio album
16. North African expanse
17. Offer to get rid of an old sandwich, perhaps
18. Female follower of Dionysus
19. Shots in a bar or cafe?
20. Billionth: prefix
21. GPS prediction
24. Panini rapper
25. 4.0, e.g.
28. It’s cuffing ___ (internet slang)
1. Hawaiian adornment
2. GA capital
3. FedEx competitor
5. Wood pattern
6. Insurance provider named for a Volcano
7. Manners of walking
9. Psychologist’s aid
10. One can be found in a small remote
11. “____ in doubt”
13. Kafka or Liszt
14. I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there/In the midnight hour, I can feel your power
21. Red or Fearless
29. Rodriguez of Modern Family
31. Word with couture or cuisine
33. Love in Venice
35. Got high in a track and field event?
37. Too high, can’t come down/It’s in the air and it’s all around/Can you feel me now?
41. Waka Flocka Flame’s 2010 hit
42. Lactose intolerant’s fear
44. Stuff of leggings and fishing lines
46. Garden tool
49. Ewe on the loose? On the ___
22. New Yorker’s fave boot
23. Future tree
25. Mathematician Carl Friedrich _____
26. Get rid of an issue
27. Addressed on social media
30. Hunter in the sky
31. “Sunrise Symphony” composer
32. 2023 Best Pic. Winner
35. Eddie Brock’s symbiote alias
36. Faucet issue
38. Disney lioness
39. Mex. miss
40. Baby, are you ready ‘cause it’s gettin’ cold/Don’t you feel the passion ready to explode?
50. Oceanic recession
53. Staten Island Vulcano
54. Unwelcome picnic guests
56. Elemental 2000s Nick. cartoon
60. First points of contact for tech support, perhaps
65. Many a Wreck Beach goer
66. Punishments for a toddler
67. High points
68. She a baddie, she showing’ her panty/She shake it like jelly
43. French fashion monogram
48. 1 of 27 for Chopin
50. Follower of work
51. Point a finger at
52. Psycho motel
55. Pixy ____
56. Play opening
58. Language suffix
59. Shares, on the platform formerly known as Twitter
61. Song that makes it onto your playlist
62. French assent
63. Recipient of a Scarborough fare
64. Opposite of NNW