By Ryan Mallough - Monday, February 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
“It really makes your day when you get a compliment…Sometimes I think it saves people’s sanities.”
Four Queen’s students chatted in the house they shared, lamenting the end of summer. “We were depressed school was starting again, there was lots of work to do, the weather was getting cold,” says Rachel Albi, a 20-year-old history major who spent her summer working at Disney World. The foursome wanted to do something together to feel better—but without moving. “We wanted to stay inside,” she laughs.
Just 10 minutes later, and inspired by her little sister’s efforts toward a similar project at her high school, Albi and her roommates—music students Jessica Jonker and Erica Gagne, and English major Amanda Smurthwaite—took to Facebook. Their creation, Queen’s U Compliments, launched on September 12th.
The premise is simple: “Basically, we made a profile, of a person not a page, so that we can tag people,” explains Jonker. Users, friends or otherwise, message compliments to Queen’s students which are tagged and posted anonymously. “That way, the compliment shows up on our wall and their personal page,” she says. Continue…
By Josh Dehaas - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 7:30 PM - 0 Comments
Grads are undertaking a different kind of activism—within resource companies
Alex Benzie, 26, is less than a year from finishing her master’s degree in environmental studies at Queen’s University. She shops locally, buys most of her produce from nearby farms and questions the federal government’s recent streamlining of the environmental review process. She’s an environmentalist, in other words. In fact, her belief in sustainability is one of the reasons she chose to pursue the M.E.S. after a bachelor’s degree in geology instead of going straight into a job. “I didn’t really want to be part of the oil industry or the Canadian mining industry, and that’s what a lot of geologists end up doing,” she says. “I just don’t think they’re sustainable.”
Universities are the cradle of the environmental movement. They’re a refuge where people worried about the planet can debate, research and write papers. In recent years, universities have built green buildings, imposed bottled-water bans and played host to rallies against the Alberta oil sands. So it’s easy to assume that students in Canada’s burgeoning master’s-level environmental studies and sustainability programs would spend their weekends chained to old-growth trees or marching against proposed oil and gas pipelines. Indeed, some of these students are engaged in traditional activism. But others are writing cover letters for jobs at the very corporations environmentalists are supposed to despise. Some graduates are opting to work within resources companies to encourage sustainability, rather than working against them.
That is, after all, where the jobs are. Sustainability students may dream of working in the public or non-profit sectors, but the reality is that 74 per cent of environmental workers are in private industry, according to a federally funded survey by ECO Canada, an industry-led non-profit HR organization. Not only are the jobs in private industry, they’re often in the province that’s most derided by environmentalists: Alberta. There, 43 per cent of employers said in the same survey that they had hired environmental workers in the previous year, more than any other province. In Quebec, 33 per cent of employers have taken on environmental staff, while 30 per cent had done the same in British Columbia.
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Ontario’s shortage of positions has the law society considering radical alternatives
Mathew Mezciems thought he was doing everything right. He got into one of the country’s premier law schools and set his sights on extracurricular activities that would set him up for a job on graduation. Big firms look for leaders—or so goes the conventional wisdom. So at the end of his first year at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., Mezciems ran for a junior position on the law students’ society, and won. The following year, his peers elected him president.
The job consumed a surprising amount of time. “There are meetings during the week with faculty,” says the 27-year-old, “and office hours where students can come and talk to you.” By the end of his second year, his grades had slipped into the Bs, and Mezciems found himself without one of the all-important summer student positions that serve as entryways to articling. After graduating this spring, he still couldn’t find an articling job—a predicament that not long ago would have been unthinkable for such a prominent student. “I’m trying not to be worried,” he said last June from his home outside Kingston, the strain audible in his voice. “You have those moments of panic, but I’m trying to stay positive and not get too overwhelmed.”
Mezciems might have felt left behind, but he’s in good company. As many as 15 per cent of Ontario’s roughly 1,750 law graduates may fall victim this year to an articling shortage in the province that is having a ripple effect for firms and students across the country. As recently as four years ago, more than 94 per cent of Ontario’s law grads were able to land the 10-month apprenticeships, which are required to get a licence to practise, and often led to positions as associates at the same firms. Those halcyon days are over, as students jockey frantically for coveted spots, and cases like Mezciems’s multiply. In a 2009 survey, only 661 of 7,749 firms contacted said they were offering articling placements, and more than two-thirds of those were located in Toronto and Ottawa. At last count, more than one in 10 of that year’s law graduates had not yet landed articling jobs.
By Alex Ballingall - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 10:10 AM - 2 Comments
Our semi-regular roundup of findings from the world of academia
British Columbia: Researchers have determined that it’s harder for gay couples and single parents to get an apartment in Vancouver. Gay couples are 25 per cent more likely to be rejected by landlords than heterosexual couples, while single moms and dads are 15 per cent more likely to be rejected than married couples with children, according to a study by University of British Columbia sociologist Nathanael Lauster.
Alberta: University of Alberta researchers have found evidence that “brain wiring”—the development of paths in the brain caused by learning—continues well into young adulthood. New social experiences and post-secondary education were cited for continued brain development after the bursts of childhood and adolescence.
Ontario: It’s true: in spring, a young man’s (and woman’s) fancy turns to thoughts of love. A Queen’s University study has found teenagers are more likely than adults to conceive during the month of March. Citing spring break as the likely reason, co-author Mary Anne Jamieson suggests schools conduct sexual health blitzes before letting students loose for holiday frivolity.
By Julia Belluz and Nicholas Kohler - Friday, September 24, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 63 Comments
The tragic death of a Queen’s student has renewed calls for a crackdown that is already well under way
Natasha Zapanta, a cheery first-year Queen’s University business student in a perfectly manicured first-week outfit, won’t be telling her grandchildren about any Old School-worthy hijinks. Frosh week for this 17-year-old involved scavenger hunts, a video dance party and “Commerce Cares”—random acts of kindness visited upon unsuspecting fellow students by commerce freshmen. “There was nighttime partying,” she admits, “but we just stayed in the residence hall.” Most of her friends are also 17, below Ontario’s legal drinking age and, while alcohol is readily available, they’ve been warned not to indulge.
For biochemistry major Connor Forbes, the week was so low-key it threatened to dampen that famous Queen’s school spirit altogether. The gloom extended even to the engineering faculty, where students were this year banned from the school’s ancient move-in day tradition, in which engineers paint themselves purple and taunt incoming freshmen. Engineering society president Victoria Pleavin, citing complaints, sent an email to all engineering students warning them that anyone caught engaged in the practice would be escorted off campus. “Move-in day was really an introduction to the fun of the school and gave you a sense of community,” says Forbes. “The event is gone and we don’t know if it’s coming back. They took it away.”
By selley - Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 2:17 PM - 4 Comments
Everybody hold hands…
Fear not, Canada. As soon as we’re back in the black,
Everybody hold hands
Fear not, Canada. As soon as we’re back in the black, our politicians will go back to hating each other.
“Glittering through [the] bleakness” of recession, deficit and abandoned election promises, the Toronto Star’s James Travers also espies Stephen Harper’s “commitment to suspend the politics of division in favour of partnership.” It’s nothing less than a “seismic shift,” he enthuses, as evidenced most compellingly by his recent meeting with the premiers. And with the opposition parties in no position to trigger another election, Travers expects a new, congenial tranquility to descend over Ottawa. We’ll all be living in abject penury, of course, but you can’t have everything.
The Globe and Mail’s Lawrence Martin believes yesterday’s Throne Speech arrived safely at the midway point between “timidity” and “rash action.” And, like Travers, he detects unusually low activity in the Prime Minister’s Van Loan lobe, the part of the brain that regulates hyper-partisan blather. “The economic crisis has focused his mind,” he suggests; “he is a more mature leader. … He understands the country better.” And as such, Martin believes he now “realizes the necessary response [to the crisis] is consensus-building at home and abroad.” However, as if sensing Canada’s collective skepticism, Martin hastens to add “it’s by no means certain” that this new conciliatory tone will take hold throughout Ottawa.