A tragic stabbing in Calgary earlier this week left many heartbroken, confused, shocked and in disbelief.
Matt de Grood, a 23-year-old graduate from the University of Calgary, has been accused of committing one of the worst mass killings to ever be recorded in Calgary history.
de Grood stabbed five young people while at a house party in Brentwood early this week. The party was to put on by students at UofC to celebrate the end of the school year.
He was to attend the university as a law student in the next academic year for his master’s and worked at a grocery store as a produce clerk.
He faces five charges of first-degree murder.
Of the five people who were stabbed, three died at the scene and two later succumbed to their injuries in hospital. In total, four men and one woman were killed.
The names of the victims are Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Lawrence Hong and Kaitlin Perras.
Hunter and Rathwell were part of a local band named Zackariah and the Prophets, a band that many of their friends loved.
de Grood is the son of a Doug de Grood, a senior Calgary Police Service officer 33-year veteran.
The murder weapon was believed to allegedly be a kitchen knife that belonged to the homeowner.]]>
When it comes to dealing with anxiety, it can feel almost as if there is nowhere you belong and you feel as though anywhere you go is dangerous in one way or another.
In a way, it makes it so that every situation you encounter is a struggle and it only makes you more fearful — more in life and in society..
For a lot of people, including myself, even just going out for ten or so minutes to the store is difficult because of what you hear about the world through the news, or what you imagine could happen to you, and it makes you fearful.
Some of the things that are thought of can be extremely terrifying because you start to believe that they’ll actually happen.
Take for example myself: I’ll be walking down the sidewalk, and I’ll see a car go by and far too often do I start imagining things like the car stopping and talking to me and somehow convincing me into the car with them.
Then what? Well, then I start to imagine how I would escape if they were kidnappers, who would even care, how would I let someone know, etc. It’s just an endless vicious cycle of the question “what if?” and to be honest, that’s what I find to be the scariest thing.
There is always a “what if?” because you never know what could be out there. You never know if you’ll be the next victim. Sure, many have this thought, but when dealing with anxiety, it’s an everyday thought that you struggle with and it makes everything difficult.
You convince yourself that you aren’t safe and that you’ll never be safe.
Those who don’t understand say it’s just in your head, but it isn’t. If it was all just in your head, you wouldn’t feel afraid, and you wouldn’t have symptoms of being afraid: shaking, upset stomach and feeling like you’re going to be sick.
There is something you can do about it though, and that’s creating a safe place, or maybe even knowing where your safe place may be.
For me, whenever I’m at a concert, I feel like I belong and I have close to no anxiety at all because all I can focus on are the performers and the joy of being there. Sadly, I can’t always be at a concert, and I need to find a different safe place.
What I like to do is isolate myself from others; including noise and any other distractions that would get to me. Once I do this, I like to just close my eyes and just stop and take a second or two to let everything catch up to me. I breathe as calmly as possible — in through my mouth, out through my nose, and just let my body relax.
Now this is a great technique for anyone. Give yourself some time away, calm your breathing, relax your body, and imagine.
Imagine yourself in an environment where everything is okay — anything you want can be there. Imagine the sounds, the smells and how your body feels there. Imagine what you can see that’s near you, and what you see when you look into the distance. If it helps, you can also imagine someone there with you that you feel safe around in reality.
You have to be able to create a place in your mind where you can feel yourself feeling relaxed and at peace. You have to be able to let yourself create a safe place that’s just for you.
For myself, my safe place is loosely based on just focusing on the things that have made me happy in the past, and what would make me happy in the future. In the end, I guess that’s all that matters, anyways. The future is big. The future is beyond us all. We have to hope for the best.
When you deal with anxiety everyday of your life, you have to have hope for a better future where you can live how you want to without being held back by an illness.
And that’s what a safe place to me is. A safe place is a place for you to feel okay, to feel safe, to feel like everything is right in the world. Which is what the future is all about.
When Justin Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party one year ago, he was elected by Liberals to bring a new approach to Canadian politics. By engaging with Canadians of all walks of life — students included — he signaled that any Liberal government he leads will be fundamentally different from Stephen Harper’s approach to governing; the one-man-show that values loyalty and doing what one’s told. Trudeau has shown a commitment the free exchange of ideas and the engagement of all Canadians to find what’s best for Canada.
Others, such as the author of last week’s op-ed “Justin Trudeau not the answer for Liberals,” disagree that Trudeau is best for the Liberal Party. While some might wish to only pronounce on a party’s choice of leader, I instead offer why the Liberal Party as a whole, led by Justin Trudeau, is the best choice to lead Canada following the 2015 election.
Trudeau has already shown that he’s willing to listen, even when the issues raised are controversial. The Liberal Party, under Justin’s leadership, has endorsed the legalization of marijuana, a policy that began with grassroots Young Liberals. Trudeau has also spoken in favour of electoral reform that will allow voters to rank candidates on their election ballots. Both of these policies were put forward and widely supported by grassroots Liberals voting at the Liberal convention in 2012.
Further demonstrating a more inclusive leadership style, Trudeau has already surrounded himself with some of Canada’s best and brightest policy experts. Whether they are economic leaders like Bill Morneau and Jim Carr, military experts like General Andrew Leslie, or renowned journalists like Chrystia Freeland, accomplished Canadians are coming together to work with Justin Trudeau to craft and champion the policies that reflect the real priorities of Canadians.
And on the topic of policy, don’t let Trudeau’s naysayers fool you; he has taken principled stands on a range of issues. He recognizes the economic benefits of getting our resources to market when he supports the Keystone XL pipeline. However, he acknowledges that environmental and Aboriginal concerns must be considered at every step of the process, leading him to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline that has failed to do this. Moreover, it was Justin Trudeau that championed our human rights and freedoms in a scathing rebuke of the Parti Québécois’ Charter of Values. Again, it was Justin Trudeau that noted that the key to a strong economy is a skilled workforce by promising to raise postsecondary attainment to 70 percent.
What Trudeau has done, however, is come forward for a frank discussion with Canadians. He’s shown that he wants to work with Canadians of all political stripes to build a Canada that makes our hopes and dreams a reality. That’s the essence of the Liberal mantra, “Hope and Hard Work.”
Contrast this with a Harper government that is more interested in buying votes with short-sighted and harmful tax credits than it is in grassroots engagement; in telling Canadians what they want instead of asking. The very phrase “Harper government” gives one indication that Harper is uninterested in engaging with the Canadians he is supposed to represent. The slew of anti-Trudeau attack ads telling Canadians what they want also indicate how the Harper government is disengaged and out of touch.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, myself included, believe that Canadians deserve better and are offering a real alternative, one where each one of us has a role in shaping the country we call home.
It was telling that last week’s op-ed trashing Justin Trudeau focused only on the leader, reading as if leaders are always the all-powerful figures within a party. The author is hardly alone in expressing this sentiment. Perhaps the reason why so many think this way is because our generation has grown up under almost a decade of Stephen Harper’s one-man-show.
It’s time for a change in Ottawa; to bring a new kind of leader to the Prime Minister’s Office and a new team to the Cabinet; ones who engage and understand the issues our generation is facing and is willing to look at evidence and research to make certain that our Canada will be greater than the one our parents had. Canadians and Liberals alike have expressed hope. Now it is time for hard work.
Dillon McGuire is the Executive Vice-President of the WLU Young Liberals.
On March 21, a Facebook group emerged entitled End the Silence: Laurier. The group was created with the intent of allowing a safe place for students and survivors of sexual assault within the Wilfrid Laurier University community to anonymously share their stories of sexual assault and gendered violence. The page has quickly spread across the university and has been viewed hundreds of time since its inception.
“It’s a wonderful initiative, a great opportunity for those individuals to share stories,” said Adam Lawrence, the dean of students on the Brantford campus. “The fact that it is happening in our society and on our campus is terrible, but it’s another reinforcement to having to address this issue, and work with students and faculty.”
The group allows for students to share their stories, as well as to discuss how they feel sexual violence is talked about on campus. Lawrence believes using Facebook as a medium to promote this kind of space to talk is a good thing.
“We have known for quite a long time that people have used blogs and online forums to share their experience—I think this is an extension of that. How quickly the Facebook group has grown and the support in the group is incredible.”
Lawrence said that the topic of sexual assault on campus and creating a safe space for survivors and victims has become a “priority” for the administration in the university.
“We are continuing to meet with faculty and students about gendered violence. We are moving forward and figuring out what is the space that students can speak.”
Pricilla Jarvis, a volunteer at the Centre for Women and Trans People at Laurier, sees the group as allowing for communication to open up and for people to share their experiences.
“I think that we live in a culture, in regard to gendered violence, in which the only thing we know is silence. I think this page is a trying to create a forum for people to talk about their experience, and not have to name themselves as a survivor of gendered violence, and still for people to know that it is a thing.”
Jarvis believes that gendered violence and sexual assault hasn’t been addressed at all on campus.
“I don’t think Laurier addressed gendered violence. There is a student code of conduct we have to follow academically, but there is no code of conduct that we have to uphold as students. There is no accountability for gendered violence, and how it affects everybody,” Jarvis said.
“I think it’s creating visibility that wasn’t there prior and it’s accessible to everybody. It’s important to have these kinds of things.”
The Facebook group also clarifies that any “likes” to posts made by people are a sign of support. Lawrence sees the support as a sign that the group is creating a safe space.
“The individuals who are making comments and validating people’s experiences and feelings, and providing them links to resources are incredible. It warms my heart that people are reaching out for support.”
While the topic of sexual assault and gendered violence can be a tough topic for people, Lawrence sees the page as creating the space needed to talk about it.
“Aside from the support of students and faculty, there has been a huge push to address gendered violence. I feel that same level of interest and dedication, and this feels like we are doing it the right way. The Facebook page is one of those aspects of us moving forward,” said Lawrence.
The individuals behind the Facebook page did not respond to requests from The Cord for an interview.]]>
For some, four years in Waterloo just isn’t enough.
An increasing number of students have decided to call K-W their new home once they have reached alumni status. In fact, Wilfrid Laurier University’s alumni services revealed that out of a total of 85,420 alumni, 12,429 are now living in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, including Cambridge.
That’s 14.5 per cent of graduating students who never return home.
“You get a taste of adult life,” said Maeve Strathy from Laurier Alumni.
Strathy herself came to Waterloo from Toronto to attend university at WLU. She graduated back in 2010 with an English degree and now works as a development officer for annual giving at WLU.
“A lot of people have a self-discovery process when they are in university and it takes them to where they want to be,” Strathy said. “To replicate that somewhere else can be hard.”
Students are particularly significant to the local economy, culture and social society.
The Region of Waterloo recently put out an annual report that evaluated how many students occupy the area. Lucille Bish, the director of community services for the Region of Waterloo, told The Cord they estimate current student enrolment for UW, WLU and Conestoga College is 58,860.
“We went through and took off a number of students who commute in or are on co-op,” Bish said. “So we think that the people actually living here in the region coming to school and making use of the services is at 48,860.”
So what is it about the K-W area that keeps graduating students around? For Care Schummer, class of 2008, it was the Waterloo community.
“There’s plenty of reasons to settle down here,” Schummer said. “For me it’s that sense of community and there’s the convenience of that.”
Schummer graduated with a degree in communications and film studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. She then travelled across the street to Conestoga College where she obtained a diploma in radio broadcasting.
That’s where she met her husband and the two have been living in the area ever since.
Andrew Dodds, a graduate from UW, said he chose to stay in K-W because of his love for the community, not because of employment. After graduating in 2011, he searched for 18 months until he found a position at Systematix Inc., a local automation and manufacturing company. However Dodds, who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, had much more difficulty finding work than some of his fellow alumni.
For Waterloo, which has gained the reputation of being a lucrative tech hub, there are concerns as to whether there are job opportunities available for those who are not in the tech sector.
“Certainly a lot of work has been going on in the high tech sector,” Dodds said. “We talk about the high tech sector and we can’t talk enough about the opportunities that there are to join in.”
Dodds believes that the city should renew the focus on presenting different employment opportunities.
“You have an amazing opportunity to pack 50,000 students into the community.”
Well, according to Ryan Mounsey, the City of Waterloo is trying to do just that.
Mounsey is the manager of expansion and retention services with the city and a UW alumnus. He explained that the city has established a number of programs to reach out to recent graduates and current students. The economic development division will work very closely with WLU and other post-secondary institutions to promote culture and student retention in Waterloo.
“2014 is going to be a big year,” Mounsey said. “We’re developing the work plan, we have new projects, new team members and we’re going to tackle this head on.”
K-W might not be the end destination for the emerging class of 2014, but it was certainly a place where the journey began.
For Schummer, who now calls Waterloo her home, she says that that all began once she stepped on her university campus.
“The second I got here it just felt like home,” she said.
*Editor’s note: This article has been edited since its original publishing date. *]]>
Not many people remember Aboriginal woman, Candice Sollen, but Lila Bruyere does.
Bryere’s niece was found on a Toronto sidewalk on December 11, 1998. She had been stabbed in the chest.
Two days later, Sollen would succumb to her injury while on life support at St. Michael’s hospital. She was 23-years-old.
Bruyere’s reaction to her niece’s death was anger.
“I was angry because she was cheated,” she said. “When I saw her in the casket it was a young, beautiful woman that had her life robbed.”
Sixteen years later, Bruyere continues to tell Sollen’s story because so many other people won’t talk about her.
On the night of March 27 at the Uptown Waterloo Square, she shared it with a group of more than 60 people who had gathered to remember Loretta Saunders. Saunders, like Sollen, was an Aboriginal woman who was murdered.
According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), there is a list of over 500 Aboriginal
Canadian women who are missing or have been murdered.
And those are only the reported cases.
Just recently, an Ottawa researcher put together her own database and found that the number may be even higher, more than 800.
Aboriginal women are also disproportionately represented in homicide rates. They make up 10 per cent of all homicides, but only represent three per cent of the female population in Canada.
The murder of Saunders, an Inuk women who was studying violence against Aboriginal women at Saint
Mary’s University in Halifax, has only strengthened calls for national action.
They’re coming from a wide range of groups working to stop the violence faced by women in the Aboriginal community.
The Waterloo vigil was just one of a number that took place across the country Thursday night in memory of Saunders.
Speakers at the vigil expressed frustration that many of the cases remain unsolved. According to NWAC, almost half of murder cases involving Aboriginal women are still cold case files.
Shawn Johnston, one of the organizers of the vigil and Bruyere’s son, noted that his cousin’s murder is still listed as unsolved by Toronto Police Services. He believes that the stereotypes surrounding Aboriginal people stop authorities from taking the cases as seriously as they should.
“People assume that we live in poverty, that we’re homeless or that we’re drug addicts,” he said. “There’s this stigma about why should we care about someone like that.”
Another source of frustration has stemmed from perceived inaction on the part of the federal government. Many groups have called for a full scale public inquiry.
The federal government did strike a special committee to study the issue of violence against women, but the report they produced, “Invisible Women: A Call to Action,” was publically criticized by both the First Nations Assembly and NWAC for not calling for an inquiry.
Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife, who spoke at the vigil, reaffirmed provincial NDP support for a national inquiry, telling those gathered that it was unbelievable that this could be happening in 2014.
Though Aboriginal affairs fall under federal jurisdiction, Fife noted that the expansion of social services at the provincial level could help all women who are trying to escape violence and abuse.
“You don’t want to lose the focus on the 800 missing and murdered aboriginal women,” Fife said. “But we do know that domestic violence is a pervasive societal issue, which negatively effects the entire community.”
Lisa Yellow-Quill, another of the vigil organizers, cautioned that governments at all levels should understand what they are doing and speak to the right people before they take action.
“You should know what you need to do because we’ve been saying it,” she said.
During the vigil, a women’s drum circle formed to sing songs dedicated to the missing murdered women.]]>
In comparison to board meetings in previous years, this year was rather calm and collected.
The meetings ran efficiently and stayed on schedule under the leadership of the Students’ Union chair and CGO, Jordan Epstein. Most directors conducted themselves with professionalism and there was significant improvement in their attendance from last year with five meetings actually having all 15 directors present.
There was also more transparency overall with Epstein’s commitment to reduce the number of in-camera sessions and to provide minutes subsequently where appropriate.
However, the engagement on behalf of directors tended to come from the same handful of directors. While the lack of tension at the table can be considered an improvement from last year, it also reflects the fact that the board could have been more effective in their roles.
Many directors lacked the confidence to voice dissenting opinions or raise questions during board meetings, instead opting to abstain from voting or letting others speak on their behalf.
While the board overall had a good term, it could have been more effective in its critical engagement.
President & CEO of the Students’ Union
With little prior experience with the Students’ Union going into the role, Constantinescu has managed to navigate a fairly smooth term as president and CEO. Her strength was clearly in engaging students, as she successfully organized multiple ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions on Reddit and State of the Union events. She also made strides in terms of multi-campus governance, creating a strong presence for herself on the Brantford campus. It’s evident that Constantinescu makes an effort to be available to the average student at Laurier.
The year wasn’t without its challenges, though. Constantinescu was faced with the School of Business and Economics Students’ Society seeking secession from the Union, which resulted in ongoing mediation and tension within the two parties.
Additionally, there was the need for action to mitigate crowds on Ezra Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day and a need to respond to allegations made against a Foot Patrol volunteer through The Cord’s ‘Dear Life’ column. These challenges were worked through with few complications, while setting the guideline for these discussions for future years.
The strength of the individuals surrounding Constantinescu were, in many instances, the enablers of the smoothness of her term. She had a strong set of VPs who motivated many of the initiatives that were taken on, such as the push for Fall Reading Days. Roly Webster, executive director and COO, was also a visible presence in helping Constantinescu with decision-making.
Overall, while Constantinescu had a fairly effective term as president and CEO, substantive changes to the Union as a whole during her term were minimal.
Chair and CGO of the Students’ Union
As a long-time Students’ Union volunteer, Epstein’s knowledge and experience definitely benefited the Union during his term as Chair and Chief Governance Officer (CGO), especially considering it was a strategic planning year for the organization.
Epstein should be applauded for his efforts in keeping the meetings more transparent than been in the past by limiting the length and number of in-camera sessions.
Meetings were consistently held in an organized and timely manner. Furthermore, Epstein has refrained from making opinions or exerting his influence during board meetings as any solid chair of a board should.
By being the chair and CGO of the Students’ Union, Epstein has an interesting perspective as he’s able to see both the policy and operational sides of the organization. He has been able to maintain a fair balance in both sides of his role, and is aware of how he should present himself depending on the context.
However, Epstein is a bit behind on completing all the necessary aspects of the upcoming strategic plan for the organization, a process that may extend into the next academic year.
Epstein is an honest and hard-working individual, and those traits are clear in his role as chair and CGO.
He has added a level of structure to the board and a sentiment of comradery among his directors. Epstein has made his mark on the organization as chair and has set the standard for the board in upcoming years.
These reviews were written collaboratively by Campus News Editor Marissa Evans, Senior News Editor Lindsay Purchase and Editor-in-Chief Justin Smirlies. They are based on observations from board meetings and interviews with directors, chair and president.]]>
Alumni win appathon
Jason Ernst and Carlos Saavedra recently won the first annual Canadian Open Data Experience national appathon, a 48-hour contest that ran from Feb. 28 to Mar. 2. Ernst and Saavedra, both Laurier alumni, developed an app called newRoots that matches new Canadians with cities according to their skills.
Cutting carbon emissions
In 2012, Laurier began its Sustainability Action Plan, setting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2016.
Since then, Laurier has cut its GHG emissions by a total of 25 per cent across all of its campuses. This means the university has exceeded its five-year goal by 15 per cent. One of the sustainablility steps Laurier took was the creation of the Mino-Kummik garden last year.
Profs take deeper look at Ukraine crisis
Professors in the history department at Laurier are collaborating to stage an in-depth discussion surrounding the crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea.
The teach-in is being held on April 3 in the Peters Building on the Waterloo campus. It is open to the general public and is meant to provide the audience with a historical perspective.
Aitchison showed a lot of improvement over the course of his first term as director. He had a slow start to the year—missing two of the first summer meetings—but was consistent in his attendance for the rest of the year. In the fall semester, though he appeared prepared for meetings, his contributions to discussion in the board room were few and often lacked substance; however, in board meetings over the last few months, Aitchison has been one of a small number of directors who regularly and meaningfully asks questions and offers opinions on items up for discussion.
Going into the role of vice-chair next year, it is important that he capitalize on this momentum and take on more of a leadership role. Aitchison should be able to draw on his experiences from this year to help the young board of 2014-2015 through the transition.
While in the past a director from the Brantford campus would typically be focused just on their campus, Basset has decided to break that mould this year and remained cognisant of the multi-campus approach that the Union is taking. She attended almost all of the meetings on the Waterloo campus which exemplified her efforts to be fully multi-campus — as any director should.
Furthermore, Basset maintained a comfortable demeanour at the board table and with her fellow directors by not shying away from speaking up on matters.
Although she has chosen to be part of a probably more impactful aspect of the Union next year as the next AVP: University Affairs, Basset’s involvement with the board can be seen as a model example not just for Brantford directors, but for any director on any campus.
Casselman’s experience as a second-year director was beneficial to the board. He was a strong and confident presence at board meetings and was not afraid to voice his opinions, even in instances where they conflicted with those of other members of the board. In doing so, Casselman also demonstrated his preparedness for meetings.
It should be noted, however, that Casselman’s attendance record was less than exemplary. While he did continue to attend meetings during his second-term co-op placement, commitments with the Laurier debating society resulted in him missing parts of meetings on multiple occasions throughout the year. In spite of this, Casselman was one of the stronger board members this year.
As a fourth-year student, Drimmie came into the role of director with background and knowledge about the Laurier student experience. Based on his performance at board meetings this term, Drimmie did not act as a strong presence in the board room. His contributions to discussions were rare and for the most part, unsubstantial. His platform did not contain many clear objectives, making it difficult to evaluate the success of his term on the basis of what he sought to accomplish.
It should be noted, however, that Drimmie maintained a solid attendance record, only missing one meeting over the course of the year.
*Disclaimer: After multiple requests, John Drimmie did not come in for an interview with The Cord.
Although Edmondson seemed to attain a reasonable grasp of the role of a director and appeared to have potential, much of this remains untapped. He largely took a back seat to discussions and appeared comfortable with allowing more experienced or more vocal directors to express their opinions on items taken up by the board. Edmondson’s contributions to the committee he served on appeared to be received well by fellow directors.
While he maintained relatively strong attendance and seemed to have no issues balancing director work with other commitments, Edmondson did not make a strong effort over the course of the year to make appearances on the Brantford campus. If he intends to be a strong representative for all students on the board of governors and senate next year, Edmondson will need to prepare to be more vocal and a stronger contributor to discussion.
While Fleming’s two prior years of experience were undoubtedly an asset to the board, his overly-relaxed and sometimes abrasive attitude proved disruptive at times to effective board discussion. He appeared to be prepared for board meetings and contributed to discussions, but undermined his effectiveness with occasional inappropriate comments and a general lack of professionalism. As the director on the board with the most experience, Fleming should have acted as a stronger role model for other new directors during board meetings and made a better attempt to create an inclusive atmosphere. Seemingly, his work outside of the meetings was more effective, as he appeared to have a strong grasp of the issues at hand when providing committee updates and the financial situation of the Union.
*Disclaimer: After multiple requests, Scott Fleming did not come in for an interview with The Cord.
Kates was one of the stronger directors on this year’s board, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the board’s role through his frequent and informed contributions to discussion at meetings. His questions raised during meetings showed engagement and consistent consideration for the needs of students.
Kates showed initiative by standing for three committees this year and chairing one. In particular, his work with the Ownership Linkage Committee demonstrated his interest in engaging with students. Kates had a near-perfect attendance record and was one of few directors to actually attend all meetings on the Brantford campus, in addition to participating in Brantford Hawk Talks and Food Bank events.
Ledwidge demonstrated a strong commitment to the board this year by balancing multiple on-campus activities with regular board attendance, missing no meetings over the course of the year. However, in spite of being an active member of multiple on-campus groups, Ledwidge’s ability to bring these voices into the boardroom were limited, as she seldom contributed to discussion and was one of the quietest members of the board. As a result, it was difficult to evaluate her preparedness for meetings.
It should be noted that while Ledwidge did not stand on any board committees, this was not due to lack of effort. In spite of multiple attempts, she was not elected to any committees, which hindered her ability to participate. Her involvement with events, such as Hawk Talks, outside of the board room helped to mitigate this.
McLean was one of the strongest directors of the board this year. Not only did he have an exemplary attendance record, attending all board meetings in person with the exception of one, he was one of the most vocal directors on the board. McLean demonstrated a thorough understanding of and commitment to the director position by asking insightful questions and offering commentary on agenda topics.
As one of only two returning directors and next year’s chair of the board, McLean’s experience, dedication and organizational skills will serve him well, though he will need to take additional efforts to engage quieter members of the board, in addition to those who are already involved at a high level.
Qu’s inexperience as a first year director was evident in her lack of participation in discussion in the board room. While she maintained a strong attendance record, it was difficult to determine the depth of her engagement due to the fact that she infrequently spoke at board meetings. Citing other commitments, Qu also did not work on any of the committees, which could have provided an alternative avenue for her to contribute.
In her actions as vice-chair of the board, Stevenson demonstrated her commitment to the position and the aims of the board. She acted as a mentor to less experienced directors and worked to use her past experience to their benefit. Her involvement with three committees indicates her desire to contribute to the effectiveness of the board.
However, with her experience, Stevenson could have had a more critical voice at meetings. While her contributions to discussion were not infrequent, she could have been more engaged and vocal at meetings. Overall, Stevenson was a strong director on this year’s board.
Wilson wasn’t quite able to capitalize on the potential that he had when he was first elected to the board. His presence during the board meetings wasn’t as evident as some of the other directors and he didn’t engage in much discussion. It was clear that Wilson was prepared and organized as a director, however, that level of preparation was not shown through board discussion. But Wilson’s involvement and contribution with the Student Life Levy committee demonstrated some of the care he had for the role of director.
As a commuter, student on the Brantford campus and concurrent education student, Yole was a good representative for the many perspectives present on the Brantford campus. However, her engagement with the board was lacking in places, revealing a need for a more dedicated director.
One of two Brantford directors on the board, Yole limited her ability to act as a voice for students on her campus by largely teleconferencing in to meetings held in Waterloo and by infrequently voicing her opinions on issues. Her attendance overall was good, but not exemplary. As well, she was involved in one committee during her term. Overall, Yole could have been more involved with the board.
While Yu showed potential at the beginning of the term with his interest in making a difference on campus, he was overall an ineffective director. He was involved in both the ownership linkage committee and the policy review committee, demonstrating his desire to be engaged with the board. His attendance for the first part of his term was also commendable; this included his presence at meetings on the Brantford campus.
However, he has been one of the less vocal directors on the board and his contributions to discussion have lacked a critical view. Nearing the end of the winter term his engagement has begun to lapse further. Yu would have benefitted from working to gain a better understanding of board policy and using this to develop a more critical view of topics being discussed at meetings.
Maxwell’s Music House is saying farewell to its current location in Waterloo as the popular music venue is moving on to bigger and better things.
They are working towards the opening of their new venue on University Ave., scheduled for September of this year. Paul Maxwell recently announced the upcoming closure of his current venue in order to shift focus to his latest project.
“We had two options to make the whole time,” Maxwell shared in an interview. “One, to keep both venues going and two, to close down the first venue and focus on the new venue.”
After weighing these options, Maxwell decided that it simply was not feasible to continue to operate the original venue while working on the larger space.
“The main reason though was that we didn’t want to stretch ourselves too thin so that we couldn’t operate both to their potential,” Maxwell explained.
“We didn’t want to have the first venue or second venue taking a bit of the lesser work load and being neglected. So we decided that it would make more sense to shut down the current space to focus exclusively on the new space and put 110 per cent into the new space, rather than splitting our time 50/50 between the two venues.”
The closure of the current location is expected towards the end of June. Maxwell hopes that they will be able to open their new venue shortly after.
“We want to focus a lot of our time in the summer to finish up the renovations that need to be done,” Maxwell said.
“The space is basically an empty shell at the moment; we have to finish everything from the flooring to the painting, all of the bathrooms, the stage and the sound system and all of the different equipment that we’re bringing in. So there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Maxwell is hopeful that the new venue will be ready to open for Orientation Week this September.
The music venue was initially expected to open in 2013; however, neighbouring business, Lexington Park Real Estate, was concerned that the location would not provide enough parking space and would spill over into spaces allocated for other businesses.
“We were speaking with our neighbouring tenants in the months leading up to the appeal that went through,” Maxwell said. “We tried to work with them and tried come up with a solution, and the recommendations by the city that we were going to incorporate.”
They intended to have on site parking attendants and conducted a traffic study to ensure that it wasn’t going to impact traffic along University Ave. and Regina St.
Lexington Park took their concerns to the Ontario Municipal Board, which slowed down the entire project.
“We found out at the end of January that the OMB had no concerns with our plan and it required no future amendments, which was great for us.”
Maxwell shared that the programming at their original space will continue right until the end of June.
Though he is excited for the transition to the larger space, he said that he was feeling some mixed emotions with the closure of their original venue.
“We’re really excited for the transition,” said Maxwell. “It’s a little bittersweet closing down our spot, we’ve been here for over six years, but we plan on offering a bigger and better concert experience.”
“We’re hoping to have upwards of over 800 capacity at the new space, for standing room for concerts. It’s a great space for students to come to see.”]]>