McMaster’s Terry Fox Club is hosting their first run since the start of the pandemic on Sept. 21 at McMaster Track Field
McMaster University has been hosting a Terry Fox run since the tradition began in 1984. In 2020 and 2021, the event had to be conducted virtually due to COVID-19, but this year, on Sep. 21 at 10:30 a.m., the Terry Fox Club is bringing the tradition back to campus.
The Terry Fox Club at McMaster raises money for the Terry Fox Foundation, who donates the funds for cancer research. The club also hosts several fundraisers throughout the year, though their most notable is still the annual Terry Fox Run.
Despite limitations during the peak of the pandemic, the Terry Fox Club continued to host events over the past two years year. The club hosted one event last year where they sold T-shirts and bracelets and raised $700. With their in person events this year, they hope they can surpass that record.
The Terry Fox Run will take place on the McMaster Track Field and will begin with speeches, followed by the self-paced run. Towards the end of the event, there will also be closing speeches.
Kristine Braun, vice president of the Terry Fox Club, along with the rest of the team are very excited to be bringing the run back to McMaster for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“I'd say a lot of people are coming to campus right now for the first time. And I think one thing that they can bring from high school is Terry Fox, in a sense, because he's always around, like through our childhood, through high school. And this is one way that we can get out there and then also support a good cause like cancer research,” said Braun.
The Terry Fox Club hopes that students participating in their event also have the opportunite to meet other students
Braun explained the club will also be hosting a fundraising competition for students living on residence. Each residence is encouraged to raise between $500-$1000 and the residence that can raise the most will receive a prize.
“That's a way that the residences can also connect during September since they're all meeting each other for the first time. It all adds a little bit of fun to the whole event,” said Braun.
For more information visit the Terry Fox Club via their Instagram @TerryFoxMcMaster.
Courts funded by the Student Life Enhancement Fund will be available for student use in the fall
On Aug. 7, the McMaster Students Union announced McMaster University agreed to refurbish two outdoor volleyball courts for the upcoming year. Previously part of a project under the Student Life Enhancement Fund, the courts at the Oval, located near the David Braley Athletic Centre and the Ivor Wynne Centre, will be open to students later in the fall.
In partnership with McMaster Student Affairs, the MSU has historically used the SLEF fund to support the development of student proposals for projects that enhance student life and community. Reviewed by the Student Services Committee, these proposals must meet specific criteria for approval, including being student driven, innovative and considerate of environmental impact.
The courts’ revival was proposed by MSU president, Jovan Popovic, in Student Representative Assembly reports on Jun. 18 and Jun. 20. In the Jun. 20 report Popovic referenced a sign posting for the outdoor volleyball courts in Parking Lot H. The space had been originally outlined as a temporary parking lot for the construction of the Peter George Living and Learning Centre.
Despite the building’s completion in 2019, the parking lot has since remained with the construction gear still present on the site. In a remote SRA meeting on Jun. 25, Popovic stated that approximately $20,000 of money collected from undergraduate student service fees was being wasted with the uncleared gear.
About a month and a half later, the MSU followed up with an Instagram video announcing that the university had agreed to revive the courts in time for the upcoming fall semester at no additional charges to students. A key focus of the project’s restoration was centred around the development of opportunities to promote recreation and student life across campus.
“Ultimately [the courts are] a big contributor towards student life because it’s providing students with the ability to come back [to campus] for reasons aside from academics,” said Popovic.
In his report on Jun. 18, Popovic explained that his two goals with the volleyball court revival were the recovery of the wasted student life money and the construction of new replacement facilities for those that were taken away from students.
“What this project was about was recovering what was lost. Hopefully this acts as a gateway for greater things, but ultimately this was the easiest and fastest way to get something done and to get it done in a timely manner,” said Popovic.
Popovic also indicated that he would be advocating for a new tennis and basketball court to be built on the Oval. Other potential additions to this space could include green garden spaces and communal areas for both off-campus and residential students.
McMaster Okanagan Committee’s pilot project continues to work on addressing period poverty on campus, despite setbacks due to vandalism
Period poverty is defined by a lack of access to hygiene products, menstrual products and period education. In 2019 it was reported that 34 per cent of Canadian women and girls claimed to frequently make budget sacrifices in order to afford menstrual and feminine hygiene products. Period poverty is a prevalent issue that impacts individuals worldwide. It is currently being tackled on campus by the McMaster Okanagan Committee.
McMaster Okanagan is responsible for supporting initiatives that look to promote the health and wellbeing of the campus community, in line with the Okanagan Charter. McMaster Okanagan’s ongoing period equity project was launched in Jan. 2023 and it aims to reduce period poverty within the McMaster community.
Previous project support assistant Neha Dhanvanthry explained that several advocacy groups on campus, including the Student Health Education Centre and the McMaster Student Union, were interested in addressing period poverty. The period equity project was then born from this collective concern and passion for equity and accessibility.
“There were continuous meetings with different groups on campus discussing the most feasible way to carry [the project] out. It was all done acknowledging that menstrual products shouldn’t be a luxury. They are necessities and providing them really helps to support students and staff with their wellbeing while they’re getting their education or working,” said Dhanvanthry.
The period equity project team has now set up free has situated menstrual product stations in select washrooms on McMaster main campus, including the Student Wellness Centre, residence buildings and the Health Science Library. menstrual product stations in select washrooms on the main campus, including in the McMaster University Student Centre, Mills Memorial Library and the Health Science Library.
McMaster Okanagan administrator Lynn Armstrong explained that so far the project has received mostly positive feedback. However, there have been recent incidents of vandalism at the menstrual product stations in men’s washrooms that have temporarily thrown the initiative off-course.
The vandalism has resulted in thou- sands of dollars of plumbing repair costs due to products being mass flushed down toilets as well as the McMaster Okanagan team temporarily de-installing these stations to address the damages.
Armstrong explained that some of the vandalism incidents have also involved hateful sentiments against the transgender community.
“We like to believe it’s a naive thing, but it could be anti-woman, anti-trans messaging. We are trying to do more educational campaigns about why this [project] isn’t just about any one group and that not just women bleed . . . It was important to us to make sure [menstrual products] were accessible for everybody," said Armstrong.
The need for accessible menstrual products spans far beyond cisgendered women, including trans individuals and those who might be collecting products for their mothers, siblings or friends in need. The period equity project aims to support all individuals under this umbrella and make products and education accessible no matter your identity.
The decision to temporarily retract the stations from men’s washrooms was difficult and saddening, but Armstrong reaffirmed that this is only meant to be a temporary change. She explained that it is important for members of the community to know that they have not given up on their original vision. The project intends on regrouping and returning to men’s washrooms in a more protective format.
“We don’t want them to think that people who choose hate can change that narrative. We want the project to be for everybody and we want it to be about love and about caring for each other. So, there’s a temporary setback, but we will figure out a way to make this work,” said Armstrong.
When asked about the future of this initiative, Armstrong explained that this is just the beginning of the journey towards accessible menstrual education and resources.
Armstrong explained that since the initiative is currently in its pilot stage, feedback and insight from the community on which bathrooms to target next and how to expand their project is extremely meaningful.
The Okanagan team intends on continuing this work into the next academic year and expanding their reach across more washrooms on campus.
“You know, we don’t ask people to bring their toilet paper. It’s 2023, you know? It’s time. We’re long overdue,” said Armstrong.
Witnessing beauty can bring on intense emotions such as sadness, but that’s not always a bad thing
By Andrew Khalil
I remember the first time I felt it so vividly. I was standing knee deep in the freezing water of Lake Huron well past midnight. The full moon was projected in the sky; a massive orb casting a pale glow on the entire lake. I looked down, seeing the moons reflection shimmering through the tiny ripples in the water. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever witnessed firsthand and yet, I could not help but feel a wave of sadness wash over me.
Ever since then, I’ve felt a similar melancholic feeling almost every time I witness beauty, both in nature and in cinematography. And so, I wondered, why does something so beautiful make me feel so sad?
It was much easier to reason when it came to cinematography, pinning the feeling to the subconscious knowledge of cinema as being unauthentic and manufactured to be beautiful, unlike nature. However, when it came to natural beauty, the reasons were not as apparent.
In search of answers, I scoured the internet and found nothing, just other people who felt similar melancholy but also did not understand why they felt this way. I started talking to my friends and family about this feeling and to my surprise, it was familiar to some of them, yet we still could not grasp why this even occurs.
As time went on, I realized that part of this sadness may not come from the beauty itself, but from the nature of the beautiful experience. The moments of beauty that are almost sublime, the ones that fill me with an inexplicable sense of sadness, are the ones that I know will pass. This realization sparked other ideas, and I started to contemplate a new question, could there be a way to ease my sadness? or better yet, harness the beauty of nature in my personal life?
These beautiful experiences can create nostalgia, spark existential sadness, or trigger a sense of empathy regarding the destruction of nature’s beauty. Regardless, I felt satisfied with my insights and motivated to find the answer to my new question.
Post-realization, I decided to buy some plants and watch them grow beautifully over a two-year period. This simple act allowed me to experience the beauty of nature in a way that lasted.
Aside from buying plants, there are many other ways that you can harness the beauty of nature in your personal life. Spend more time immersed in nature. Whether a solitary endeavour or with others, your time in nature can also act as a time for exercise and meditation. You can go for a hike as cardio or sit peacefully surrounded by trees to ease your mind from stress.
Take up a nature-related hobby. Hobbies such as painting, photography, and gardening not only allow you to harness the beauty of nature in your personal life, but also act as mediums to express your creativity.
Travel to natural destinations. Traveling, even if done locally, can be an amazing way to experience the beauty of nature in your personal life. You can visit local gardens, the beautiful waterfalls surrounding the McMaster University campus, or go on a road trip to the beach, these experiences can be awe-inspiring and leave lasting memories.
By actively seeking out and experiencing the beauty of nature, we can find comfort in the fact that even though our experience in natures beauty is temporary, we can still find moments of happiness and fulfillment. I certainly did and so can you.
Practicing a sustainable lifestyle may seem daunting, but it's a small price to pay for the future of our planet
Over the past decade, the use of the term sustainability has soared among consumers, businesses and governments alike. Though the buzzword may seem like a passing trend or another greenwashing gimmick, it’s much more than that.
Sustainability is simply the act of meeting our needs today in ways that do not hurt the ability of future generations to meet their needs tomorrow. As we grapple with urgent environmental challenges like climate change, resource depletion and pollution, it's clear that we can’t afford to ignore the ugly truth: we’re killing our planet.
Living sustainably is no longer a choice, it’s a shared responsibility.
Past the grim reality and urgency of sustainable lifestyles, they tend to be deceivingly marketed as expensive, aesthetic ways of life that involve vegan diets and pricey eco-friendly products.
While it can seem daunting and overwhelming to adopt a sustainable lifestyle as a busy student, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, living sustainably can be affordable, healthy and enjoyable.
Perhaps the most simple yet impactful changes are the ones you’ve repeatedly heard. At first glance, avoiding single-use items and limiting food waste look like surface-level changes. However, think about the fact that only 9 per cent of the 3 million tonnes of plastic waste Canadians generate is actually recycled or that 60 per cent of food waste generated by Canadians could have been avoided – that's a big deal.
Even as busy students, we can be responsible citizens. By bringing reusable bags, using refillable water bottles and recycling, you can limit the waste that ends up in our landfills and oceans. And by carefully planning your meals, composting your scraps, and donating excess to food banks, you can reduce your carbon footprint – all while saving money and supporting your community. And the same can be said for other sustainable practices like eating healthy greens and thrift shopping.
I know that these may seem like baby steps but they are important ones in the long journey towards a more sustainable future.
By being a sustainable student, you can also be a happier person. Knowing that your moral compass is in check and making conscious decisions for the benefit of yourself and others is proven to give you a good feeling.
We might be living in a world that still prioritizes convenience today, but as the leaders of tomorrow, it’s up to us to create the new normal.
McMaster Pakistani Students’ Association Charity Gala fundraised to support those affected by the floods in Pakistan and the Turkey-Syria earthquake
McMaster Pakistani Students’ Association hosted their “Starry Night” themed charity gala themed on Mar. 17 at the Grand Olympia convention centre in Stony Creek. All the proceeds from their event went towards services supporting those affected by the 2022 Pakistan floods and the Turkey-Syria earthquake.
The charity gala has been an annual event hosted by PSA and typically 80 per cent of the proceeds go towards a Pakistani charity. Last year, they used their funds to support the building of a water well in a village in Sindh, Pakistan.
The event this year featured raffles, dinner, performances and dancing. It was also supported by major new sponsors including the Pakistani Canadian Friendship Association, who also helped to find the venue, and Wahab Shah, a realtor from the Greater Toronto Area. The gala allowed the Pakistani and non-Pakistani communities at McMaster University to come together to immerse and learn more about Pakistani culture.
“We wanted to center the charity gala night around [raising awareness for the Pakistan floods] through embracing Pakistani culture. A big part of [our event] is giving back and we wanted to make that the center of our event,” said Momina Ali, the PSA co-president.
PSA’s take on their formal was to ensure everyone had fun, embraced their culture and went back to their roots while giving back to their community.
“While we are making sure that we're putting out this whole cultural vibe out there and mak[ing] sure that our traditions and culture are being seen, we also want to give this aspect of our community as well, where we really like to give back to our community,” explained Noor Latif, the other PSA co-president.
Through the event, the PSA also aimed to break down stereotypes around the Muslim and Pakistani community by shining light on the unique and hidden parts of their community by representing their diversity.
“[We wanted] to break down any stereotypes that might be around being Muslim or being Pakistani, [which can happen] living in the diaspora sometimes. But we wanted to break down those stereotypes,” said Ali.
Moreover, the PSA team wanted to ensure everyone felt included at their events as they are a diverse, open and welcoming community.
“We want to make sure that we're catering to everyone because that's the main thing about us. As a community, we're so diverse, we're so accepting, we're so welcoming,” said Latif.
The turnout at the event was better than previous years and they sold out their tickets within two weeks. With an evening packed with great food and performances, the attendees had a great time at the formal.
“I thought the event was pretty great. I loved the photobooth and the performances were great as well. There were also lots of places to take pictures with your friends,” said Yashfeen Nauman, a third-year McMaster student.
PSA’s charity gala was a night of celebrating Pakistani culture, appreciating the diversity at McMaster and promoting inclusion and acceptance all the while giving back to their community.
In a future with AI, we need to harness ChatGPT’s potential as a tool for teaching and learning
Change is inevitable in our constantly shifting and unpredictable world. Whether that change is for better or for worse, we adapt. And we can expect to see the same with the increasing use of powerful AI tools like ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is a conversational chatbot available to users for free. It can perform a range of different functions with varying complexity based on simple prompts. The AI can answer thoughtful questions, prepare essays, write code and do so much more.
With the rise of AI in the realm of education, many academics are marking ChatGPT as a threat to teaching – but it doesn’t have to be. This premature fear is preventing us from appreciating the benefits of ChatGPT for education.
When the calculator was invented, it too, wreaked havoc among educators. The calculator brought fear that students would no longer be able to practice computational skills and would render themselves dependent on the device.
However, we adapted. Schools didn’t give up on teaching math. Instead, they began challenging students with more complex mathematical concepts. Working around the cheating-related concerns posed by calculators paved way for smarter methods of teaching and learning. In the same way, ChatGPT holds incredible applications for both students and educators.
Industries and professionals are already using ChatGPT to perform and collaborate on a range of projects and tasks. For instance, many companies have begun implementing ChatGPT as a personal assistant to help with managing meetings and schedule, writing emails, generating code, and completing a variety of other functions that save time.
With the growing use of AI in industries, some educators are realizing the need to prepare graduates who are ready to navigate a world where AI is ubiquitous. Students need to be encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills surrounding AI tools like ChatGPT so that they are aware of the limitations and ramifications of their use and misuse.
In fact, the MacPherson Institute at McMaster University has already begun to address the potential benefits of ChatGPT in classrooms as a tool to enrich teaching and learning. One McMaster professor from the School of Interdisciplinary Science, Dr. Katie Moisse, plans to ask students to use ChatGPT to prepare scientific content and then edit and annotate the content to follow principles of inclusive science communication. Redesigning assignments in this way creates opportunities for students to use AI and demonstrate their critical thinking and course-related skills.
For students and educators, the applications of ChatGPT are truly limitless. Educators can use ChatGPT to enhance lesson plans, develop study resources and test students for critical concepts in innovative ways. Similarly, students can explore the AI as a personalized tool for creating study schedules, understanding challenging concepts and preparing their own study materials like flashcards, summaries of content and practice questions.
While we explore the benefits of ChatGPT and integrate it into education, we must be mindful of its limitations too. As a chatbot trained on heaps of text, the AI does not necessarily know what it’s talking about. It can generate inaccurate or biased information at times and remaining weary of these imperfections is necessary.
With ChatGPT in the arena, it’s time to rethink education.
We need to embrace AI technologies and thoughtfully apply them to create opportunities for teaching and learning in ways that are engaging, equitable and ethical.
This article is the second article in a 2-part series. Be sure to check out Part 1: ChatGPT is not your friend.
Although summer break has begun, taking spring or summer courses can allow you to indulge in a personal interest course, and achieve a concurrent certificate or minor helping to advance your academic career
March 20 marked the first day of spring; the weather is becoming warmer and the sun is present for a longer time. For many, this beginning of spring symbolizes a fresh start. However, for university students this change in weather also signifies the end of an academic year.
Although this change is exciting as students can soon enjoy the wonderful weather without school commitment, extending the school year may not be as horrible as it sounds. By taking spring or summer courses, students are actually setting themselves up for various advantages.
Before I go on, I would like to clarify that when I mention prolonging the academic year, I do not mean taking courses such as CHEM 2OA3 (Organic Chemistry I) or STATS 2B03 (Statistical Methods for Science). These courses are usually taken to lighten a student’s courseload during the traditional academic year, or repeated to obtain a higher grade.
Instead, I mean taking courses that you find interesting or may help you achieve a minor or concurrent certificate. I am a strong advocate for summer or spring courses. I believe that each student should voluntarily enroll in one spring or summer course during their academic career. Personally, I took four courses during the non-traditional academic school year during my first year of university.
Although I did not receive a break between my first and second year due to the four courses engulfing my summer, I do not regret spring or summer courses. In fact, I am very excited to enroll this semester once again. I adore the feeling of walking to campus on a hot summer day and attending lectures within the cool buildings. In my opinion, there is no other feeling like studying in the library during the summer; the warm weather heightens the enjoyability of academics.
I tend to find that the academic year can take us away from enjoying our personal interest courses since we have other courses to balance simultaneously. Although university is where our time management skills are repeatedly tested through academics and extra-curricular, that does not mean we can perform adequately 100 per cent of the time. Taking courses over the spring/summer term is a common way to engage in personal interest courses without sacrificing the grades or the content.
Some programs have specific requirements which may make it difficult for students to complete a minor or concurrent certificate. However, the warmer months may allow students to catch up on requirements permitting them to achieve these academic aspects as they are free to take whatever is offered.
I am a student who enjoys planning to navigate the confusing realm of graduation requirements, especially since I would like to complete a minor or concurrent certificate. From experience, the spring or summer semester creates a wonderful opportunity to complete required courses that cannot be completed during the school year.
Some requirements may be reserved for students within their respective departments, and at other times they become full before your course enrollment time opens. In addition, since the summer months entail students participating in various aspects such as co-op, travelling or research opportunities, more spots are open over the summer to enroll in the courses missed during the traditional academic year.
Overall, you may be averse to the idea of extending the school year into the summer. However, the spring or summer term allows for you to indulge in smaller class sizes on a free campus while simultaneously allowing you to focus on both the grades and course material for classes you may not have been able to take otherwise.
As we all sing along to the popular song Kill Bill, there is a deeper influence at play resulting in our S.O.S relationships
I began by analyzing the lyrics and researching the meaning they held to SZA. Next, I looked into the inspiration for the album cover and song title, which led me to research the movie "Kill Bill". As my obsession grew with this song, I expanded my investigation to understand the album, all while drawing comparisons between SZA's music video and the movie Kill Bill.
At the end of my extensive project, I concluded that "Kill Bill" is the lyrical embodiment of toxic relationships. Although this may have been apparent to many of individuals from the start, I believe the meaning of this song mimics how toxic relationships unfold; you don't realize the situation you are in until it is too late.
From an outside perspective, toxic relationships wave multiple bright red flags. However, similar to the music video, it is not always apparent to the individuals within the relationship. Although SZA was given physical embodiments of love, her partner ultimately betrayed her.
You may wonder how this fantasizes toxic relationships since SZA showcases the negatives of this situation. However, I believe her melodic voice and captivating chorus, "I just killed my ex", places a positive spin on destructive pairings.
I believe many individuals can resonate with the lyrics "I don't want none, I just want you. If I can't have you, no one should" with these internal feelings being validated in a public setting, it can lead listeners to believe that manipulating their partner is acceptable as long as it benefits them.
By this comparison alone, it is evident that SZA was inspired to create musical artistry based on toxic relationships before this song was written. The assassin's ex quite literally attempted to murder her due to jealousy, encapsulating the lyrics, "I might kill my ex, I still love him, though. Rather be in jail than alone". This pure form of jealousy hidden in the lyrics alludes that relationships must share extreme versions of love to thrive.
In my opinion, the story SZA conveys through her melody and lyrics transcends a serious situation. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, love and belonging are prime human motivational factors. With toxic relationships, this is increasingly evident.
When rationalizing adverse events during these relationships, SZA sings, "I did all of this sober. Don't you know I did it all for us?". These lyrics can ground individuals in toxic relationships as they can rationalize their actions. Although they understand the relationship toxicity, it is still fantasized about as the ends justify the means.
This song's popularity demonstrates that society accepts some form of toxic relationships as extreme love satisfies our human needs. In my opinion, love without restraints can potentially lead to disastrous outcomes. The validation "Kill Bill' provides toxic relationships allows individuals to openly fantasize about extreme love.
Pitch Magazine redesigns spaces for Black artists to explore the full breadth of their creativity
Expression is important to all of us. We use different forms of expressions to allow others to understand ourselves better. Pitch Magazine is challenging the limits of expression. The magazine takes works from Black artists, Black poets and writers and Black photographers to curate a print magazine.
“Pitch Magazine . . . looks to provide a platform for Black creative expression . . . What we like to do is showcase the breadth of Black creativity,” said Angelo Grant, the founder and editor-in-chief of Pitch Magazine.
The idea for this magazine came from Grant’s very own experiences as a former student at McMaster University and as a creative who wanted to share his work. When he was in his first year, studying Health Sciences, he often submitted his work to spaces in hopes to share his creative voice.
However, he found that many of his submission rejections were prefaced by the fact his work didn’t fit the vision intended for the magazine. Moreover, Grant noticed the lack of representation for Black creatives on campus.
“When I was in first year, there were a few publications on campus that were maybe doing things in the realm of arts. And I think I just felt like our voices weren't being represented — the Black Student Body voice wasn't being represented in the publications,” said Grant.
Grant does not set any themes or restrictions on the types of submissions for the magazine to highlight the diversity of Black creativity.
By not centralizing each issue of the magazine to a specific theme, Grant felt the submissions he received were more expressive of the person creating the work. Each submission was vastly different; he didn’t find any overlap in the submissions. As someone who had felt limited by these kinds of restriction of specific theme from spaces on campus, he felt good to be able to change that.
“It's really trying to accommodate people and how they express themselves. I think that's the biggest thing for me — I don't want to be limiting of people,” said Grant.
Moreover, Grant stated Black creatives are given more freedom to branch out outside of creating works solely based on their Blackness by not setting specific expectations for magazine submissions. Submission guidelines and set restrictions can often make Black creatives feel as though their voices will only be heard if they center it only on their race and related experiences.
“I really don't want people to think is that they have to have to revolve their submission around their Blackness . . . I think we want to encapsulate the full breadth of Black creative expression that doesn't just involve themes that are directly tied to Blackness that involves everything that we experience on a day-to-day basis,” said Grant.
Grant gave credit for how far the magazine has been able to come to his team behind Pitch. He is grateful to have a supportive team. Koko Sanginga, Malaika Manda, Alexandria Amadasun, Adeola Egbeyemi, Pamela Edmonds and Stylo Starr are some of the many people that have ensured that PITCH Magazine continues to grow smoothly.
“I think a big thing for me when it comes to creating something like this is realizing the importance of collaboration and having people that can support you along the way,” said Grant.
Pitch Magazine currently is working on its fourth issue. As the Pitch team continues to expand the magazine, they hope people appreciate the work and get a glimpse into the vast creativity of Black artists.