This is Weekend Warriors, a joint program initiated in tandem by the MSU and Residence Life that aims at fostering campus involvement on weekends. There's music, there's a barbecue and board games. Most importantly, it's a chance for you to make friends and get involved on campus.

Located on the fifth floor of Mills Library, the McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning has just completed a renovation project for its offices.

Accessed by the rear-facing elevator doors and separated from the rest of the library, MIIETL feels tucked away, relatively undisturbed. But the renovations have really modernized the look and feel of the office space, and will allow MIIETL to better accommodate a potential increase in traffic from the McMaster population.

Formerly known as the Centre for Leadership in Learning, MIIETL is responsible for online initiatives at McMaster University, whether it's Avenue to Learn or a number of new blended online learning courses. But with a full-time staff of over 30 and numerous other part-time students and researchers, that's only a small part of what they do, explained Teaching and Learning Director Arshad Ahmad.

"In simple language, we help teachers to improve," he said. "We are partners with faculty, with staff, with students; whoever is in the business of teaching and learning and wants to improve, we're there to support them."

"Our business is helping people, to improve teaching, but also collecting evidence and doing research on teaching - in partnership," he emphasized.

With more of MIIETL's work being directed towards research on effective teaching and learning, the goal is for the redesign to allow more space for new students and researchers who will be working in collaboration with the institute. However, the renovations haven't expanded out of the occupied area; rather, it's given the offices a level of privacy that wasn't afforded by the cubicle-like walls before. In addition, sound that used to bleed from the inner classroom has now been minimized, and it can now accommodate up to 100 students.

Kris Knorr, the Research Coordinator at MIIETL, was principally involved with the summer renovations and commented that they looked at both open and closed designs, before ultimately deciding on a more private space.

Said Knorr, "it was part of [Ahmad's] vision to help alleviate [the noise and privacy issue] and help to create some new space for the growing capacity of MIIETL, and for the new work that we were going to be endeavoring with.

The growing collaboration with students is a sentiment that was echoed by both Knorr and Ahmad.

Knorr explained, "It's important for us to make sure that we have student partnership and a student voice in the work that we do."

With the renovation completed on time for its Sept. 1 deadline, MIIETL is planning on unveiling its new office space in time for November.

By: Rachel Katz

McMaster students will soon have a little more elbow room in the hallways between classes. On Sept. 4, the Hamilton City Council approved the motion to donate between two and four acres of land to the University to develop a new downtown campus.

In mid-August, city councillor Jason Farr proposed the development of a McMaster downtown campus in addition to the new health campus, which is scheduled for completion this year. When the story first broke, it appeared as though a number of councillors opposed the development of a downtown campus.

“[Councillors] complained, and rightly so, that they didn’t have enough information. Once they got all the information and it played out according to the normal schedule, it was unanimous,” Farr said. “We have, as a council, confirmed [our] support in the application process by saying ‘we’ll partner with you’ with respect to [donating] parking lots or city lands, if needed.”

The city will now take the request to the province for approval.

Few elements of the new campus have been confirmed. Possible locations include various surface-level parking lots. A lot between Vine St. and Cannon St. has been suggested, and the city is even considering currently unused land behind City Hall. No announcement has been made regarding what faculty the new campus will house, but Farr is confident the university’s president and his team will make the right decision.

“Both students and faculty can play off the expertise that is […] located nearby,” said Farr.

No matter where the campus is built, or what faculty it will serve, there is no doubt that it will generate plenty of business for local merchants.

“The average [McMaster] student spends between $6,000 to $9,000 in the local economy […] and I am sure that when, not if, the province approves the application and the downtown campus is built, even more business will come to our core,” Farr said.

Not only will a satellite campus make use of city land that is currently underused, but it will also create residential development as companies and landlords find ways to add affordable student housing to the area near the new campus. It seems as though students will be met with no hostility from residents of downtown Hamilton.

Around Ontario, there is sometimes bad blood between towns and the universities that call those towns home. Fortunately, this is not the case for McMaster students and their relationship with the people of Hamilton.

When asked if he had concerns about the behaviour of McMaster students in the city’s downtown core, Councilor Farr confidently said the topic “was never discussed in our debate and approval process. I think the buying power, the vitality that is added by having so many smart, talented young people going into our bookstores and drinking our coffee and shopping at our farmer’s market far outweighs the possibility of a few who might get a little too celebratory after a midterm.”

Council seems to be looking forward to having McMaster students even closer to Hamilton’s core, and councilor Farr calls the deal “a slam dunk for both parties.”

Tobi Abdul
Staff Reporter

Winter tends to elicit mixed feelings. As temperatures drop and snow falls, some people love to bundle up and walk in the brisk cold. To many others, winter is a miserable few months. Regardless of which part of the spectrum people fall on, there is the general consensus that winter road and sidewalk conditions make it difficult to enjoy this season.

While walking to school you slip at least five times, you’re frozen by the time you arrive, and getting to classes seems to take a lot longer than you remembered. Getting around in the winter is usually a pain for everyone. On a scale of one to ten, most fall close to the “love skiing, skating, and sledding but for the love of God, winter, go away” side.

But for many, winter has some serious challenges that come from needing a mobility device. When the pathways and roads of McMaster are icy, slippery, or wet, many people with crutches, canes, walker, and wheelchairs face a whole new campus.

Second-year student named Sophie Geffros uses a manual wheelchair to get around campus and finds that in wintertime, she’s spending a lot more time commuting between buildings.

“The furthest I have to go from is MDCL to ABB. In the summer it takes me around seven or eight minutes but in the winter, I find that it takes me around 15.”

In -38 C, where exposed skin can freeze in three to five minutes, 15 minutes in the cold can seem like eternity.

Even getting to campus is a struggle if you have a mobility device and take the bus. In extreme cold weather, sometimes the automatic ramp on the buses don’t work, making it inaccessible for that day.

“I miss significantly more class in the winter,” said Geffros, “Even after I make it to campus sometimes I realize that it’s not working. I have three classes back to back to back in Health Sciences, TSH and MDCL, and 10 minutes is not enough time. I either have to leave class early or get to class late.”

The Student Accessibility Services office at McMaster helps students with any special needs including medical issues, physical impairments, mental health issues and learning difficulties.

“I think the main issue is that SAS is primarily designed to deal with students with learning difficulties and they do a good job accommodating academically but when you faced with mobility impairments, and you say that you need this thing, they don’t have much practice with providing people with help in that way,” said Geffros.

SAS does help with services such as note-taking and extension leniency but unfortunately, it doesn’t always help when someone is already on campus. Even students without mobility impairments have experienced difficulties walking across some parts of campus that are extremely icy and have not been salted or opening doors that have small banks of snow in front of them.

“There’s a huge problem with where they put the snow once they shovelled it off stairs and sidewalks. First it takes them a long time to get it off the sidewalk, then once they’ve gotten it off… they cover the smooth bit of the curve which is where, if you use a mobility device, you need to go down on the curb on and you can’t because it’s covered by a chunk of ice,” said Geffros.

“There should be more areas that are treated as constantly as others since small paths are just as important as large streets,” says Jamie Lai, the Abilities Coordinator for MSU Diversity.

These conditions are not only annoying to navigate around, but they can also be dangerous. Third-year student Georgy Dhanjal uses a power wheelchair to get around campus and says that getting to classes increases from three to five minutes to eight to 10 minutes in the wintertime. Although he can navigate on top of snow more easily than he could with a manual chair, the icy conditions on campus still make it a hassle.

“Mac does a great job at making sure that ice/snow is removed from ramps such as the one behind BSB or right by MUSC, and that is great for everyone. However I do have an issue with how the school goes about its open/close policy in terms of hazardous conditions, such as the day in which the ground was extremely icy,” said Dhanjal

“The low temperature is something we can bundle up for, and as Canadians it is expected, however when something so simple as getting from point A to B becomes dangerous, that’s where I draw the line,” he continued

Getting from point A to B on a reasonably sized campus should be simple, but when the conditions of campus are subpar, it becomes an issue of safety rather than convenience. For Geffros, unclear pathways can cause physical injury while trying to navigate through the ice and snow.

“The actual pavement is very poorly maintained, especially in the quad. There are big chunks of cracked pavement. In the summer you can navigate around but in the winter you can’t see it, and it looks icy but clear but then you go flying out of your chair. Quite a few times I have actually gone flying, landed on my face, books everywhere, sometimes my wheelchair has rolled away,” she said.

On extremely cold days, most of us are concerned about getting to warmth as quickly as possible, but there is the added pressure of having to navigate around potential hazards.

“I have seen some people in their wheelchairs going against traffic because sidewalks and pathways are inaccessible,” says Lai. “There’s a large emphasis on people who require wheelchairs, and there are also people who use walking aids and who are visually impaired who need their paths to be clear so that they don’t risk injury. Those who use walking aids, even temporarily, can find that even though they never get stuck in the snow, they sometimes have to rely on other people to get around,” Lai continued.

“I had crutches in the fall and found that some of the automatic door buttons don’t actually work and I’d have to find a way to manoeuvre. I can’t imagine having to do that outside in freezing temperatures,” said fourth-year student Hans Loewig.

At times, it just isn’t possible to get through campus without a little help. Dhanjal encourages students to get in touch with services like SAS that can help them in the winter.

“I think that those who begrudgingly attempt to navigate campus during the winter time, and do not know of these services too well, may seem uncomfortable asking for help. The truth is that these services are great sources for assistance, and I definitely recommend seeking their assistance when necessary,” says Dhanjal.

Friendly students are also an option to help if you find yourself stuck in the snow.

“Fellow students are the best when it comes to assistance. If my chair tires get stuck in the snow, or if perhaps I need a push to get across some ice, there is always someone I can count on at this school, stranger or not,” says Dhanjal.

Since most people are busy trying to get to their destination as fast as they can, it can help if more people are alert to their surroundings.

“Last week I was constantly stuck in the snow, I had to flag people down to help me, otherwise I would’ve just stayed there,” said Geffros.

Winter is great for a lot of things, like hot chocolate, hockey, and candy canes, but it really is the worst for making your way around. Some people can walk over that crack in the ice, or step over the snow bank, but for others, getting across campus can be a frustrating and time consuming feat. Take the extra time to help someone whose chair is stuck in the snow or guide someone with a visual impairment around the icy parts of the sidewalk.

Photo by Eliza Pope / Assistant Photo Editor

Emily Scott
Video Editor

 

It is easier to be anonymous than it is to be a highly involved student on campus.

Sure, there are hundreds of clubs shaking flyers at you as you walk with your head down through the hallway of MUSC (and if you are in residence the sometimes painfully awkward floor gatherings). If you are lucky enough to be in a small program that you enjoy, you might look forward to seeing recognizable faces in your regular sized lecture rooms, and feel accountable for attendance because you know that your professor actually knows your name.

But for others, after the business of frosh week dies down, after you discover you do not and never will possess the skills to be a varsity athlete, after you don’t need to ask anyone how to get to TSH 120, it is a lot easier to become anonymous.

A typical day consists of snagging a bagel and a coffee from home, or maybe a ready-made Centro breakfast for you residence folk, showing up to an 8:30 a.m. lecture with 300 other people, and sitting in the back so you don’t bother anyone with the sounds of your snacking. An hour in between class means find a spot in the busy student centre (try the third floor) to check each social feed a couple of times before glancing at the essay outline and taking a quick nap. Another coffee sometimes helps too.

After the day of class is done, you could go check out whatever is happening in the atrium, but nah, your bed and an episode of New Girl seems a lot more appetizing. Come Friday, and the world is a better place. Gather the others, drink, go out, come home (or at least to  a house), sleep it off, and repeat until Monday.

It’s not a surprise to me that university is where people find themselves in crisis mode for the first time. Not because you haven’t had to study before, because the culture of university, while busy and exciting to the outside observer, easily fosters a lifestyle of anonymity. If that doesn’t bother you, props to you my friend.

But being anonymous makes it easier to struggle, and not think you need to reach out. It makes it easier to drown in your schoolwork and never bother to ask for help. It is an easy life to get used to, but it is in no way the most appealing.

Let’s not hide in our achievement of being a stranger, or forget that we’re surrounded by thousands of others like us. If you are feeling alone, chances are other people are too. Think about what you loved back in high school, and find the university equivalent. Or find something new to love.

Go out to an event, a club, a meeting. Tell someone if you hate the idea of being alone. If you are an introvert like me, the idea of it can be quite exasperating. It’s a big place, but being anonymous is no way to fill your spot.

Emily Buddo
The Silhouette

The Ontario government has announced that they want universities to narrow their focus in the future by specializing in certain programs. This specialization is to help the government save money, an ever-present issue due to their ever-growing deficit.

All universities must make difficult decisions about what programs to focus on and what programs to scrap before the end of this year (to be implemented in later years) or they risk losing funding. What to specialize in is up to the universities, however, the government has the final say on all decisions.

The government knows that money is power. And with this knowledge the government is abusing their power by using universities’ need for money to control them, as well as limit the even more desperate-for-money university students who attend the now at-risk institutions.

Brad Duguid, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, made the argument that two institutions may not be needed if both are offering the same course in the same region. But what Duguid and his ministry are neglecting to recognize is that there is so much more to universities than the programs they provide.

Choosing the right university has forever been a stressful decision for graduating high school and mature students, however with this new legislation would that decision soon cease to exist? Would students not be able to choose a university based on how close it was to home? How far away it was from home? Because their grandmother and mother went there? Because they liked the size and the campus atmosphere?

Following through with this legislation would take away a student’s right to choose a university based on what is the perfect fit for them – a choice that is crucial to a student’s success and happiness for the subsequent years after making their decisions.

This new legislation would put even more pressure on students because if a student chose a program and found they didn’t like it they would either be:  stuck in it, forced to change into another one of their university’s limited specializations, drop-out or switch to another university.

What kind of implications would this have on students? No one really knows because students have always had options. With this legislation the government is taking those options, students’ right to choose a university based on more than academics, and a university’s right to provide their students with a variety of programs to major, minor, or just take electives in.

Making universities more specialized would get rid of out-of-faculty electives that help to expand science students brains past the chemical formulas, and arts students’ brains past the philosophy and sociology courses.

What Duguid is failing to realize is that there is so much more that needs to be added into the equation on universities specialization than just dollars and cents.

Would scrapping certain faculties on a certain campus limit the creation of clubs and groups that help to create community around the campus? Would it lead to narrow mindedness of students because nothing would challenge them? Would their growth in university become purely educational and lack the important intellectual growth?

There are too many unexplored potential consequences if universities and their students are forced to specialize.

Brianna Buziak
The Silhouette

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All over campus you can hear the buzz of students and faculty alike talking about the upcoming homecoming game against the Waterloo Warriors this Saturday. If you’re anything like me, you got your ticket well in advance, but forgot one thing: McMaster gear.

Going to homecoming in any other colour scheme besides maroon and grey might give off the impression that your loyalty is with another team. To ensure that no one assumes my support lies with our competition, a trip to the Campus Store was definitely in order.  If much like this devoted Marauder who left her colours back home, here are last minute items to add to your homecoming wardrobe.

 

The Triple Tee Pack

In addition to this being a great way to save costs, if you’re a first year and are looking for some staple items to contribute to your McMaster clothing collections, check out this pack.

For $29.95 (plus tax) you get three McMaster University t-shirts in white, grey and maroon. If you don’t need all three, split with a couple friends. Be sure to layer these shirts with a long sleeve shirt of another colour to keep warm, otherwise you’ll be making trips to DBAC every ten minutes to warm up.

 

Circle Crest

The Circle Crest sweater, available as either a hoody or a crew neck, will keep you warm and cozy during the long game. Wearing one of these will not make your outfit stand out (as almost every student has this sweater in at least one of the four colours available) but it is one of those timeless McMaster pieces that you will wear over and over again. Both styles are available at the Campus Store for $29.95.

 

Classic Marauder Baseball Cap

In the off chance that the sun decides to show up to help cheer on the Marauders, be prepared with the Marauder baseball cap. With an embroidered crest on the front and the “Fear the Bird” slogan on the back, you’ll be able to enjoy the game without worrying about a glare or an awkward face burn in the middle of October. The hat is $21.95 plus tax, but worth it to prevent your nose from experiencing an intense sunburn the week before Thanksgiving.

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All these items are articles of clothing that you have probably already seen around campus. This year, The Campus Store starting carrying items referred to as “cheer gear.” If you wish to stand out from the crowd at homecoming, but still show your marauder spirit, these new pieces may be for you. Or not…

 

MAC Daddy Fedora

The name pretty much says it all. For $8.50 plus tax, this polyester suede hat may not completely protect you from potential sunburn, but it will ensure you look like “that guy” while you watch McMaster defeat the Warriors.

 

Handlebar Moustache

Ever wanted to know what you would look like with a moustache, especially with Movember coming up so soon? This is your chance! Campus Store has a maroon handle bar moustache for those who wish to test out the facial hair waters while supporting their favourite football team.

 

Furry Leg Warmers

I’m honestly speechless.

 

 

Ana Qarri
The Silhouette

While the Student Union is trying to convince you to #DiscoverYourCity, I’m here to convince you that if you’re looking for a romantic getaway it’s time to #DiscoverYourUnderConstructionCampus.

With a variety of fenced off areas, dug out pavement, and safety hazards to choose from,  you could really give your date that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ it’s been missing.

If you are starting your day of romance on Main and Emerson, your first stop should naturally be the beautiful new addition to our campus: that slightly awkward hill that was once densely vegetated.

Slowly walk around the hill before you take a seat on one of the benches. It is completely understandable if you hesitate to do so due to the jaw-dropping architectural design of these masterpieces. The tiny seat dividers found on the benches will serve as a reminder that you need to get to know your date before getting serious. It’s all in the bylaw.

Have a great conversation with your date while enjoying the serene sounds of Main Street West.

After life stories have been shared, start walking towards the student centre. As you approach the front doors, point out the location of the future Starbucks – a place of historical significance. Soon, the ability to walk through this hallway without making uncomfortable body contact with someone else will become a thing of the past, remembered only by those who lived to see both eras.

Walk to the MUSC Atrium where you will find the fireplace. Take a seat with your date, and observe the movement of Mac students. Think that this is nature at its best and give your date a knowing smile. They’re probably thinking the same thing.

The next stop is (obviously) the nuclear reactor. You can’t miss this one. It stands tall on the west side of campus as a constant reminder of death to those who fear heights. The university has conveniently placed a picnic table next to the reactor building, acknowledging the frequent use of this location as a romantic spot.  (Pro-tip: the strange structure of the General Sciences Building makes for some good hidden make-out spots. Proceed at your own risk.)

If your date is still sticking around, you’ve got yourself a keeper. At this point, the route you take is totally up to you. If plants and mosquitoes are your thing, head down to Cootes. If you haven’t had enough of construction zones, take a walk to the Wilson Building and pay a visit to the statue by MDCL. If you want to look at the blue skies of Hamilton, there’s the Ten Acre field.

The possibilities are endless. McMaster is your oyster.

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