Matthew Passalent joins SK Zadruga AICH/DOB as his first professional team after his tenure at McMaster

Before stepping on to the court as a member of SK Zadruga AICH/DOB, Matthew Passalent began his volleyball journey in the various volleyball camps hosted by McMaster Athletics & Recreation. As such, he fostered good relationships with the coaches there, so joining the McMaster University men’s volleyball team was not unfamiliar territory for Passalent. He described his transition as very welcoming.

In his first year on the McMaster volleyball team, he followed the guidance of the senior members. He watched many of their games prior to enrolling at McMaster — he looked up to them and modelled his game after them. 

“It was awesome to have the opportunity to practice with [the McMaster athletes], watch them play up close and get a good grasp on their mentality,” said Passalent.

[/media-credit] Passalent as a member of the McMaster Men's Volleyball team.

Passalent explained that he received more playing time and entered more of a leadership role as the years progressed. He recalled how during his fourth and fifth years, the rookies looked up to him in a similar way that he looked up to the upper-years during his rookie year.

“It was awesome to have the opportunity to practice with [the McMaster athletes], watch them play up close and get a good grasp on their mentality,” said Passalent.

Aside from playing as outside hitter for the team, his position varied from opposite to outside hitter. He did not receive much playing time during his rookie year; he played a few points at the end of matches. It was not until around his third-year Passalent started for the team.

“We have really good older guys, playing for Team Canada, the junior team, etc . . . It was really hard to crack a starting spot in your first or second year,” said Passalent.

“We have really good older guys, playing for Team Canada, the junior team, etc . . . It was really hard to crack a starting spot in your first or second year,” said Passalent.

Passalent recounts his biggest achievement during his tenure at McMaster was winning the Ontario University Athletics gold medal in his third-year. 

“It was a record of winning the OUA championship in six consecutive years. That was my third championship. It's really cool to be a part of the team and a part of history,” said Passalent. 

With regards to personal awards, he has the most pride for receiving the OUA West Player of the Year during his fourth-year.

“When my coach told me, I was really shocked because I was injured for most of the year,” said Passalent.

In winter 2019, Passalent and the team participated in the 2019 Can Am Holiday Volleyball Showcase in which teams from the United States and Canada competed against one another. Passalent recollected how this was a major downside in his career, having won no games at the invitational tournament. However, after playing in this tournament, the team bounced back with a major win against Trinity Western University, then the top team in U Sports.

Playing overseas has been quite different on the court for Passalent. He stated how many players come from different parts of the world while learning different techniques.

“I just thought it would be how I was used to in Canada. But we were doing drills I never heard of. It was really fascinating. It's definitely good to learn a lot,” said Passalent.

“I just thought it would be how I was used to in Canada. But we were doing drills I never heard of. It was really fascinating. It's definitely good to learn a lot,” said Passalent.

In fall 2020, Passalent joined SK Zadruga AICH/DOB in Austria to play for his first professional team. 

[/media-credit] Passalent as a member of SK Zadruga AICH/DOB.

“It was a completely different vibe. This town I was living in was very small. Everyone knew each other. You can walk to anywhere in town within 15 minutes. Being from such a small town, the team had hardcore, dedicated fans. It felt like a really great atmosphere at the few games I participated in,” said Passalent. 

Adapting to this new lifestyle was not as difficult as Passalent thought it would be.

“I found that I had to get into a strict schedule. I feel I had to keep eating and fueling myself, doing it at the right times. It's a grind out there. If you don't take care of your body, it will come back and punish you,” said Passalent.

As the team predominantly spoke English, Passalent did not run into many language barrier issues. 

“I found that I had to get into a strict schedule. I feel I had to keep eating and fueling myself, doing it at the right times. It's a grind out there. If you don't take care of your body, it will come back and punish you,” said Passalent.

A typical day for Passalent begins with waking up at 7:30 a.m., eating breakfast and then working out at 8 a.m. Afterwards, he would go grocery shopping to make a bigger breakfast and take a midday nap. Then, he would join the team for lunch followed by recreational activities, such as watching Netflix. Around 6:00 p.m., the team would practice until 8:00 p.m. Lastly, he would cook a large dinner and head to bed. 

[/media-credit] Passalent spikes the ball past Dinamo MOSCOW player in their first-round pool match of the CEV 2021 Champions League.

Before Passalent tore his rotator cuff this past October, he participated in four qualifying matches as part of the CEV Champions League for the 2020-2021 season.

“The pool we were in was tough. We were slated as underdogs. We had to play the third-ranked team and number one team in Russia,” said Passalent.

In his first game with the team, Passalent led the team in scoring as they captured a win. Despite this victory, the team lost the rest of their qualification matches. Passalent was only able to play in the first three until his shoulder injury occurred. He states that most likely he will need to get surgery, following a four-five month recovery time. 

[/media-credit] Passalent sends the ball over Neftochimik BURGAS in their first-round pool match of the CEV 2021 Champions League.

“Hopefully I see myself still playing volleyball but maybe in a higher-level league like in Italy, France, Germany or Turkey, as they also pay better money,” said Passalent.

While recovering from his injury, Passalent will actively seek out a new contract to head back onto the court, either with SK Zadruga AICH/DOB or a brand new team.

 

By: Elizabeth DiEmanuele

The Student Success Centre and Graduate Studies have introduced new positions for 2019-2020 to support the academic, personal and professional success of international students.

“Enhancing the experience and academic success of our international students is a shared responsibility, which is why we are excited about creating a campus-wide support network around our students,” says Gina Robinson, assistant dean of Student Affairs and director of the Student Success Centre. “We want international students to know that we all care about their individual needs and are working together to get them to the right services on campus.”

 

Learn a little bit about the different roles and how they can support students:

International Undergraduate Students Program Coordinator

Ana Pereira has supported McMaster’s international students for eight years. In this role, she helps students adjust to their new lives at McMaster and in Canada through transitional services, personal development and the International Student Buddy Program.

“Being an immigrant myself, I understand many of the challenges facing students and love helping them feel comfortable in this new place they now call ‘home’,” Ana says.

 

International Graduate Students Program Coordinator

Francesca Hernandez joins the team in this role and will focus on establishing campus-wide partnerships that can support and contribute to the development and success of international graduate students.

“We want to ensure that the academic, social and cultural needs of international graduate students are met through new programming and engagement opportunities,” Francesca says.

“We also want to expand promotion of existing programs and services so that students and their families are aware of supports offered by McMaster and the broader community. We want them to enjoy a successful journey in their new country.”

 

Student Success Coach

In addition to programs and services, one-on-ones are also available. Andrew Staples, student success coach, will support both graduate and international students with their academic concerns, financial difficulties, transition, and navigation of university life. This position will support students on an individual basis and provide a more seamless support system.

Andrew shares, “We want to make sure students feel supported and welcomed during their time at McMaster, so we are encouraging students to ask questions and share any concerns they may be experiencing.”

 

Immigration and Mobility Advisor

Lajipe Sanwoolu, immigration and mobility advisor, can provide immigration consulting from both an inbound and outbound perspective, including international and domestic students who are interested in working in Canada or abroad.

“International students contribute greatly to our community,” says Lajipe. “It is important and beneficial that we continue to provide them with opportunities to contribute and develop themselves.”

International students provide an invaluable knowledge and perspective, both in and outside of the classroom. Lajipe’s role will support developing relationships between international students and employers, providing education about international hiring and dispelling hiring misconceptions.

Appointments with Andrew Staples and Lajipe Sanwoolu are bookable through OSCARplus.

For those interested in collaborating on initiatives to support international student success, email iss@mcmaster.ca.

 

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Photos by Catherine Goce

Finding off-campus housing can be a stressful experience for McMaster students for a variety of reasons, and it does not look like that will change anytime soon. With the increased number of students enrolled at the university, off-campus housing is becoming harder to find.

According to McMaster University official statistics, more than 27,000 full-time undergraduate students are enrolled at the university this year, a figure 20 per cent higher than the 22,558 undergrad students enrolled five years ago.

According to Andrew Parashis, a property manager at Spotted Properties, the largest property management in the McMaster community, the student housing supply has not been able to keep up with the rising demand.

The number of students seeking housing through Spotted Properties has tripled over the past year, easily surpassing the number of new properties the company has taken on.

“With McMaster taking on so many people, there are a lot of people saying they can’t find a house,” Parashis said.

Much of the increase in demand can be attributed to the increase in international students, who Spotted Properties work with regularly.

In 2014-2015, McMaster had 1,499 full-time international undergraduates. This year, that number has doubled.

According to Parashis, another contributing factor this year is the higher number of first year students that have come to Spotted Properties to find accommodation.

McMaster currently cannot accommodate all first-years in residence. Instead, only incoming first-years with an average of 83.5  per cent or higher are guaranteed residence placement.

To accommodate incoming students, the university is developing two new residences: the Peter George Living and Learning Centre, slated to open this fall, and an off-campus residence, scheduled for August 2021.

Yet, with the Peter George Living and Learning Centre adding only 500 beds, some first-year students will likely still have to find non-residence accommodations next year.

One of the byproducts of increased housing demand is higher prices.

We’re renting houses out for an average of $550 dollars right now,” Parashis said. “Our most expensive places are about $700 a room, which is very high. The problem is there’s such a lack of good quality homes, so it allows landlords to demand high prices if they offer premium product.”

Students are also forced to live further from McMaster.

“We have people going as far as Dundurn to rent,” said Parashis.

These issues are compounded by existing problems in the student housing industry, such as pervasive landlord discrimination.

"Many landlords have negative stereotypes of people and have made judgement based on race, gender and even university program, which isn't fair,” said Parashis.

These biases make it frustrating for students, who are often not given an equal chance at securing a house.

An especially frustrating situation can occur when landlords break an agreement with students before a contract is signed or a payment is made.

Parashis says students independently negotiating with landlords are susceptible to this problem, leading them to employ companies like Spotted Properties, which use a standardized transaction process.

Spotted Properties, which is run by former McMaster students, is working to address these issues by ensuring contracts and policies align with current best practice guidelines and providing 24/7 service to tenants.

In addition, the company is working closely with agencies abroad to reserve homes for international students at the university.  

The McMaster Students Union has also been working to improve students’ experiences with off-campus housing, pushing the city of Hamilton to go forward with a landlord licensing pilot project.

The MSU municipal affairs committee also launched a landlord rating website in January.

Despite these efforts, student housing issues are many, and the solutions remain unclear. Addressing them will likely require concerted efforts from all parties involved.

 

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By: Fabiha Islam

I was born on a rainy afternoon in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My birth was somewhat atypical as rainfall is the last thing you’d expect from Saudi Arabia’s dry and hot weather. Strangely, the rain led to many of my relatives making the comment that the desert might not be the place for me.

Unbelievable but true, a simple brochure from my father’s workplace about one of the world’s top universities turned my life upside-down. I got to know about this amazing university with cutting-edge research opportunities known as McMaster, and wanted to be there.

My endless insisting finally made my parents agree to send their daughter to a completely different country in the farthest continent from home.

In the airport, my parents were concerned if I’d be able to undergo the immigration processes myself, as travelling alone wasn’t exactly what a women In Saudi Arabia would normally do.

On my first day in Canada, I faced an unworldly snowstorm. Snow always fascinated me since the only place I would ever see it was in movies. However, little did I know of the harsh weather the beautiful snow brings with it.

When I saw McMaster in person for the very first time, the word “home” was the first thing to come to my mind. The campus had a sense of deep intimacy as it covered a beautiful, little area with all of its buildings so close together.

Despite being covered in snow, everything on campus looked beautiful, and I knew that I made the right choice.

I lived in Les Prince Hall in my first year and was proud of myself for being able to live, eat and even walk alone, without my parents around. Saudi Arabia never let women go out without any assistance, so it may seem strange that I hadn’t even walked alone to the corner store next to my house until coming to McMaster.

Although I didn’t have any problems with the language since I was brought up in an English-speaking environment, it took time to adapt to the weather and cultural differences. I struggled quite a bit in my first days due to constant snowstorms, icy roads, different food and how everything goes quiet after 9:00 p.m.

Back in Saudi Arabia, the city would wake up after 9:00 p.m. as the desert was burning hot during daytime, restricting any outdoor activity. Entertainment was very different from what I experienced before and so initially, I actually struggled to have fun.

In my opinion, cultural differences will forever exist but it is not what should controls our sense of closeness and familiarity. In a new culture, it is crucial to be open to exploring new ideas and trying to find out specific things from the new environment which are suited to your own expectations.

I developed a more positive attitude and felt at home when exploring made me realize that there isn’t any major difference after all.

A major difference is only when there is a change in the key component of our survival, that is, human interaction. Despite different language, food and weather, human beings were always the same to me.

The way you perceive a person is completely subjective and depends on our own minds other than any certain culture and fortunately, my mind and thoughts were still unchanged.

I would like to thank McMaster University for being so dear, inclusive and family-like. The incredible openness and friendly attitude of the campus community makes me feel completely “at home” despite being miles away from my family!

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Rida Pasha

It is unsurprising that there is an increase in mental health issues among university students, especially here at McMaster University. Whether it is stress, relationships, family or work, there are numerous factors that can contribute to developing mental health issues.  

While professional help is encouraged, such as therapy or counselling, these services can be very expensive for the average student.

Though McMaster prides itself on the mental health resources it provides, such as those at the Student Wellness Centre, it is commonly known that the university has much room for improvement.

One of the ongoing concerns at the SWC is the amount of time it takes to actually see a counsellor.

The lack of counsellors present at McMaster has been an issue for a while and though various students have advocated for the SWC to hire more counsellors in order to meet the demand, it is important that any counsellors hired reflect the student population at McMaster.

The university is home to various groups of people that come from diverse backgrounds and communities. Not only is it important for students to see more representation at the SWC, it is also important to acknowledge that many students feel more comfortable seeking help from counsellors that they can relate to.

For a university that is home to thousands of students of colour and members of the LGBTQA2S+ community, it is essential that the SWC hire more counsellors that are able to relate and provide a sense of understanding to these students’ struggles.

As someone who is an Indian immigrant that grew up in Canada, I personally would feel more prompted to seek counselling if I knew there were Asian professionals that had a similar background to mine.

I would feel more encouraged to discuss details of my life such as my culture and heritage, which is something that my counsellor could likely relate to without misunderstanding.

Additionally, as it can be difficult for international students to adjust to Canadian culture, they may wish to seek counselling. As it stands, there are not many services specified for international students concerning mental health and wellness.

If the SWC were to hire more counsellors aimed at improving the mental health of these international students, more students may be inclined to use their services to improve their mental health and overall experience at McMaster.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 34 per cent of Ontario high school students have indicated psychological distress on a moderate to serious level and these levels are only bound to increase during university.

Though McMaster has attempted to provide services aimed at improving mental health and wellness, it is time the university took active change.

It is vital that McMaster acts to not only increase the number of counsellors, but also to increase the diversity of counsellors available for the numerous groups of students who call McMaster home.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Tanvi Pathak

In March, McMaster Students Union is slated to release its second annual municipal budget submission to Hamilton city council.

According to Shemar Hackett, the MSU associate vice president (Municipal Affairs), the budget submission will prioritize transit, student housing, student employment, bylaws and enforcement and lighting.

After consulting students and reviewing data from The Your City survey, the MSU decided these key areas were ones that stood out as issues that needed immediate attention.

The committee’s decision to focus on these areas is also linked to the rising demand for off-campus housing.

According to Andrew Parashis, a property manager at Spotted Properties, the largest property management in the McMaster community, demand for student housing has soared in recent years.

Parashis notes that with the increase of local and international students attending McMaster, the waiting list for students seeking accommodations through Spotted Properties has tripled in the last year alone.

The municipal budget submission will also focus on accessible employment opportunities.

The union’s education department and municipal affairs committee’s recommendations aim to offer proactive solutions for each issue and improve Hamilton’s attractiveness to students and recent McMaster grads.

One of the committee’s recommendations is for the city of Hamilton to implement a lighting audit across Ward 1.

Hackett emphasized that there are neighborhoods off-campus substantially lacking in visibility. As a result, many students do not feel comfortable walking home late at night after classes.

A lighting audit would reduce these issues in these neighborhoods and identify priority locations for new street lights.

The committee reached out to the Ward 1 councilor Maureen Wilson, who was receptive to the committee’s recommendation and is confident that the proposal will be valuable to McMaster and Ward 1.

Another recommendation calls for city council to move forward with the landlord licensing project discussed in December.

Hackett and Stephanie Bertolo, MSU vice president (Education), articulated their stance on landlord licensing to Ward 8 city councilor Terry Whitehead, who sits on the Rental Housing sub-committee.

Since then, the motion to implement a pilot project was brought to council and endorsed by many councilors.

Prior to the development of the budget submission, the committee consulted city officials.

The committee plans to continue to meet with the city staff and councillors to push for their recommendations and make them a priority for the council.

Thus far, they have met with Terry Cooke, CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation, to discuss student engagement and retention and the ways in which organizations can support one another in the future.

The municipal affairs committee has also been successful in implementing its Landlord Rating system, a platform developed by the MSU education department.

The landlord licensing project, which the committee has also been lobbying for, got the Hamilton city council rental housing sub committee’s stamp of approval and will be put forth into discussion during the next city council meeting.

“The council has been extremely receptive to all our points about the agreements we put forth,” said Hackett, adding that the MSU budget submission has proven to be a valuable resource for lobbying municipal stakeholders.

Over the next few weeks, the municipal affairs committee will meet with city councilors and community stakeholders to advocate for their budget submission proposals.

 

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Photos by Kyle West, Graphics by Yvonne Lu

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, there was a graphic that indicated that Josh Marando answered that he "strongly agreed" with the police presence on campus. However, in our survey, Marando answered that he "strongly disagreed" with the police presence on campus. We apologize for this misconstruction and have changed the graphic since. 

The Silhouette recently surveyed the four McMaster Students’ Union 2019 presidential candidates on their opinions on where the MSU and the university are doing well and where they can improve.

The survey consisted of seven statements. Candidates were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each statement on a scale from “strongly agree” to “disagree.”

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="197" gal_title="2019 Presidentials Survey Results 1"]

The first question asked candidates about their opinions on the statement that “The MSU is committed to equality and inclusiveness.”

The candidates all agreed on the MSU’s commitment to equality and inclusiveness. Jeffrey Campana and Madison Wesley indicated they “strongly agreed” with the statements, whereas Justin Lee and Josh Marando said they “agreed.”  

The second question asked candidates whether or not “Increased police presence will promote increased safety of students on and around campus.”

There were a range of opinions on the relationship between McMaster students and the police.

Lee was the only candidate to agree that police presence will promote safety. Campana was neutral, while Wesley disagreed. Marando was the only candidate to strongly disagree.

In September, a string of break-ins in Westdale prompted a greater police presence in the area. During the same month, a video depicting a woman being run over a McMaster police horse was widely shared on social media.

The candidates were mostly in agreement with the statement that the MSU should oppose the provincial government’s free speech mandate requiring Ontario universities to implement a free-speech policy.

Wesley was the only candidate not to agree with the statement, choosing a “neutral” response instead. Campana indicated he agreed, while both Lee and Marando chose “strongly agree.”

In October, the Student Representative Assembly unanimously passed a motion opposing the government mandate.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="201" gal_title="2019 Presidentials Survey Results 2"]

The next question asked candidates whether or not the MSU should lobby against the government’s changes to tuition, student fees and the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

The survey showed that all the candidates were in stark opposition to the provincial government’s changes to tuition, student fees and OSAP announced on Jan. 17.

Lee, Marando and Wesley all strongly agreed with the statement, while Campana selected the “agree” response.

Regarding McMaster’s accessibility, Wesley and Campana indicated there was room for improvement, as they strongly disagreed and disagreed with the statement that the school is “fairly accessible” for students with various disabilities.

Lee and Marando were neutral on the issue.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="202" gal_title="2019 Presidentials Survey Results 3"]

The results also show that none of the candidates are satisfied with McMaster’s current efforts to prevent and address sexual violence. When asked if McMaster does a “sufficient job” in this area, Campana and Wesley strongly disagreed, while Lee and Marando disagreed with the statement.

McMaster’s sexual violence policy is up for review this year.

Overall, it appears that while there is a high degree of agreement amongst candidates on topics such as the Ontario government’s recently announced tuition and OSAP changes, candidates differ in their views on issues like the relationship between students and the Hamilton police and McMaster’s response to sexual violence.

The voting period for this year’s MSU presidential election is taking place from Jan. 22 to 5 p.m on Jan. 24. To vote, students can fill out the ballot sent to their McMaster email or login and vote at www.msumcmaster.ca/vote.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

While most students use the holiday break to catch up with family or to get reacquainted with the feeling of sleeping in, the McMaster men’s volleyball team has been playing against top international talent to stay sharp during their time off.

First, they headed to Long Beach, California to play the top National Collegiate Athletic Association volleyball team, Long Beach State, and No. 12 University of California Santa Barbara. This marks the third year that the two teams have spent the holidays playing each other, and for head coach Dave Preston, there is no better way to prepare for the second half of the season. For him, getting experience playing against one of the continent’s best teams with inconsequential competitive cost is extremely beneficial for his team.

“These competitive opportunities are awesome, with almost no competitive cost. Once you establish these relationships it's a win-win for us,” said Preston. “We get to play at a really high level, and we don't have to worry about showing our systems and our game plans to a team that we may have to play later on in the season.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/Br-1SJ-hLXg/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

 

 

Prior to the trip, the Marauders were undefeated when in international competition, having defeated both Long Beach State and the Ohio State Buckeyes. This time around, the Marauders returned to Canadian soil without a win, yet they still managed to gain so much more.

“We didn't go out there for results, because if we're looking for easy wins, we would have scheduled differently,” said Preston. “We did go there to elevate our level of play and we did just that.”

With nine different performance standards that the team measures, ranging from their side out percentage, the number of digs and kills they get, the Marauders saw an increase in all nine performance indicators.

So although the average person who sees the standings and does not see any wins may not understand the benefit of the matches, from the team’s perspective it was a success, especially with just two middles.

The lack of players due to injury is something the Marauders have been struggling with during the first half of their season. Although they boast a 6-2 regular season record, the injuries of Craig Ireland and Matt Passalent have made the first half quite a challenge. But fifth-year Connor Santoni has risen to the occasion, playing both libero and left side.  

“We've also had to rely a lot on both middles, third-year Josh Ecklund and freshman Tyler Pavelic, who played almost every point in our Long Beach [games],” said Preston. “Now that we're able to reintroduce are returning guys from injury, it's been a little bit easier.”

 

 

The return of Ireland and Passalent had an impact in the Marauders second international tournament this break against top Polish team Jastrzebski Wegiel. Coming out strong with a 3-1 win in their first match the Marauders got back to feeling like themselves. The maroon and grey followed that up with another win, trading sets with JSW until ultimately pulling out the win in five sets.

For Preston, win or lose these international matches give the team lessons that go beyond the court.

“One thing these young men experience is the effect traveling has on your body,” said Preston. “We're going to have to travel if we're fortunate in the second half of the season to get into the playoffs.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsTJ1fchXea/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

 

With the Ontario University Athletics Championship being hosted by the top team in the East division, and the U Sports National Championship heading to Laval University, understanding the effect traveling has and how to manage hydration and nutrition for their bodies during that travel is crucial.

“We benefited so much from playing against different styles of volleyball,” Preston said. “In the U.S., it is a really serve-and-block kind of system and Long Beach is probably one of the fastest offences we've ever seen. While JSW is extremely different, as they are very heavy on the execution. So they're two different extremes, but having to adjust and know how to play different styles is a great experience for us.”

Through it all, the Marauders still have their main focus on conference matches. With two of the top OUA teams in the West coming into their house Jan. 12 and 13.

“We have to be prepared for that, no ifs, ands or buts,” said Preston. “Every single thing we played over the holidays was in preparation for the Western [University] and Windsor [University] series.”

Never losing focus on their end goal, a national championship, the Marauders are now more prepared and ready to go for the games that matter most.

 

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By: Hafsa Sahki

When different areas of the arts come together to create a fun eventful show, what emerges is a diverse and exciting event. Style At Mac’s annual fashion show is back after a year-long absence.

This year’s team has focused on showcasing fashion from different countries, searching for local artists and reaching out to McMaster arts clubs.

Style At Mac was absent during the 2016-2017 academic year. As SAM Vice President of Events Naomi Doe explained, the previous executives graduated, so the team had to focus on hiring a new cohort for this year.

“The two best parts about coming back is that you get the platform that your priors have built, so you have that integration into that Mac community… the people who love your club and already know about your club, and then you get that fresh new start,” said Doe.

“With new executives [and] new photographers. It’s exciting building a club from the bottom [up]… we have a very adaptable structure and everyone has adaptable roles… it’s a very malleable club with a great history.”

This year’s theme, “statera”, was designed to give designers a flexible premise. Fashion artists are either trying conveying harmony with their outfits, or deliberately disrupting that balance with a mixture of patterns, colours and textures that work against each other.

“It doesn’t restrict your designers at all… [in this way], we can invite a wide variety of people with different backgrounds to that show,” explained Doe.

Selecting designers for the show can be very spontaneous. Doe explained that SAM reached out to Batik Batouk, a Ghanaian designer, after they were featured in the Silhouette.

SAM tries to integrate students into the fashion industry. To do this, the club reaches out to external designers, such as this year’s Thrifty Designer.

Various clubs within the McMaster community are also featured in the show like Threadwork, Mac Bangladesh and Mac Dance.

“We really wanted to have a club from Mac to represent themselves. Mac has a really great diverse community… [and] if we’re not showcasing the diversity in [what] Mac students wear, then we wouldn’t be doing our due justice,” said Doe.

“I love mixing and matching different areas of the arts together… when you pu them together I think it makes something really nice… it also adds to a student’s appeal to the show. Many students are interested in fashion, some are not committed to it fully, they just think about it a little bit, or they would like to… but when you have all these different kinds of performances, someone’s going to find an interest in your show in some way. You might know someone in Mac Dance, you might know someone in Mac Bangladesh… [or] you want to see some live music that day… that’s part of the reason that we wanted to incorporate all these arts into the show.”

This year’s show is partnered with Smiling Over Sickness, a student-run organization at McMaster that aims to raise funds for children living with an illness. All proceeds from the show go to the charity.

The show has ten segments, eight which showcase the designs, the other two broken up by a performance by Mac Dance and a cultural collection by Mac Bangladesh. SAM’s lookbook, popular collections showcased on their social media pages earlier this year, will start off the show, showcasing garments for all four seasons.

“Because we’re starting up [again this year], we’re very open to people coming to us. We love when people reach out to us and say ‘I have this talent, can you showcase it?’ If it fits, absolutely, yes, we’d love to feature you… we’re very happy to collaborate with them.”

Doe is excited to push the idea of involving different areas of the arts into the show, and is hoping to showcase a spoken word performance during the fashion segments in future.

The fashion show is on March 24 at the Hamilton Convention Centre. Tickets are $25 and $35 for a VIP Experience. Follow the club’s Facebook page @StyleAtMAC for more information.

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The latest research from organizations such as Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Council of Ontario Universities and the Canadian Federation of Students paint a grim picture for international student attending a postsecondary institution in Ontario. Despite the growing international student population, their tuition has risen at a remarkable rate — meant to make up for reductions in government grants.

At McMaster, this gap is just as obvious. A domestic, full-time student enrolling in a program such as life sciences will pay $7228.79 in tuition fees whereas an international student in the same program will pay $25,923.88. International students also do not have access to needs-based scholarships McMaster offers, though they do have access to an international student bursary.

Likewise, due to stipulations in their student visas, international students are limited to working 20 hours a week off-campus during the school year and can only take on internships and co-op placements if they are explicitly a part of their degree.

It is unfair to expect international students to foot the bill of our education when McMaster is a public university. These funds should be coming from the provincial government. Targeting a group that is expected to pay such a high fee and actively recruiting them over domestic students is unethical to all parties involved as it drains resources from one group while taking opportunity from another. High tuition costs also ensure we limit international students to only those of means, which can alienate students who may want to attend McMaster in order to flee hardships or prejudice in their home country.

In addition, it is clear that this money is not being re-invested into supporting international students who attend our universities. McMaster’s International Student Services office mainly focuses on helping students with immigration issues and offers some programming like a mentorship program and English classes. The “Student Life” section of their website mainly focuses on getting international students to explore Hamilton and informs them of popular Hamilton events such as Supercrawl. There is little evidence of support services on their website.

“Considering how many extra fees international students pay, it would only be fair to us that other support services were put in place to ensure that international students’ mental and physical health is being cared for,” said Paula Daidone, a McMaster alumna. Daidone was an international student of McMaster’s Communications Studies program, and is currently enrolled in the McMaster Communication Studies Masters’ program.

Under “Campus Support Services,” the three McMaster Student Union-run services listed are MSU Spark, the Queer Student Community Centre and Diversity Services. Spark focuses on first-year transition, the QSCC offers peer support and programming for LGBTQ students and Diversity Services focuses on creating an inclusive environment for students of colour and other marginalized groups.

While these three services are undeniably relevant to international students, why is Diversity Services, a service geared more towards advocacy and education rather than support, listed when services such as Peer Support Line, the Women and Gender Equity Network, Maccess and the Student Health Education Centre all have on-campus spaces equipped with peer-support volunteers? The page reads as though someone looked through the MSU services tab 10 years ago and picked the first three that sounded right.

Similarly, only two MSU clubs are listed: McMaster International and Exchange Club and McMaster Outdoors Club. This is particularly odd given how many cultural associations exist at McMaster that attract many international students who wish to connect with those from their home country.

While this is likely because the ISS wants international students to integrate into the community rather than only befriending other international students, it exemplifies how little they understand the immigration process and how being surrounded by people with the same lived experiences as you can aid in the immigration process.

The website’s focus is clear: recruitment, recruitment, recruitment. International students are expected to crawl through the pages and pages of services and clubs the student union has to offer despite many groups explicitly supporting them. I’d willingly wager that they have not updated most aspects of the Support section of their webpage since it was created.

If a student were to exclusively use the ISS’s website to integrate themselves into the McMaster and Hamilton community, they would struggle.

If McMaster as an institution is going to focus on international student recruitment, the very least they could do is ensure that the immigration process is as smooth as possible outside of the legal aspects. Immigrating to a new country alone is a difficult endeavor, as is adjusting to university. If proper support services outside of simply helping them get into the country and speaking English are implemented, McMaster will continue to be a disservice to the international students who pay for bills.

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