By: Ronald Leung


We’re a pretty diverse bunch here at McMaster, but perhaps one of the common threads that hold us together is our love for caffeine. If you’re anything like me, it becomes a habit that will slowly burn through your pocket. Never fear! The following is an analysis of where exactly you can find the cheapest coffee, and some other sustenance, on campus.

Pros Cons
Tim Hortons (MUSC) -        Reasonable prices ranging from $1.24-$1.90-        A wide range of sizes, from x-small to x- large

-        Central location in MUSC

-        Accepts student cards

-        Long lines at peak times-        No substantial food items are sold (only donuts and Timbits)
The Union Market (MUSC) -        $1.30 and $1.45 for medium and large coffees-        Large assortment of snacks and other food

-        Less expensive salads ($4.99) compared to La Piazza or Centro

-        Central location in MUSC

-        Doesn’t accept student card/meal plan
House of Games (MUSC, Basement level) -        Best curry (vegetarian option available!) on campus-        Only place to sell bubble tea on campus

-        Huge variety of bubble tea flavours

-        Sells other food such as Jamaican patties and samosas, as well as specialty beverages and snacks

-        Large collection of video and arcade games to enjoy

-        Doesn’t accept student card/meal plan
Caffeine: The Elements (BSB) -        Great cupcakes-        Sells large assortment of drinks, snacks, and baked goods

-        Cozy sitting area

-        Accepts student cards

-        Location is not very convenient (unless you frequent BSB a lot)
Williams (MUSC, HSC first and second floor) -        Large selection of hot drinks in addition to coffee: speciality lattes, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, etc.-        Convenient location to grab a bite during study sessions (two locations in the HSC alone, one right beside Health Sciences Library)

-        Filling meals consisting of wraps, salads, or fresh-made paninis

-        Many baked goods and snacks

-        Good assortment of cold drinks, such as Ice Caps or Fruity Chillers

-        Accepts student cards

-        Prices (especially for the speciality drinks) can be much higher than other places-        Long lines at peak times

Northern students, student with disabilities, and finance on the agenda

From Nov. 2-4 the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) held their biannual General Assembly in Waterloo, Ont. McMaster sent seven delegates, including MSU VP Education Huzaifa Saeed and MSU President Siobhan Stewart.

OUSA, McMaster’s educational lobbying body,of which the McMaster Student Union is a paying member, has been in the spotlight of late for endorsing a province-wide tuition freeze. They argue that continued tuition increases will not fix province-wide funding issues; rather, it will exacerbate the problem, causing students to use higher amounts of provincial loans and grants.

Beyond the direct financial implications, OUSA has argued that continued tuition increases will make PSE less accessible to low and middle-income groups and will threaten youth employability.

The General Assembly aimed to develop OUSA’s priorities for the next year. The focus areas at the Waterloo conference were Northern and Rural Students, Students with Disabilities,and Student Financial Aid.

All three focus areas were concerned with how to strengthen infrastructure and remove financial barriers for students by lobbying the provincial government. Affordability and financial assistance for students were recurring themes throughout the conference papers.

The plenary policy paper on Rural and Northern Students makes recommendations on how the provincial government can improve accessibility and participation of rural and northern students in post-secondary education (PSE).

The paper specifically defines a student as a Northern or Rural Student if they live in Thunder Bay, Cochrane, Algoma, Sudbury, Timiskaming, Nipissing, Manitoulin or Parry Sound.

The report discusses how these young people struggle to attend post-secondary institutions. If these students are able to access PSE, they often go on to incur sizeable travel and commuting costs.

Currently, the provincial government provides $500 per term to students commuting to a campus 80 kilometers or more from their home. For students who are living away from home, they offer $300 per term, provided that the student’s permanent home address is 80 kilometers or more from a campus.

Northern students also typically borrow at higher rates, using on average $7,496 in government loans, compared to the provincial average of $6,601.

Students with disabilities also represent another group that disproportionately shoulders the burden of high costs associated with PSE.

The Students with Disabilities policy paper emphasized how financial assistance is difficult for students with disabilities to access. It specifically noted how students with disabilities are often unable to meet OSAP requirements and funding is occasionally off-limits for students who are only part-time students or who have temporary disabilities.

The Financial Assistance policy paper re-affirms OUSA’s position on tuition increases in Ontario. More specifically, it advocates for wide-sweeping changes to OSAP including removing ineligibilities and updating the loan structure.

OSAP is currently capped at $12,240 (for a two-term academic year). OUSA has argued that this limit does not adequately help students, and forces students to take out private loans, seek additional employment or, in the worst-case, drop out of school. The organization has recommended that if tuition increases it should be by no more than the inflation rate (calculated by the Ontario Consumer Price Index).

Shivani Persad, one of the McMaster delegates and the McMaster Advocacy Street Team Coordinator, hopes to plan events back on campus that promote current policies being advocated by OUSA. Persad explained that the team will be promoting part of the larger OUSA-run mental health campaign, which will encompass some discussion on students with disabilities.

OUSA, and other student organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Students, continue to advocate for reductions or freezes to tuition. In the next semester, OUSA will discuss issues regarding Public-Private Partnerships and Online Learning.


Miranda Batterink

The Silhouette


Skip the Tim’s line and brew coffee at home. Make a beeline for the rotting discount produce cart at your local grocery store. Split a pitcher, pass on personal pints.

The student life and the endless struggle to save money fit together as naturally as Halloween and candy corn. Most of us are pretty aware of the little daily differences that can go a long way to keeping some extra cash in our pockets. But when it comes to saving substantial money on the utilities bill, many of us, myself included, don’t have a clue.

The semester goes on in all its glory, but every month the hydro bill arrives, and every month a lot of my money and a little bit of my soul gets paid out to Horizons. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A major recent government of Ontario initiative has been the implementation of the Smart Meter, which is a time-of-use electricity measuring system.

That means that electricity prices vary, depending on when you are using it. Roughly translated, electricity use on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. will cost about 1.5 times more than during evening hours and weekends. So whenever possible, do laundry, cooking and laptop charging during these off-peak times, because every little bit adds up.

The number-one energy consumer in residential homes is central heating. In my home growing up, adjusting the thermostat was roughly the equivalent to tasering the family dog…you just didn’t do it. If you were cold, you put on a sweater. If you were still cold, you put on another sweater. If you were still cold, you were instructed to run up and down the stairs ten times.

Only then, between sweat-drenched gasps for air, were you permitted to negotiate the possibility of turning up the thermostat a few notches. True, life was hard. But it taught me some valuable lessons about energy costs that have saved me countless dollars throughout my undergraduate career. Lucky for you, I am willing to pass them on.

Computers still use energy when they are locked, sleeping, hibernating or anything but off, so if you’re leaving the room for any substantial amount of time, shut the thing down.

Opening the oven door to see how your food is coming along releases all the hot air your poor oven has worked so hard to generate. So if you must see how your cookies are mid-bake, use the oven light. Better yet, avoid this step altogether and just eat cookie dough.

Skip laundry! Hot water is the second biggest factor in household energy output. More importantly, hygiene is overrated. If a clothing article is soft viagra beginning to look particularly dirty you can always hand clean it on the new washboard abs all those flights of stairs will have helped you develop.

Turn off the TV, shut off the lights, and hunker down with a book and a tea-light for some good, 20th-century evening entertainment. November should be a month of clear night skies and predictable lunar phases, so if the flickering light of a candle isn’t quite cutting it you can always strategically place yourself where there’s a little extra moonlight.

Why take a shower when you could not take a shower? If you must, take a cold one. It may seem like seven minutes of hell on earth, but when you finish, the air outside of your bathroom will be a balmy 21-degree paradise in comparison.

With a little energy saving knowledge and some simple alterations to your hydro-consuming lifestyle, you’ll be able to slash your utilities bills in no time.

Then you can sit back in the light of the moon as it streams through your bedroom window and ponder the endless possibilities of what you can do with all this unexpected extra monthly cash.

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