Photos by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor 

University is a time of upheaval and change, a time where many will seek out and foster friendships. Waypoint Games & Café (1044 King St. W.) offers a warm and inviting space to spend hours chatting with your friends over games and snacks. Store owner Vince D’Agostino is an MBA graduate from McMaster. He recalled how difficult it can be to make friends in university.

“[Students are] looking for a place where you can get to know people, it's a new world for you, especially if you're an undergrad. And I think a lot of people are kind of jaded with going out to the bar, or the club … they want something a little bit more involved, a little bit more social . . . We kind of fit that niche of giving people a way to get social, get out, get engaged [and to] get to know their friends or community,” said D’Agostino.

". . . We kind of fit that niche of giving people a way to get social, get out, get engaged [and to] get to know their friends or community,”

It can be difficult to get out and socialize if money is tight. Many social activities, like going out for dinner or seeing a movie, can be pricey. Waypoint has a flat cost of $5, which lets you play as many games as you like for as long as you want. It’s an easy and affordable way to get to know your community, now conveniently located in Westdale Village.

The decision to open up in Westdale was definitely beneficial, as Waypoint is packed with students most nights of the week. The café is an extremely popular hangout spot for students, and it’s easy to see why. Waypoint has all of the appeal of a coffee shop, while also having Mouse Trap, Operation, and soon, alcohol. They have a wide range of coffee, pop, juice and even Red Bull. The hot chocolate in particular is delicious. Coming soon, they will offer snacks, beer and cider.

A board game café like Waypoint is a great option when you’re first getting to know people; it can make it easier to maintain a conversation with them by creating a shared experience to bond over — nothing brings people together quite like the shared agony of knocking over your Jenga tower. On the other hand, nothing tests how much your close friends love you quite like a game of Monopoly.

Westdale has a number of restaurants and coffee shops and even a movie theatre, but there isn’t anything quite like Waypoint. Waypoint was previously located in Dundas, but D’Agostino noticed that most of their clientele were students from McMaster that were looking for somewhere new to socialize. 

“[W]e were on a bit of a short term lease in Dundas. And we figured, when that lease came up, we should look for something that's more accessible to the Mac crowd. And it really worked out. We got a spot, kind of in the heart of Westdale . . . the majority of our business comes from the McMaster community,” said D’Agostino. 

So why the name Waypoint? In Google Maps, if you want to remember a location, you drop a pin on that location. That pin is called a waypoint.

“[W]e wanted to kind of identify ourselves as a place to remember. It's a place that you want to come back to, a place you want to make sure that you mark as somewhere that has meaning to you. Long term down the road if there's more of our stores, that kind of plays into [the] idea that we're all over the map,” said D’Agostino.

“[W]e wanted to kind of identify ourselves as a place to remember. It's a place that you want to come back to, a place you want to make sure that you mark as somewhere that has meaning to you. Long term down the road if there's more of our stores, that kind of plays into [the] idea that we're all over the map,”

Board game cafes are a great way to foster new friendships. Bring your friends, your coworkers, your family or even your date. With over 400 games stacked on the walls, Waypoint has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for something intense, or just want to play Scrabble. Pull up a chair, get a hot chocolate and have a good time.

 

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Photos by Catherine Goce

This time last year, I was contemplating what my future in the sports industry would look like. I had just wrapped up my first year as the Silhouette’s sports reporter and though I gained a ton of valuable skills and experiences, I was really unsure if I wanted to continue as a sports writer.

Though despite my doubts, I saw the doors that opened for me through this job and I decided to give it another shot in my final year.

I took on this role because I knew that if I wanted to find a job in the sports industry, everything that I did outside the classroom would matter the most. Being a multimedia and communications student at McMaster has taught me a lot of the skills I need, but the practical aspects of the sports industry one can get at programs at Ryerson University or Brock University are not offered here.

So along with writing for The Silhouette I took on four major sports-related extracurriculars. From running women’s football on campus, to helping the men’s basketball team figure out their social media presence, I tried to get as much experience as I could.

This, along with my previous internship experience, allowed me to figure out what exactly I had a passion for. I knew that I could write, I had two articles every week for the last two years to prove it, but I also knew that it was not something I was passionate enough about.

Running women’s football gave me a chance to work out my organizational and operational skills. A major part of the sports industry is game operations. Although it is a bit different to what I am used to as a comms and media student, I have always had an interest in planning and carrying out projects.

This role had me overseeing over 150 students, both student-coaches and players, and organizing tournaments; it was no easy task. In my frustration I quickly came to realize although I once had an interest in sports operation, it was not something I envisioned myself doing long-term.

It was not until I was working with the McMaster men’s basketball team creating creative content that I discovered what I was truly passionate about. It combined the media skills I learned in class, my personal interests and my sports media knowledge.

Giving a team who struggled on the court an online presence that did not just reflect their losses was a fun challenge. We immediately saw the positive feedback in an increase in followers and activity.

Now that I figured out my passion, it all began to seem so simple. Apply to social media positions for different sport teams in organizations? I can do that no problem. Although it was not enough.

Part of looking for a job, especially in the sports industry, is through networking. This is something I have always struggled with, so it was something I challenged myself to do this year. I first met with Camille Wallace, digital media specialist for Team Canada, who reminded me how my job as sports reporter already helps me to build these networks.

As I had started the year before, I continued to interview alumni who work in the sports industry and found a mentor in Vanessa Matyas, Marketing and Media Manager at NFL Canada.

NFL Canada’s Marketing & Media Manager Vanessa Matyas on her journey from McMaster to her dream job, and how hard work and perseverance led her there. https://t.co/TiBu0xd8kq pic.twitter.com/Ln8gt6wVRd

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) March 11, 2019

 

Through her advice and help, I have been able to fix up the resume I used to see no flaws in, and even land myself my first dream job interview. Unfortunately for me, due to still being in school, I was unable to move forward in the interview process.

But with positive interview feedback under my belt, I am now ready to take on the job search by storm. I know it will not be easy, but I have been, and I am ready to work hard and use what I learned while at Mac in and out the classroom.

When I look back at the beginning of my journey four years ago, I never would have thought that I would be here today. Although I do not have it all completely figured out, leaving Mac with a sense of what my purpose is something I am grateful for.

As senior year comes to an end, I am extremely grateful that despite my doubts, I gave writing with the Sil another chance. Even though there were many times I felt like I was in over my head, I could not have imagined my senior year any other way.

 

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Photos from Sam Mills.

By: Andrew Mrozowski

I come from a small town outside of the greater Toronto area where I couldn’t be open about who I truly am.  There were no spaces that were created by people like me, no rainbow flags, no queer party nights – nothing. When I decided to move to Hamilton for school, I knew that with coming to a large city, I would be exposed to a different aspect of the LGBTQ2S+ community and be amongst people with whom I could be my true self.

Fast forward to two years later, I have found spaces in Hamilton where I could be myself and thrive in my own self-discovery, social life and the committed relationship I’m in.  I have realized that although Hamilton might not have a designated “gay village”, there are spots that have made me feel welcomed.

At first glance, these spaces may appear “ordinary”, but through my interactions and experiences I’ve found that these spaces greet you with a sense of community, set the scene for fond memories and ultimately aid personal growth. I want to share these spaces with people who might feel like they are out of their element in this city. I know it has helped me a lot during this past year and hopefully it will help you find what you are looking for.

 

I’d Like to Buy A Vowel - HAMBRGR (49 King William Street and 207 Ottawa Street North):

A popular locally-sourced restaurant in Hamilton, HAMBRGR boasts a wide-selection of burgers and craft beers in an industrialized atmosphere. This was not my first time at HAMBRGR, and although my date and I had to wait thirty minutes to be seated, we knew the food was well worth it. Our waiter was really friendly, giving us his enthusiastic recommendations on the extensive menu. Through his charismatic attitude, he made us feel very welcome and even tried his best to charm us.

This experience is one of my first and favourite memories with my boyfriend. I felt like the space allowed me to be my true self without having to worry about how others would perceive me and my sexuality. There was no shade thrown my way that night. If I’m not comfortable in my own skin, then I can’t enjoy my time because my mind is so preoccupied worrying about everything and everyone around me. I can confidently say that I enjoyed my night at HAMBRGR because I was able to leave all the worry behind. In this queer-friendly space, I was able to focus on what was most important to me; starting a new relationship.

 

Building Something New - Crumbled (339 Barton Street East):

Through writing for the Silhouette, I’ve been able to meet a lot of interesting people in Hamilton and I’ve made quite a few friends. I recently befriended Dom Pugliese, who is the the owner of Crumbled. At Crumbled, Pugliese creates deconstructed cake in a cup with unconventional flavours such as lemon meringue, cookie dough and snickers. I have found myself going to Crumbled at least once every two weeks and spending at least an hour talking to Dom and indulging on his decadent cake.

When I first approached Crumbled, I had no idea that it would be queer-friendly. When I went inside and starting talking to Pugliese, he filled the space with inclusivity. Pugliese and I have lost track of time talking about everything from his business, to our personal lives and swapping little anecdotes. At Crumbled and with Pugliese, I was able to destress by getting lost in our conversations and forgetting the responsibilities that constantly dominate my life for a little while.

Pugliese and other owners in the heart of Barton Village are working towards making Hamilton a more queer-friendly city and inclusive for all. Through Crumbled, Pugliese is making an effort to add to the city’s overall queerness, and he has realized that you do not need to open up a designated space to still be welcoming to all. I always look forward to my visits to the Barton Village because I know that I have a good friend there waiting to chat over a unique bowl of cake.

 

My Daily Grind - Emerald Coffee Co. (340 Barton Street East) & Redchurch Cafe and Gallery (68 King Street East):

As a student and part-time barista, I will be the first to say that I am addicted to caffeine. I am constantly on the hunt for great lattes in environments that are both aesthetically pleasing and welcoming. During this last year, I have found myself constantly going to two cafes that fit my criteria.

Redchurch Cafe not only serves coffee but also baked goods, food and alcohol. I was first introduced to this space on the night of Halloween, when the space was transformed to host live music and cocktails. I attended the party with my boyfriend and felt that I didn’t need to hide the fact that we were dating because everyone, from the staff to other attendees, had such a care-free and welcoming attitude. I was able enjoy the party without stressing about our safety. These warm and inviting feelings carried over to when I would go to the cafe during the day to study.

Typically flying a pride flag outside, I would probably say that Emerald Coffee Co. is the only definitive queer coffee shop in the city, most likely thanks to the owner, Phil Green. Much like the other business owners on Barton Street East, Green is dedicated to ensuring that the queer community has a place to feel welcomed and supported. He feels that Barton Village will most likely be Hamilton’s next gay village. Emerald Coffee Co. is the perfect place to get some work done in a welcoming environment with great all-natural lattes, drip coffee, and cold-brew on tap. I love coming here because I really enjoy the quality you can get and I’m all for supporting queer business owners.

 

“We’re Here, We’re Queer, You’re Welcome” – Adam and Steve:

This party planning duo is ensuring that Hamilton’s queer community always has a safe and fun space to party the night away. Adam George and Steve Hilliard have thrown massive queer parties to reunite a community that has been disconnected in recent years. They’ve also hosted former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants and local drag queens. Adam and Steve’s parties are one of the closest thing the queer community can get to a designated queer space in Hamilton. Since meeting the duo, they have shown me that Hamilton’s gay culture does exist. I used to think that the only way I could express myself and find acceptable is by going to Toronto’s gay village, but thanks to people like Adam and Steve, queer-culture is being normalized again in Hamilton. Thank you Adam and Steve for giving me a space where I can be truly myself, unapologetically.

 

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Photos C/O Kyle West

The McMaster Students Union recognizes over 350 clubs. According to the MSU Clubs page, the purpose of these clubs is to “provide an insightful and meaningful contribution to the McMaster and Hamilton community.”

Being a MSU recognized club affords certain privileges including being eligible for funding from the MSU. This funding comes directly from the MSU organizational fee, a $130.26 fee that all full-time undergraduate students pay. Within this fee, $8.02 are collected per student to support MSU clubs.

As students are paying for the operations of these clubs, the MSU has a responsibility to ensure that these clubs are not deliberately sharing and promoting misinformation that can be harmful to students.

McMaster Lifeline is the pro-life group on campus. Their mission statement is “to advocate with loving care the legal rights and social support of pregnant women and their unborn children.”

While the presence of a pro-life group on campus is already cause for controversy, the issue at hand is not solely the groups’ existence but that they use student space and resources to share information that is factually incorrect.

The group can often be found at a table in the McMaster University Student Centre, a privilege of being a MSU club, spreading scientifically false information on abortions and reproductive health. In addition to misinformation, the group is known for distributing graphic and potentially triggering images.

Groups like McMaster Lifeline should not be given a platform by the MSU to disseminate false information about individuals’ health.

Namely, the group fails to state that abortions are safe, medical procedures that are fully legal in Canada. Instead, they spread the false rhetoric that “abortions are never medically necessary”, which is simply a lie.  

In fact, any student-run group on campus does not really have the credentials to provide healthcare information or advice to students. Abortion is a serious topic that should be discussed with a healthcare professional who can provide factual, non-judgemental information, not with students who some of which have “no experience engaging with people on the topic.”

The MSU should be cautious in ratifying clubs that provide this type of information, as the results can be extremely harmful to students.

With over 350 clubs, it can be difficult for the MSU to ensure that operations of each of their clubs are aligned with the core goal of supporting students. However, that is not an excuse for allowing this behaviour to occur.

Multiple students have on many occasions voiced their concerns against these clubs’ actions. The MSU failing to take action blatantly goes against their responsibility towards their student constituents.

The MSU Clubs Operating Policy states that the MSU “will not attempt to censor, control or interfere with any existing MSU club on the basis of its philosophy, beliefs, interests or opinions expressed until these lead to activities which are illegal or which infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others”.

Due to this policy, on March 22, pro-choice students who were protesting McMaster Lifeline’s table in MUSC were removed and not allowed to distribute pro-choice pamphlets. A claimed “victory for free speech on campus” by the MSU only served to help promote the misinformation on campus.

While the actions of McMaster Lifeline may not be illegal, they certainly are harmful to students and may actually be violating the Clubs Judicial Policy, stated under the MSU Clubs Operating Policy.

Specifically, their actions may be considered to “unnecessarily cause a significant nuisance for an individual or group” (5.1.1.3), have “conduct unbecoming of an MSU club” (5.1.2.7) and most importantly, actions that “unnecessarily jeopardize the safety or security of any person or property” (5.1.3.3).

If the MSU truly wishes to provide a meaningful contribution to the McMaster and Hamilton community, it can begin with properly investigating clubs that may be found guilty of any offences described by the Clubs Judicial Policy. Only then can they truly ensure that their clubs support and protect McMaster students.

If students do wish to learn about their options with respect to their reproductive health, the Student Wellness Centre offers birth control counselling. If a student wishes to speak in a more informal setting, the MSU Student Health Education Centre offers relevant literature, referrals and peer support.

 

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Photos C/O Ryan Tse

Attendance at the annual McMaster Students Union General Assembly hit a new low this year, with a total of eight members showing up.

Eight students represent 0.0293 per cent of the MSU’s student membership. The number of students needed to reach quorum this year was 724.

We're here at the annual MSU General Assembly! The assembly officially started at 4pm, but there are <10 attendees (including the full MSU board of directors) pic.twitter.com/Kf9YvrJQLL

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) March 20, 2019

MSU president Ikram Farah delivered an address at the start of the assembly, speaking about the recent Ontario government cuts to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and new Student Choice Initiative guidelines.

Following Farah’s remarks, a motion to adjourn the meeting passed unanimously.

The assembly lasted a little longer than five minutes.

GA frequently sees a low turnout. Last year and in 2016, approximately fifty students attended. In 2017, just 27 students were present.

Still, this year marked a sharp decline in attendance.

Moreover, unlike in previous years, no GA motions were submitted to the MSU by the March 13 deadline.

The low turnout raises questions as to whether the MSU sufficiently advertised GA, which is the main constitutionally-mandated meeting for students to pass motions affecting the entire student body.

MSU speaker Elizabeth Wong said that many channels were used to promote GA, including social media pushes, text messages and posters and banners in public spaces.

However, Student Representative Assembly social science caucus leader Fawziyah Ali said that promotion this year was less effective than in previous years.

“In terms of Facebook promotion, poster promotion, I don’t think it was as advertised as it could be, so people didn’t know that it was happening,” Ali said. “There should have been better promotion, because MSU GA is an important event, especially to bridge that gap between the MSU and students.”

Student engagement with the MSU, particularly regarding elections, has been relatively positive this year, with a record number of students running in the SRA general elections and increased candidate turnout for first-year council elections.

These increases in MSU engagement have been largely attributed to improved promotion efforts from the MSU.

This year, the GA event page on Facebook page was created only one night before the event, and a total of 164 students were invited.

For comparison, last year’s event page included 212 invitations and was created more than a week in advance.

GA has hit quorum before, most recently in 2015 and 2012. While this was largely due to the boycott, divestments and sanctions motion in 2015, the high attendance in 2012 is considered to have been the result of an extensive promotion campaign run by the board of directors.

“It’s not like you want contentious issues to happen so people come out. That’s not at all what it is. You hope that there are no contentious issues, but there is always something to talk about,” Ali said.

Vania Pagniello, an incoming SRA representative, noted there may still be a significant gap when it comes to educating students about how GA works and why it is important.

“I think the average student doesn’t even know what a motion is,” Pagniello said.

Ali speculates that students may also be looking to non-MSU networks, such as the Hamilton Student Mobilization Network, to raise awareness of social issues.

“I think there’s some disenchantment in terms of students and their relationship to the MSU,” said Ali.

Until more is done, it seems that GA will continue to be an under-utilized tool for effecting change on campus.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Saba Manzoor

The federal government has awarded $3.3 million in grants to 72 social sciences and humanities researchers at McMaster.

These grants are a part of the federal government’s social sciences and humanities research council’s “Insight Development Grant” program.

McMaster was one of nearly 80 post-secondary institutions across the country to receive part of the $141 million overall grant funding provided by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

This announcement comes a few months after McMaster maintained its rank as Canada’s most research-intensive university on the list of Canada’s top 50 research universities.

Funding through government programs, such as the SSHRC-IDG, continues to play a significant role in establishing the university’s rank on the list.

In addition to being lauded for the quality of their research, McMaster’s humanities and social science researchers have also been recognized for the communicability of their research.

In particular, they were the recipients of the 2017 SSHRC award of excellence for communications, which recognized the accessibility of McMaster research for non-expert audiences.

One of this year’s research grant recipients is Jeffrey Denis, an associate professor in the department of sociology.

Denis’ funds are being put towards a collaborative project with Reconciliation Kenora, a non-profit organization comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents in Northwestern Ontario.

The goal of Denis’ project is to improve local relationships and better understand the reconciliation efforts that prevail in this part of the province.

“Our plan is to conduct a series of video-recorded sharing circles with Anishinaabe, Metis and settler residents about what reconciliation means, the barriers and enablers to achieving it and how to engage more people in the process,” said Denis.

Brent McKnight, an assistant professor with the DeGroote School of Business, is another grant recipient this year.

Through this funding, McKnight will be evaluating how external considerations, such as environmental, social and governance factors, contribute to financial investments.

Specifically, McKnight will be examining how these factors play into a retail market investment decisions.

“There are few sources of funding for social science research and this multi-year grant is critical,” said McKnight.  

Mark Norman, another grant recipient, is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of health, aging and society at McMaster.

With the funding, Norman will be investigating the organization and social meanings of sport and physical recreation in Ontario youth detention centres.

According to Norman, despite their popularity in youth correctional facilities, evidence suggests that implementing sports programs for at-risk youth produces mixed outcomes.

Norman’s project aims to reconcile the knowledge gap and explore why these programs are yielding these results.

“It is crucial that Canadian governments and post-secondary institutions invest in social sciences and humanities research, particularly projects that investigate pressing social problems or provide insight on how to ameliorate social injustices in our society,” explains Norman.

Other research projects funded through the grant cover a wide range of topics, including the history of smallpox and the effects of taxation on trade.

 

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Photos by Kyle West

A record 79 candidates were vying for a position on the McMaster Students Union Student Representative Assembly general elections, which ended last Monday.

Seventy-nine candidates competed for 31 SRA seats across all faculties, the highest number ever.

Last year, there were just 41 candidates running for 31 seats. Two years ago, there were 50 candidates.

The highest number of candidates came from the SRA science and SRA social science faculties.

Twenty-five candidates ran for seven seats for science, while 16 candidates ran for five seats in social science.

In 2018, there were just nine and five candidates for the science and social science faculties.

Candidate turnout was higher than last year for other faculties as well.

SRA commerce had eight candidates running for four seats this year compared to five candidates last year, and the arts and science faculty had four nominees running for one seat compared to one nominee last year.

Voter turnout was markedly high as well. Twenty per cent of undergraduate students, or a total of 4283, voted in the SRA generals election, a dramatic increase from last year’s election, which saw 1064 voters.

Several current SRA members and winning candidates attributed the increase in candidate turnout to more effective advertising from the McMaster Student Union elections department this year, made up of chief returning officer Uwais Patel and deputy returning officer Emily Yang.

“This year, the CRO and DRO did a really good job in doing outreach. It was a lot of promotion, and it was faculty-specific promotion as well,” said Tasneem Warwani, current SRA arts and science representative.

“I think what they did really well was reach out to SRA members to ensure that they were reaching out to their constituents,” said Devin Roshan, current SRA health sciences representative.

One new initiative the elections team took on this year was sending faculty-specific emails directly to students to remind them of nomination deadlines and how many seats were available.

“On the MSU pages, social media-wise, I saw more promotion about it,” said third-year social sciences student Allie Kampan, who won an SRA seat. “More people were aware of it this year.”

Some faculties also tried to host more faculty-specific events encouraging students to run. For example, the social science caucus ran an event where they handed out nomination forms.

“I think the SRA reps made it more approachable this year,” Kampman said. “There’s a stigma around a lot of MSU things, specifically SRA, which is that it’s unapproachable.”

Roshan pointed out that increased turnout also comes from regular efforts through the year to educate students on issues and what the SRA is doing.

The health sciences election this year featured eight candidates for two positions, building off seven candidates last year after just two in 2017.

Students entering post-secondary education may also be becoming more interested in politics.

“Looking at the first years specifically, in my interactions I’ve had with them, they’re very passionate about getting involved,” Warwani said.

First year council elections this year featured a record high of 54 candidates running for sixteen positions.

Not all faculties saw a rise in candidate turnout. Humanities had only three nominees, meaning all three available seats were acclaimed. There were just two nursing nominees for one seat and four kinesiology nominees for two seats. SRA engineering also had just eight candidates for six available seats.

All of these faculties have struggled to put forth nominees in recent years, with seats often being acclaimed.

According to incoming SRA engineering representative Hawk Yang, one possible reason for the typically low candidate turnout is that the engineering faculty has a prominent engineering society, which often overshadows SRA engineering initiatives.

Nonetheless, as evidenced by the SRA statistics, the MSU is still seeing refreshingly high interest in student government this year.

 

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Photo C/O Maddie Brockbank

By: Abi Sudharshan

CW: Discussions of sexual violence

 

On March 7, the YWCA Hamilton hosted the 43rd annual Women of Distinction Awards dinner. These awards recognize the achievements of women in the Hamilton community. From business to education, the night celebrates exemplary leadership by women in an effort to inspire other women.

One of the most watched award categories is that of the “Young Woman of Distinction,” which celebrates a woman between 18 and 25 who has demonstrated passionate and committed stewardship of a cause in her school, community or workplace.

This year’s winner is fourth year McMaster social work student Maddie Brockbank.

Over the course of the last few years, Brockbank has spearheaded projects addressing the issue of sexual violence prevention, specifically by directing efforts to establish meaningful male allyship.

On March 15, the Silhouette sat down with Brockbank to discuss these initiatives.

 

Before we really get started, tell me a little about yourself. What things define you?

I would say that I am very hard working. I really value hard work and my parents have taught me to value it. I’m pretty passionate about the work that I do with sexual violence. I’m also pretty honest about my outlook on issues on campus.

 

When would you say you first became aware of sexual violence issues?  

I didn’t hear the word “consent” until I was in university. I went to a Catholic high school, and though I overheard troubling conversations in the halls, they were never addressed.

 

I’ve read about your work in broad terms, but am so curious about the specifics. How did this all begin and what exactly have you done?

There’s a bit of a story to it. In my second year of university, I applied for and received an undergraduate student research award in experiential education. Through that, I found out that women currently bear most of the weight in discussions regarding sexual violence, which does not at all reflect the situation. So, over that summer, I interviewed seven guys from a couple of different universities, and asked them questions about consent, sexual violence, and treatment of victims. I found that there were extremely large gaps in their knowledge.

It was concerning, but it was also promising as they all talked about how they had never been asked these questions before and how they had never thought about these conversations before. There was willingness on the other end and it became a matter of engaging them.

 

This isn’t the first time that your work as garnered recognition. Last year, you were awarded 1st Prize in the Clarke Prizes in Advocacy and Active Citizenship competition. Could you tell me a bit about that?

Yes, I did get the Clarke Prize grant in March of last year. Ryan Clarke is an alumni who donates $6,000 every year to fund initiatives addressing issues in the community. First prize wins $3,000, second wins $2,000 and third wins $1,000. Most campaigns that address sexual violence have a very general approach to them.

From my research, I found that young men wanted to join the conversation. So, I created an event to educate young men: Commit(men)t and Allyship. Although the event was independent, we did collaborate with individuals and organizations within the community, such as Meaghan Ross, the university’s sexual violence response coordinator, the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and the McMaster Students Union Women and Gender Equity Network. McMaster Athletics had expressed interest, but they didn’t show up.

It was extremely disappointing. However, 10 Mohawk athletes did attend. Tristan Abbott, facilitator of the WiseGuyz program in Calgary, attended as well. We donated $2,700 to SACHA and the remaining funds from the Clarke grant to others like the male allies of Waterloo who facilitated our debriefing spaces.

 

How do you feel about the university’s current efforts to respond to the issue of sexual violence?

Well, the sexual assault policy at McMaster is relatively new, and thus yet to be evaluated in terms of efficacy. In general, however, universities need to address that there is a rape culture on campus and that it is a prevalent problem. There needs to be more support for survivors, to shift the response from interrogation to believing them. Perpetrators need to feel the consequences of their actions and need to be barred from positions of power within the Student Representative Assembly, MSU and other student governing bodies.

 

How does it feel being recognized for your work?

Surprising and really amazing. There were so many incredible candidates. I think it just speaks to the merit in the work that I’ve done. It’s affirmation that the work is important and needs to be done.

 

What’s next for Maddie Brockbank?

I am continuing my studies at McMaster in the Masters of Social Work for fall 2019. I am also continuing my research and doing my thesis on male student perspectives of sexual violence. I recently received the McMaster graduate scholarship as well, so I'm stoked!

 

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Photo by Kyle West

In Canada there are no National Football League teams, so the way fans choose who they will support is by following in the footsteps of their family or friends, or by becoming in awe of a certain player that leads them to a team.

For Vanessa Matyas, marketing & media manager for NFL Canada, the former is how her journey with the NFL began. Growing up Canadian, Toronto teams like the Toronto Raptors and the Maple Leafs were all she really knew.

That is until she got older and became a student at McMaster University, where football became a part of her social life. But it was not just the social aspect of football that caught her attention, the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did too.

C/O Kyle West

“I started falling in love with Drew Brees as a person because he just seemed so nice and personable, and that really got me more interested in the New Orleans Saints,” said Matyas. “The year that the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans was the same year they won a Super Bowl, and it really brought back so much joy to that city. That is when I started really to see the magic behind football and really get into the battles in the on-field action and the whole story around everything.”

Though Matyas knew that she had a new-found love for football, she was not entirely sure what she wanted after her undergrad in communication studies at Mac. This uncertainty led her to apply for her Master of Arts in communications and new media at McMaster.

“Part of the reason I decided to do my master’s was because I wasn't sure what my next step was going to be,” Matyas said. “So I thought getting a master’s would help set me apart from other job candidates.”

Following her master’s, Matyas got the opportunity to move to Geneva, Switzerland to work for a non-governmental organization. Although it was an amazing opportunity and everything she thought she would love, her mind kept going back to how much she loved sports and how amazing it would be to work in media or sports. When she returned to Canada, she applied and was lucky enough to land a digital marketing job with Rogers Media.

“While I was there, I was very vocal with my boss about how I wanted to take on other brands if I had the opportunity,” said Matyas. “So just from being partially in the right place and the right time and also being my own personal advocate, I got to expand to other brands which were two sports brands.”

C/O Vanessa Matyas

In Matyas’ three years with Rogers, she focused on working on the skills that would help her do a great job in the sports world. Instead of worrying about not having that dream job of working in sports, she focused on getting the skill set that she needed to apply that to her passion later on.

This ability to focus on the big picture is something she credits McMaster for giving her. Along with education, connections, lifelong best friends and memories, she left with a valuable lesson that ultimately got her where she is today.

“Looking at the big picture of things is what Mac really showed me. I think when you're here, you're so focused on looking at the task at hand, but you don't really see what it is leading towards or what you're working towards,” said Matyas. “I think Mac really showed me the value of the big picture and not sweating the small stuff along the way.”

When she applied for the role with NFL Canada, she had not only the passion for the role, but the actual skills the job required. Now she wakes up every day working for a company that not only she loves, but one where she deserves to be. Matyas works with NFL Canada’s media partners to further promote the NFL in Canada and marketing initiatives such as influencer and public relations programs, player marketing and social and digital campaigns.

#SuperBowlLlll was definitely a weekend to remember! #SBLIII #NFLCanada pic.twitter.com/rKgJqp3dbA

— Vanessa Matyas (@vmats14) February 5, 2019

But one of her most rewarding tasks is that she gets to bring little pieces of the NFL to Canada, so people can bond with the players and ultimately start following teams. One of her most memorable moments so far has been the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta. Not only was being in ‘NFL-land’ surreal for her, being able to bring Canadians to experience the joy of football was something that will stick with her forever.

“The experience and bringing [fans] down is very special for them, but it will always be such a big memory for me too,” said Matyas. “To see what the passion of sports does, helps us to remember why we do what we do.”

When the game becomes more than just a game! 🙌

Tell us your stories Canada, let us know why you love the @NFL! 🇨🇦🏈 #SuperBowlSurprise pic.twitter.com/MhPvZ7bcng

— NFL Canada (@NFLCanada) March 3, 2019

To those who look at Matyas’ journey, it may seem like she had it all figured out, but she constantly reminds those who are just starting out that there are always going to be challenges along the way, and to not let them discourage you from your goal.

“My career wasn't a clear path of sports, so getting back into what I wanted was hard when I was ready to leave Rogers. I was looking for other jobs which was very discouraging because there were many nos before there was a yes,” said Matyas. “That can be really hard to take in especially when you feel like you're prepared for the role and you have a skill set that you need, but you can’t let it get you off your path. Just know that you're working towards something better and all of those nos and let downs are going in a direction that you're supposed to be.”

Matyas’ journey to the NFL is an example for all of us, those who want to work in the sports industry and those who do not. If you work hard, even when it is not what you love, eventually you will see the return on your investment and find the way to be rewarded for your passion.

 

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Photo C/O @BethanyAllenEBR

By: William Li

On Feb. 11, Uighur activist Rukiye Turdush’s presentation at McMaster University about China’s mass internment of Muslims was disrupted by student protestors.

Controversially, these students had rallied not only to protest the event, but to coordinate with the Chinese Embassy.

The Washington Post reports that this coordination went beyond ordinary consular services: in addition to sending photos, the students say they were requested to search the talk for any university officials or Chinese nationals.

This is alarming, as it represents an attempt to harass and intimidate Turdush into silence. It is also disturbing because the Chinese government has no business collecting information about political events on campus.

It is important to remember that the Chinese Communist Party currently runs an authoritarian government with absolute control of China, including its foreign embassies. The regime also has a long history of violently crushing dissent.

Most notably, at the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, thousands of students were massacred with tanks and machine guns. Lawyers, activists and even Nobel laureates are regularly imprisoned for criticizing the Communist Party. Today, China also uses internet censorship and a social credit system to neuter any challenge to Party rule.

The incident with Turdush shows that similar political repression is not something distant and foreign; it is something that happened on campus and continues to happen.

One of the most overlooked victims here are the Chinese international students. This is especially true if photos are being sent to the Chinese Embassy. This essentially creates a system of fear in which students surveil each other, reporting to officials any deviance from the Communist Party line.
For international students seeking a liberal education in Canada, where our academic freedom would let them develop skills in independent-thinking that may be frowned upon in China, these hopes are dashed.

Instead, they are kept on a tight leash. Any deviance from Party-approved behaviour risks a report to the embassy, and resulting repercussions back home such as endangering family members or losing job and business opportunities.

Despite being on Canadian soil, these students will never get to fully experience basic freedoms that Canadian citizens take for granted. If Chinese students cannot speak freely, or even attend a political event, without risking state punishment, then this prevents any real discussion about Turdush’s presentation or any issues affecting them.
Even worse, this kind of political repression is being advanced by McMaster Students Union-ratified clubs.

In a statement written in Chinese, the McMaster Chinese Students and Scholar Association, McMaster Chinese News Network and McMaster Chinese Professional Society condemned Turdush and confirmed they contacted the Chinese Consulate in Toronto.

The McMaster English Language Development Student Association, an affiliate of the faculty of humanities, and the McMaster Chinese Graduate Students Club also signed the statement.

This statement was not directed at Turdush, nor any non-Chinese students. Rather, for the international students who can read Chinese, the thinly-veiled threat was crystal clear: promote the Communist Party line on political issues, or you will be reported to the Chinese consulate.
This is deplorable. MSU-ratified clubs and affiliates of the university should not be surveilling McMaster students and reporting their activities to foreign governments.

They should not propagate an environment where fear of surveillance prevents students from speaking out. They should not masquerade as safe spaces for international students if they have a hidden agenda to allow authoritarian regimes a backdoor to covertly monitor their citizens abroad.
There is also evidence that this problem is not unique to McMaster. The Chinese government has actively tried to influence academic institutions in several liberal democracies, particularly with its Confucius Institutes.

The MSU needs to investigate if these clubs have violated the Clubs Operating Policy by reporting political activity on campus to the Chinese government, through negatively affecting students’ ability to conduct their lawful affairs (5.1.1.1), interfering with other clubs’ activities (5.1.1.2) or failing to fully disclose connections to bodies outside of the MSU (4.2).
Declining to take action would betray anybody who feels surveilled, muffled or repressed by the Chinese government, and tarnish the MSU’s reputation as a safe and inclusive union that puts students’ interests first.

 

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