Despite the gloom, there is hope
Good things can be hard to come by.
Throughout the year, the Carillon has been covering various issues – locally, nationally, and internationally – ranging from politics, to student activism, to economic disparity. From bad to worse, news tends to be the spot to unravel depressing and frustrating stories.
But, more than just dark and depressing news stories, the Carillon has also covered stories of this year’s crucial and unsettling shifts at the U of R. The paper has heard from students who feel that this institution has betrayed them, has left them in the dark, and has forgotten them in the decision making process.
Increases in tuition fees, cuts to program funding, possible loss of academic freedom, and many more uncertainties have been the definition of 2012-2013.
Yet, amidst these unknowns, students continue to move forward, fighting for their right to education. Students have not lost their raging flame to demand what rightfully belongs to them. And, while at times, apathy seems to have hit hard across the campus, wiping student care with it, there still are a bright and brilliant few who continue to fight back, re-energizing the campus, and relighting the burnt-out flame.
For this last issue of the Carillon, let us take a moment to celebrate inspiration. Because, regardless of bad and terrible that happens, there still seems to be that hope, and that light of inspiration – sometimes found in the oddest and most unexpected places.
We asked students to send us a blurb of what or who inspires them, and what keeps them going, despite these unsettling times. Here is what some had to say.
As for the Carillon, we dedicate this page to the students – because you are what inspire us to be better and do better.
Kristen McEwen is inspired by an important person in her life, her mother
This is going to sound like a cop out answer, but my mom definitely inspires me. I’m originally from Prince Albert, a place with a reputation of high crime rates. My mom used to be a vice-principal at one of the community schools that has a high population of students that come from low-income families. The only way some of these kids get to school is because they take it upon themselves to get to school. Some kids come to school without lunches. The school has a snack and lunch program, but more often than not, my mom would pay out of her own pocket to buy lunch for some of them. She would stay after school to make sure kids got home, sometimes driving them home herself. But she never complained about the extra time she put in. My mom wasn’t the only teacher at that school that bought lunches or drove kids home. The effort that my mom and the other staff put in, inspires me to this day. It’s a constant reminder that people can be decent and put other’s needs before their own.
Kay Niedermayer is inspired by the student-run campus garden, the Green Patch
Let’s face it, this past year was a pretty grim one. Looming cuts to academic programs were mixed with other dark and murky conspiracies of misplaced funding at our institution. Not to mention more omnibus bills, pipelines, and violations of other rights and services. But, you know what was the shining light guiding the way through all this gloom? The RPIRG Green Patch. The Green Patch joined the ranks of other Edible Campus gardens by the First Nations University of Canada and the Institut Francais. Volunteering in the garden last summer was a highlight of my year. It was an opportunity to learn and teach others about food sovereignty and gardening strategies and techniques. The success of the Green Patch goes beyond the number of volunteer hours spent working with the earth, or the pounds of food donated to students and community members. As plans to expand campus gardens in the coming years continue, its clear that this campus is making progress towards achieving food security. And so, despite all the rest of this financial mess, there is a hidden gem, in it all, that we can be proud of.
Taneal Brucks is inspired by the work of students at UR Sustainability
UR Sustainability formed in the Fall of 2012 when a group of hopefuls sat down at the Academic Green to discuss their visions of a “greener” world. Fast forward to March 2013 and the club is now a newly approved working group under RPIRG. It is quite fantastic how far UR Sustainability has come in this short space of time. The club’s main objectives are to promote home grown food on campus; encourage efficient waste management and water conservation; facilitate ride sharing opportunities; urge facilities management to invest in eco friendly infrastructure; promote sustainable international development, and most importantly, develop a hub for students, faculty, staff and community members, to work on sustainable initiatives together. Our ultimate plan is to create a "Student Centre for Sustainability" on campus. Through out the years, several environmental clubs have come and gone, and efforts on campus to promote sustainability is often inconsistent. This office will act as a central hub to connect students, faculty, staff and community to work together on initiatives.
Nadia Akbar is inspired by volunteering with the people at the World Partnership Walk
Last year, many University of Regina students volunteered in the World Partnership Walk – a walk dedicated to raising money for the Agha Khan Foundation, which provides social development programs in Asia and Africa. My inspiration is the U of R students who not only strive for success in academic life, but also donate most of their time for the betterment of people around them. Close to $60,000 was raised in the province of Saskatchewan, when Regina hosted its first walk in 2012. Please come and join us this year to end global poverty on May 26, 2013, Legislative Grounds, Wascana Park at 10 a.m. Please consider visiting the website to learn, become an ambassador or to donate.
Photo by Taouba Khelifa