Category Archives: Favorite Posts!

Announcing the Closure of this Blog

Recently, UBC Blog Squad has moved towards focusing its content on the new-to-UBC experience, thus removing 2nd year and contributor roles to the program. As a 4th year student, these changes have influenced my involvement with Blog Squad and has lead me to create this post announcing my decision to transition this blog from “active” to archived-form.

I began as a Blog Squad member in August 2009 while I was preparing to move across the country to begin my adventure at UBC. A lot has happened since then and I’ve been very happy to be able to share it with you. It’s been a pleasure being recognized in residence by new-to-UBC students who connected with my blog prior to coming to UBC just as I did when I was in their shoes. Blog Squad was how I found connection to UBC when I couldn’t visit the campus in person. I’m glad I’ve been able to give that same connection to others over the last 3 years.

Like all good things they must come to an end. It may not be a forever-type thing, but for now it is farewell and thank you. As I have progressed through university I have travelled more, began more time-intensive internships and summer projects, and found myself moving towards graduation–I don’t have the time to be able to maintain this blog like I use to. I don’t want to leave loose ends laying and felt this post was a proper way to conclude a defining chapter in my UBC experience.

Now for some acknowledgements. A big thank you to Janet Teasdale for always encouraging me to keep blogging. Alyssa Koehn for being my wonderful Residence Advisor turned best friend and travel companion. Megan Ritchie, Maegan Cowan, Katie Kolberg, and Lauren Kube–all of Naropa and all of Nootka 2nd 2009-2010 for that matter, thank you for enjoying what came from my blog and reinforcing the fun factor in life for me. Brian Commons for reading my blog as a way to get to know me before we started dating and for his continued readership to this present day, years later. UBC Student Recruitment and Ella Wong for giving me the opportunity to film my everyday life and share that with prospective students in Ontario. Big thanks to everyone who read my blog and told me it encouraged them to choose UBC, you brought me such happiness. Pheobe Yu for being the Blog Squad writer who gave me that connection to UBC while I was still in high school in Ontario. Nancy Delvecchio for being a silent but strong reader of my blog and the closest thing to family who has ever had the opportunity to visit me in Vancouver. Katie Fedosenko who once wrote an article for the Faculty of Arts on my experiences during the G20 riots because of a blog post I wrote, thank you. Rabi Sun who I wouldn’t of have had the pleasure of being friends and collaborating with on numerous occasions if it wasn’t for Blog Squad. Shannon Sterling for always making CSI-life sparkle, thank you. Kait Hazzard for all her love and support through my years in Totem, many thanks. The two floors I had the pleasure of advising in Totem Park, thank you. All my friends on UBC campus and abroad, fellow Loran Scholars, Residence Life and SLC teammates, and beyond–thank you. And last but not least, to my fellow Blog Squad members who also put in enormous amounts of effort to create content I thank you for everything you have also done to create the best university experience possible for others.

This blog will remain connected through Blog Squad as an alumni blog for future students to be able to access. I still believe there are posts and resources on this blog that showcase what UBC has to offer and I hope you explore them through my UBC 101 page and through looking at my favourite posts. As a large and wonderful university, it is often hard to connect all the dots and present everything UBC has to offer in one place. It was my goal to be able to provide that for you as much as possible.

With that, it’s time to begin my 4th year at UBC.



UBC’s coat of arms are at the Univeristy of Queensland, how cool is that?

Building the Great Court / Source: The University of Queensland Library

At my exchange university, the University of Queensland (UQ), There’s this really great space in the centre of campus called the Great Court. Picture a big grassy area with trees where students can relax in, surrounded by an enclosed by old sandstone buildings and walkways that features great thinkers, grotesques, university coats of arms from around the world, and historic scenes all made out of stone.

Yesterday, as I was taking a new route to find the post office, I found the UBC coat of arms on one of the cloisters in the Great Court! Yes, I did get weird looks as I walked around the cloister to snap pictures with the worlds biggest smile, but it was worth it.

The UBC coat of Arms in the Great Court at UQ / Courtesy of me

It’s no secret that I think UBC is the greatest university on the planet, so I was really proud to see our school’s coat of arms there on UQ campus. I also thought, wow, that’s UBC’s coat of arms in the form of stone on a university campus in Australia and I had no idea for the last few months it has been there at all. Who know where else a UBC logo or coat of arms is hiding around the world?

What else makes this especially wonderful to me is that there’s a little piece of UBC with me while I’m on exchange. I’ve been asked a lot recently to speak to outgoing exchange students from UQ about UBC and now I’ve got this cloister is one more piece of evidence about how cool UBC is.

Part One: What has happened for the last two months?

For the last two months I’ve had summer vacation. Next week I begin classes as a Go Global exchange student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Here’s what has happened during my “summer vacation.”

Part one: January

Slept on my friend’s couch for two weeks leading up to the 2012 Student Leadership Conference (SLC), in their apartment they’ve named Naropa (named after a university in Boulder, Colorado).

My welcome letter to Naropa

Had my SLC Director make this poster for my friends:

Made this awesome video for the opening ceremonies at the 2012 Student Leadership Conference:

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Later, agreed to take a break from throwing paint at people.

Chloe, our Volunteer Coordinator getting ready to shoot the opening ceremonies video

After months and months of planning, the SLC finally happened!

The Communications and Promotions Portfolio at the SLC awards reception

Then, only 48 hours after the SLC, boarded a plane for New Zealand with Brian and Dylan. Eventually, we showed up in Auckland and took this photo in a coffee shop the day we arrived:

Brain, Dylan, and I are all past Residence Advisors and this year’s members of the SLC planning committee. It worked out well that we are all on exchange in Australia this term, that way the three of us could travel together.

Began participating in WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) where we learned about sustainable and organic farming while living and working on farms on the North Island of New Zealand. Here’s a photo with one of our hosts, the Jones family, who own a dairy farm in Kerikeri. I can now add cow milking to my list of experiences.

The Jones family with Brian, Dylan, and I

Finished off the month with sea kayaking, islands, penguins, more organic farming, more weeding on organic farms, and more driving around New Zealand. Next post: what happened in month two of my “summer vacation.”

I made the “Our Campus” in the Ubyssey!

One of my proudest moments at UBC is making the “OurCampus” in the Ubyssey. For those of you who don’t know, every edition of the school paper features a new person who contributes to what UBC is today.

This year’s Faces of Today:
Videos to be released at the UBC Student Leadership Conference on January 14th, 2012 (see you then!).


Have You Been Hit?

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I just have to post this video in case some people on UBC campus have not seen it yet. As Productions Coordinator for the 2012 UBC Student Leadership Conference, I was put in charge of filming a promotional campaign for conference registration. So, here’s the final product of that! You just need to see what that turned out to be, it’s a pretty good laugh and a really fun way to spend one minute and ten seconds of your day.

Stay tuned for more video content and an extended footage version of the shoot!

Momma Bakes, My Champ.

A postcard momma bakes mailed me that was cut from a Cheerios box. I didn’t know my family started eating Cherrios since I left for university.

I probably couldn’t get through university without my mom (momma bakes). Since first year, she has sent me several pieces of mail per week (I’m not kidding). Everything from stamps, to candy, to family photos, to cards, to gifts cards and more. Whatever can fit in a regular sized envelope, she sends. She’s never been to university, she’s hardly goes past our town’s boundaries, but she knows that it’s not easy.

This Cheerios post card she mailed me is one of the greatest pieces of mail I’ve ever received from her. The clipping from our address book that had a drawing I made when I was really little was also great. So was that time she mailed me Halloween candy and I opened it up in a lecture, with looks from fellow classmates, and began explaining what my mom does as I offered them treats in a forestry lecture.

Academics have been my biggest struggle at university. I’ve often felt like I couldn’t get the grades I needed in my classes, do well on assignments, or dig myself out of the constant low grades I was receiving in some courses. These cards let me know that even though I’m far from my mom and she knows nothing about university, I’m not alone and I’ve got a mom cheering me on from our small town in Ontario.

Lately, I’ve tried to remember the things my mom tells me. I’ve been passing it onto residents as their Residence Advisor and I’ve been keeping them post it notes in my room to remind me that things will work out in the end. Today, I put one of her phrases on my hand to put things into perspective. “This too shall pass.” When you are so far in, it’s hard to see that the present is so insignificant to the greater scheme of things, and that this is not the end of the world if things aren’t going your way. Everything will work out the way it is supposed to and whatever is the low of your day will not carry on forever. That’s exactly what I need today. Also a little, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Because I can’t change my bad grades, or the bad choices I’ve made, but I can focus on improving the future. That’s what I’m going to do. Thank you, momma bakes.

A photo of momma bakes and I at the ROM in Toronto, the summer after first year. She left our town’s boundaries that day, I had to be the one who drove to Toronto for us.


My mind was just blown by UBC REC

If there is anything you do today, be it that you watch this video, produced by UBC REC (that deserves a Matt Corker “Boom!” to describe it).

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A huge kudos goes out to the entire Media Team at UBC REC, my past RA and current best friend Alyssa Koehn, Advising teammates in Totem Park David Protheroe and Warren Springer (the man in the video all the ladies love), who were all a part of making this video happen.

Here are other tidbits from their video shoot you might enjoy as well.

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If I was anywhere near the definition of athletic, I’d so want to do TriDu 2011 just because of these videos. If anything, I might try to drink a little more water and get a little more physical because of it.

I’m back!

ebakes and jbakes (my little brother who’s in Grade 12)

After a long hiatus of exams and winter break, I’ve been back to Niagara Falls, Toronto, and now I’m all snugglly-warm in my Totem Park dorm room. My apologies for being non-existent for the last little while but now I’m here.

What’s on the horizon?
Film photography class, finding out the results on my Go Global application (crossing my fingers for the University of Queensland, Australia), WTFL (Women’s Totem Football League) and learning how to snowboard! Oh so much fun.

This term, I’ll be filming more and more of little bits of my life for this blog. Here’s the first taste of that. Meet my family, momma bakes and jbakes. Also, the second video is a hilarious telling of a story from my mother’s childhood for all of those momma bakes fans out there. The ending is the best part.

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My Big News- I’ve Started A Company

Dear friends,

A few months ago, I incorporated my own company, which is why this website exists as of today. It’s called The Collaboration Company. I wanted to give an official announcement on my UBC Blog because this blog has acted as my home for the last year and a half that has been the place where I have shared details of my story with all of you, my friends.

So why did I start this company? When I was 15 years old, I became Youth Mayor of my city. I recognized the need for more opportunities for youth in my community and that someone had to address the negative discourse that some of my peers were applying to the world around them. Big changes had to happen. I worked on many projects from deciding where bike lanes would be painted on city roads, at one point I was working on forming a Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, and most of the time I was seeking out others who had the same drive I had to give new ways for youth to interact with their community.

As I took on all these projects, different organizations and institutions noticed this need as well and asked me to collaborate with them on conferences for youth, connect with the Chair of the Region about youth needs, and asked me what they could do for our generation. I’ve been pulled into numerous board rooms, had many meetings and I’ve exchanged many emails that have lead me to realize that my skills in leadership development, awareness of youth needs, and knowledge on student engagement had grown so highly that I was prepared to contribute to my community in a new way- through a business.

The Collaboration Company draws its strength through the synergy that is created when top young leaders come together to build the best opportunities for youth. Using networks such as the Loran Awards and Top 20 Under 20, The Collaboration Company brings Canada’s leading young leaders into the conversation of leadership and youth development. These leaders are experts in their respect fields which could be in politics, international development, non-profit work, or athletics, that gives our development process different perspectives on youth needs. That’s what makes this venture unique.

So here I am. A few months after incorporation. The last three months since have been spent working for Youth University at Brock University developing a four year long high school leadership program for students in the Niagara Region, all from my dorm room in Vancouver. The things that are being built are worth sharing and that’s what I hope to use this website as a venue for.

Please check out our website. If you would like to contribute to future projects, have any ideas you would like to share, please leave a comment or send me an email. It’s I value your input because I hold my friends, family and peers dearly. All of you have contributed to who I am, each in your own way, and I thank you for helping me get this far. I want to include you in future conversations about youth development and I know that we’ll make a mark on communities across Canada with our collective voices coming together as one.

Your biggest fan and friend,


One more reason for collaboration. Watch this TED Talk about radical innovation.