Tag Archives: Campus Corner

Apathy in politics: Case Study the UBCSUO election 2016.

suoAre elections really the best way of choosing representatives in leadership? Should there be a mandatory percentage turnout to make an election valid? These were the questions that came to mind when I pondered over the immediate past UBCSUO elections that were held in mid-March, which brings us to the theme of this article, apathy in student politics.

Most of us are guilty of it, myself included, failing to realize the extent to which our inconsideration affects our long term benefit. Across various electoral boards, the phrase, “it makes no difference”, is the excuse many give for their non participation. The belief that individual votes do not really count, in the grand scheme of things, is in itself detrimental to the concept of democracy.

What interested me the most about this particular election was the social media buzz which came with it. Yik Yak, a platform that has some ‘Twitter-esque’ features with an anonymous identity option, was the go to for many keyboard warriors. Refreshing the app every other hour, a plethora of different sentiment could be seen; from the good, to the bad to the ugly.  In some cases people advocated for change while others propagated hateful comments, but the most popular ‘Yaks’ were mainly attacks on the Student Union. The legitimacy of the union was questioned in multiple instances barring an allegedly rigged election, which I personally also found interesting.

The fact of the matter is, under 1,500 people voted. Less than 20% of our student body decided who runs our student union and this is an increase as opposed to the under 10% turnout in previous years. This real question of representation, because can we say the views of under 20% account for the full campus population? Can we truly say democracy is functional in this setting? Could the apathy be a sign that we need to work on building the credibility of our union so students actually feel the system works? I think so. I believe the union can do a lot more to show what they do and how they do it, so students know the importance of having a voice in campus affairs and the benefits of unionization. Also I believe campaigns where students can collaborate with the union to further the campus society and local talent in our small community can also help alleviate this issue.

I will end this piece with one of my favourite quotes from, in my view, one of America’s greatest Presidents:

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Drenched in Blood stained crimson,
Embellished in Gold plated armour,
Adorned in vibrant Green raffia,
I am none other than the Black star.

I am none other than mighty Senegambia,
A valiant warrior; Asantewaa of the Gold Coast.
The Ivory that is the horn of Africa,
A son of a land I’m proud, I boast.

Oh Mother Africa, have your offspring failed you?
Running off to America, in search of a dream …
… long turned nightmare.
Our forefathers who fought for our freedom,
Turn in their graves in disdain.
But our efforts, our efforts, they are not in vain.

Compton, Detroit, Kingston, Libreville.
Brothers are bound by their unending title,
Negro, Black, Coloured, African.
A struggle for identity crucially vital.

But I dream of an Africa,
One where we aren’t marred as charity cases,
But strong, resilient, happy faces.
One where we see ourselves as a unit, one people,
UBUNTU; I am because you are.

–  Nene Azu

Nzulezo: The world heritage site on stilts.

Nzulezo-1This December break, I had the pleasure of visiting  Nzulezo, a town on stilts, located in the Western Region of Ghana. Nzulezo directly translates to ‘on the water’ in Nzema, one of the major languages in Ghana.  To get to this town you need to take an hour’s ride on a canoe, through a river that leads to the settlement: a town of about 1500 -2000 people living on water, with the closest land 15-20 kilometres away.

“According to local legend, the village was built by a group of people from Oulata, a city of the ancient Ghana Empire and in present-day Mauritania, which came about from following a snail.” (Wikipedia, 2016) . The story was further verified by our tour guide and one of the local elders who met us and greeted us with their local drink, palm wine. He told of a time when his ancesntors had to migrate from their ancestral home in the great old Mali/Ghana empire located in the regions of current Mali/Gambia Senegal region. They were conquered by the Senegalese nation and thus chased away for fear of their return. They were led by a snail god, who advised them to make rafts and go into the river until they reached a place where he would advise them how to build.Nzulezo-3

What really got to me about this place was the ambience of happiness the villagers exuded. Walking in we were met by singing and warm welcomes as the people, who normally see foreigners come in, take pictures and enjoy the experience, were shocked to see other Ghanaians coming in to appreciate their way of life.
It gave me a breath of fresh air as I realized how distant we sometimes are from our own cultures, taking vacations and safaris to other parts of the world and not critically exploring our own surroundings.  Thus, I took a keen interest in the history behind this bewildering site and listened keenly to the local elders who shared in the history.

The people there have been there since the beginning of the 14th century. They have all social amenities including a clinic, a kindergarten and primary school, night clubs, a church, chop bars (local restaurants), a community centre and even guesthouses for visitors who want to spend the night. The people seemed very friendly and were insistent on taking photos with us and welcoming us to see their residences. They spoke at length on the medicinal herbs found around and the longevity they enjoy living off land, with most people living beyond the century mark.

I brought back some souvenirs from the site, which the United Nations has dubbed a World Heritage Site. The people have also been given some land close to the settlement by the government so they can farm. Some interesting images of baby canoes which the young ones who choose to go to the local school on land use, as well as the architectural plan they use to build on the river. All in all this was an amazing experience, seeing the different local wonders of the world which are not characteristically shown on mass media. If you get the chance to visit Nzulezo, don’t pass up on it!




Omar Mwangari : Life After UBC-O!

Omar Mwangari graduated from UBCO in 2014 with an honours in Psychology and minor in English. As a student here, he was an integral member in the International and Aboriginal Programs and Services offices, and he also co-ordinated major events from Global Fest to Jumpstart.

After graduating, he began work with Cintas as a Management Trainee and has been working with them for the past year and a half. We got in touch with ‘Omie’, as he is known,  and asked him a couple of questions in relation to his transition from university life to work life.
1. How are you finding life after UBC-O now that you’ve moved to another Canadian city?

Life is great post-UBC. Work has been good even with the relocation from Kelowna to Edmonton. The fast-paced Edmonton offers unique challenges that build character and further prepare you for the different leadership positions that come with being a Cintas partner.

2. How was the transition from university life into working life?

I would say I found it easy! I had social support (family, friends, peers, mentors) who cared for my well-being and success. I couldn’t ask for more.

3. Did you find that certain skills you learned at UBC are being applied in your workplace?

All skills learnt at UBC (and throughout my life), be it in class or on the social front have been of great help. Not only did these skills (e.g. leadership, budgeting, public speaking etc) get me through the Cintas doors but also sustain me after.

4. Were there any challenges you faced during your transition? If yes, how did you manage to deal with them?

As cliche as this may sound, the biggest thing for me (which I believe is shared across many working class members who just recently finished school) were the cravings for a sleep-in day(s) and the procrastination – more so now with the harsh Edmonton winters. Gone are the days of pressing the snooze button, knowing your friend has you covered in class. The key is to remember that the world is no longer at your beck and call: you have yourself, your family, your peers, and the company to consider. If I were to sleep in, chances are that I will have signed, sealed and delivered my own termination papers.

5. You moved from Kelowna to Edmonton. How’s the new city treating you? Do you miss anything about Kelowna?

Edmonton has been great. As I noted earlier, it brings with it unique challenges that I may not have been exposed  to while in Kelowna. However, at the end of the day, I feel like Kelowna will always be my second home (after Mombasa, Kenya). It’s no surprise I stop by every now and then to visit.

6. It is a known fact that you were a student leader involved in many initiatives at UBC-O. Are there any that you’re still involved in? Are you now involved in anything new?

I try to get involved in the community, but I haven’t done that to my satisfaction. I do, however, try to put in the same (if not more) effort at Cintas as I did at UBC.

7. Do you have any advice for current students especially the first and final year students?
Word of advice: ask yourselves, after the completion of your degree (that point in time when you are super busy trying to apply for jobs), whom will you have in your corner to write you a reference letter? Does this person really know you well to speak on your behalf? The small steps you take right now not only make you stand out in interviews but also shows to your future employer how driven you are, how much potential you have. This goes a long way into deciding whether you are the right fit for their company or not.

The Other Side

The Other Side Project was started by Mirabelle Arodi, a student here at UBC, who is currently on exchange at McGill University.
The project focuses on the concept of home, from a more individual lens and contrast it with mass media representation of countries.

The Project contrasts these images by placing both images side by side, with a student’s photo of home and an image from a major news outlet that is representative of home. The project is an attempt to counter stereotypes of different parts of the world and share the true image that actual citizens experience daily and call home.



The Nepalese Scholars Association

 Nepal is a place of utmost hospitality and grace.

The freedom flags sway elegantly in company with the  wind’s chase.

Since a number of ever-changing moons the ground in the once peaceful place has been tragically shifted.

It’s our responsibility to help this beautiful country and have the people uplifted.

Please take a moment to think about what you acquire.

Think about what is in your heart and what does one really require.

The Nepalese Scholars Association

This association is fairly new and yet it has already made it’s mark in showing students what the group is all about. They have been determined and courageous in everything they have done. The association started up a “Nepalese Earthquake Relief Support”  Facebook page and started building momentum in bringing awareness to students and the city of Kelowna. It has risen an effort towards supporting the earthquake victims in Nepal.


Shortly after, they hosted a Candlelight Vigil to recognize those who had been impacted by the earthquake in Nepal.

Next, the association started a bottle drive for the Shree Bashukee School in Nepal. Moreover, they currently have a GoFundMe page as well. –> https://www.gofundme.com/NepSA-UBCO

On October 2nd there is an event taking place called Harmony UBCO. It is 1st annual Harmony banquet and it happens to be hosted by Jus Reign’s right hand Babbulicious. Harmony UBCO is a multi-club collaboration including performances and food from 10 of our cultural clubs around campus. It’s goal is to expand intercultural relations and to celebrate unity.

Harmony will include performances and food by the following clubs:

South Asian Alliance
Association of Bangladeshi Students
African Caribbean Student Club
Asian Student Association
Sikh Student Association
Indigenous Student Association
European Student Association
Russian Speakers Association
Arab Student Association

The Nepalese Scholars Association!

Harmony Facebook event page –> https://www.facebook.com/events/159293914414954/

Lastly, this brings us to the Nepsa tournament!

It is a fundraiser for building a school in Nepal. This tournament is in collaboration with International Programs and Services, International Football club, Student Union.

DATE: October 16th
TIME: 4:00pm -9:00pm
AMOUNT: 10 – 12 team (approx. 8 players)
PRICE: $5 individual / $35 team
INFO: This event is to raise money to build a school in Nepal from the devastating earthquake a few months ago. Registration booth also up next week for sign ups.                                                                               Extra: Included BBQ by donation                                                                            Contact: Nepsa.ubco@gmail.com or ubcosoccerifc@gmail.com

—-> NepSA tournment facebook page

To conclude, having traveled to Nepal a couple years ago and having friends and family over there, makes this association really hit ‘home’ for me. They are such an inspiration to me and to all students at UBCO.




Jumpstart Okanagan ’15

Jumpstart Okanagan 2015!


The annual orientation that introduces first year international students to the lovely Okanagan campus was a huge success once again.

From The Americas to Europe, Africa to Asia and Australasia, current students welcomed incoming first years with enthusiasm and excitement. The experience featured sessions that highlighted keys to university success, resources on campus as well as fun events and places to visit in the region.

Below you will find some quotes from Jump-starter’s this year:

“Woooooooooooooh! Jumpstart was so amazing met some of my best-friends here. ”
– Alix Rossetto, France

“The rodeo was spectacular, I got to ride a mechanical bull! If you don’t do it you’re missing out!”
– Arlene Hassan, Maldives

“Really nice and helpful for new to Kelowna students, the leaders and students were open and very friendly. Definitely do it , helps to meet new people. ”
– Nourah Ndour, Burkina Faso

“Jumpstart was wonderful! I loved the time we visited the farmer’s market and went on the hike. It really helped me familiarize with the campus and the new environment. ”
– Catherine Fleck-Vidal, Germany

“Did a good job picking leaders as they made as feel welcomed and comfortable from the get go as well as the help from move in. The rodeo/fair was really good, but the farmer’s market was my personal favourite.”
– Karlie Lovinggood, Cayman Islands

” A great experience, met so many people and learnt so much!”
– Lawrence Li, Hong Kong

Jumpstart has been running for the past 7 years and from the quotes and feedback, hopefully it will be here for many years to come; warmly receiving the international community to UBC.

Public speaking is possible!

According to recent studies, public speaking is placed #1 for people’s worst fears. Which subsequently beats out skydiving, spiders and even death!

This is how I have gone through the motions….

“The time  subsequently arrives when you get called up on stage and immediately your heart starts racing. You receive a hot flash every three seconds followed by a swift shiver to even the anxiety out.

Once you start the short walk to your worst nightmare you can’t help but feel as if you have chicken legs wiggling about underneath you. Next, you finally make it to the platform and the lights somehow manage to blind you so effortlessly.

Right before you open your mouth to speak, you feel as if you forgot everything you ever wanted to say.  So many eyes are transfixed solely on you. Then, once you have successfully made that leap over the Grand Canyon of nerves, you manage to start speaking flawlessly. You finally feel as if you could conquer anything.

Lastly, when you step down from that platform, you can not even remember what the heck just happened or more so what you just performed. It seems like a foggy dream, and yet it was very real.”

People fear and dislike public speaking for many reasons.

A few examples are…

  • Being self-conscious in front of a large group
  • Fear of being judged
  • Bad experiences
  • Comparing yourself to fellow students

Public speaking can do so much good for you.

A few examples are…

  • Immensely builds up your self confidence
  • Very important for your future career
  • One of the most effective way to get your message across
  • It demonstrates your knowledge

There are so many places you can get involved!

  • Student leader conference
  • Media center / UBCO-TV
  • Model united nations
  • Global Fest
  • Debate Club ( https://www.facebook.com/ubcodebateclub?fref=ts )  
  • Toastmasters ( https://www.facebook.com/ubcotoastmasters )
  • Tedx UBCOkanagan talks

– Stella Mozin