Thank you for the amazing year

Hi there,

I want to thank you for making this year amazing. Our Walter Gage community benefited because of you and your actions in it. Just by viewing this post and other posts on the blog, you’ve interacted in our virtual community to which I hope has enriched your residence and school experience. As you head into the summer I want you to keep in mind three simple things:

1) Diversity leads to complexity: Be yourself…because that will benefit not only you, but society at large. We need more people like you, because you are all we have.

2) It ain’t gonna be easy: Life has many analogies so I’ll spare you the pain. But, remember that in you is greatness; through trials, we are given opportunities to find and share that with others.

3) Smile: Because it’s awesome and you are awesome.

Whatever you next adventure is, take 3 deep breathes, smile, and go get it!


Walter Gage Photo Contest Winners!

The time has come to announce the winners of the Walter Gage Photo Contest! We had a bounty of pictures submitted and we thank everyone who took the time to capture our beautiful campus and share it with all of us.

The top pictures which captured our campus exceptionally well are the winning photos! Congratulations to:


Author: Kento Tanahashi


Author: Micaela Dickhof


Author: Christina Jewell


By: Sara Liu


Thank you everyone for your submissions and on behalf of the Walter Gage Communications Committee…thank you for the fantastic year!


Take a study break!

At this time of year amidst the midterms and presentations and papers it’s easy to get sucked into the internet during a “study break”, only to be spit back out hours later- scared and confused with a pile of work in front of you. Never fear, the Gage Blog is here! Below are a few suggestions you might be interested in if you’d like a quick (and somewhat educational) study break that will take no more than 20 minutes – after the video it’s back to the books for you!



If you haven’t already heard of TEDTalks, you’re in for a treat. With a motto like “Ideas Worth Spreading”, you might guess that some of the ideas presented at the annual TED conferences might be contagious, or leave you feeling inspired, and you’d be right. TED is a popular nonprofit dedicated to sharing ideas from around the world; These presentations usually range from 5 – 20 minutes long, and address nearly every topic you can think of.




Like what you see? UBC hosts its own independent TED event known as the TEDx Terry Talks each year, check out the link below.




Did you ever get around to reading that bestseller, The Fault in Our Stars? Turns out the author, John Green, is not only a successful writer, he also has a really awesome Youtube channel that can teach you about nearly anything you might be curious about.



And finally, the SciShow provides a bunch of brief “mini-documentaries” on mainly science-related topics. Psychology and anthropology are also discussed, but anyone could enjoy these videos, as they’re targeted towards a huge audience!



Happy viewing!





There are certain things in life humans need to survive. Water, food, and a place to live are a key part of maintaining our existence. However, one right all humans should have is often overlooked. Some people would call it a privilege. These people are wrong.


I recently spent time in a UBC library (yes, I know, rare for me). While trying to study, I was robbed of my most important right as a student trying to prepare for an exam: I was denied the right to WiFi.


As part of my DNA, the internet is required to keep me going. As soon as the ubcsecure network went down, I felt myself enduring hours of short breath, rapid heart rate, and a serious lack of concentration.


After nearly four hours, I returned to the confines of my room and was reprieved by the strong connection. It was then that I realized how serious a situation I had been through.


I almost died that day. Being at the library, hopeless without the internet… no human should ever have to go through that. Though I have no immediate solution for this crisis, it is infectious all across our campus. Dropped connections, slow loading, no internet at all. How am I supposed to live without Google?


WiFi is a human right. We should have endless access to information, which flows through WiFi’s ever changing channels. If I can’t check Facebook every five minutes, how am I supposed to interact with others? Talk to the people next to me? Don’t be crazy.


Being strangled that day has changed my life. I’ll never go back. The next time you head out, remember the risks you’re taking. Don’t be left to die like I was.




8 Ways to Reduce Your Stress and Increase Your Success!!

1. Deep Breathing

·      Taking a deep breathe not only lowers your blood pressure but also  lowers cortisol levels which is what causes anxiety and stress.

2. Light a Candle

·      Scents like Lavender or Fresh Linens are known for their relaxing effects.

3.  Chew Gum

·      Chewing gum also lowers cortisol levels and leaves a person calmer state.

4. Hug!

·      Studies have shown that hugging is a great way to loosen up and get back to that Zen state of mind.

5. Count backwards

·      You’re Kindergarten teacher was on to something. It’s hard to freak out about a due date or midterm when you’re taking a short counting break.

6. Give Yourself a Hand Massage

·      This is especially useful for people who spend a lot of time typing. Hands can hold a lot of tension and massaging them is a easy way to remove some of that strain.

7. Dance!

·      Turn on your favourite song on have a crazy dance party by yourself or with your friends. Release some good endorphins and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

8. Make a List

·      Make of lists of all the tasks you need done or all of your goal you want to achieve. Often things don’t seem as overwhelming when they’re written down.


Musical Outlets within Gage

Are you the type of person who loves to have a spontaneous jam session? Do you love to sing or play an instrument? I’m that type of person. I started playing guitar and singing about 8 years ago and I have no intention of ever stopping. When I came to Gage this year, I was looking for places to play guitar or ukulele and sing. There were some areas that I thought were perfect for me and so I thought I would share them with you.

The first spot, and it’s really quite obvious, is in your own room; it’s private and you don’t have to travel too far. If you have a unit mates, make sure that they are okay with you letting it all out in the room. Another concern with playing in your room is that you have neighbors that might not appreciate you playing loudly. The best solution to this is to play more quietly and to make sure your door is closed. If they come complaining to you or to your RA, then it might be time to find a new place.

Another spot that I have found to be a wonderful place to play and sing is in the commonsblock. In Fort Camp Lounge, there is a piano available. You could make a friend and jam with them on the piano. I have also tried to jam right in the middle of the commonsblock; just play on one of the couches. You might just make a new friend and be there for over 3 hours.

If you’re looking to perform, what better way than with the Gage coffeehouse? It’s a great way to meet people and watch people perform. There are also many events that happen throughout the year that require some people to be a performer for the event. Keep on the lookout for these events on posters and on the Facebook group.

Lastly, there are the stairways in the different buildings. I find these places to be the best area to express yourself musically. The sound is amplified and you sound similar to when you would sing in the shower. The stairs provide you, and your friends and admirers, with seats. Since the sound carries through to the other floors, people will want to check out what you are doing and you can make new friends that way as well.

I hope this article was helpful in giving you an idea of where you can have musical outlets in Gage. I hope to see you in these spots jamming out and having fun.


Podcasts 101: Transportable Story-Time for the University Student

Like most people I know, I have a very intimate love for my earbuds. The transitory times between class or on the bus would not be the same without my own personal soundtrack accompanying me along the way. However, I have very limited space on my phone and I’ve been known to get weary of the same song/album playing over and over again.

Then something magical happened, I actually looked through the default apps on my iPhone and found Podcasts. Since then my life has been transformed! Those 10 minutes spent in transit between the class is no longer a battle of restraint as I try to stop myself from singing out loud, now I mostly just giggle to myself because something funny happened.

The technical term for a Podcast is a digital medium that consists of an episodic series of audio, digital radio, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed on-line to a computer or mobile device. Yet, there is an immense creativity to Podcasts, they encompass a huge range of topics. You can gain new skills, learn about history, keep up with new music, listen to your favourite comedians, follow people’s adventures, and so much more. Podcasts give you the opportunity to engage with compelling stories and connect you to the world and groups of people in a very profound way. Not a lot of media platforms are capable of that.


So if you love good storytelling, indulge the glowing purple person app on your phone, check out some of my favourite Podcasts (I preemptively apologize for my love for all things NPR and Economics, I promise that there is more variety than my narrow niche):


  1. Planet Money: This was the first podcast I had ever listened to, and is part of the reason why I fell in love with Economics in my first year. Planet Money attempts to make sense of the rapidly changing global economy and they do so with pizazz. One of my favourite pieces they’ve done is when they followed their very own Planet Money t-shirt in all of its stages, and when they deconstructed the American Financial Crisis.
  2. Invisibilia: One of NPR’s newer Podcasts, Invisibilia looks to chronicle the invisible forces that control human behaviour – ideas, beleifs, assumptions, and emotions. My favourite episode is “How to Be Batman”, which looks at how expectations shape our abilities through the lens of Daniel Kitsch a blind man that has the ability to echolocate.
  3. Serial: Warning, this Podcast will leave you obsessed. Serial attempts to unfold one story – a true story – unraveling the case of a murder over twelve 30 minute episodes.
  4. Cited: Formerly known as the Terry Project on CiTR, Cited makes sense of the news by combining original storytelling with groundbreaking academic research. It’s a weekly radio documentary program about big ideas, and it’s the only podcast with a bibliography!
  5. This American Life: This podcast is #1 on the Top Charts and for good reason. It’s hard to describe how amazing this podcast is, the only way to grasp it is to listen to it. I attribute it to Ira Glass’ beautiful voice, but I think it’s likely the range of themes each episode is centered on. Literally everything from babysitters to the changing landscape of gang life in Chicago.


Again, there’s a plethora of podcasts that I’ve missed, but half of the fun of podcasts is finding one on your own and falling in love with them. So armed with your earbuds and a full battery, go explore the audio world.


Staying on track

Now that February has come and almost gone, you may be feeling bogged down by tests, studying, extracurriculars, and social life – or maybe everything has come to a stop, and you aren’t sure what to do to keep yourself motivated. There are a few strategies to combat these obstacles to your peace of mind, and here we can examine a few of them:


  1. Assess your body.
    It can be difficult to do at first, but listening to your body is a great way to figure out the secret reasons you may be feeling unmotivated, exhausted, or anxious.

    What are you eating/drinking? When are you eating/drinking? Answering these questions while also paying attention to your body’s response to various foods and beverages may help you discover that certain foods are making you jittery or lethargic, while other foods are energizing you! Drinking enough water is also key – hydration will work wonders for curbing salty food cravings as well as keeping your mind rejuvenated and ready to roll.

    When was the last time you moved your body? While not everyone can move in the same ways, sometimes exercising or simply going outdoors can do wonders for your state of mind! Studies have examined the effects of a window facing a natural landscape (vs. a brick wall) on the recovery time of hospital patients, and those with a view of nature recovered consistently quicker than those viewing a brick wall! Studying is important, but don’t neglect your spirit.

    Do you feel the way you do no matter what? If nothing you do changes a negative feeling you are experiencing, take time to visit a resource on or off campus that can help you figure out if it is a psychological or physical ailment that you may be able to help remedy with some professional advice. There is no shame for at least getting a check up if you aren’t feeling fulfilled or healthy.

  2. Write down your goals.
    Some people work efficiently in the abstract world within their minds, but it can be immeasurably useful to have your goals and intentions in front of you to be examined!

    Create a vision board. Write down what you want, when you want it, and the challenges you anticipate. Then, consider how you can overcome these challenges – write everything down on a piece of paper! Use lines and arrows and bubbles to connect your ideas, and see how it could all come together, or where you might need to make adjustments in your vision.

  3. Create a schedule and use to-do lists.
    This can be especially helpful if you often experience assignments, tests, and meetings slipping your mind, or if you have many extracurricular involvements.

    A schedule acts like a vision board and helps you look ahead and see what you have coming up that you should plan for and plan around. It will likely reduce the amount of forgetfulness that you experience by placing your commitments in front of you to be examined ahead of time.

    To-do lists make you accountable to yourself. By making a list of things to be done that you can cross or check off of your list, you make yourself accountable to yourself for getting them done. It is greatly satisfying to see an item disappear off of your list, even if it took a few days to get to it – you can even cross things out of your schedule/calendar so that you remember, “Yeah, I got that done yesterday!


Remember, though – if you are experiencing a high level of stress, anxiety, or lack of motivation, seek a visit with a counselor or medical professional on campus that is trained to guide you in the right direction for figuring out what is going on. You can also visit the Career for Student Involvement & Careers in Brock Hall for help with time management, job applications, or personal support!





AMS Elections 2015

The Alma Mater Society, or AMS, is the student government on campus representing over 50,000 graduate and undergraduate UBC students. On an annual basis, the AMS provides support to students through services like SafeWalk and Speakeasy, events like Block Party, and businesses like the Pit Pub and Blue Chip.

The AMS is a student organization run by an Executive team elected from the greater student body every year during the spring. This year, elections will be taking place in March, and the new group of Executive will be taking office in the beginning of May. In order to get the conversation rolling, here are the Executive positions that will be elected and the names of the official 2015/2016 nominees:


The top dog of the AMS, this person is responsible for representing the voice of students as the Society’s main spokesperson. Besides being the figurehead, the President is responsible for building a strong team dynamic among fellow Executives, the AMS staff, and the body of elected student representatives on AMS Council.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Aaron Bailey
  • Cheneil Antony-Hale
  • Tanner Bokor
  • V

Vice-President Academic and University Affairs

This executive is responsible for liaising with the University on issues related to academics, housing, and student life, among many others. Previous projects have included lobbying the UBC Senate for establishment of an Exam Database, conducting the Acadia Park Community Needs Assessment, and representing the student voice on the recent proposed increases to tuition and housing fees.

This year’s candidate is:

  • Jenna Omassi

Vice President Administration

The VP Admin is the go-to person for new capital projects, such as the soon-to-be-opened AMS Student Nest, as well as the main liaison to AMS student clubs as chair of the Student Administrative Commission (SAC). They also oversee the operations of the SUB Art Gallery exhibition space.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Ava Nasiri
  • Alexander Remtulla
  • James Jing

Vice President Finance

As the name suggests, this person is in charge of managing the millions of dollars in the AMS budget, ensuring that students’ money is spent responsibly and with their best interests in mind. They chair the Finance Commission, and also oversee the Sustainability Coordinator.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Mateusz Miadlikowski
  • William Pigott

Vice President External Affairs

If VP A&UA is the connection to the University, this person is the connection to the outside world. Responsible for engaging with all levels of government, as well as other Student Societies across the country, the focus of this office has been primarily on encouraging discussions around a rapid transit solution for the Broadway corridor.

This year’s candidates are:

  • Marjan Hatai
  • Janzen Lee
  • Jude Crasta

The official campaign begins March 3rd and closes on March 13th. Visit http://www.ams.ubc.ca/elections for more information on candidates, as well as instructions on how to vote!


Voluntourism: Creating Opportunities for Meaningful Travel


With the new semester well under way and the depths of winter bringing about grey days, students may already be considering their plans for summer intersession. We certainly wouldn’t blame you if they included a warmer climate. For students seeking travel with a greater purpose and cultural connection, volunteering abroad presents a unique opportunity.

There are varying degrees of voluntourism, a term that has recently been targeted by critics of international development. There’s no foul in a humble act of volunteering a special skillset but it’s imperative that participants carefully vet prospective organizations. Students studying technical disciplines make especially great candidates for voluntouring. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to build experience, and explore areas of further career specialization or academic research.

Tips for responsible volutourism:

  • Sustainability: is the project/organization executed by locals?
  • Esure your presence isn’t reverse outsourcing.’ For example, performing manual labor may result in fewer jobs for local construction workers.
  • What tangible skills are can you contribute?
  • Are you prepared to deal with culture shock?
  • Do you have realistic expectations of a voluntour experience?

Voluntouring doesn’t have to be an international pursuit. Organizations such as Frontiers Foundation run programs right here in Canada.

Learn more about it here!

Article author: Jenn Larsen

Photo Credit: http://www.seeds.is/pictures-iceland/236