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The Ubyssey Apr 7, 2011

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Array Joining the human race SINCE 1918
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ety 2/UBYSSEY.CA/E VENTS/2011.04.0 7
APRIL 04,2011
Justin McElroy: coordinating@uhyney.ca
Arshy Mann: news@ubyssey.ca
Kalyeena Makortoff: kmakortoff@ubyssey.ca
Micki Cowan: mcowan@ubysseyca
Jonny Wakefield & Bryce Warnes:
culture@ubyssey ca
Ginny Monaco: gmonaco@ubyssey ca
Indiana Joel: ijoel@ubysseyca
Marie Vondracek: sports@ubysseyca
Trevor Record :features@ubyssey ca
Geoff Lister: photos@ubysseyca
Virginie Menard: production@ubysseyca
Kai Green: copy@ubysseyca
Tara Martellaro: multimedia@ubysseyca
Stephanie Warren:
David Marino: video@ubysseyca
Jeff Blake: webmaster@ubysseyca
Room 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
tel: 604.822.2301
web: www.ubyssey.ca
e-mail: feedback@ubysseyca
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print advertising: 604.822.1654
business office: 604.822.6681
web advertising: 604.822.1658
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Paul Bucci: webads@ubysseyca
AlexHoopes: accounts@ubysseyca
Fabrizio Stendardo Michael Cheung
Lisa Ma Karina Palmitesta
Alexandra Warren Jocelyn Lau
Gordon Katie        Mairead MacKinnon
Olivia Zatili Fellows Christian Voveris
Hazel Hughes Robert Straker
Kait Bolongaro David Chen
Will Mackenzie Brian Piatt
Front cover illustration by Indiana Joel
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of
the University of British Columbia. It is published
every Monday and Thursday by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democratically run student organization, and all students are
encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They are the expressed opinion of the
staff, and do not necessarily reflect the views of
The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of British Columbia. All editorial content appear-
ng in The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey
Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs
and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced
without the expressed, written permission of The
Ubyssey Publications Society.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian
University Press (CUP) and adheres to CUP's guiding principles.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words
Please include your phone number, student number
and signature (not for publication) as well as your
year and faculty with all submissions. ID will be
checked when submissions are dropped off at the
editorial office of The Ubyssey; otherwise verification will be done by phone. "Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750 words and
are run according to space. "Freestyles" are opinion
pieces written by Ubyssey staff members. Priority
will be given to letters and perspectives over free-
styles unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion
pieces will not be run until the identity of the writer has been verified. The Ubyssey reserves the right
to edit submissions for length and clarity. All letters
must be received by 12 noon the day before intended publication. Letters received after this point wil
be published in the following issue unless there is
an urgent time restriction or other matter deemed
relevant by the Ubyssey staff.
Itisagreed byall persons placing display or classified advertising that if the Ubyssey Publications
Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an
error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS wil
not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The
UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes or
typographical errors that do not lessen the value or
the impact of the ad
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Essays, term papers, theses. Will
be improved with experienced
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The UBC Pottery Club is now
selling their work at Sprouts
and have donated some pieces
in return for space. It brings a
new addition to the Sprouts
atmosphere and allows potters
space to showcase their pieces. •
Mon-Fri, 9:30am-4pm, Sprouts,
SUB basement.
NOON Y0GA$1 • Led by the UBC
Yoga Club—all skill levels are
welcome. Bring your own mat and
enjoy this invigorating session.
RSVP on the Facebook events
page. • Tuesdays, 12-lpm, UBC
Bookstore, $1.
Block Party is an event by UBC
students, for UBC students and
the campus community that brings
students and friends together in a
celebration of a year completed
and a summer soon to start. This
year's bands include Switch, Felix
Cartal, Rye Rye, Team Canada DJ's
and MylGay!Husband! • 19+event,
2-8pm, Maclnnes Field, $15 at
the Outpost, go foamsblockparty
com for more information.
Team Up 4 Kids is throwing their
first event as a club to raise
money for Success By 6, an
early childhood development
initiative dedicated to providing
all children with a good start
in life. Come out to play some
capture the flag in order to raise
money for a good cause! There
will be prizes for the winning
team and other activities to do
while you're waiting to play. • 12-
3pm, UBC Campus, $40 team
(6-10 people), $5 individual,
email info@teamup4kids-ubc.
com for more information.
ANTARCTICA* Paul D Miller is
highly regarded as a writer and
conceptual artist, best known
under the moniker "DJ Spooky,
That Subliminal Kid." His large
scale multimedia work "Terra
Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica," is a
meditation on global warming,
translating Miller's first person
encounter with the harsh, dynamic
landscape of Antarctica into visual
and sonic portraits. In addition
to video projections and DJ
Spooky on turntables, the
performance will also feature
local chamber musicians on
violin, cello and piano. • 8pm,
Chan Centre, $25.25-$48.25,
go to djspooky.com for more
The folio win
g people are eligible to vote
in The Ubyssey s 2011-2012 editorial
Andrew Hood
Ian Turner
Marie Vondracek
Arshy Mann
Ashley Whillans
Brian Piatt
Indiana Joel
Jenny Tsundu
Matthew Naylor
Michael Cheung
Micki Cowan
Bryce Warnes
Jon Chiang
Mike Dickson
Catherine Guan
Jonny Wakefield
Noah Burshtein
Charles To
David Marino
Drake Fenton
Josh Curran
Justin McElroy
Kai Green
Stephanie Warren
Tara Martellaro
Fabrizio Stendardo
Kait Bolangaro
Taylor Loren
Gavin Fisher
Geoff Lister
Karina Palmitesta
Trevor Record
Virginie Menard
Ginny Monaco
Laura Tuovinen
Will Mackenzie
Voting will take place from Friday, April 8 to Thursday, April 14,
weekends excluded. Email Elections Coordinator Karina
Palmitesta at karina-palmitesta@hotmail. com/or more
Justin mcelroy | coordinating@ubyssey.ca               CI 1 jH-JlI/U OxOOil/Ixa
chancentre.com   The Chan Centre Presents
£INfc-dNI£ AN TARtfF iCA
SAT. APR. 9th AT 8PM
This large-scale, multimedia work translates
DJ Spooky s first-person encounter with the
harsh, dynamic landscape of Antarctica into a
visual and sonic meditation on global warming.
Featuring Corey Hamm, piano and Infinitus.
►   WWW.TICKETMASTER.CA | 1-855-985-ART5 (service CHARGES APPLY)
In this contentious and classic 1915 silent movie, Birth of a Nation, DJ Spooky
creates a daring "remix" of Griffith's epic to expose the film's true meaning.
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Two more issues left!
Send us your events.
tlT lEUBYSSEYc 2011.04.0 7/UBYSSEY.CA/NEWS/3
EDITOR ARSHY MANN»news@ubyssey.ca
Liberals recruit students for election
Three young UBC Liberals will
have more on their plates this
April than studying for finals.
UBC students Kyle Warwick,
Sangeeta Lalli and Stewart McGillivray will be running for
the Liberals ridings both close
to and far from home—Warwick
in Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Lalli
in Cariboo-Prince George and
McGillivray in Port Moody-West-
wood-Port Coquitlam. The Liberals finished a distant third in
all three ridings in 2008.
All three received word that
they had received the party's
nomination earlier this month.
For Warwick, the news came as
a bit of a surprise.
"I heard there was the opportunity, so I approached people
and I was told that this was a
riding where there might be an
opportunity. After some time I
was told I was a candidate. So I
don't really know what the whole
process is."
Warwick, a political science
student and long-time AMS
councillor, has been volunteering for the Liberals since he was
15 and has been a card-carrying
member since 19.
"[Running as a candidate]
seemed like an extension of
some of the things I've already
done," said Warwick. "I've always believed in the values of
the Liberal party so this seemed
like a way to help that."
He faces a tough race: in 2008,
only 5.5 per cent ofthe riding's
34,000 voters turned out in
Warwick is running for the Grits. GEOFF LISTER PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
support of the Liberals. NDP
candidate Nathan Cullen has
held the riding since 2004. Warwick has never resided in the
riding and will only be able to
begin on-the-ground campaigning on April 20, when his exams finish.
"I've done a lot of reading
about the key issues there, but I
shouldn't overstate it in any way.
I still have a lot to learn still."
While Warwick was the first
UBC student nominated, two
more joined him this week.
Lalli, a 21 year old political
science student, was nominated Tuesday, while McGillivray,
a second year student and the
head of the UBC Young Liberals, was nominated Wednesday. Both declined comment
for this story.
Lalli will be hoping to unseat veteran Conservative MP
Dick Harris in Cariboo-Prince
George. Harris has represented the traditionally Conservative riding since 1993.
But she'll also be running
against a very similar candidate
to herself. Jon Van Barneveld is a
22-year-old UNBC student who is
running for the NDP and a protege of Cullen, the MP holding
the seat Warwick is going after.
"I have seven years of political experience behind me. I
worked for Cullen on all of his
campaigns [and] the HST initiative, STV referendums as well
as local riding associations
and campus clubs at UNBC,"
said Van Barneveld. "And so I
don't feel by being a youth I'm
Unlike Warwick and Lalli, Van
Barneveld has lived in his riding, which UNBC is a part of. He
said that the response to his candidacy has been very positive.
"New Democrats have always
been really supportive of their
youth candidates, more so than
most parties," he said. "And I
think even from the public media we've been getting really
good reception from them."
He argued that while his youth
gives him a fresh perspective on
the issues, he is well acquainted
with problems in Northern BC.
"The north has been economically depressed for the last fifteen years. Most of the recession
has happened in the last two
years, but the north has been living in it for [much longer]," he
said, adding that his background
in the resource sectors gives him
a heightened understanding.
While Van Barneveld said he
was glad to see more young people such as Warwick and Lalli
running for office, he was critical of how the Liberals chose
their candidates.
"It's good to see more youth
coming out of the woodworks,
but I have a sneaking feeling that
lots of these Liberal candidates
are thrown into the mix just so
that they can say they ran a full
set of candidates," he said.
Warwick, however, said he
plans on putting up a fight.
"I think that people will see
that I'm not here to tell them that
I know what's best, but I'm here
to listen to what their concerns
are and I'm going to put in as
much of a campaign as I can." tl
UBC student eyes Vancouver School Board seat
Ryan Clayton is notyour ordinary
second-year social work student.
Involved with the field and
passionate about fighting discrimination since he was 17,
the 23-year old is now hoping
to be nominated for a the position of school trustee on the
Vancouver School Board—a position he's confident he has the
experience and support to get.
His role as school trustee
would be to make decisions for
the school board on finances,
programming and advocating
the Ministry of Education about
the needs of the board and the
voice of the students.
Clayton feels that in the role
he could improve consultation
with students.
"I could walk in a room with
another school trustee and ask
the exact same question in the
exact same way, and students
are going to respond to me differently because I'm closer to
their age," he said.
Consultation with students
for him also involves discussing
technology and making sure all
schools are upgraded.
As a self-proclaimed geek,
Clayton also wants to discuss
video games and the impact they
have on the education system.
Dealing with homophobia and
bullying while growing up in
Salmon Arm, he was motivated
to help other troubled youths in
what he feels was valuable experience for the job.
"When I was a kid I was bullied pretty badly, which led me
to the point where I opened that
youth centre so I could be a peer
to peer councillor for other people who were going through similar things."
Clayton said that the youth
centre helped kick-start his role
as a councillor to youths and
then into politics.
"I think that there are huge
opportunities to just talk to kids,
really engage them and discuss
issues in a way that they can
take ownership of their schools
and they can be in charge of
it. That's what sort of led me
into education, and I've always
been interested in politics," he
said. "I've always thought that's
where stuff gets done."
Politically, he has acted as
co-chair on a civic advisory
committee, where he worked
with the mayor, city council,
the parks board and the school
As far as support goes, he feels
that he is strongly backed by
Vision Vancouver, where he is
seeking nomination to run for
the position.
Clayton is hoping for trustee spot. GEOFF LISTER PH0T0/THE UBYSSEY
"The odds are I have a very
strong shot at it...I think I have
a lot of people who want me to
be very successful that are going to help me."
Despite his young age and
the fact that he has not yet graduated from his university program, Clayton is confident that
his experience will win over
critics. "Ifyou take my age away
from it, I have more than enough
experience to be qualified for
the position," he said.
"I have eight years working
around politics, five years working around education directly
with students. My experience
is completely justified. I belong
there." U
Heated debate surrounded executive pay hikes, as the Business and Finance Committee
brought forward a motion to
increase AMS staff pay ahead
of the province's minimum
wage increase that comes into
effect May 1.
The motion proposed a three-
tier wage structure and wage increases would take place in two
stages—one on May 1, 2011,
and the other coming in May
The changes would raise the
four executive positions to $15
per hour, effectively raising executive salaries from $25,000
to $30,000 a year.
Executives recused themselves from the discussion.
While assistants, speakers
and committee chairs would also
receive raises according to their
assigned tier, most of the discussion surrounded the pay hike for
non-minimum wage employees.
"We believe our execs need
this kind of compensation so
that they can continue to do the
great work that they do," said
Allen Chen, GSS rep and budget committee member.
Student senator Joel Martens
said executive pay raises would
receive negative attention, especially since the AMS recently passed a referendum to increase student fees.
The referendum passed by
a two per cent margin and one
of the primary arguments of the
"no" campaign was that the
AMS wanted more fees to increase executive wages.
"I believe that right now we're
about...top tier of exec remuneration, and...moving up to some
ofthe highest in student unions
across Canada," added Martens.
Had the motion failed, increases would have applied to all employees whose pay would fall
belowthe$8.75 new minimum
wage, while all others would
stay the same.
Student Greg Williams was
concerned that the decision
would go to vote without student input.
"I'm not all that passionate
about exec wages, but about
that I know a large number of
people who would probably have
been here right now had they
known that exec wages were
going to be discussed.
"If you do this at another
meeting, I guarantee there will
be more students here, and they
will have things to say," he said.
Though Council was only informed ofthe proposed increases at the meeting, in which most
of the councillors were newly-
elected representatives, Chen insisted "it wasn't our intention to
deceive Council," and further opposed the postponement, saying that "student employees
who were set to be hired this
coming week would not know
their pay.. Think about standing
up for students who are working for these wages."
AMS food and beverage workers were not included in the
wage restructuring, tl 4/UBYSSEY.CA/CULTURE/2011.04.07
~<       •   :
- ■
~_.-...* "'*.;
Talent budget
cup of beer
kegs of beer
feet of fencing
Tickets sold as of Tuesday
Day of tickets
tickets to breakeven
Last year's attendance
Forecast temperature
Set up for the annual last day of classes concert began Wednesday morning. GEOFF LISTER PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
•Can't tell a dubstep from a mashup from a fat guy with a Macbook?
We did it! Summer! Classes are over! But before thinking about the small matters of
finals and trying to find a summer job, let's take a little break
to celebrate. Ifyou'd like to huddle in a group on Maclnnes field
under whatever atmospheric
conditions Vancouver spews on
Thursday, either shivering or
dancing to 4/4 beats and swilling crispy cups of $3 Molson,
then Block Party is sure to satisfy your needs.
April 7 will see electronic
artists Switch, Rye Rye, Felix
Cartel, Team Canada DJs and
MY!GAY!HUSBAND! take the
stage for UBC's last-day-of-class-
es celebration. We talked to a couple ofthe acts about Johnny Cash,
dubstep and starting fights.
"I don't know any of the frats at
UBC, but they're all wimps."
Jason Sulyma, who DJs as
MY!GAY!HUSBAND!, won't consider his set at Block Party a success unless he gets to fight someone afterwards. "That's why I'm
coming up there," he said. "To
beat them frat guys up. Especially the big ones."
They're strong words coming
from a man who believes he was
only asked to play the event because he's a "giant, sweaty, fat
guy freakshow."
Sulyma has been performing
as MY!GAY!HUSBAND! for about
eight years, hosting parties all
over Vancouver. Most Saturday
nights he performs at the Biltmore as part of the Glory Days
Nothing is off limits for Sulyma. He's remixed everyone
from Lou Reed to the Beatles,
and even the Muppets theme
song. "I'm just a big weirdo and
I have nothing else to do when
everyone else falls asleep," he
said. "So I make all these stupid
songs from like lam to 6am...
No one will play them except
for me."
Despite his love for genre
bending, there is one sound Sulyma avoids at all costs, despite
its popularity. "I like sing-along
songs. Save the dubstep for the
overdose at the hotel," he said.
"I don't like having crazy, drug-
addicted friends who grind their
jaws all day and stare at you like
they're going to kill you. I like
Muppet songs."
Sulyma isn't sure whathe's going to include in his Block Party
set, but he promises a "shitkick-
ing" show. Whether he's referring to the music or his on- and
off-stage antics is unclear.
" I apologize
in advance for
everything I'm
going to do."
"I don't know why I've been
invited to play. I tried to DJ over
Stars one year and then I blacked
out," he said.
"So I apologize in advance for
everything I'm going to do."
Fire" earned them a host of new
fans, including the late DJ AM,
who helped launch the group
in the US.
Grandtheft considers the
group to be "pioneers" in the Canadian DJ community.
"I don't think anyone does it
like we do," he said. "Especially when we started. At the time,
you'dgo to the club and just hear
house music or you'd go and just
hear hip-hop. There was no going
and hearing hip-hop at a house
club—never mind hearing Johnny Cash."
Cash's well-known track is cut
with clips from Clint Eastwood
Westerns and samples from Bus-
ta Rhymes and 50 Cent. It's surprising and clever. Grandtheft
said, "We definitely have a sense
of humour about it.. We don't take
ourselves too seriously. There's a
Canadian humility to the whole
thing that I think is lacking a lot
in the States."
Even though they've played
parties for people who could buy
and sell the AMS in an afternoon,
Grandtheft says the pair are excited about their Block Party set.
"To be honest, the party we're going to do at UBC is going to be a
million times better than any of
those celebrity parties," he said.
-Ginny Monaco
-Ginny Monaco       FELIX CARTAL
Team Canada DJs have a CV that
includes sets on the Olympic
medal stage and at private parties for the likes of David Beckham and Paris Hilton. On April
7, they'll add UBC's illustrious
Maclnnes Field to that list.
The group is composed of DJs
Grandtheft and D.R. ONE, both
veterans of the Montreal club
scene. About eight years ago
they began co-hosting parties
as Team Canada. In 2004, their
remix of Johnny Cash's "Ring of
The Ubyssey caught up with Vancouver DJ Felix Cartal for an email
interview to talk about how he
plans to rock an outdoor beer garden as hard as a Miami Beach after party.
Ubyssey How did you get into
music? How was it coming up
in the Vancouver scene?
Felix Cartal I slowly started
listening to more of it once I
heard Radiohead's Kid A. This
album really helped me to connect rock music and electronic
music, and from there I just
tried making my own. I've always been a studio guy as well,
I was using Reason [sound editing software] back in grade 10
in high school. I kind of lucked
out having to climb the ranks
in Vancouver's scene, because
I lived in Glasgow when I first
started DJing. My first gigs were
all overseas. And actually, I was
a UBC student at the time, doing
my studies abroad there. When
I came back, I started gigging
in North America.
U Do you play a different set at
a club versus an outdoor stage?
FC Yeah definitely. I think when
you're playing outdoors versus in
a club, it's more of a band vibe,
people are jumping and looking
atyou more directly. In the club,
I try to remember people are actually dancing more, so I try to
cater to that in that environment.
U You've got a section on your
blog that explains your creative process. What's some basic advice you can give to new
FC People had been asking me
online how I made some of my
sounds so I thought this would
be a good way of documenting
and referring everyone to one
place. My biggest advice is you
don't need an expensive studio
to make great music. Learn what
you have and use it well.
U You've done some work with
Steve Aoki. Any wacky stories?
FC He crowd-surfs at his shows
in an inflatable raft! Enough
U Evaluate the term/concept/
genre: "dubstep."
FC What's dubstep?
—Jonny Wakefield 2011.04.07/UBYSSEY.CA/CULTURE/5
Diving in with AquaSoc
Venerable UBC club gives students a taste ofthe life aquatic
For the sake of practice, AquaSoc substitutes the impenetrable depths of the ocean with the pool at War Memorial Gym. JEFF BLAKE PHOTO/AQUASOC
One ofthe oldest diving groups
in Canada is in the basement of
the SUB. The UBC Aqua Society
prides itself in providing the
highest calibre of recreational
diver training as well as a learning environment that is fun, safe
and respectful of the underwater ecosystem.
Jeff Blake, the Aqua Society's internet coordinator, said
that the best thing about scuba
diving "is the ability to enter
a completely different world,
one which we were not designed
to be in and enjoy." According
to Blake, "we've invented a way
to breathe underwater—that's a
pretty amazing achievement that
more people should experience."
Breathing underwater for the
first time is strange and a bit uncomfortable. Before you know it,
though, your brain puts it all together and it gets easier. During
your first lesson you'll practice
safety skills, from what to do if
your goggles flood to what happens if your tank runs out of air,
all within arm's reach of a qualified instructor.
Mike Duncan, a scuba instructor, started diving about eight
years ago. "Whenyou take a new
group of students down, it's new
and exciting for them," he said.
"And when they come up out of
the water for the first time and
are so excited and thrilled about
the experience, that makes it
new and exciting for me every
He recommended the Aqua
Society to anyone interested in
learning how to scuba dive. "Especially for those who want to
travel and dive, I recommend
doing a good amount of dives in
your local area first," said Duncan. "Then when you go and travel you can spend so much more
time enjoying what is around
you instead of focusing on improving your skills."
However, you don't have to
travel far to have a great dive
experience. Duncan described
some amazing dives close to
"On [Vancouver] Island, the
artificial reef society of BC has
made artificial reefs out of old
ships. They gut these ships and
sink them into a well-suited environment and then these sunken ships...after five to tenyears
you have some really amazing
life on these ships that divers
can explore."
The Aqua Society offers diver training and members have
access to monthly club meetings, newsletters, instructional
programs and scuba equipment
rentals. Membership for a year
costs $35, which also includes
free air refills and access to
dive events (weekly night dives,
bi-weekly club dives and dive
The Aqua Society also hosts
other events, like the Helium Karaoke Beer Garden, guest speakers and regular movie nights.
Blake invited anyone interested
to come and see what the Aqua
Society has to offer. "We've got
one ofthe largest club spaces in
the SUB, with our own member
lounge, classroom and shop, so
come stop by, eat lunch and talk
about diving!"
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www.oxfordscminars.ca 6/UBYSSEY.CA/TRAVEL/2011.04.07
Guest Editor
As summer quickly approaches
and final papers and exams are
completed, many of us are beginning to focus our attention on
something more exciting—summer holidays. Should we book a
five-star resort in the Caribbean
or travel by train across Europe?
What about a cruise to Alaska?
While these may all sound like
great options, I encourage you
to think outside the sphere of
traditional travel.
My goal for this travel issue is
threefold: to describe and highlight novel ways of travelling,
such as organic farming; to critically examine the goals of organizations offering overseas experiences to students; and to
highlight less-visited destinations and activities in and around
Vancouver and the province of
British Columbia.
This issue is divided into two
sections. The first section is dedicated to travelling BC and includes "Have you ever been
to...?" stories, which detail little-known gems around British
Columbia. There is also a piece
describing extreme activities,
such as bungee jumping and
skydiving, available around the
greater Vancouver area.
As summer
quickly approaches
and final papers
and exams are
completed, many of
us are beginning to
focus our attention
on something more
The second provides stories on alternative travel,
while critically examining volunteer and exchange organizations that require payment.
Included is a piece which details several popular volunteer-travel companies that
advertise on campus, while
analyzing how the money
they receive is used. There
is also a story about the various exchange programs for
UBC students, which highlights both positive and negative perspectives.
As an editor for a large Canadian publication once told me,
stories relating to travel should
focus on the destinations and
what makes them special. I hope
this issue will offer fresh insight
on not only the places, but also
the experiences that can make
a trip unique and memorable
for you. tl
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Osoyoos, ideal Platonic polis
A perfect weekend road trip of
five hours down Highway 3 takes
you from temperate rainforest to
shrubs and steppes, raincoat to
sunhat, backyard to vineyard,
slug to scorpion. Osoyoos is located at the northernmost reach
of the Great Basin desert, which
itself stretches down and widens into Nevada. However, unlike most deserts, barren and desolate it is not. The town is situated on the waist of a beautiful (and
warm) lake. The name Osoyoos is
derived from a native word meaning 'where the waters narrow'—
always a good fishing spot.
Fishing is just one ofthe myriad of activities available there.
Anything you can think of to do
on a lake, you can do in Osoyoos:
relax on the sand beaches, wind-
surf canoe and so on. You can harvest fruit straight from the tree
at the many orchards between
June and October. There are a
number of well-regarded vineyards in the region, such as Burrowing Owl estate winery, where
one may have a taste, or two, ofthe
wine-making process. There are
hiking and biking trails strewn
throughout the shrub-grassland,
which flowers to wonderful effect
in the spring. As well, come night
time you will find the stars are
less shy in a desert sky.
Accommodation options are
plentiful, with prices starting at
around $50 a night, and a one way
Greyhound bus ticket from Vancouver is $70. You can visit desti-
nationosoyoos.com for a well-put-
together visitors' guide. %&
Bonus fact: Osoyoos's population
is exactly that of Plato's ideal for
a town or polis—just over 5000.
Beaches, wine and hiking in Summerland
British Columbia's interior is
riddled with small towns that
are far from many tourists' travel radar. Think blue lakes, rolling mountains and kilometres
of untarnished landscape: this is
the BC that is shown in HelloBC
advertisements but rarely seen
except by locals. Perhaps it's the
touristherd mentality thatkeeps
them off the beaten path, but
here are two small-town BC destinations not to miss.
With a population of 10,000
people, Summerland is a quaint
destination in the Okanagan.
Often overlooked in favour of
Kelowna or Penticton, Summer-
land has the same beaches and
wineries the valley is famous
for, but with the small-town feel
that Penticton has lost.
Summerland has three camp
"I would recommend Peach
Orchard campground because
it is a ten-minute walk to [Peach
Orchard] beach and ten minutes' walk into [Summerland's]
downtown core," said Shannon
Brilz, a tourist information host
at the Summerland Info Centre.
Peach Orchard Campground
is located at 6321 Peach Orchard
Road with rates ranging from
$27 per night for a tent to $32
per night for an RV. Want to visit with a big group of friends?
There are only four adults allowed per campsite, so make
sure to book adjoining sites.
Peach Orchard Beach, which
is just down the road, is Summerland's best. This beach also
has a dog section and water park
attached to it.
While known for its wineries,
Summerland isn't a culinary
destination. There are, however, a few good spots to get some
grub. The Vanilla Pod (9917A
Main St) is as good as any tapas
bar in Vancouver, with morsels
ranging from paella to sushi
"My favourite dish is the
creme brulee," said Anna Campbell, a Vanilla Pod fan. "It is
light, creamy, with the perfect
amount of burnt sugar—and
paired with one of Vanilla Pod's
Summerland wines, it's the perfect finish to a dish."
Summerland is a wine lover's
paradise. Bottleneck Drive, aptly
named for the ten wineries within eight minutes of each other, is
located on Highway 97. Most are
family owned and independent,
meaning that each winery produces their own special brew. Tours
can be booked daily at any winery from July to October.
Summerland is also known
for its outdoor activities. One local favourite is the Giant's Head
Mountain hike on Milne Road.
After about an hour's hike to the
summit, there is a view of the
entire South Okanagan. This is
the best spot in Summerland for
a picnic and makes the somewhat strenuous hike worth it.
Best of all, it's free, tl 2011.04.0 7/UBYSSEY.CA/T RAVEL/7
EDITOR TREVOR RECORD»features@ubyssey.ca
Williams Lake: rough it cheap
While the Okanagan has been
overrun with tourists in the
past decade, the Cariboo-Chil-
cotin region of the province
continues to grow in popularity due to its unspoiled wilderness and good price value.
With a population of 12,000,
Williams Lake is in the heart
of the BC backcountry,
"One ofthe number one hotspots
in Williams Lake is the Stampede Campgrounds," said Min-
dy Cox, an avid Cariboo-Chilco-
tin traveler. "It's close to downtown shopping and food, and
it's open all year round."
The Stampede Campgrounds are clean and self-
contained with excellent
rates, starting at only $16.80
per night for a tent.
Another option is McLeese
Lake Resort, which has cabins
on the lake that start at $59 per
night and sleeps two to six people. "It is my favourite spot to go
swimming and camping, even
just for the day or a pit stop during a long summer's highway
drive. It is right off the highway,
about 30 minutes north of Williams Lake," said Cox.
Most of Williams Lake's restaurants are popular franchises or
smaller diners. The Beeotcheese
Bistro and Bakery (160 2nd Ave)
brings urban fare to the hamlet.
Owned by two chefs, the bistro
has a rotating weekly menu with
reasonably priced items, such
as a turkey burger for $10. They
also have a vast assortment of
baked goods, which can be purchased to go.
"The students that work for the
summer come with their friends,"
said Geoff Moore, a travel writer and media relations representative for the Cariboo-Chilcotin
Tourism Centre. "They go for cat-
de drives and crazy adventures because [these] are affordable. They
also go mountain biking, kayaking or canoeing for long weekends
and hang out at quirky, under-the-
radar festivals."
One of the 'quirky' Williams
Lake traditions is the annual
Canada Day weekend stampede,
marking its 85th year in 2011.
The rodeo features bull and
bronco riding and is a smaller
version ofthe Calgary Stampede.
Tickets go on sale in June and
start at $15 per person for general admission. Ifyou are looking for that real country flair,
there is a barn dance during
the rodeo, with tickets at $20
per person, tl
Adventures up, down, near and far
Finals are coming, but summer
is just around the corner, just
in time to release your pent-up
energy after the rain is done.
Not sure whatyou want to do?
The Ubyssey has a quick guide
to local spots where you can
try out adventures from skydiving to white water rafting.
Get ready for intense adventures that will bring you from
sky high to the rock bottom
sea floor!
Bungee jumping is the ultimate adrenaline rush—and an
activity that many add to their
bucket list. Whistler bungee
jumping offers several jumping options, including a chest
jump in an upright position, an
ankle jump in the traditional
free-fall manner and the tandem option that bundles you
with a partner. Advance booking is required, especially during the peak season from June
12 to August 30. UBC REC also
offers daily bungee jumping.
PRICE: $130 (including tax)
Imagine falling from 12,500
feet in the open sky and out the
doors of a small plane over Abbotsford. UBC REC offers day
trips from May to July for $325.
Alternatively, you can visit Skydiving Vancouver and organize
a trip with friends.
PRICE: $325 for UBC students
with UBC REC
Ready to move on to something
that lies between the sky and
the ground? Try zip-lining. Engage in a two hour ride that
goes 80km/h from the peaks
of Grouse Mountain to the top
of Dams Mountain, and over
the Blue Grouse Lake in a selection of five different zip line
circuits. The general admission
is $105 plus tax, including Sky-
ride and dual-track, plus the
five-line zip circuit.
Price: $105
Time: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm (every two hours), Saturday, Sunday & holidays 10am-4pm (every hour)
Canadian Outback is one ofthe
few organizations that provide
white water rafting packages
in Vancouver. Elaho rafting
takes place around Squamish
and the whole trip is roughly
five hours long. Whistler He-
li-Rafting offers an extra helicopter ride from Squamish
to witness the majestic ambience of emerald green water,
snow-covered mountain peaks
and lush green valleys. To ensure participants are safe, full
wetsuits, booties foryour feet,
a life jacket and a helmet are
all provided.
Peak season runs July 1 to
August 28 and prices range
from $149-159 depending on
the size of the group. The value seasons are from May 7 to
June 30 and August 29 to September 25. Tickets range from
$129-139. All trips usually depart at 10am. During peak season, however, Saturday trips
leave at 8:30am.
PRICE: $149-159
Jericho Sailing Centre (JSC) is
one of the largest facilities in
Vancouver that arranges multiple water activities. The centre offers classes from introduction to advanced levels. The
UBC Sailing Club operates out
of the JSC, as do a number of
other companies. Membership
in the UBC Sailing Club costs
$97 for students, and courses
for sailing, windsurfing and
kayak range from $55-100.
Windsure offers windsurfing,
along with skimboarding, in
which boarders surf the shallow water waves leave on shore.
MacSailing provides group
and private sailing lessons.
Ecomarine offers courses in
kayaking. Alternatively, UBC
REC offers the same activities
for lower prices. One session
in skimboarding costs $44,
while one session in windsurfing is $66.
PRICE: Varies
If you've never been on a dive
before, The UBC Aqua Society
offers open water certification
starting from $369. Memberships in the the UBC Aqua Society are $35 for UBC students,
and include discounts on rentals and access to group trips.
UBC REC also offers the 'PADI
Basic Open Water Certification'
hosted by the International
Dive Center for $493 per UBC
student (includes eight sessions). All classes are a combination of both pool and open
water sessions.
PRICE: $400 and up
UBC's very own Varsity Outdoor
Club (VOC) organizes small
weekend trips from hiking,
climbing, mountaineering and
rafting to last minute ski trips
(till the end of May) across the
mountain peaks of Garibaldi to
Tetrahedron Provincial Parks
and the Sea to Sky Highway.
As one of its long-term members, MattParisien, commented, "Lots ofthe trips are open
trips. Ifyou want to go, then
you just sign up!" VOC welcomes new members at any
time of the year, so ifyou are
not a member and would like
to make new friends and embark on new adventures, check
out their website at ubc-voc.
com/index.php. tl
PRICE: $35 for student VOC
membership 8/UBYSSEY.CA/TRAVEL/2011.04.07
WWOOFing your way around the world
Travel through organic farming packs a major bite
No, it is not a brand of dog food
or a chain of pet stores. WWOOF
stands for "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms," and
it's a network of organizations
that allows volunteers to live,
work and learn on farms that
produce food naturally without
the use of synthetic chemical
Becky Young, coordinator of
WWOOF Canada, described how
the environment and living sustainably is extremely important
to the organization.
"WWOOF Canada is not in the
business to make money," said
Young, "but to live and promote
our passion for organic growing
and sustainable living."
If you are going to volunteer
for WWOOF, it is an asset to share
these same values. Imagine making wine in Italy, harvesting olives in Greece or tending to sheep
in Scotland—all while working on
an eco-friendly farm.
Traveling volunteers can find
work on farms in over 50 countries worldwide, and no work
visa is required because you
are paid in food and accommodation. Whatyou do need is an
open schedule and a willingness to travel outside of cities
to work on farms that are usually in remote areas.
When planningyour WWOOFing experience, think about the
type of work you would like to
do, how many hours a day you
are willing to work, whether you
prefer working on a farm with
many different people or only a
few, and the type of accommodation that you prefer. With thousands of hosts worldwide, there
are numerous options.
Farming is hard work, but the
experience can be enriching.
Elizabeth Plessis, a WWOOFer
who volunteered on a farm in
Argentina, explained how the
experience changed her views
on food production.
"There's something different
when you're helping grow the
foodyou eat. Itmakesyou appreciate where it comes from and
the impact that we as human beings have on our environment."
Work and hours vary, but expect
to do a lot of weeding, planting,
composting and many miscellaneous jobs that involve tending
to animals for about four to eight
hours per day. The length ofyour
stay can range from a couple days
to a few months. Many farmers
also give volunteers the option to
pay a small fee for accommodation or food ifyou do not want to
work long hours.
To become a WWOOFer, you
must pay a membership fee that
ranges from $20 to $50 Canadian dollars, depending on the
country in which you wish to volunteer. Membership fees help
cover the costs of running the
organization. These include employee wages, website maintenance, promotion of WWOOF
through publishing marketing
materials and media interviews,
investigation of reports when
problems or concerns arise and
the support of various charities.
A membership entitles you
to online access of hosts on the
website ofthe country you register for, the ability to create
your own profile, access to an
online community forum and
staff support to answer questions and assist in negotiating
WWOOF stays. Many are skeptical as to how difficult it is to
find a suitable host, but Becky
Young assured that, "in our 26-
year history, there has never
been a complaint of a volunteer
who was unable to WWOOF due
to lack of opportunity." tl
For more information, refer
to the The Practical Guide to
WWOOFing by Adam Greenman
or check out the website, wwoof-
Paying to volunteer: Where does your money go?
Volunteering abroad can be a
valuable experience for any student. But to guarantee a positive experience can come at a
Advertisements for international volunteer placement organizations are found all over the
UBC campus and a quick Google
search of 'volunteering internationally' brings up more than ten
million results. Representatives
of companies such as Help Learn
& Discover will often make classroom visits to students at UBC,
where they advertise rewarding
and unforgettable volunteer experiences in countries around
the world.
Help Learn and Discover (ecua-
experience.com), targets students
across Canada and the United
States and offers an all-around
experience in terms of a volunteer vacation. Volunteers fund-
raise in Canada and the United States prior to the trip before spending two weeks working on a volunteer project. This
is followed by one week of touring Ecuador and engaging in activities such as surfing and waterfall rappelling. A 28-day volunteer trip costs $3500 and includes transportation, meals (excluding dinner), as well as costs
for outdoor recreational activities. This sum does not include
medical expenses, travel insurance or more than $500 of miscellaneous fees.
According to Jose Naranjo,
marketing director of Help Learn
and Discover, "100 per cent of
all money fundraised goes towards the volunteer project. No
fees are collected from the organization for the fundraising.
The fundraised money is then
A BC student works in Nicaragua. GEOFF LISTER PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
taken to Ecuador to finance various projects to serve those less
However, in terms of an actual breakdown of a prospective
volunteer's fees, their company
maintains a policy of financial
"Our organization is a for-profit company and we thus reserve
the right to withhold private information," said Naranjo. "The financial breakdown of our company's profits is confidential."
Projects Abroad (projects-
abroad.org), an international
service projects organization
with more than 350 employees,
has fairly comparable fees. A one
month trip to Ecuador at an Amazon Rainforest Conservation
site costs $4000 and includes
accommodation, meals, medical and travel insurance, as well
as support from Projects Abroad
staff. These fees do not include
airfare or immunizations.
The 'Money Matters' section
of their website gives a breakdown ofthe percentage allocated
to each division of their company. Project monitoring takes 19
per cent on average, while volunteer support takes 23 per cent
and administrative costs take up
17 per cent. Direct costs on the
ground—accommodation, meals,
workshops—run at 22 per cent on
average. The remainder is taken
by awareness, communications
and advice, which takes around
19 per cent.
Once again, prospective volunteers may be hard-pressed to
find a complete and detailed account of their actual fees. According to Alison Kean, a Projects Abroad program advisor,
this is because each trip can vary
greatly depending on the destination country.
"The exact proportion of the
volunteer's fee depends on how
big the office is in that country,
how many staff are in that office and how many volunteers
"Our organization
is a for-profit
company and
we thus reserve
the right to
withhold private
choose that specific destination,"
said Kean, "A portion of the volunteer program cost definitely
goes towards the staff."
In contrast, Bolivia Volunteers
(boliviavolunteers.webs.com) offers a four-week placement in Co-
chabamba, Bolivia for $750 and
provides a complete price breakdown. Homestay accommodation
with three meals a day costs $22
per day, the project co-ordinator
takes $84, project sundries—materials, stationery, etc—costs $15
and finally $35 goes to 'administration' (advertising, phone calls).
Claudia Andrea of Bolivia Volunteers was once the Co-
chabamba City Manager for a
large multi-national placement
organization, but found dealing
with volunteers' questions quite
"It became increasingly difficult to avoid the issue of [where
the money goes]," says Andrea.
"It was actually contract-bound
that the financing of a volunteers' placement was not to be
discussed with them."
Bolivia Volunteers is a family-run organization and relies
on family members and friends
to assist in facilitating volunteer
projects, including airport greetings and city tours. Administration costs are minimal because
they use a free site and have very
little overseas advertising. The
companyprides itself onits ability to offer 'at cost' placement
fees and corporate transparency.
Matt Whiteman, a MA candidate in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program at UBC,
stresses more concern in issues of
equitable allocation of fees rather
than actual price amounts. White-
man has volunteered overseas
twice in East Africa, once with
a Canadian government-funded
NGO called Youth Challenge International, and a second time
with a small organization called
KASOW (Kanyawegi Support for
Orphans and Widows).
Whiteman found his experiences quite fair in terms of personal financial expenses, but is
more concerned with the very
nature of overseas volunteer
"The negative externalities of
the presence of volunteers in a
community are never included
in [the calculations]," says White-
man, "[Volunteers] saving money may just mean that somebody
at the other end is not getting a
fair deal. That's the level of transparency you want—are volunteer
partnerships really equitable?" tl 2011.04.07/UBYSSEY.CA/TRAVEL/9
The highs, lows and costs of going global
Many students will tell you that
studying abroad was the best
time of their life. UBC student
Ellie Chan said that after her
exchange at Jean Moulin Lyon
three in France her "comfort
zone now is so much wider," and
Sauder student Paul Davidescu
said he "learned to enjoy the little things in life and be less materialistic," after his exchange
attheESADE School of Business
in Barcelona, Spain.
Bailey Dew, an Arts student
who went on a summer abroad
in Guatemala, said, "I enjoyed
a different way of learning—our
papers were hand-written, we
had very limited internet access [and] our 'classroom' was
Dew was also able to get six
credits in six weeks, which she
described as "nice in terms of
getting credits faster." Pam Jung,
an HKIN graduate who went on
exchange to the University of
Queensland in Brisbane, Australia only had class three days
a week and said a full course
load was four classes—which are
worth four credits each.
These are the stories most
students hear about exchange,
but what isn't talked about as
much is the downside of studying abroad. The biggest negative
for students is usually the cost.
Tamara Navaratnam said her
program through Go Global with
the Manchester Business School
was "quite expensive, since it
only ran five weeks but it did
include transportation around
Europe, as well as accommodation—although the hotels were
memorable for all the wrong
It can also be poor for your
health. In Guatemala, Dew
said, "[I never] went more than
three or four days straight being
healthy and I know everyone was
in the same boat. [Some] people
had to make hospital visits."
She added that "we were really isolated—[living] an hour into
the jungle in a remote community [without] hot showers [or]
laundry machines."
Sophia Munoz, who studied
Spanish for a month at the University of Santiago de Compos-
tela, said that "having class in
Spain from 9am to 3:30pm did
not allow for a lot of travel time."
"Itwas harder to make friends
than I thought, due to the fact
we didn't have a campus," added
Chan, who also advised students
to be aware of post-exchange
withdrawal as well.
She herself is working with
UBC's International Peer Program (IPP) now to help exchange
students adjust to their life back
at UBC. Most students were reluctant to give any negative feedback about their study abroad
experiences, and almost everyone said they grew or changed
as a person for the better after
studying abroad.
While Go Global Exchange
is the most well-known program, there are other programs
for students to learn abroad,
such as International Service
Learning, Group Study and Research Abroad.
Go Global Director Katherine Beaumont said that "the
breadth of these opportunities
allows students to choose a program that fits their individual needs and interests." International Service Learning allows students to learn about international development issues
by volunteering for community-based projects in Africa and
Latin America.
This program usually includes accommodations, meals,
a mid-session excursion and
sometimes flights, but there are
only a handful of credit-bearing
programs available. Group Study
Programs are small (25 students
max), specific, theme-based
programs where students travel along with UBC professors to
study in another country. Research Abroad is fairly self explanatory—students can conduct research at any of UBC's
150 partner institutions, which
Beaumont said helps students
"access equipment and resources beyond what might be offered
at UBC."
In regards to exchange, everyone always asks the cost. In most
cases, students just pay their
regular tuition to UBC along
with a basic $363 acceptance
fee. Students also have to take
into consideration the cost of
flights, visas, accommodation
and living expenses. Beaumont
said there is "absolutely" scholarship money available, with
$1.4 million in awards for students. Almost every student is
given $1000 from Go Global so
long as they have a 70 per cent
The process of applying is fairly simple with the first round
deadline in mid-January for
terms one and two, full-year and
split-year. The round two deadline is coming up on May 13—
exchanges for this deadline are
limited to term two and split-
year programs. Students must
state their top three university
choices when applying, along
with the application, a study
plan and a short essay explaining their university choices, va
There is much more info available for students at students.ubc.
ca/global/index.cfm, which lists
all the partner institutions and the
course transfer credit database.
Planning for hassle-free travel
Thinking of throwing on your
backpack and buying a one-way
ticket for the start of a great adventure? Think again. Letting a
travel agency help plan your trip
might reduce some ofthe hassle
and the cost of doing it alone.
Kam Johal, manager at the
UBC Travel CUTS office, believes
planning a trip through an agency has several advantages. "Our
travel consultants are experts
who will help plan all aspects of
your trip, from choosing the perfect destination for you to getting
the best student deals out there."
While some students may feel
overwhelmed and nervous about
the prospect of going through an
agency, TJ Hermiston, co-founder ofthe Vancouver-based travel
company Beach Travellers, said
there is no reason to be hesitant
if you choose to go through an
agency with a good infrastructure, reputation and tons of experience. "Beach Travellers provides the outline and structure
of what we think to be the ultimate trip in each country."
According to Johal, doingyour
own research and planning is
great, but "nothing compares to
talking to an expert travel consultant who's been there and done
that, and can offer invaluable
first-hand advice."
Planningyour trip through an
agency may also save you money. Travel CUTS, for example, specializes in student-travel, and encourages people to take certain
steps to save even more, such
as getting an ISIC (International Student Identity Card), which
full-time students can apply for.
They also offer five per cent off
some of the trips.
Travel Agencies can be lifesavers. COURTESY OF SALISAN LAUGESEN/FLICKR
While some of the prices online seem scary, Hermiston assures they are worth it.
"Yes, anyone could go anywhere and live off a smaller
budget, and stay in one place
for one month and save money," he admits, but argued they
would probably make more mistakes and miss out on awesome
"The people who deal with
trips and have been going there
for a long time know exactly
where to go."
During summer, Hermiston
said their most popular trip is
the one to Thailand because "if
a traveller wants to bask in the
culture, eat the amazing street
food and hang out with locals,
they can do so, or if they want to
have a more activity-based trip
they can go diving, hang out on
the beach or go rock climbing."
The 24-day trip costs about
$1800. Johal suggests a month
in Europe, through Paris, Rome
and Amsterdam, or London and
Athens. The trips cater to both experienced and first-time travelers.
The prices for these trips depend
on whatyou would like to see, but
they also have a planned 11-day
trip to seven countries that goes
for about $1400.
Ifyou are thinking of taking
off somewhere this summer,
consider letting someone else
take charge. It is true that travelling alone may be filled with
more excitement and might be
more appealing ifyou like going where the wind takes you.
But if not, there are many agencies that offer awesome trips
and are there to cater to your
needs and safety. After all, they
are the experts, tl
Ifyou are interested in contacting Beach Travellers, visit their website afbeachtravellers.com. Travel
CUTS has several agencies around
the city and can also be accessed
online at travelcuts.com.
The volunteer conundrum
Guest Editor
I like to believe that people are
generally caring and altruistic
in nature. I like to think that
the privileged will help those
less fortunate. That's why I find
it fascinating that volunteering
abroad, or so-called 'voluntourism,' seems to be en vogue nowadays, especially with the un-
der-thirty crowd.
Are these
actually affecting
change, or are their
benevolent deeds
causing more harm
than good?
In the 12 or so years I have
been travelling around the globe,
I have noticed a change in the
way young people travel. I remember when travelling used
to be just about the parties, the
hook-ups, the 17 countries in 28
days. Yet it seems that instead of
merely travelling for fun, more
people are trying to incorporate
a greater sense of purpose in
their adventures. Whether it's
because the experience will look
good on a CV or if it's simply due
to the altruistic nature of one's
intentions, voluntourists pick
an area they would like to visit, like sub-Saharan Africa or
Southeast Asia, and try to justify their travels by including
a little goodwill on their part.
It all sounds great, doesn't
it? For example, a return flight
from Vancouver to Nairobi, Kenya, costs roughly two thousand
dollars. Add another thousand if
you want to visit India and the
surrounding area. It's a win-win
scenario. Tourists get to spend
time in an exotic and foreign
land, snapping amazing photos, while at the same time, helping the less fortunate—the Other. In addition, regardless of
their intentions, they are treated like royalty.
A question that needs to be
asked, then, is if these voluntourists actually affecting change, or are
their seemingly benevolent deeds
causing more harm than good?
I remember when, during the
summer of 2008,1 spent nearly
a month volunteering in a small
village in northern Tanzania as
a language educator. My entire
trip, including almost a month of
volunteering, cost nearly $3000.
After returning, I often wondered if my money would have
been better spenthad I simply donated the amount to the organization with which I volunteered.
Even though my experience was
unforgettable and something I
will cherish the rest of my life—
I still look at the photos in awe—
I often wonder if my "expertise"
was really needed. I met many
local educators who seemed to
be as knowledgeable as I was, if
not more.
Thus, despite our good-natured intentions, who actually
benefits when Westerners travel
abroad to volunteer? Some say
the road to hell is paved with
good intentions. After all, didn't
they pave paradise and put up a
parking lot? tl 10/UBYSSEY.CA/PERSPECTIVE/2011.04.07
Piatt: Kabul U "an oasis," but also a battleground
Afghanistan wrested the
world's attention back from
Libya and Japan this week with
a series of violent protests over
a Koran-burning stunt in the
United States. The stunt was
performed by a pathetic old
man named Terry Jones, a villainous right-wing pastor with
a Yosemite Sam moustache and
a tiny religious following. His
fringe actions were properly ignored by all major media outlets until the Iranian and Afghan governments issued simultaneous condemnations
of it. Hamid Karzai's role in
inflating an otherwise irrelevant incident is deplorable, and
reinforces my sinking feeling
that Afghanistan has no chance
for a peaceful future until a
new president is elected.
It is wrong to assume, as some
people have, that these are grassroots protests organized by concerned Afghan citizens. Much
like the Danish cartoon protests
from a few years ago, the Koran-burning protests are the
result of a concerted effort by
reactionary Islamic clerics to
foment anger through misin-
formation.The first protests
last week were organized by the
forces of Sheikh Asif Mohseni, the same practitioner of
Shia teachings who launched
his angry mob against the progressive curriculum of Marefat High School.
The result of the effort initiated by Mohseni and friends? A
UN compound in the relatively
peaceful northern city of Mazar-
i-Sharif was stormed by an angry crowd; seven foreign staff
members and five Afghans were
murdered. According to reports
from Afghan police, two Nepalese guards were beheaded. Rolling protests have taken place
in many other cities since then;
an unconfirmed number of Afghans have been killed or suffered injuries, but a massacre
on the level of Mazar has fortunately not been repeated.
The worst thing we can do
right now is lump moderate,
ordinary Afghans in with the
wrathful and largely illiterate
leaders of the violent protests.
It should also be noted that
the majority of the protests in
the country have been peaceful. The blame for the UN compound deaths shouldbe placed
squarely where it belongs: on the
Kabul University resembles any other university campus. BRIAN PLATT PHOTO/THE UBYSSEY
religious and political leaders
in Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere who take any chance they
get to whip up an intimidating
mob in order to selfishly secure
their own power.
The only current protest in
Kabul was being organized on
the campus of Kabul University. It's not surprising that a protest would be organized on the
campus; Afghanistan's universities have long been ideological battlegrounds. In the 1960s,
Marxists and Islamists competed to organize their own factions
among students. Yet I was also
disappointed to see the campus
being used for this, as all ofthe
Afghan students and teachers I
met while in the country were
contemptuous of the efforts by
clerics to turn Afghans against
the international community.
I've spent an afternoon at the
university. Compared to the rest
of Kabul's clogged, dusty, trash-
strewn streets, the campus felt
like an oasis. It is filled with
green trees and shrubs, water
fountains and quiet pathways.
Students were lounging around
on grassy hills, talking with
each other and reading books.
It was for the most part like any
campus I've been to in North
America. None of the students
I passed seemed surprised to
see a white person walking by.
There was a sense of normalcy
here that most places I visited
did not have.
The campus had a brand new
soccer stadium and a social sciences building funded by the
Pakistani government. New faculty buildings were going up in
many places. There was a large
sign announcing a project to
build new pathways around the
Later on in my trip, I sat
down with a staff member at
the Afghanistan Research and
Evaluation Unit. When I expressed my optimism about
what I'd seen at the university, he was mostly pessimistic.
Most of the professors there
were "trained"   (he used air
quotes when he said it) decades
ago, and have no sense of what
a modern university curriculum is supposed to be. He didn't
like the multi-million dollar social sciences building either.
"What Afghanistan needs are
accountants and engineers,
people trained in the trades,"
he said. (As the outgoing Arts
Undergraduate Society president, I put up a fight for the liberal arts, but I take his point.)
The biggest problem at Kabul
University is the vicious circle
that hinders so much development work in Afghanistan: you
can't have a good education system without good teachers, but
you can't have good teachers
without a good education system. It is crucial for Afghanistan's post-secondary education system to help train professors and break the negative
feedback loop for the international community. UBC and
other Canadian universities
are running a few partnership
programs with universities in
Afghanistan (I mentioned one
in the previous column involving SAIT in Calgary, and UBC
departments have run programs with Afghan universities on forestry and early childhood development), but there is
so much more work to do and
there will be for a long time.
In the end, the protest at Kabul University went off peacefully. And that's good: if there's
anywhere in the country where
safe, peaceful protests should
happen regularly, it's on a campus. But I desperately hope that
the protest organizers don't
gain the upper hand among
students. Kabul University and
the other higher education facilities in the country need to
be able to produce a large number of graduates who are literate, professional and able
to contribute to the country's
political and economic health.
They aren't there yet, and any
progress will be doomed if religious reactionaries are allowed
to dominate the discourse, tl
Free Public Lecture
The Vancouver Institute Presents:
Bill McKibben
(Author of The End of Nature)
speaking about his latest book:
"EAARTH: Making a Life
on a Tough New Planet"
Saturday evening, April 9
at 8:15 p.m. in Lecture Hall No. 2 of UBC's Woodward Instructional
Resources Centre. Call 604 822 1444 for a program or visit our website at http://vaninst.ca/ 2011.04.07/UBYSSEY.CA/OPINIONS/ll
DO YOU CARE? WRITE US A LETTER»feedback@ubyssey.ca
While this election offers policy options that, for
the first time in recent memory, are of real interest to students, the timeline for the election is
less than ideal. Not only is all of the campaigning happening in the midst of exams and final papers, but the day of the vote itself is May 2. That's
right in the middle of moving and vacationing for
many, many students. So in many ways, the deck
is stacked against us leveraging this rare opportunity—one where politicians actually care what we
think—all that much.
But there are a few things student groups and
clubs can do in the upcoming weeks that could
provide a valuable service. First, educating students on how they can vote. Last election, there
was a change in what constituted valid ID, forcing
students who lived in campus housing to either
bring registered mail, or to swear an oath and be
vouched for by a registered voter. Few students
knew this, and thousands were unable to vote.
And that was in the middle of October.
Given that, it's especially critical for all students
moving from one residence to another to know
what they have to provide in order to vote, and for
the AMS and UBC Housing to communicate that.
Secondly, we'd like to see an all-candidates forum on campus. One was organized in the SUB
in 2008, and it was a valuable opportunity for
students to ask pertinent questions and for our
elected hacks to get face time with potential MPs
before they got elected. Both are important, and
unless you believe Kyle Warwick or Sangeeta Lalli
are going to be elected next month, an all-candidates forum is the best way for it to take place.
These may not be groundbreaking or particularly exciting endeavours, but the work of advocacy, education and lobbying is filled with plenty of
mundane tasks that pay off in the long run. Here's
hoping people take the chances afforded by an
election to do this.
At last night's council meeting, less than a month
after the referendum for an AMS fee increase barely passed, a motion came from committee to pass
an across-the-board increase to AMS salaries. Without any consultation. Luckily, Council stopped this
in its tracks, delaying a vote until the next meeting.
The increases weren't necessarily a bad thing.
They are a result ofthe recent increases in the BC
minimum wage. But both employees currently
making minimum wage and those that are making more would be getting increases, to reflect the
current pay tiers. And somewhere in there, those
goshdarn chowderheads forgot to do proper planning, consultations, legible Excel documents or assessments of previous reports.
One of the main issues is that the AMS Executive
actually aren't allowed to receive raises in the middle of their terms, according to code. So getting raises would require that code be suspended—which
they can do if they want, but that code is there for
a reason. And the stated justification for the executive wage increase is that otherwise some people
in the AMS would be paid more per hour than the
Execs. Another stickypointisthatthepayincreases reflect a percentage-based increase to all positions. Increases to the minimum wage are meant
to benefit the lowest-paid, not serve as an excuse
to also hike up higher-tier wages. This could be a
chance to reassess which positions are the most
important and pass fair adjustments.
Across-the-board pay increases have the potential
to push the AMS's finances back into the red once
more. In fact, turning previously volunteer positions into paid ones is one ofthe reasons they were
in such financial straits this year. Without careful
planning, the AMS could end up back on your doorstep, hat in hand, asking for another fee increase.
Needless to say, this could have been bad for the
AMS's public relations. The "no" campaign, which
nearly stopped the fee increase from passing, argued the AMS wanted to pass the referendum was
to raise salaries. And careless use of money is exactly the sort of thing that 48 per cent of voting
students, who didn't want the to have their fees
increase, were no doubt worried about when they
voted "no." This is money thatyou, as students, voted (barely) for them to use—you'd expect they'd be
a little more careful with it. tl
Katie: Living in the Adderall Era
Once again it's April, and that means
baseball season has begun. However,
the sport remains shrouded by its reputation for rampant performance-enhancing drug use. Time and time again,
talk of baseball becomes condemnation,
derision and sanctimonious screeds
about integrity. Athletes? No, they're
bloated cheaters, certainly not worthy
of our respect.
But baseball isn't the only season
starting this April. Yes, I'm thinking
of final exam season. In this season
too, there is rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. Justlike baseball players, students crack under the
pressure of keeping pace in a competitive environment. Despite whatever the health effects might be, students pop copious amounts of amphetamine pills. Integrity? Don't be silly,
the stakes are much too high for that.
Like the slugger who takes steroids in
the final year of his contract because
he thinks it will help him land a big
deal next season, students in their last
year of undergrad use amphetamines
to help get into graduate school.
In both of these cases, the use of performance-enhancing drugs proliferated during the 90s. Illegal use of ADHD
stimulants on college campuses tripled between 1992 and 2003. According to the most recent studies, nowadays anywhere between 16 and 34 per
cent of undergrads admit to using stimulants, mostly during times of academic stress. For baseball, the 90s marked
the beginning ofthe 'steroid era.' In academia, it would be apt to start calling
this the Adderall era.'
I wish nobody took these performance-enhancing drugs. Not only is
it unhealthy, but it's unethical. However,
I won't condemn baseball players who
use steroids, nor will I condemn those
who use study drugs. We must recognize that, in both cases, there has never been more pressure to perform. For
baseball players, they're taking drugs
for their own job security. For students,
it's the exact same motivation.
There's something rather perverse
about an educational system whose
core function is to churn out able workers with marketable degrees. According
to a UCLA survey, in 1971, 37 per cent
of university students said the primary
aim of their university education was
to become "well-off financially," while
73 per cent of students came for a "philosophy of life." By 2009, those numbers
had reversed, as the primary aim for
78 per cent of students was to become
"well-off financially." But we shouldn't
place all the blame on the student, because financial insecurity is a reality. According to the most recent large-
scale study of college stress, "The American Freshmen: National Norms Fall
2010," students are feeling record levels of stress, in large part due to financial anxiety. Researchers suggest that
the bleak job market (in the US, there
are five job seekers for every opening),
record debt levels and parental unemployment are placing added pressure
on students to succeed. It appears likely that this generation of students is going to be worse off than their parents.
It's unfortunate that this society forces its best and brightest to forego a real
education—aimed at wisdom, knowledge and critical thinking—in favour of
more financially secure degrees. Like
the benchwarmer who's scared he'll be
sent back to the minors, today's student
is anxious about their future. Should
we be surprised that either decide to
use performance-enhancing drugs? va
I couldn't help but be shocked at the large
YES on the cover of The Ubyssey prior to
the referendum. Endorsements aside,
the tradition of the press as an objective, democratic institution was lost on
UBC's beloved campus paper. The tens
of thousands of students the Society represent bears two key implications. First,
you represent a lot of people. Second, and
more importantly those people are going to have different opinions.
While the politics of this referendum
were important to certain students,
as usual, apathy reigned rampant on
our campus. Personally, nearly half of
my friends and colleagues had no clue
about the referendum. All they saw: the
word YES everywhere, including on the
student paper meant to inform us and
keep our AMS executives in line. In my
second year at UBC, I informed writer
Trevor Record of a disgusting comparison of fraternity drinking crackdowns
by the RCMP to the Holocaust. After
returning from ayear on exchange in
France, I provided investigative work
on the Aquatic Centre. In addition, I
promoted the work of several students
trying to stop the deportation of an El
Salvadorian immigrant.
I believe The Ubyssey shines when
it keeps this University on its toes. Its
shine goes away when it provides a tin
mouthpiece to former and unelected
AMS executives. Blake Frederick still
occasionally appears, after having disgraced UBC on the international scale
through his UN Human Rights debacle. Matthew Naylor, the never-was VP
External, continues to campaign hopelessly for aposition thathasyetto exist.
Meanwhile, Gordon Katie writes about
soft, safe issues, declaring tuition 'too
high' and women's rights as 'universal.'
Perhaps Mr. Katie should rename his
column 'The Obvious.'
The writers for this paper, ripe with
history, need to be diversified. It is a
small group of students that work hard
to publish this paper twice a week. And
that needs to be appreciated. But there
are scores of English majors, journalism students and activists that need to
be welcomed into The Ubyssey. There
need to be hard-line investigators that
question McElroy and Cappellacci's
glossy, well-rehearsed responses. We
need writers, not narcissistic ex/current AMS politicians, revealing scandals and proposing logistically feasible solutions to our university's issues.
YES is a hardly objective thing to put
on a front page pre-referendum. UBC
students can think for themselves. Give
them that right. Then, let them write.
—Nadeem Hakemi 2011.04.07/UBYSSEY.CA/OURCAMPUS/ll
The cement-bound hellscape of
Gage Towers was decorated yesterday with faint stirrings of
life as, in defiance of entropy
and the dread god Moloch, a
I row of tulips probed the warming spring air. Gage residents,
clad in peasant rags and buckling under loads of damp wood
and sorrow, were mesmerized
by this rare display of vitality.
Some of them even paused in
the midst of their never-ending
perambulations between the torture wheel, the mud pit and the
charcoal-burning flats, taking a
moment from their torturous existences to revel in the oranges
and yellows of those courageous
blossoms. Before long, though,
the Gage taskmasters took notice, setting about their charges
with flails, and the pitiful residents were forced back to their
grueling labours. But as they
toiled, each held in their heart
a tiny bulb of hope, incubating
until the day when their spring
would come, tl
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