An introduction to LUSU’s centres.
Compiled by Leah Ching, Editor-in-Chief.
If you’re reading this, and you’re a Lakehead student, you’re already part of LUSU – the Lakehead University Student Union. Students pay membership dues to LUSU through their tuition, but many remain unaware of the organization’s mandate, services, events, advocacy, and activism.
LUSU strives to do much more that represent students and their interests. Advocating for students on the local and national level, providing students with fun events, services, and places to hang out, LUSU has been integral to building a connected and vibrant student community around Lakehead, and in making students’ lives just a bit easier.
LUSU funds and runs six centres around campus that seek to provide a supportive and engaging community for students of all backgrounds. At the centres, you can find friendly, like-minded individuals to share experiences with, and work together with to make the world a better place.
The Argus has compiled a list of LUSU’s centres, with a short description of each. Since you’re already a part of LUSU, all that’s left is to get involved. Each of these centres have deeply enriched the lives of many students throughout the years. Get in touch with coordinators, check out some events, and most importantly, get involved. The student movement is your movement.
Aboriginal Awareness Centre
Connecting students with Aboriginal history and culture on campus.
By Leah Ching, Editor-in-Chief
The Aboriginal Awareness Centre is a tremendous on-campus resource for any students to receive peer support and get involved with Aboriginal teachings, ceremonies and traditions.
The AAC also plays an important role in advocating on current issues facing Indigenous students. Clyde Brandon Moonias is the incoming coordinator at the Aboriginal Awareness Centre. He describes his role within the AAC as providing a safe and inclusive space for all students, as well as creating awareness around the day-to-day issues that many Indigenous peoples face.
The vision of the AAC is to bring students together to learn about Indigenous histories, cultures, and livelihoods. Through incorporating cultural customs in programs, the AAC envisions that Indigenous and non-Indigenous students will have a better understanding of the complexities of Aboriginal people and life.
Events hosted by the AAC include traditional art workshops, traditional arts and crafts workshops, sweat lodge ceremonies, and powwows, among others. On campus, and in the community, the AAC has fostered greater understanding and appreciation for Indigenous cultures. For new students and old, participating in one of the AAC’s events, or getting involved in advocating for Indigenous rights, is an amazing way to enrich your student experience in a meaningful way.
Moonias looks forward to listening to students and their needs to hear what kind of programming they’d like to see throughout the year. Visit the Aboriginal Awareness Centre, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 4:30PM in room SC0001.
Combatting food insecurity and teaching sustainable food production practice.
By Matt Quick, Outreach Coordinator
The Food Bank is a LUSU Centre that champions food security and food sovereignty. They provide emergency food relief once a month to students in need. In addition, the Food Bank offers opportunities for students to develop food skills like gardening and cooking. The centre Coordinator, Rob Strachan, is back for a second year of leadership. This year on the agenda, there are food drives and fun workshops planned for students to participate in.
The Food Bank is also well known on campus for offering People’s Potato, a free pasta lunch to all students once a week, while supplies last. This year’s People’s Potato events will occur on Thursdays at 11:30am, so keep an eye out for future announcements. The Food Bank will also be providing a Good Food Box service that will be available for order at the centre.
If you think you have a green thumb and want to flex it all year round, then you should consider volunteering with the centre’s Green House Project. This year will also feature an “Apocalypse” Workshop series starting in October that will focus on the food skills needed to survive.
The biggest food drive of the year for the centre is the Trick or Eat Drive, which occurs during the Halloween season. You and a group of friends can dress up and go door-to-door on Halloween to collect non-perishable food items (but also candy, too). Last year there were a record number of volunteers; they’re hoping to beat the record this year, so you should consider signing up. This year there will be an organizing committee that students can sit on to offer ideas for Trick or Eat.
As always, the Food Bank relies on volunteers to stay open so that students can access resources when they find themselves in financial distress. It’s a great place to get some quiet time to work on homework while simultaneously doing something good for your campus community. Right now, the Food Bank needs volunteers for Monday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, and Fridays. Visit Rob at the Food Bank (UC 0017B) from Monday to Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Gender Issues Centre
Feminist action centre that provides peer support, education, and advocacy.
By Ashley Aalto, Staff Writer
The Gender Issues Centre is an absolute treasure tucked away in the tunnels of Lakehead University. This sex-positive safe space is a great resource for students to learn about sexuality, gender issues, and feminism. With many comfy couches and an extensive library with books relating to gender and women’s studies, it is a great place to get homework done or kick back and relax! Feeling stressed? The Gender Issues Centre has many self-care workshops and events to help distress and soothe your worries away. These include self-care nature walks, discussions, and bath bomb making workshops.
Have questions relating to gender, sex, or sexuality? Don’t be shy! The Gender Issues Centre is a non-judgmental place with a great open door policy. Unless one of the coordinators is in the office with another student, the centre keep their doors open and invites students to come in and talk. The Gender Issues Centre is also known as the “social justice hub” around campus. The GIC does activist work while keeping an intersectional perspective. They promote work based on individuals’ lived experiences and promote that all experiences are valid.
Want to get involved? Join the Gender Issues Centre on Friday, November 4th at the Urban Abbey for Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night is an event that resists the anxiety people feel walking the streets at night and celebrates survivors of assault. There will be guest speakers, a march, and other activities to partake in. Go and see Sherrie-Lee Petrie at the Gender Issues Centre (SC 0020) between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday for more information.
In celebration of cultural diversity at Lakehead and around the world.
By Olivia Levesque, Arts and Culture Editor
The Multicultural Centre is an education, lobbying, support, and resource service, available to all Lakehead University students of any ethnic background. Coordinators with the centre work hard to connect students with opportunities to achieve goals, hone in on talents, and to connect within our community.
Mishael Almugait is the new centre coordinator of the MCC for the 2016-2017 school year. Almugait began at Lakehead only last January, and calls Saudi Arabia home. “I was lucky enough to have the MCC,” she shared, explaining that the centre was a comfortable place for her to seek resources and to connect within the multicultural community. The MCC is an important resource that has helped countless students adjust to major changes in their lives.
Mishael and her team have a goal of providing a free and open space to express, share, or even just sit and read. The idea is to be open and visible to students as a group advocating for inclusivity and cultural appreciation. The centre is also a place that advocates social justice and improving humanitarian efforts within our community. They provide a welcoming and inclusive space where students can discuss issues such as cultural identity, racism, and international development concerns.
The centre is excited for the year ahead: working with international and refugee students, and planning events are all in the works. Throughout the year you can look forward to movie nights with the MCC and Try My Food pop-up events in the Agora, which will be hosting different students showcasing food or drink in celebration of their culture. Planning is already in the works for the popular International Week that is coming up in February. Activities during International Week consist of the Mock Refugee Camp, food stands from all around the world, cultural showcases, workshops, and fun cultural activities.
The MCC celebrates the cultural diversity at Lakehead through events, and spreading appreciation for every dimension of the community’s diverse population. Their office is located at UC 2014A.
Student Union’s Pride Central celebrates our LGBTQ community
By Brady Coyle, Staff Writer
If there is one lesson we are learning from the American presidential elections, it is that we need to celebrate our differences, not fear them. LUSU’s Pride Central is a service that offers all members of the Lakehead community a place to do that. Pride Central, located in the UC 0019, is a support service for, and place to celebrate, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). This service does not stop at the boundaries of the LU campus, either.
“It [Pride Central] does work as a resource centre,” explains Navneet (Nivie) Singh, the coordinator for Pride Central. “It is also a support centre for LGBTQ identified folks, on campus as well as in the Thunder Bay community.” Pride Central offers peer support groups for those who either identify as LGBTQ, or are questioning their own sexuality. There are also events throughout the year that offer the opportunity to celebrate the LGBTQ community.
Pride of the North is an event that will be happening in the winter. Since most pride parades happen during the summer months, Pride of The North is directed at LU students. “Pride of the North was created to help LGBTQ identified folks, within the Lakehead student body, have a celebration and be visible on campus,” says Singh.
We need not wait until the winter months to show our pride. There will be events that are happening throughout the fall semester, as well. Last Friday was Bisexual Visibility day, hosted by Pride Central, and on November 25th, LU will celebrate Trans Visibility Day in the Outpost.
The community aspect of Pride Central goes much further than those who identify as LGBTQ. Those who identify as heterosexuals can also engage in the community in many positive ways. “I think that allies make a wonderful contribution to the community,” says Singh. “Supporting the community, coming out to events, creating spaces or moments to allow to support folks to be visible.”
Those who identify as heterosexual play an extremely important role in the culture of a community. Heterosexuals can help create an atmosphere where those who identify as LGBTQ, or those who are confused about their sexuality, feel safe and supported. Those who identify as heterosexual or LGBTQ can stop by Pride Central any time and help celebrate our differences.
The importance of sustainable living and LUSU’s Sustainability Initiative
By Brady Coyle, Staff Writer
Even before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced the newly titled position of Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, sustainable living had been a pressing issue all around the world. With the rapid depletion of nonrenewable resources and the excessive use of our renewable ones, without a societal change towards a more preservationist attitude, the future health of our environment looks bleak.
LUSU’s Sustainability Initiative (SI) is a local service that “promotes self-sufficiency and sustainable living through education and advocacy,” according to their website. While the SI is currently going through some changes internally, and with its website, they provide LU students and the Thunder Bay community with news, information, and resources for sustainable living.
Currently, the Sustainability Initiative is still in the process of finding a centre coordinator. If you’re passionate about sustainability and interested in the position, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The importance of sustainable living is evident in many aspects of life. It was a fundamental principle of Senator Bernie Sanders’ platform, while running for Democratic presidential nomination, and has sparked the formation of groups such as Leave No Trace. Climate change has also led to impassioned speeches by figures such as Leonardo DiCaprio, at the Academy Awards.
While the SI may not be an organization that will solve climate change on a global scale, they do promote and assist students and community members with sustainable living locally, and for students, that is an important issue. “Sustainable living is more sophisticated,” says Dan Devine, a fourth-year Forestry student. “Anybody can go out and harvest the land without thinking about the future, but to consider how your actions impact the future is more of a philosophical approach.”
Lakehead is a university that offers some of the most superior outdoor-based programs in the province, if not the country. The Outdoor Recreation and Forestry programs have some of the lushest, untouched forest in the province to use as their classrooms. Both of these programs focus on sustainable living and resource management. The Sustainability Initiative offers creates an awareness about sustainable living and will also help guide students and Thunder Bay citizens to adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. Their office can be found in SC 0022.