Beauty in Diversity: International Students Host A Festival of Festivals

This past week was Western’s International Student Week. It was a chance for students at Brescia to learn about all the different cultures that are a large part of our community. On November 13th, cultures from all corners of the world joined together in celebration of each other, and of each other’s traditions and festivals.

Riya Alsabak |


Brescia is proud to have a diverse community of students from all over the world. The international student population makes up a significant part of the Brescia community.  International Student Week was the perfect time for students to show appreciation for the many cultures Brescia is home to.

During Western’s International Student Week, Brescia’s international population showcased a large variety of festivals, live performances, and food from all over the world.  With some performers travelling all the way from Toronto, international students worked tirelessly through midterm season to bring the traditions and festivals they celebrate to the St. James Auditorium.  The Brescia community, as well as the surrounding London community, had the privilege of gathering in the auditorium to learn about over 20 different traditional festivals, including some from Iran, Malaysia, Rwanda, England, Japan, and so many more.


The event was a huge success with many people staying for the whole duration, and others dropping in when they had time away from classes. Brescia’s Festival of Festivals was a fantastic way for students to take some time to appreciate the wide community of International Students that Brescia welcomes each year. A huge thank you to everyone involved in making the Festival of Festivals an event to remember!



Five Things To Do During Fall Reading Week

Reading week doesn’t have to be reserved for reading alone.  While this week can be utilized to catch up on assignments and course readings, don’t forget to make some time for friends and family, and to take some time for yourself.

Riya Alsabak |

This year students have the week of November 2nd – November 9th off to catch up on readings, lecture notes, and upcoming assignments.  Last year, the Brescia Buzz listed a few things to do during reading week when you need a break from all the reading (find that article here).  Here are five more things to do at home and around London when you need a break from the books and the PowerPoints.

Check out a new café with friends


Photo: Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash

Who doesn’t love finding new places to drink coffee and do homework?  If you’re in London over Fall Reading Week, dedicate some time to your inner coffee connoisseur and go coffee shop hopping.   There are tons of hidden gems all around London (and probably in your own hometown too!).  If you need a place to start, check out this article from the Western Gazette on some adorable cafes around London!

Go apple picking


Photo: Joanna Nix from Unsplash

With autumn quickly coming to an end and the chill of winter lingering closely behind, now’s your last chance to participate in the fall festivities! Located in Dorchester, only a few kilometres outside of London, Apple Land Station is open 7 days a week and is always a fun trip with family and friends.  With reasonably priced admissions, pick a day (if weather permits) to spend with family or friends picking your own delicious, locally grown apples!

Have a themed movie night


Photo: Clay Banks from Unsplash

After a long day of studying, what’s better than curling up in a fuzzy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, while watching movies with some friendly company?  Gather a friend or 10, pick a movie genre (it’s never too early for holiday movies!), and have a cozy night in with some fun flicks playing.  You could always incorporate other fun, de-stressing activities like baking, playing board games, doing face-masks, and anything else you can think of! Pinterest is always full of great ideas if you’re not feeling too creative.

Get a head start on holiday shopping

holiday shopping

Photo: Andrey Konstantinov from Unsplash

The holiday season is quickly approaching, so get ready for the snow, the lights, and the gift shopping.  December exams happen just as the malls start to fill with shoppers searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones, so it never hurts to get an early start!  If you celebrate any December holidays, get started on a gift list for your friends and family, and then get shopping before the malls are bustling. You can do this for some alone time, or with a friend or two.

Do some self-care activities 

self care

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash

The BUCSC is always an advocate for taking care of yourself, especially in times of high-stress.  Maintaining your wellness is an important aspect of university life and Reading Week might just be the perfect time for you to pick up some healthy habits. Start meditating every morning, even just for a minute, start using a planner to keep yourself organized, start cooking at home more often, or even start drinking more water.  Sometimes, it’s easier to pick up habits when there’s less on your plate.  Reading week is the perfect time to make progress on your wellness journey.

The BUCSC wishes everyone well this Reading Week!

Wellness Week Recap: What Students Learned, and How to Apply It

Wellness Week was held from October 7th-11th.  Here’s a breakdown of what happened during Wellness Week, along with some tips on how to maintain your wellness.

Riya Alsabak |

Brescia’s Vice President of Student Life, Jamie Keltz, continued the annual BUCSC tradition of Wellness Week, with a focus on 2 of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.  The goal of the week is to teach the students at Brescia about wellness, and how to incorporate it into your everyday life. Let’s start with the beginning of the week.

Monday: Financial Wellness

Brescia had the pleasure of welcoming four guests:

  • Jessica Thomas: a representative from Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) who specializes in wealth management
  • Rachel Brujins: one of Brescia’s own financial aid officers, who oversees OSAP applications.
  • Melissa Jean: the Brescia Management and Organizational Studies coordinator.
  • Danielle Greene: a third-year economics and accounting major, and the current Chief Financial Officer for the BUCSC.


Each guest brought unique financial knowledge to the table in hopes of broadening students’ understanding of financial wellness. Each panellist was asked: “What’s something about financial wellness you wished you knew as a student?”  Here’s some of what they said:

  1. Take advantage of student discounts: every year, Western provides students with a planner stocked full of different coupons to help you save money.  Along with this there are plenty of places that, upon presenting your student card, you’ll receive discounts on clothes, meals, groceries, and plenty of other things.
  2. Never feel afraid to ask questions: You don’t know what you don’t know. If you’re ever unsure about something, there are resources available at The Hive to help you.
  3. Make a weekly or even monthly budget: Try to have an idea of what expenses you’ll need to take care of; there’s bound to be something that works for you and your budget.

Wednesday: Physical and Spiritual WellnessUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_978.jpg

The Brescia student body joined Emma O’Connor, owner of Femme Force Fitness , for a lesson in both physical and spiritual wellness.  O’Connor lead students in an introductory kick-boxing class followed by a brief lesson in meditation. 

When managing your wellness, both physical activity and peaceful meditation can be extremely beneficial; physical activity is an excellent stress-reducer and it can increase your energy, and spiritual activities like meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, and increase your overall well-being.  O’Connor recommends moving your body every day; it’s easiest to do this in a safe space that makes you feel empowered. This could be your room, your local gym, or even somewhere outdoors. O’Connor also notes that morning meditation can seriously improve your spiritual wellness. Taking even 60 seconds of your morning to meditate can help you centre yourself and set your intentions for the day.


The Campaign for Wellness: The BUCSC Destress Challenge

Every day of Wellness Week, the BUCSC shared tips on how to destress (especially useful during midterm season!), and on how to maintain wellness. You can check out the BUCSC Wellness highlight on Instagram to view those suggestions.  Students were asked to share photos of themselves applying those tips under the hashtag #BUCSCDestressChallenge for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Masonville mall. Congratulations to Emmalyn Bennett on winning the Destress challenge!

The BUCSC encourages every student to utilize the tips provided during Wellness Week; even if it’s something small. Staying hydrated, making sure you get enough sleep, and even using a planner can take you one step further on your journey to wellness.  Don’t forget about all the resources Brescia has made available to you (find out more about those here), and keep your eye out for more of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness throughout the year.

How To Survive Your First Year At Brescia

One of the most common questions that upperclassmen receive from first years is: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were in first year? The short answer? A lot!  From advice on completing assignments and resources available to help you power through the year, to events and activities happening throughout the year that can make your first year memorable.


First year is full of one thing: learning.  Learning how to manage time efficiently and effectively, learning how to tackle readings and lectures according to your needs, learning every day. If you feel like you’re coming into this experience knowing absolutely nothing, don’t worry.  A lot of us still struggle at times but we continue to learn. The easiest way for you to take control of your first year is to tackle it one week at a time. So, here are some things you can do/keep in mind during your first month or so to make your first year at Brescia a little easier to manage.


Talk to your professors | They’re here to help you, not scare you


This one can be hard.  Sometimes professors can appear intimidating; especially during the first week.  You feel like they have all these expectations for you, and they can say some pretty scary-sounding things; “This exam is only worth 45% of your grade,” “No computers allowed during lecture,” “This class is 10% participation”. Eventually you’ll realize that everything your professor does is to help you succeed.  If you show initiative, and you work hard on your own, your professors will be more than happy to help you with that essay you’re struggling with, or help you study for that upcoming, 45% exam.  With Brescia’s small class sizes, you’ll find it much easier to build relationships with your professors. So, take note of your professor’s office hours and email, and utilize them. There’s no need to struggle alone here.


Make connections | Be bold


While it’s very important to build relationships with your professors, it’s just as important to build friendships.  You might feel like you don’t have time to socialize; and while that might be the case sometimes, it can be detrimental to your wellbeing to go through your first year alone.  I know you’re nervous; but remember that everyone is. There’s nothing better than being nervous together. Grabbing a coffee at the Bottega, having lunch at the Mercato, and even studying in the Beryl Ivey Library can be made a little more enjoyable with some friendly company.  It can even help knowing someone who’s going through similar things to you. Put yourself out there in your first classes, and don’t be afraid to approach people. Make a friend, be a friend.


Make use of Brescia and Main Campus resources | Brescia is here to help


Brescia alone has a plethora of resources for you to take advantage of.  Combined with what’s available at Main Campus, there are hundreds of resources that come included in your tuition.  There are resources to help you when you feel your mental health and wellness are at stake (those can be found here), all kinds of academic and financial support available at The Hive, writing support at Brescia’s Writing Centre, and, at the Student Life Centre, there are people there to help you with: your professional development, your transition into university, involvement opportunities, as well as with your mental health and wellbeing.  One of the most helpful resources you can use, especially if you’re struggling financially, is the library. If textbooks are too much of a financial burden, the many libraries across the campuses just might have a copy for you to borrow for a couple of hours at a time. Photocopying individual readings can be cheaper than purchasing the whole book!


The people who help make these resources available to you want them to be utilized.  When those first year jitters start to kick in, don’t be scared to seek help, no matter your struggle.  Remember your resources during your time at Brescia.


Join a club or find an upcoming event | University should never be all work and no play


Everyone has their own individual interests and hobbies.  Whether it be an academic or personal interest, Brescia has a club for you– and if not, you can start it yourself! New clubs pop up all the time, and between what both Brescia and Main Campus has to offer, you’re bound to find something that sparks your interest.  Although clubs week has just passed, it’s never too late to join!


Every week there are all kinds of events and activities happening around campus.  Keep your eye on the Brescia Events Calendar, the posters up on the walls and bulletin boards to see what events you can look forward to each month.  Spend a day of your first week here jotting down some events that might interest you so you have some things to look forward to.



Here’s some advice directly from Brescia students:


“I wish I knew to email a professor if I’m struggling with an assignment. To not just brave it out alone.” — Rebecca Seaby


“I wish I knew how helpful the people at The Hive were.  I struggled with program planning and they simplified it.” — Lydia Balogh


“Utilize, utilize, utilize the resources at Brescia and on main campus that are there to help you succeed academically!” — Kylie Gonsalves


“The shuttle service is great if you want to look for new study spaces and relax.” — Meagan Munn


“Take advantage of your professors’ office hours and after class hours.” — Danica Skakavac



We’ve all been where you are: the O-Week festivities are over, you’ve had your last tour of campus, and you’re ready to buckle down and study for your first midterms. It’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to not know exactly what to do, because that’s what this experience is all about.  University is more than just sitting in lectures, taking notes, and writing exams; it’s about finding yourself, building independence, and learning what works for you in many aspects of your life. No one is an expert in the art of attending university, but there are many things you can do for yourself in your first week here that can make your experience at Brescia a little easier.  If you ever find yourself wondering how you’re going to make it through this, just remember: take it one week at a time.


Riya Alsabak |


Student Leadership Recognition Event

Brescia is a school built by and for women leaders, and each year Brescia spends an evening celebrating the outstanding leadership in the Brescia community. This year’s Student Leadership Recognition Event honored both the student leaders of the past and present, as it also celebrated Brescia’s centennial. The seventh annual SLRE was a great way to round out a year of student leadership at Brescia.

To celebrate the centennial, SLRE was filled with photos of Brescia’s leaders- both from this year, and from across Brescia’s first century of education. A photobooth invited attendees to add their own memories to those represented across the room. At each table, attendees played a game to place photos in chronological order, with a prize for the winning team. Also at each table was a Brescia keychain for each attendee to commemorate the evening. After starting with an address from the Principal, Dr. Susan Mumm, the keynote speaker Senator Rosemary Moodie offered a speech which reminded the audience that the leadership which starts at Brescia will thrive out in the world.

After a delicious dinner, finished with cake to celebrate Brescia’s 100 years, the awards portion of the evening began. Each award winner was announced and presented with their award by a Brescia alumnae, again as a nod to Brescia’s long history of women leaders. The BUCSC awards began: the Sport Nutrition Athlete Project (SNAP) won Club of the Year after its very first year of operation, the Brescia Orientation Leaders, or sophs, won the Commitment to Engagement award, and governance officer Hirra Majid won Council Member of the Year. Following that, the Student Life Centre delivered its awards of Mentor and Mentee of the Year to Bob Moulson and Grace Wu, respectively, the Campus Collaboration Award to the NOW experiential group, and finally the Outstanding Contribution to Campus Life award went to Esmé Panarello.

A particularly uplifting moment came after the awards were handed out and the event was winding down, as awardees were congratulated on their accomplishments- by friends, nominators, other awardees, or even simply other attendees. The friendly and encouraging atmosphere was a testament to the empowering environment Brescia always strives to be. After 100 years of leadership, Brescia took time at this year’s SLRE to celebrate the present and future of women leaders.


Shivika Parmar

“Ever since high school, I was a very shy kid. Throughout my four years, I learned to grow and tried to come out of the shell slightly as I had moved from India to Canada and experienced bullying due to language barriers at the time. However, it was not until second year of university at Brescia that I had the confidence and dedication to apply for BUCSC and decided to put myself out there. I learned to express my leadership skills due to fellow council members and sophs and family around me being so positive and connected. This opportunity helped me grow as a person, expanded my knowledge of how a council works and allowed me to make friends which I would not have had I not joined. Currently, it is my second year on the BUCSC and I have learned to express my thoughts and gain more confidence than ever before and I have learned that no one can stop you from achieving whatever you want to achieve. Every single step of the way that I have stepped outside of my comfort zone I have learned that trying your best at something is more than enough even if you fail at it. I believe that we should take advantage of the opportunities we get as they can opens many doors for you in terms of growing as a person, learning leadership skills and perhaps with jobs in the future.”

Year-End Study Resources

Libraries are full, and due dates are fast approaching; Western students are in the midst of the most chaotic time of the year as they wrap up their studies for the winter semester. There is a lot of hard work to be done, but students also have plenty of resources at their disposal to help them do their best work. Here is a quick rundown of some of Western and Brescia’s most useful resources and services to finish out the school year strong.

Exams can be very daunting for students, especially when they are all together at the end of the semester. Now is an excellent time for getting started with exam prep, to be better prepared for test day. Western’s Learning Skills Services features many useful resources for students, including printable calendars for scheduling, but especially useful this season are their exam prep workshops. The calendar is up on their website along with the signup page. Exam prep is always a good idea, but studying the material is even more important. For those who want to review at the library, Western libraries has created a complete guide to study season at campus libraries- the changed schedules are especially worth the look. Those who do not want to risk walking down Brescia hill only to find Weldon full may want to consider booking a study room at Brescia’s own Beryl Ivey Library. Though finals are still a couple weeks away, now is the best time to get started on preparations.

In addition to getting ready for exams, many students are sitting down at their desks to write final papers. These are usually big projects, so Western has plenty of resources on offer to help out. Western Libraries has style and citation guides to help with the work of citing sources properly, which is essential to a good paper. For students who need some assistance with the writing of the paper itself, the Brescia Writing Centre is an excellent resource; students can work with a peer tutor through any step of the writing process. The Beryl Ivey Library can also help students get started on their research, as students can talk one-on-one with a librarian all about their work. Wherever you are with your work, Brescia can help out.

Looking at a schedule full of upcoming deadlines and test dates can be daunting, but the University has indispensable resources on offer for students. Especially at this time in the year, they are well worth the look!

BUCSC Elections Update

Elections season is in full swing for the BUCSC, as Brescia’s students choose their council for next year. Now is the most important time to keep updated on the council’s elections in order to choose the best representatives, but also to get to know the currently-appointed members of next year’s council.

Already, the BUCSC’s 2019-2020 president Mikaila Hunter has been elected, but she is now joined by her executive team. Vice-President Student Life Jaime Keltz and Vice-President Student Events Val Fernandez-Torres were elected by the student body in the past week. Just after their election, the remainder of the exec team- chosen through tests and interviews with the present position holders- was made official. Governance Officer Alison Lengyell, Chief Financial Officer Danielle Green, and Chief Communications Officer Eli Marentette were added to the team.

Currently, Brescia is in the midst of the general member elections. Coming up, students can expect speeches from the candidates, and in the meantime they can read up on candidates’ platforms on their campaigns’ Facebook pages. However, not all candidates are part of an election; those who would otherwise run unopposed are instead acclaimed to their positions. These representatives are International Student Representative Hawazin Alotaibi, Mature and Transfer Student Representative Christa Cowell, Sociology and Criminal Justice Representative Brooke Huffman, and Psychology and Family Studies Representative Maria Bravo. The general member elections are approaching fast, so students can expect updates on candidate speeches and voting dates to be posted on the BUCSC’s social media. There are also a number of interviewed positions that are soon to be filled, so it is a good idea to keep an eye out for further appointments which may be posted as well.

The BUCSC would like to offer a huge congratulations to the newest members of next year’s council. Please keep updated on the BUCSC’s elections and appointments, because the BUCSC counts on student engagement and support to create the best possible council.



Brescia Celebrates International Women’s Day

International Women’s day, held this year on Friday March 8th, is growing each year across the world. Brescia, as Canada’s only women’s university, is dedicated to recognition and advancement of women, so naturally the holiday is well-recognized on campus. This year, Brescia’s celebrations focused on education and equality for International Women’s Day.

A new but valuable tradition at Brescia is the Dr. Colleen Hanycz Leadership Lecture Series, started just last year. Held on the 7th, this year’s event had a theme appropriate for International Women’s Day: Educate a Woman, Empower a Nation. The speaker was Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, who has been nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize for his human rights activism and his work founding the Daughters for Life Foundation, an organization providing scholarships for female students in the Middle East. His keynote was followed by a panel of members of the Brescia community.

Brescia also took to social media to celebrate International Women’s Day with the Brescia community online. A video featuring Brescia students challenging traditional female gender roles was very popular. On Instagram, Brescia hosted a photo contest where Brescia students were encouraged to join in and post a themed photo with the hashtag #balanceforbetter- which was this year’s theme for the holiday. The lucky winner of the contest received a $100 dollar gift card, so plenty of students took part. The BUCSC also posted a themed photo of council members posing on campus to join in the celebrations.

Hosting a renowned women’s rights activist for a lecture and panel was a great way to recognize International Women’s Day and develop a discussion on campus about women’s empowerment through education. Following that, a video about breaking down stereotypes and a photo contest calling for equality encouraged students to contribute to the celebrations in their own way. This year, Canada’s only women’s university was proud to spend International Women’s day advocating, discussing, and raising awareness.



Christina Lord

“I was born in Guyana and grew up in Jamaica, then came here directly from Jamaica. I have learned so much from the environment, from the experiences, from the students themselves, and I have certainly grown a lot. When I first started here, I used to say that the fashions have changed, but the feelings have not, but now the fashions have even come back so we just have to stick with the feelings. I’m the International Program Coordinator, so I work with the International students prior to their arrival to Canada and then throughout their time here with us at Brescia helping them with settling in and overcoming their new challenges. I plan programs for them and that all being said, I firmly believe as does Brescia that the best way for anyone to really transition and feel settled in a new place is if the people who already are there help with that, hence why all of our International programs are open to everyone, not just our International and incoming students. We encourage all students to participate and nothing is exclusive here, which builds a stronger community. I think diversity is one of our strongest values that one can have but is also one of the most challenging because it demands for people to work on it consistently but at the end of the day, it’s well worth working at.”