Reading Week Staycations

Although many people look forward to spending time away from London during reading week, many students stick around for the break. That doesn’t mean a boring week spent in the dorm, though! London has plenty of fun options on offer. Here’s a quick list of some great London activities for the break.

Watch a Game

If you’re spending time in London over the break, it is a great chance to show some school spirit. You may be too busy to go see a game during a school week, but reading week is a great time to support the Mustangs. The hockey and volleyball teams are playing at home in the upcoming week; you can find details here.

Go on a Food Tour

London has a great food culture, and reading week is a great time to get out and experience it. This is a great chance to go out to that one place you’ve had your eye on for a while, or go searching for someplace entirely new. The best part is that London has so many options, that you can make a food tour that is scheduled just to your tastes. This website is a great place start planning your personal food tour.

Game Night with Friends

London is full of fun places to spend time with friends, especially if you’re the competitive type. Places like the Rec Room and Palasad are ideal for hanging out and having fun. For more laid-back vibes, little places like Chil and Carboard Cafe are nice places to spend an afternoon. Whatever you choose, be sure to bring one or two friends along with you!

Hit the Trails

London is known for its natural beauty- It’s called the forest city for a reason, so why not go take a look at what it has to offer? Western students may already know about the trails near campus, like by the Thames on main campus, and in Medway Forest behind Brescia. However, reading week is a great time to explore more of London’s trails. You can find one that piques your interest here.

Whatever you do and wherever you are this reading week, the BUCSC wishes you all the best!

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Mikaila Hunter- BUCSC’s 2019-2020 President

This year’s race for the BUCSC president was marked by immense student engagement and participation. After an extraordinarily well-attended presidential speeches event on January 30, polling opened for 2 days, and the students made their voices heard. Finally, on February 6, Mikaila Hunter was announced as next year’s BUCSC president. Here is a brief introduction to Mikaila and her campaign platform, as well as a look at what students can expect from next year’s student council.

Hunter is a 3rd year food & nutrition student with a minor in political science. She has been involved with Brescia’s councils since first year, when she was a floor representative on Clare Hall’s residence council. The following year, she served as the BUCRC’s president, which also led her to her position on the BUCSC as residence representative. This year, she is the BUCSC’s president, and may now look forward to holding the same position next year.

Hunter’s campaign was popular with voters because of her student opportunity-focused platform. She focused on a continuation of the initiatives she has begun this year, but also expressed new goals to serve particular student groups, such as international students and clubs members. Additionally, she focused on improving accessibility for students by creating a mental health policy for student council positions and offering student services such as tutoring in more languages. Another great focus of the platform was student feedback-based research for how to improve the BUCSC’s services.

Hunter’s four-point platform focused on tutoring and work opportunities, accessibility in the classroom, student wellbeing, and student involvement, but this year’s campaign season directed the focus toward a major issue for Ontario’s students; the OSAP cuts upcoming in the next school year. Hunter has already worked to respond to the OSAP changes by bringing concerns on behalf of students. The changes also mean uncertainty for the student council, as funding has become far less assured in the coming year. During her campaign, Hunter assured students that she would seek to maintain the services that student council offers irregardless of budget changes.

Although Hunter will have one term’s experience when she is the BUCSC’s president next year, she will face changes and new challenges. The student body’s vote of confidence in her favor is certainly a signal that Hunter will be a capable leader for the BUCSC next year. Students may look forward to seeing her lead council and fulfill her campaign’s goals in the 2019-20 school year.

Presidential results

BUCSC Student Awards

The BUCSC is proud to support Brescia’s students in many ways; that means hosting social events, providing resources, and advocating for students, among other services. However, one of the BUCSC’s services that is often overlooked is the BUCSC awards. These awards and their monetary support are a way for the BUCSC to express thanks and recognition to Brescia students who exemplify Brescia’s excellence.

Awarded annually to honor students who embody the spirit of Brescia, the awards seek to recognize students with a wide variety of experiences and contributions to their community. The Spirit award, for example, focuses on involvement at Brescia, while the Francolini Memorial award is for students whose community involvement is specifically outside Brescia. A new award for this year is the Shiloh Roberts Compassion award, which recognizes an international student who embodies compassion in their community. There are plenty of awards, and each recognizes different values and lived experiences. It is well worthwhile to look at the awards to see if you would be a good match for any of them.

There are 19 awards available this year, and students may apply for more than one award if they wish. There is a lot of variety, so it is important to look through each award description and determine which ones for which you are a good candidate. Then, all that is left to do is fill out the applications, which are quite quick and easy to fill out online. They are available, alongside the award descriptions and requirements, at the dedicated BUCSC webpage. Applications close on February 13, so now is a good time to get started on applying.

Brescia students are defined by their bold leadership, dedication, and compassion, and that is something to celebrate. The BUCSC wants to recognize the students who best exemplify the Brescia spirit through their involvement with the Brescia community, and who positively impact the people around them. These awards and the monetary support they provide are a thanks and an encouragement for students who embody the best Brescia has to offer.

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Dear Brescia Blogger…

“Dear Brescia Blogger,

I’m a first year student and after a semester of work I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t like the program I’m in. I took similar courses in high school that I really liked and excelled at, however my current courses are really hard. I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that I have to memorize and understand. I feel left behind by my peers and I am struggling to find motivation to keep up with my studies. I need advice.

Sincerely,
Seriously Struggling”
Dear Seriously Struggling,

This is totally understandable position. Many people have experienced this, even people in their last year. University is about self discovery. You come here to learn not just about the program you are in but also about yourself. If you ask any advisor, your first year is about having those 5 credits, all different courses, no more than 1 credit in the same courses. This is because in your first year you’re more likely to change your mind than any other year. During high school, I absolutely hated the subject that is now my program in university. Once I got to university, by pure chance I was put into this course, but after the first semester I realized I loved it. So, my second year I changed my program to this program. As a recommendation, at least course and program wise, I would say book an appointment with your academic advisor, through the Hive, or the online booking website. Here, you can talk to your advisor about your current program and discuss your options. Or, if your have an idea about what program you would like to switch into, they can discuss that program in detail with you and about how to switch over to that program.

However, the second part of this question was about your lost love of the program, and how you’re struggling. One tidbit of advice from my perspective: even when you love your program, you can sometimes hate it with a passion. When you finally pick your program, you search for something you love but also will challenge you, just keep this in mind throughout the year when it gets this hard.
I think the best way to overcome struggles with your program is to use the resources Western and Brescia give you. You can even find resources within your classes; your peers are your friends. You can start a study group, where you can find help with your big questions, and you might find you are able to answer some questions others have. Teaching others is a great way to learn the material for yourself. Through Facebook groups, creating study groups is surprisingly easy. Alternatively, you can always talk to your professor, who is there to help. If you are just looking for review or follow-up, I recommend finding things you don’t understand or questions you have about prior assignments and ask about them during office hours.

My last piece of advice is to take a step back from time to time and examine where you are in your university career. You may find that you love your program, but you’re getting bogged down by the coursework. Maybe the program you had your heart set on when you entered university is just not the best fit. Whatever the case, you need to take time to examine your situation and determine what your next move should be. After all, university is also for learning about yourself; struggles like these are part of that journey, and working through them in your own way is helping you build your future.

All my best,
The Brescia blogger

3 Steps for Improved Mental Health

An article by Melissa Jacobs, first year English literature student

Following Bell Let’s Talk Day on Wednesday of this week, everyone has mental health on the mind. Brescia’s Let’s Talk event has sparked conversation on campus, to help raise awareness about mental health. Now is a great time to look at how you can better cater to your own mental health. Here are three steps you can take to achieve more improved mental health.

1. Plan your Supports
One of the most important things to do for your wellbeing is to have a support system in place. A strong support system is crucial. This can include friends, family, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, wellbeing coordinators at your school, teachers, crisis phone numbers etc. This can also include places that you feel safe and supported in, such as: your bedroom, a library, a favourite store or a friend’s place. Reaching out to these people and visiting these places can make a world of difference, whether you are in crisis or not. Make a list of all the people and places you can turn to when things become too overwhelming. Stay tuned to the end for an extensive list of resources available to you on and off campus.

2. Prevention Planning
Taking care of yourself is imperative in improving your mind and your body’s resilience. The more you practice taking care of yourself the easier it will be to handle the stress that will inevitably come your way. Self care is vital in prevention planning. When you are well rested, nourished, hydrated, and hygienic, it will allow you to better handle any triggers you encounter on a daily basis. You will also be able to bounce back faster after difficult events in life.

3. Contingency Planning
Okay, you have followed steps one and two, now what? Now you plan for the worst. Having a plan that allows you to take care of yourself in life’s most challenging moments is extremely helpful. Personally, I like to keep a small travel pouch of essential items with me at all times. Inside this emergency kit could include: numbers to your support system, a cue card of any coping mechanisms that work for you, a stress ball or putty, essential oils, tissues, eye drops, headphones, a small object that inspires a sense of calm, a journal and pen to work through thoughts, chocolate, candy, gum, a facial spray, prescribed medication, etc. This is where you can get creative for your personal needs and cater to them accordingly.

Following these steps is a huge step in the right direction. If you are ever feeling that you are in crisis, you can always use Brescia’s mental health resources or call SERT at (519) 661-3300, or the Coast Crisis Line is open 24 Hours: 905-972-8338. Above all, be sure to take care of yourself and do not be afraid to reach out.

Brescia’s Centennial Opening Ceremonies

January 27th is always an important date for Brescia; It is the feast day of St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline order which created Brescia University College. This year, her feast day was celebrated in outstanding fashion, as it also became the date of Brescia’s centennial opening ceremonies 100 years ago, Brescia began educating young women and building a story that continues to grow today. This year, Brescia celebrates Brescia’s history, and its many stories which have not yet been written.

The most prominent event of the ceremonies was a mass, held to celebrate Brescia’s Catholic life and Ursuline origins. Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the Diocese of London presided, though many Brescia members of the Brescia community played important roles throughout the mass. The Brescia choir led and performed songs, while students and members of the faculty led prayers and did readings for the mass. A procession that brought to the altar various images to symbolize Brescia’s charism was filled with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Brescia community. Brescia’s community was well represented, but representatives from the other affiliate colleges, Londoners, friends and family, and visitors to the mass via livestream joined in the celebration as well.

Following the Centennial mass, attendees were welcome to refreshments before arriving at the Beryl Ivey Library for another important ceremony. An art exhibit greeted visitors to the library, with pieces selected for the theme, Right Relationship of Peace. The artworks featured all exemplified Ontarian art, but perhaps the most important piece was unveiled in honor of the centennial. A painting of Ursuline Hall by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson was made early in the building’s history, and has now been donated to Brescia. The painting is gifted by the Pignott family, whose construction company built Ursuline Hall and commissioned the painting in the 1920s. This art exhibition is only the start of a four-part series of exhibitions, which will continue through the year as Brescia celebrates its 100-year anniversary.

The Brescia community looks forward to more celebrations and milestones throughout this centennial year. This was merely the opening ceremony of a full year of festivities, celebrating Brescia’s centennial, as well as its excellence, community, and role as Canada’s only women’s university.

BUCSC Presidential Elections

It is hard to ignore that election season has arrived at Brescia. The BUCSC’s elections will select next year’s council over the course of the next couple months, and it is important to keep updated on elections and candidates in order to cast well-informed votes. The election in progress now is for the BUCSC president, with three candidates are running: Mikaila Hunter, Jamie Keltz, and Ainsley Leguard. The campaigns have been running for roughly a week now, and many people have come to the candidates’ booths in the St. James foyer. The candidates will be at the booths until the 30th, and are happy to talk to Brescia students. Campaigning will continue until the candidate speeches on January 30, at 10:30 in the Oak room. Then, voting begins on January 31 at 8 am, running to February 1st at 8 pm. Students may expect a link to the online voting site sent to their student emails. The election results will be released on February 2nd.

Each of the candidates have experience with the BUCSC, and all hold a position on council this year. Hunter is the current BUCSC president, Leguard is the USC representative, and Keltz is AVP treasurer, however each candidate has stepped down from their position temporarily for the election. The candidates have announced their candidacies on campaign pages on Facebook; their platforms and campaign updates may be found there (Leguard, Hunter, Keltz).

While looking at the BUCSC presidential candidates, it is worthwhile to look also at the USC candidates, campaigning now on main campus. Two slates have announced: Team ForYe (Frank Ye and Jared Forman), and Bardia + Cat 2019 (Bardia Jalayer and Catherine Dunne) have announced candidacy. The election occurs shortly after Brescia’s own; polling occurs on February 4th and 5th.

Although the presidential elections occurring now are very important, the elections that are coming up are too. The election season is long, but it is important to stay up-to-date and informed throughout, because the choices made now will shape next year’s council and beyond. Please remember to make your voice heard!