From truce to truth: Insights on conflict reporting from General Roméo Dallaire

General Roméo Dallaire explored the importance of contextualizing conflicts from their prelude to their aftermath.

On Feb. 8, retired Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire gave a talk at the Loyola Campus about the role of journalism in relation to complex conflicts. Dallaire is a former Canadian Senator as well as a former government and United Nations advisor. He served as a force commander of the United Nations assistance mission in Rwanda and witnessed the 1994 genocide first-hand. 

Walking into the room with his brown briefcase in hand, Dallaire made his way to the whiteboard to map out the three parts of any given conflict: the “pre,” the “during,” and the “after.” He said the “after” category has demonstrated to be one of the most temporary periods of the whole process: “We’ve never, ever, achieved peace.” 

“The best we’ve done is establish truces. Over the last 20 years, of the nearly 15 truces and agreements that are happening in the world, the longest one lasted seven years,” Dallaire said. He added that since solutions in the “after” stage are so temporary, conflicts often go right back to the “pre,” and there is never any lasting peace.

The general also spoke about his time in Rwanda in the 90s. During the genocide, over 800,000 people died (excluding all the untold deaths in refugee camps), over 500,000 were orphaned, and four million people were displaced or became refugees. This all occurred over the span of only 100 days, and tensions between the two ethnic groups, the Tutsis and the Hutus, remain today. 

“This is a crisis. So where do you fit? Where does journalism fit?” Dallaire asked. He explained that more often than not, journalists and the media decide to start their reporting amid the “during” stage of a conflict. If the “pre” stage of a conflict was reported on, a deeper understanding of the existing frictions and build up could be understood. 

Dallaire also spoke about how he treated journalists not as the enemy in Rwanda, but as individuals with whom he could exchange information and have an open dialogue. This allowed for optimal broadcasting. “The media ultimately ended up, during this period, as the only weapon I had as a peacekeeper,” Dallaire said. He noted, however, that little to no journalists were there from the beginning to understand the “fundamental premises and debate behind why this [conflict] has blown up.”

Dallaire emphasized the importance of separating reporting from sensationalism to the room filled with future journalists. Situating a conflict and presenting it to the audience as a culmination of social elements rather than a spontaneous explosion or a re-assault of frictions is key. Dallaire also discussed the reality of the business side of journalism and how certain stories end up on editors’ chopping blocks.

After a question about seeing children growing up in war-torn countries and generational wars, a point the general had brought up during his presentation, Dallaire said that love had a big part to play as to why he didn’t take his own life after everything he’s lived through. “True love, not convenience—not temporary like our truces,” Dallaire joked. 

A student asked him how a journalist can recognize a crisis before it happens when reporting in a foreign country, and how to act accordingly. Dallaire said journalists should strive to remain cultured, open, curious, and want to know more about systemic frameworks. With those skills, one can then gather information on what is evolving in those countries in order to paint a picture of what is going on.

A student later asked Dallaire: “As somebody who has seen genocide with his own eyes, do you believe the war on Gaza is a genocide?” The general recalled that many major nations and the UN took six weeks to call the Rwanda conflict a genocide, subsequently sent the troops he’d been asking for. It was too late. “And what did [calling it a genocide] do? Absolutely nothing,” he said. 

Dallaire said it is far more important to consider how nations are reacting instead of being hung over the word. “You can articulate the term ‘genocide,’ but it has no power, because the national bodies that are governing us are not using it, don’t want to use it, and don’t want to read the convention that says that they’re supposed to commit to that.”

Dallaire also believes it is essential to integrate the powers of both men and women to restructure the institutions that govern and have been built by men. “[If not] we will continue to respond to these very powerful male-dominated institutions, and women—too many women—simply adapt into it versus fighting it,” Dallaire added. “Let’s put an end to this male-dominated misogynist egocentric paternalistic masculinity that has created the state of humanity and bring the women in full force.”

His new book, The Peace, is set to come out this April, and argues that people are often still unable to acknowledge crises and make decisions that could prevent or resolve them before it’s too late.

News Photo Essay

Picketers lead ‘shame convoy’ with Legault mannequin

Photos from Thursday: ‘Shame Convoy’

Photos from Wednesday: Classroom picketing


Stingers men’s basketball team watches the ball drop from the Sunshine State

The team maintains the tradition of playing exhibition games and team-practices in Florida for a week.

The men’s Stingers basketball team holds a yearly tradition, where the squad travels over the new year, in order to practice as a team and compete in friendly matches against schools outside of the RSEQ. For over a decade, the team has alternated between traveling to Nova Scotia to participate in Dalhousie University’s Shoveller Memorial Tournament, and playing exhibition games in Florida. As the Stingers flew east to play in the Maritimes last year, it was time to fly south and have fun in the sun to play in the Keiser New Year’s Classic tournament.

The team flew down on Dec. 26, and had an action-packed week-long trip. With the connections that Concordia Athletics had built in Florida for over a decade, the team had access to a gym at almost all times in order to shoot around. “Some days we’ll go in the morning, shoot for an hour and come back at night. Practice for two hours on game day,” said head coach Raskto Popović. “We’d have a shoot-around in the morning and then play a game at night.”

A main component of the trip involved trial and error in gametime situations by playing exhibition games against local universities in the Classic tournament. The Stingers faced three teams in the Sun Conference exhibition games. Concordia faced Keiser University on Dec. 29 (L 84-73), and two unfamiliar opponents in Ave Maria University on Dec. 30  (W 79-76), and Florida Memorial University on Jan. 2 (L 68-74). Although the Stingers only won their second game, it was a win over one of the highest scoring teams in the nation, who are currently averaging a whopping 97.4 points per game

Carleton University, who had been attending the New Year’s Classic for even longer than Concordia, agreed to participate in a conjoined practice with the Stingers, followed by a scrimmage.

“You want to go there and you want to play against good teams and get good competition,” said the Stingers head coach. “That’s the way to get better. Between those three games of high quality teams and the Carlton scrimmage, we really got a chance to practice, try different lineups, get different people in, and accomplish the goal of getting better over the Christmas break.” 

In between practices, the squad engaged in all sorts of activities, such as afternoons at the beach, shopping, and team dinners. “Team bonding is a very important thing as well on this trip,” emphasized coach Popović. “We mix up guys in different rooms so guys can hang out and get to know each other. This whole trip is so good for us, and we’re so lucky and appreciative to have alumni who support us so we can afford this trip.”

Among their final activities of the trip, the group went to watch UMiami beat Clemson on Jan. 3 by a decisive score of 95-82. After the game, players met with UMiami shooting guard Kyshawn George, who’s father, Deon, was an ex-teammate of Stingers assistant coach Dwight Walton.

Newly arrived forwards Gabriel Bourdages and Ba-Amara Djame especially capitalized off of the redeeming components of the stay. Not only were they  able to practice with their team, but they were also becoming familiar with players off of the court.


Three Concordia-affiliated wrestlers move a step closer to the 2024 Summer Olympics

Wrestlers from the Montreal Wrestling Club will be competing at the Pan-American games on the last weekend of February.

The team Canada wrestling trials leading to the 2024 Olympic games were held in Edmonton on the weekend of Dec. 15–17. The winners will compete at the Pan-American qualifiers on Feb. 29–March 2 in Acapulco, Mexico. The performances will determine who gets to go to Paris to compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Five members of the Montreal Wrestling Club (MWC) of the National Training Centre, managed by Concordia Stingers wrestling coaches— father-son duo, David Zilberman and Victor Zilberman—had very successful performances. Three wrestlers earned tickets to Mexico, including Linda Morais (68 kg) in women’s freestyle, Alex Moore (86 kg), and Stone Lewis (74 kg) in men’s freestyle.

On Dec. 15, the first day of the competition, matches were held for the pool component, to determine winners who would face other competitors on the ladder. Montreal’s Fred Choquette won the pool decisively at 97 kg by defeating Brampton, Ontario’s Sarabnoor Lally 10-0. He was beaten by his MWC colleague, Riley Otto, in the ladder portion. Otto lost to Abbotsford, B.C.’s Nishan Randhawa in the final ladder matchup. Randhawa will be heading to Mexico, representing Canada in the 97 kg division.

Stingers prodigy and alumnus Alex Moore, the two-time Pan-American junior gold medalist who was elected as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament in the USports National Championships last February, was able to qualify for Mexico by beating the Saskatoon Wrestling Club member and Flin Flon, Manitoba native, Hunter Lee

Moore is more focused on himself and improving bit by bit every day, consistently evolving his game. Rather than worrying about Lee and wrestlers within the country, the young athlete’s sights are set on potential Pan-American opponents. “I’m not preparing for the Canadian guys. I’m preparing for the international guys,” said Moore.

For now, Moore’s main concerns are directed towards preparing to face Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta, Cuba’s 86 kg Pan-American repeat champion as of last November in Santiago, Chile. Moore lost to the Cuban veteran in the Pan-American championship finals last year in Bueno Aires, Argentina. “The big challenge is definitely [Torreblanca]. He’s pretty jacked. You never know with the draw… but I don’t want to leave with the chance that I qualify or not. I want to prepare in a way that I’m able to beat everyone in the [division],” Moore said.

After Edmonton, Moore was able to take a break for about a week when he returned home, a rarity for wrestlers, who usually train for about six hours a day, six days a week. “Getting back into the groove of things is so hard, because you have such a strict schedule and you’re pushing really hard and it’s almost easier to just keep going and then to stop,” he said. “But I think it’s necessary to get a mental break from it. I got to see some friends and stuff, so it was nice.” 

Moore will be participating in the Brock Open, Guelph Open, and Western Open to stay in shape for Acapulco. The events take place on Jan. 14, 21, and 28, respectively.

The three qualified athletes are back in training, and are devising new plans with coach Zilberman to win at the highest level on this side of the Atlantic.

Basketball Hockey Sports

The new year boasts riveting home openers for the Stingers

Stingers women’s hockey stays undefeated, while the men’s and women’s basketball teams show grit against rivals at home in the new year.

The Concordia Stingers’ women’s hockey team picked up where they left off in 2023, skating to a decisive 7-0 victory over the Carleton Ravens. Both women’s and men’s basketball teams faced McGill on Thursday night, and the gym was packed for an electric night. Both Stingers squads showed tremendous grit, as matchups against McGill always spark extra emotion.

Coming into the winter break with a perfect 13-0-0 record, the Stingers have been at the top of the USports women’s hockey rankings since Nov. 7. While the team’s record speaks for itself, the fashion in which the Stingers are winning is simply remarkable.

It is not everyday that a team has six different players scoring at a point-per-game pace. But with Concordia’s Émilie Lussier, Jessymaude Drapeau, Émilie Lavoie, Chloé Gendreau, Emmy Fecteau, and Léonie Philbert, we’re witnessing this rarity. Moreover, goaltenders Arianne Leblanc and Jordyn Verbeek are ranked in the top five for goals-against average in the USports national rankings. The Stingers offensive dominance was put on display yet again when they faced off against Carleton on Jan. 6.

Right off the opening faceoff, the Stingers jumped in front of their opponents. Forwards Chloé Gendreau and Jessymaude Drapeau both scored power-play goals in the first three minutes of the game, giving the Stingers a 2-0 cushion early.

Shutdown defence and a consistent forecheck from the Stingers continued through the second period. Forwards Émilie Lavoie, Rosalie Parent, and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr all added goals of their own in the middle frame, extending the Stingers lead to 5-0.

In the final 20 minutes, Gendreau and forward Caroline Moquin-Joubert added one more goal each, while goaltender Jordyn Verbeek secured a shutout and her eighth win of the season. The Stingers’ 7-0 victory moved them to a 14-0-0 record, which was followed by a 5-0 win against the Montréal Carabins, as well as a 5-1 win against the McGill Martlets. They will look to stick to their winning ways when they faceoff at the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Jan. 19.

Concordia Stingers women’s and men’s basketball teams faced McGill on Thursday, and the gym was packed for an electric night. Both teams showed tremendous grit, as matchups against McGill always spark extra emotion.

The women’s basketball team started off hot in the first quarter. As the Martlets showed consistent offensive pressure, the Stingers displayed tough defence. Stingers forward Gretta-Olivia Ineza executed a steal and three defensive rebounds throughout her 34 minutes of gametime. However, forcing McGill to commit a shot clock violation and a few more close-calls wasn’t enough—the Stinger’s largest lead of the game was only by six points towards the end of the first quarter. At the same time, the Stingers put up their best scoring quarter of the game, putting up 20 points.

The two top scorers of the game played on the away side, as centre Kristy Awikeh and point guard Daniella Mbengo put up 21 and 17 points, respectively. Both showed incredible stamina to find the play, regardless of how much pressure was applied. Mbengo, who played for 30 minutes, recorded six assists, more than anyone else on the court, making it look easy to find the right decisions in tough situations. She also made all five of her free throws. 

It was too little too late for the Stingers, as the Martlets were up by 15 points towards the end of the third quarter, and started the last quarter ahead by 11. It seemed as though star point guard Areej Burgonio’s nasty fadeaway-and-one three-pointer reignited the flame for the home team in the last seconds of the third quarter. The crowd erupted into a cacophony as she held up three fingers with both her hands from the ground. Despite exuberant and desperate efforts in the last 12 minutes of the game, it seemed as though Burgonio’s efforts weren’t enough. The Stingers lost 74-66.

“[McGill] played with a lot more heart, a lot more grit,” said Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens. “The biggest thing for me was on the rebounds. [McGill had] 25 rebounds and we got 16. You’re not going to win a game like that. Pretty much everything else is even on the stat sheet.” Despite the eventual loss, Gittens seemed satisfied with the reduction of caused turnovers compared to before the break.

“We’re trying to get to the championship game and win it,” the head coach concluded. “So you can’t just sit in your loss. This can break us, or it can make us better. And we’re going to make it make us better.”

The Stingers then lost to the Martlets 68-50 on Saturday. Concordia sits in third place out of five in the RSEQ, with a 4-4 record.

The men’s game was a real nail-biter as the teams traded even blows throughout the 48-minute period. In fact, the two teams alternated in out-scoring each other for each quarter, and they both layed down a hefty 29 points in the last, which sounds like an NBA stat.

The Stingers showed incredible team depth, as five of the seven bench players dropped an accumulative 28 points. This included new recruit Gabriel Bourdages, who recorded five rebounds, a steal, a block, and seven points within nine minutes of his debut. “I thought he showed some really good minutes in the first half,” said head coach Rastko Popović after the game. “He’s gonna get better as we get to practise.”

On the other hand, while the McGill Redbirds didn’t display much  depth, they had a great sixth man, power forward Joshua Soifer. The 4-man recorded 12 points, two assists, two rebounds and a steal in 15 minutes of playing time.

Amongst the players on the Concordia team, the guards shined the brightest. Alec Phaneuf and Sami Jahan together stole the show combining for 36 points, seven assists, eight rebounds and making all of their 11 free throws. “I thought [Phaneuf] was doing a great job in the third quarter when he built the nine-point lead,” said coach Popović.“Then we had one possession where we didn’t execute and then our point guards really made a lot of huge plays down the stretch.” 

Junior Mercy came off the bench and had a few highlight plays in the first half, including a nasty steal for a coast-to-coast and one layup, as well as a huge block and assist play to Bourdages.

Yet another third-quarter highlight occurred when centre Bradley Louidon pulled a reverse slam dunk on the towering opposing star centre Saransh Padhy, and caused an eruption from the crowd, as well as heated arguments from both benches. Despite many fouls and a missed call on a McGill flop, the Stingers pulled an 89-86 win for their first game of 2024. 

“I think our defence has to be more consistent,” Popović said. “That’s way too many points we gave up today, so you know we’ve got to clean up our defence and a little bit better execution offensively and I think we should be okay. It’s gonna be a hard game on the road, so we’ve got to get ready.”

The Stingers then beat the Redbirds 71-61 on Saturday. Concordia currently sits in second place in the RSEQ with a 6-2 record, just under UQÀM. 


What the CAQ’s tuition increase will mean for prospective out-of-province students

One Toronto high-schooler is reconsidering his choice of university after the Legault government’s latest announcement.

The Legault government’s announced tuition rate hikes are causing much debate amongst students and university officials. As undergraduate tuition is set to nearly double next year, those looking for a future education in Montreal might start looking elsewhere.

“It’s pretty disheartening,” said Gaven Niron, a senior high school student from Toronto. “I think several of my friends saw ourselves in Montreal. Now, the future doesn’t look so promising.” 

For some time, Niron has been eyeing Concordia’s journalism and art history programs. He practises music and writing in his spare time, which he believes might be inspired by Montreal’s culture following his multiple visits to the city.

Not long after the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s (CAQ) initial announcement, Niron was informed of the tuition raise, coming just in time for his first semester at Concordia. “It would be a very tough pill to swallow to put aside school in Quebec,” he said. 

The tuition raise was announced by Quebec’s Minister of Higher Education, Pascale Déry, on Oct. 13. Following this information, Concordia posted an informational guide regarding the announcement. By fall of 2024, out-of-province students will be required to pay about $17,000, almost double the previous average of $8,992. International students will have to pay a “minimum rate” of $20,000, although this may be subject to change depending on the university, according to Déry. 

Déry explained that the new rates will more closely reflect what non-Quebec students would be paying outside of Quebec. She also claimed the change would rectify a trend of out-of-province students taking advantage of Quebec’s decreased rates only to find work elsewhere after graduation.

The additional cost generated by this change will go directly into funding “the French-speaking network,” Déry said in an interview with the Journal de Québec.

Although his understanding of Quebec’s politics is sparse, Niron views the policy change as disruptive to Quebec’s growing diversity. He believes international students might not feel welcome after hearing the news, and hopes Quebec’s student population will come together in protest of the CAQ’s announcement. 

Two university students have already started planning a first major protest in opposition to the tuition hikes. Titled the “Bluefall Protest,” this project first took root on social media, garnering support from major university institutions, even the francophone ones.

The protest is headed by Noah Sparrow, a third-year creative writing student at Concordia University, and Alex O’Neill, a second-year McGill political science student.

“Our goal for this protest is to showcase to the Quebec government that we are united in our cause, and we’re not going to be silent about it,” Sparrow said. 

Sparrow and O’Neill believe the change is rooted in larger issues of discrimination against English-speaking minorities. They believe the CAQ’s decision was undemocratic, as students and professors were not consulted over such a large change in the status quo.

The Concordia Student Association (CSU) and the Student Society of McGill (SSMU) have also condemned the hike by releasing a joint statement on their social media accounts. 

The Bluefall Protest organisers have a history in rousing collective action, and have high hopes for their new undertaking. “We can use the [protest] to show that the province has moved past language politics,” O’Neill said. The university-joint strike is expected to take place on Oct. 30 near Dorchester Square. 

Lorraine O’Donnell, Senior Research Associate at the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN), believes the recent hikes were foreshadowed by previous moves like Bill 101 and Bill 96. She worries this will have a negative effect on enrollment and teacher employment.

O’Donnell sympathised with out-of-province students who will miss the opportunity to attend university at an affordable rate, which would eventually widen the class divide between anglophones and francophones. 

As for Niron, he plans to gain residency in Quebec by taking a gap year in the province, which will allow him to pay the Quebec student tuition rate.


Fusions of sonic moods in students’ playlists 

Music sub and cross-genres are more mainstream, but which ones are people fond of?

With more people becoming artists and countless music projects releasing every day, it is only natural for the boundaries of music to become more flexible. As time goes by, a perhaps preconceived mentality that music genres should fit in a box is prone to trickle away. 

Instead, innovative and experimental sounds are getting easier to get accustomed to. Songs blend core instruments of a certain type of music, the atmospheric essence of another, the foundational rhythm of another, etc., more organically. The options for creativity when it comes to music crafting are limitless at this point! Therefore, I asked students around Concordia for some of the music subgenres that flow through their headphones recently and which ones they noticed were popular online. 

#1: Hyperpop

One of the most recurrent auxiliary sounds mentioned was Hyperpop. So many genres can mesh together into a Hyperpop production, ranging from obvious Bubblegum Pop (a mix of rock and pop forming upbeat, catchy and danceable rhythms), Hip-Hop, EDM, and Nightcore (within the electronic realm where a song has a sped up tempo and raised pitch.) This energy-inducing sound typically features drums that are punchy, sharp and even distorted. Imagine a classic pop song, but turning the dial of numerous editing effects all the way up. 

Artists such as Mura Masa, Shygirl, Arca, 100 Gecs, Dorian Electra and notably Charli XCX, with her iconic 2016 hit “Vroom Vroom,” were mentioned by people. Moreover, this subgenre has a prominent space today in the so-called alternative TikTok world, with its “addictive dance tracks.”  

Artist Sophie is a prime example and an adored figure. Her unapologetic craft, from producing for numerous artists like Madonna to releasing stellar projects like Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides from 2018 features her signature high-pitched vocals, generous bass and synthesized chords. Listening to Hyperpop makes me feel like I’ve just had a surge of caffeine levels in my system but in the best way possible. 

#2: Dreamgaze

The second sub-division of music genres that was brought up was Dreamgaze. Under the alternative rock umbrella, it entails a combination of Shoegaze and Dream-pop atmospheres. 

From its initial rise in the early ‘90s, Shoegaze contains distorted and shimmery-sounding guitars, rumbling drums and various effect pedals at its core. Shoegaze also supplies a sense of introspection in terms of its higher focus on lyrics and overall ethereal ambience, which is in full effect in Dreamgaze. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride are key bands from the movement and helped Dreamgaze establish a more concrete immersive experience. 

Some of Dreampop’s earliest considered projects and artists also had their start in the early ‘90s. The enticing, rich, sonic textures and lavish amount of reverb were adopted from Dream-pop along with its breathy vocals. Bands like Spiritualized, Wild Nothing, Broadcast and Yo La Tengo have engaged a great presence in the genre. Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star were specifically mentioned by students as bands that supported the foundation of Dream-pop, thus Dreamgaze.

While both mother genres hold different meanings from audiences about each other’s characteristic boundaries over the past couple of decades, Dreamgaze still offers the best of both worlds. Beach House is notably notorious for incorporating elements of both sister genres, Shoegaze and Dream-pop. The cherished local band Men I Trust also combines the overlapping of ethereal and harmonic vocals from Shoegaze as well as the catchy and jangly melodies from Dream-pop. 

An honourable mention subgenre that came up a few times is Nova MPB, also known as Neo-Samba. The music style essentially groups bossa nova and samba genres from Brazil and falls under the indie realm. All throughout, it contains a lively and colourful tone that marks it as different from the usual sounds from the genre.  

The goal of all these unfolding music branches is to embrace and show love to preexisting sounds in new ways. It is to respect artists’ work by professing creatively their mark on the music industry. By adopting attributes from various original music genres, you too can come up with a sound full of novelty.


No Living Wage? Here’s a toonie

Why we should all be tipping well.

Fifteen percent is the bare minimum. No seriously, it is.

Have you ever gone out to eat and found yourself wondering why the tip ends up costing you maybe as much as an appetizer? Well, that’s because, in Quebec, servers are not paid a living wage.

A living wage is basically a fair amount that allows you to afford the cost of living in your area. While I believe that the required minimum wage isn’t even a living wage nowadays, that’s for another article. 

As someone who works in a restaurant, I know for a fact that servers are paid below the minimum wage. The average hourly salary of a server in Quebec is $12.20 while the minimum wage is currently $15.25. Except, it’s not just servers, it’s most tippable jobs. I don’t mean the cashier with a tip jar (we’ll talk about that later) but any job where a tip is expected.

So, with inflation and the cost of living constantly on the rise, shouldn’t the people being paid less than a living wage be given a little more consideration? 

With that said, here’s my guide to tipping:

As I mentioned, 15 percent is the bare minimum. The rule I go by is, that if you can’t afford to tip at a place, you can’t afford to eat there. If you’re budgeting yourself ahead of time, the tip should be factored in. If you don’t tip, servers quite literally end up paying to have served you. It’s messed up, but it’s true. Servers are required at the end of the night, to “tip out.”

If you don’t know, “tipping out” is when the server pays out a percentage of their sales to “the house” (the house is just the restaurant). That percentage then goes to helping pay the salaries of the kitchen, bussers, and hostesses, as well as going to the manager’s and owner’s pockets. 

To recap, if you don’t tip, servers are still required to tip out to the house as if you did tip— so it ends up being money out of their own pockets. 

Now, how do you tip properly? Well, cash is usually the best way to tip because they don’t have to declare as much of it in sales. That means they won’t be as taxed on it, and they won’t have to tip out as much of it at the end of the night.

In a world where nobody carries cash anymore though, just tip well. 

Moreover, you shouldn’t only be tipping at restaurants. A general rule I follow is if I pay cash, I tip all the small change I get back. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry you know it can be soul-sucking and draining. The people in these industries deserve some love and appreciation too, especially since tips are scarce and usually split among staff.

Really, we should all be conscious of the fact that these people are running around to serve us while barely being paid fairly. Everyone deserves a living wage, and while it shouldn’t be our responsibility to compensate for unfair salaries, we do it (or at least should).


Use physical activity to your advantage this end of semester

“Something is better than nothing,” experts say

It’s the final sprint, the home stretch, the end of the third period: it’s exam season, and it comes with an overwhelming amount of stress and an extremely compact schedule.

However, to navigate this stress, your greatest ally could very well be physical activity. Erin Goldstein, course instructor in the department of applied human sciences and education at Concordia, emphasized how exercise complements studying.

“When you exercise, your body releases endorphins,” Goldstein said. “We know that exercise helps you concentrate, helps with your memory, helps with your sleep.”

Starting an exercise routine in the middle of a time crunch can seem daunting, but you need less physical activity than you think to get the stress release. Dr. Simon Bacon, professor in the department of applied health, kinesiology and physiology, said that going from nothing to something brings the biggest benefits.

“Just the action of doing something, doing some physical activity is where you get the most benefit,” Bacon said. “Then, the more you can layer on top of that, the better off you’re going to be.”

“If you’re someone that’s currently doing nothing, even just doing a little bit to start is so beneficial for you,” added Goldstein.

Both Goldstein and Bacon are aware of the lack of time that the end of the semester brings. They proposed ways to fit physical activity into your current routine. 

Bacon strongly suggests breaking up your next study session with light physical activity.

“If you’ve been sitting at the computer for an hour, getting up and walking two minutes can actually impact a whole bunch of things physiologically that indirectly we’ve seen is related to stress,” he said. “Small things count.”

Along the same lines, he encouraged students who have classes on upper floors to climb a few flights of stairs on the way.

“Oftentimes, having small little tweaks is manageable and doesn’t create additional strain,” he said. “You don’t want to be adding to the stress in certain circumstances.”

Goldstein spoke on the upcoming spring weather, which will be ideal for short walks in-between study sessions. Otherwise, she mentioned the panoply of guided exercise routines that exist on YouTube. Most importantly, she emphasized the importance of remaining realistic.

“Starting smaller is always better because you’re more realistic and you’re more able to crush that goal,” she said. “You feel really good about it and motivated to go for more.”

Bacon added that students who are already fit and have a set exercise routine, when put under a stressful situation, have a lesser reaction.

“Regular physical activity ahead of time is going to give you some degree of protection in an acute stressful situation,” he explained.

Nonetheless, he said that you shouldn’t add to your current amounts of stress by worrying about keeping a strict exercise schedule.

“In a short-term situation [of stress], doing the thing that’s going to give you the greatest peace of mind is going to be predominant,” he said. “If it’s going to stress you out more to go to the gym than it is to sit down to do that studying, do the study.”

Goldstein also noted that, on top of physical activity, having a good sleep schedule and good nutrition is crucial. She recommends seven to nine hours of sleep and meal-prepping for the following week.

“Trying to stay away from processed foods, trying to eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, plant proteins, those are going to be really beneficial to help with mood,” she explained.

Now, once you’ve aced your exams and reduced your stress using these tips, don’t forget to congratulate yourself and allow yourself to relax. Then, consider implementing physical activity into your regular routine. But remember, the key is to be realistic and progressive.


K-pop dance workshops help students with self-acceptance

Members of the Concordia K-pop Club gain the confidence to express themselves by dancing to their favourite K-pop choreographies

The crowd is excited, the stage is lit, and K-pop is blasting through the nightclub’s speakers. For first-year Concordia University student Lana Masselon, this memory makes her eyes sparkle with joy as she talks about K-pop events that she has attended around Montreal. 

Dancing to K-pop has given her the confidence to overcome her fear, go up on stage, and dance in front of a large audience. This is thanks to the Concordia K-pop Club, which holds several dance workshops throughout the fall and winter semesters. They invite members and non-members to learn choreographies from the community’s favourite K-pop groups and to be true to themselves through dance.

Masselon attends most of these dance workshops and sometimes even teaches them. She has a modern-jazz dance background but fell in love with K-pop when she learned choreography to the song ‘Kill This Love’ by Blackpink. This inspired her to take a K-pop dance class. 

However, since starting university, she has not had the time to keep up with weekly lessons. She said that the workshops sprinkled throughout the school year provide her the opportunity to get exercise and give her a sense of accomplishment. 

“If I’m active, I’m happy. I know I need to be active, and K-pop helps keep sports in my life,” Masselon said.

She said she has found her identity through being accepted by the K-pop community. It has allowed her to break free of society’s status quo. 

“Before K-pop, I felt like I didn’t have a style. I just followed what everyone else was doing, and I wasn’t really myself,” she said. 

As a taller person, Masselon hid behind clothes she hated, such as jeans, when she wanted to wear clothes like skirts and knee-high socks. One of her favourite K-pop idols, Kim Hongjoong from the group ATEEZ, inspired her to feel more comfortable in her skin. 

“I was uncomfortable and scared about what people would think of me,” Masselon said. “Hongjoong says you can wear anything, as long as you feel confident in it, so I don’t try to hide myself anymore.” 

She believes that dance brings the K-pop community together, allowing people to meet new friends and bond over common interests. 

Other club members feel the beneficial effects that the dance workshops have on their lives too. Concordia K-pop Club President Inas Fawzi strongly feels that the dance workshops have built her confidence more.

“After learning K-pop dances, I started liking my body. It gave me a love for my physical being. Before I was just floating, I wasn’t attached to it. Now I’m like, ‘Wow, I look cool,’” Fawzi said. 

Amanda Beronilla, the club’s vice president of communications, also teaches dance workshops. She says that dancing to K-pop is one of the main ways that she can express herself. 

“Ever since I was small, I have always loved dancing. I wanted to go into ballet, but I was never able to. With K-pop dance, it feels like I’m able to do something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Beronilla said.

The dance workshops are fun and inclusive. Unlike a K-pop dance crew with high standards, these dance workshops are very welcoming. There’s little pressure, and people are encouraged to come and join in, regardless of their dance skills.

Each two-hour dance workshop is held at Concordia University’s Sir George Williams Campus on the Hall Building’s seventh floor. 

You can follow the Concordia K-pop Club on Instagram to learn about upcoming events.

Community Student Life

End of semester blues

Don’t forget to take care of yourself during this stressful time

End of semester is upon us, and it’s pretty much dreadful for anyone you talk to. Things are piling up and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

According to the organization Mental Health Partners, there are nine decompressing techniques that could help anyone get through tough times. 

While some enjoy going on a hike outdoors, others would rather decompress through meditation and deep breathing. Or even just simply talking it out with family and friends could make the world of difference.

In my personal opinion, the best techniques that work for me are exercising, taking a day off, and reading.

I am not the most active person out there, but with the weather getting nicer I have been finding walks really help channel my stress. I feel that while I’m walking I am not thinking about what schoolwork I need to do next. Instead, I am just focused on my surroundings. My boyfriend and I like to name out all the different models of cars that we spot while out walking.

Even though some decompressing techniques might work for me, I was curious as to which different decompressing techniques work for other Concordia students. 

For those I spoke to, it seems like there is a wide variety of preferred decompressing coping mechanisms.

Adriana Gentile, a third-year journalism student, explains, “I often like to go outside and take a walk and do some breathing techniques. Also, listening to music helps me a lot.”

Jessica Laturnus, a third-year Irish studies student, says, “Sometimes it’s a movie, sometimes it’s a rain app. I find my rain app so useful when I have so many things to do. I have a hard time sleeping.”

This high-intensity time could result in a lack of sleep for some students, (okay a LOT of students). I personally could attest to that one.

Laturnus also explained that aside from her rain app, she finds ambient noise or white noise helpful for sleep.

During these last few weeks of crunch time, I would like to remind all my fellow peers out there that it’s okay to take things a little slower and not so rushed. One thing at a time and things will all work out.

Community Student Life

The return of the Montreal St. Patrick’s Day parade

How Concordia Irish Studies student Samara O’Gorman is honouring her heritage

The month of March is a big deal for the United Irish Societies of Montreal and a cause for celebration for the students of the Concordia School of Irish Studies.

This year marks the return of the full-scale parade since it was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The Concordian spoke with Irish Studies student Samara O’Gorman ahead of the parade, which took place Sunday, March 19. O’Gorman was selected as Queen of the Montreal St. Patrick’s Day 2023 parade.

“The Queen selection evening is run by the United Irish Societies of Montreal. It’s a common misconception that it might be a pageant but it’s actually a public speaking contest,” O’Gorman explained.

Young women of Irish descent from the Montreal area come together and compete. The competition is based on Irish history, community involvement, volunteerism, and the extent to which participants are ambassadors for the Irish community.

Lauren Tracey, VP of advertising and public relations for the United Irish Societies of Montreal, explained that the selection of the parade court goes all the way back to 1956. 

In 1956, the Queen’s Pageant Selection Evening was first held at the Sailors’ Club in Old Montreal, and the first young lady chosen was Patricia Ann Craig.

“Different parishes had promoted young ladies as Queen of their units in prior years, and in 1956 there was a Queen of the parade. At some point in subsequent years, the United Irish Societies decided, ‘Why not us?’ and began holding the Queen’s Pageant at the Sailors’ Club,” Tracey recalled.

The return of the parade this year has truly put into perspective what Irish culture in Montreal means to O’Gorman. 

“Something that I’ve learned to appreciate is how important tradition is, especially in the Montreal Irish community,” she said.

O’Gorman emphasized that the return of the parade is significant because it brings the Montreal Irish community together in one place. 

According to Tracey, Irish culture is represented in Montreal in a variety of ways, not just through the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“One of the most prominent aspects of Irish culture in Montreal is traditional Irish music and dance. The Irish brought their music and dance traditions with them when they immigrated to Montreal, and these traditions continue to be celebrated today,” Tracey explained.

O’Gorman said there was one specific aspect of the parade that she was most excited about this year.

“At the end of the parade we are going to have a big Ukrainian group,” she said, referring to the community of Ukrainians new to Montreal who were invited to take part in the parade.

“If there is anything that the Irish people love to do, it’s to lend a helping hand and I think that narrative is really important right now.”

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