The rise brings an end to Skywalker

OPINION

The ninth film of a ninology and the third in a trilogy has the massive task of concluding the space opera epic of Star Wars — a task harder than any that has come before in the world of film.

Spoilers ahead. I also recommend watching the movie before reading this.

Unlike Avengers: Endgame or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — other franchise-ending mega blockbusters — there is no comic book or novel to follow or be inspired by. When Disney rightfully destroyed the pre-2014 chaotic, but much-beloved canon, they set out alone in the galaxy to, for the first time in forty years, create new Star Wars films that could go any direction and take on any form.

Disney wanted it fast. Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, as well as many others, admitted as such. George Lucas handed the Star Wars IP to Disney and it was go time. So here we are four years later with another trilogy and the end of the Skywalker Saga. Did we get what we wanted?

The best part about the ending is that it exists. Now, Lucasfilm is free to move on without being held to the bedrock of a franchise and explore new stories, places, beings — untethered to the expectations of legions of fans worldwide. It’s an exciting time, the future has arrived.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve read other reviews already as well as seen the film and made your own decision. This was originally intended to be a spoiler review of Episode IX — and while below you’ll find a summary with some commentary — it’s mostly a look to the future and what will come next, because that is the best part of this film. 

Sure, the redemption and sacrifice of Kylo Ren — who turned out to be the most interesting character of this trilogy — and the eventual defeat of Emperor, were quite predictable. But it was the relationship of Rey to the Emperor and the truly fun adventure of Poe, Rey and Finn that were pleasant surprises.

Some critics are taking issue with Rey being related to the Emperor as it takes away from her independence as a woman and her identity as a “nobody” that could still have impact in a galaxy where everyone powerful is related to someone.

I dispute this for two reasons.

One is that, yes, this is the Skywalker Saga and these movies are about the Skywalkers and the influence of Palpatine. It’s not like you need to be related to someone to be powerful. Yoda is arguably the most powerful and wisest being and is not related to the two families. Ashoka is a woman, independent and strong as well as unrelated to the families.

Secondly, Rey, after growing in herself in the last two movies and casting aside doubt to fight the First Order without hesitation because she knew what was right, found out she was from the worst possible thing — a dark Sith who had committed atrocities across the galaxy — and yet still held strong to defeat him, giving her own life in the process.

It was Ben Solo, played by Adam Driver, that was the most interesting in the end. Despite a movie that aimed to fix the middle of the trilogy — which only happened because of poor advanced planning and not because of the risks Rian Johnson took — Kylo was one of the few characters that felt like a complete, coherent story arc from start to end.

And he was interesting. His turn from the dark side back to the light was sparked by a sacrifice of Leia — a powerful, respectful end to her character if there ever was one — and a memory of Han Solo.

All-in-all, The Rise of Skywalker was a strong, vibrant conclusion that, for me, remained true to the Star Wars I loved — fun, adventurous, new and epic — and presented a satisfying conclusion to a story 42 years in the making.

You can read our entertainment editor’s review for a more robust critic of the film, along with our official rating of 7/10, but it was here that I wanted to make the point that the final film was good, but it is the excitement of a new frontier in this galaxy far, far away that I already have begun to anticipate.

Movie corner: ‘Shin Godzilla’

This is a very special month for a very special Giant Movie Monster. This month is the 65th anniversary of the worlds biggest movie star (literally) and King of the monsters, Godzilla.

At 65 years, his is the longest running movie franchise ever, with 35 movies (counting the American productions) under the titanic creature’s belt, spanning all the way back to 1954. And that number will only continue to grow in the coming years, with Godzilla vs Kong set to debut next year in March and Toho Studios, Godzillas owner, set to take its own steps into the cinematic universe ring with their own kaiju (the word for giant monster in Japanese).

In the (late) spirit of celebration, we could perhaps look back on his homeward bound endeavours and talk about one of the reasons why he’s so beloved. In particular, let’s talk about one of his movies. And what better than one where the titular monster is a symbol of ruin, death and destruction brought forth from atomic energy, where, as the song goes, “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.”

By that description, it would appear I’m talking about Godzilla’s first cinematic opus from 1954. In actuality, I’m referring to the more recent live action film that just so happens to take “The big G” back to his traditionally villainous roots from the first film. Lets talk about… Shin Godzilla.

Shin Godzilla is a 2016 Japanese giant monster movie that, as previously stated, goes back to it’s grim roots created by the 1954 original classic “Godzilla.” It elects to once again make the mutated prehistoric reptile of unknown origin an unstoppable force of destruction and terror.

The design of the creature even borrows the “keloid scars” from the original look with a more gruesome update. But thats not the only thing that has updated with this version of the king of the monsters. Not only is it an allegory for a particular disaster (the Tohoku tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown in this case) but it is also a political satire!

The film wastes no time in starting, as a massive steam geyser erupts from Tokyo bay and a weird blood like liquid begins to flood the tunnels after a boat of a Japanese scientist is discovered without him on board. From there, the Japanese government holds various meetings on how to handle the situation while pandemonium continues to unfold. When one of the politicians, our protagonist Rando Yaguchi, played by Hiroki Hasegawa, states during a meeting that the eruption might be caused by a large creature, based on the videos posted by onlookers and survivors, he’s lambasted for the idea and told not make a mockery of the political system… before a news report reveals a massive creature in the bay that’s headed for the city. 

This results in postponing the meeting for… another meeting, as they discuss what the creature is and its abilities, resulting in more havoc. As more details and abilities are revealed about the creature revealed and international interests for said creature, dubbed Godzilla by the missing scientists papers, the race is on for Yaguchi and his team of “misfits and weirdos” to come up with a breakthrough before Godzilla causes more chaos.

What is truly noteworthy about Shin Godzilla is just how bold and daring it is compared to other Godzilla movies, despite clearly taking notes from the original movie. This film was penned and co-directed by Hideki Anno, and if you know the name, you might be familiar with the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, of which Anno created, wrote and directed.

The series is known for its wildly gorgeous visuals, symbolism, allegorical messages, and just how bizarre the show and the concept actually is. Shin Godzilla is no different. Instead of appearing as his normal reptilian self when he shows up surprisingly early for one of his own movies, he is instead this bizarre cross of terrifying and adorable, looking more akin to an eel with dinosaur legs with massive unblinking eyes and bleeding gills.

Despite being barely able to walk, he still causes much destruction and death before seemingly and randomly stopping to reveal Anno’s next radical idea regarding Godzilla: he instantly “evolves” into something slightly closer to his traditional appearance to better walk on land. In other words, when Godzilla is faced with a difficult challenge, his body radically transforms to deal with it. It’s even brought up that, if need be, he can sprout wings and fly. 

This leads to the point where he finally becomes something that looks like a “traditional” Godzilla design and later the scene where he finally uses his atomic breath for the first time. The scene itself is both beautiful and very haunting. It is probably Godzilla’s most frightening use of his atomic breath to date, and it is the first time on film that Godzilla breaths actual fire for a bit (That idea was a concept invented by the Americans while importing the movies, he actually breaths an “emission of radiation” or just a straight up laser).

This is the first time in a Japanese Godzilla movie that Godzilla would be fully portrayed by CGI for all scenes (a few films had a few shots where the monster was entirely computer generated). Harkening back to the original design, Godzilla’s 4th and final “look” (his first is unseen) brings back the ugly and horrific keloid radiation scarring that the first version of the monster evoked. Using some impressive CGI the monster is shown in incredible detail, exposed glowing red tissue and a horrific mangled jaw that has teeth protruding outside of his lips being just the tip of the dorsal plate.

To emphasize his presence is a beautiful score. Most of it composed by regular Hideki Anno collaborator Shiro Sagisu, the score he creates offers a unique mix of tracks,  with some deliberately using a more action movie vibe when actual work and progress is being made on how to stop Godzilla. Some are more appropriately haunting, such as “Who Will Know,” a tragic and somber piece used for Godzilla’s first thermonuclear breath. The song itself can be seen from Godzilla’s perspective, as it elements about its survival.

The film has more the just the monster, surprisingly. As previously stated, Hideki Anno is known for his less than subtle allegorical messages and symbolism and Shin Godzilla has this in spades. Throughout the picture, the Japanese government goes to meeting after meeting after meeting before arriving at anything helpful to help people or try to halt Godzilla’s progress. Indeed when the film opens, adherence to protocol is strict, to the point where it actually hinders and slows the effort to stop Godzilla.

During a military effort to crush the creature, the prime minister is relaid information by his superiors about the attack. In order to get to him, it has to travel down the line of command before reaching a member of the cabinet who only can respond to his superior, despite the sitting at the same table as the prime minister, and then said superior, can talk to the prime minister. Now some of this is already natural for many governments with similar structures, but Anno directs the scene in such a way as to highlight how utterly absurd this process is. 

No movie is perfect, including Shin Godzilla, which does have noticeable faults. Despite being a Japan centric picture, there are some scenes with english dialogue. When some Japanese characters speak english dialogue, it’s fine. They give it a good effort and it comes off convincingly. However, sometimes it comes off as awkward and stilted, as some actors struggle speak the language. Unusually, the ones who come off as the most awkward are the few english speaking actors. Some of the lines they perform are oddly worded, with the occasional awkward performance to back it up.

Thankfully, the fault is not entirely distracting, as the film knows where its main focus is, and it payed off. With high praise across the board in its home country and an estimated US$15 million budget, it made back US$77 million, making it the most financially successful Japanese Godzilla movie. At the Japanese academy awards, it was able to acquire many wins for itself, including best picture, a first for a Godzilla movie.

In the end, your taste in monster movies may vary, but if this spikes anyone’s interest, the film is available on dvd, Blu-ray and digital, though there are 2 versions of the digital version, one english dubbed and one in Japanese (The Japanese dub is superior). It may not be the goofy monster destroying action you may heard about, but it is still very enjoyable and serves as a reminder as to why Godzilla was made in the first place.

Hail to the king.

Johnson-Figueredo: It’s time to face socialism

OPINION

Michel Johnson-Figueredo
Columnist
The Avro Post
Our Opinion Policy.

A new poll says socialism has increased in popularity in the United States, but have we forgotten what socialism truly entails?

With the increase in liberalism and further leftist ideas within global culture, socialism and ‘the fight for equality’ has taken hold of the conversation. But why is socialism considered an ideal form of government and now seen as the only solution?

I’ve known about it since I was young. Born from a Cuban mother, in a rundown military hospital known to locals as ‘Hospital Naval’, it was my introduction to socialism. When my mother tells me of that day, it’s often filled with glimpses into socialism that aren’t mentioned in the mainstream.

Socialist systems cause a strain on production of goods and services, often leaving the general populace to suffer.

No needles, expired anesthesia, and recently graduated doctors with little experience tended to my mother. It was horrible staying in that hospital, my mother tells me. That was 1996, and in 2019, it has only fallen further.

Socialist propagandists or ‘activists’ like to claim that government control of major industries and businesses is the fairest way to service and provide for those within a country’s borders.

I beg to differ.

As we move towards a more progressive societal mindset, liberal ideology has become the norm within educational institutions and social groups. The groupthink surrounding socialist platforms has taken hold of the mainstream and people have grown fond of them.

Of course, who wouldn’t grow fond of the things preached by modern day pilgrims as they journey towards a socialist utopia.

U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016 began using the term Democratic Socialist, differentiating his socialist policies from those which would be compared to my own country.

Democratic Socialism is nothing new, being represented in many governments around the world including Portugal, where it continues to be popular.

Bolivia, another democratically socialist country, is in the midst of a revolt against their president, as accusations of fraud grow after the presidential election in October.

Communism and dictatorships were often connected with socialism but now we are given a new light of socialism, re-branded, a new and improved look, Democratic Socialism.

Apart from the other issues within socialism, the form that has been imported into the U.S. is violent, un-democratic, and silences the voices of many.

I know what you’re thinking.

Michel, how could you say that? These representatives of socialism are the voice of the working people.

Well, thats the thing, they aren’t. They are representatives of ideals they strongly believe in and continuously reject evidence against. They constantly feel as though the importance of implementing socialist policies triumphs their eventual result.

Someone once told me that ANTIFA are anti-fascists because thats what ANTIFA means. Well, by that logic if a man goes by the name of ‘Tiny Tim’ that doesn’t necessarily mean Tim is tiny. Tim could be 280 lbs and 6’2.

ANTIFA, a group stating they fight fascists, have only harmed and alienated working class people with opposing political views. Silencing, threatening and often attacking average citizens who don’t agree with them politically.

I spent two years living in Cuba when I turned 20 years old, encountering a vastly different place. Nowhere to be seen is the paradise constantly spoken by those privileged enough to promote socialism here in Canada.

I saw a country which had revolutionized to become better, but became a land of anti-demonstration, police brutality, corruption, and massive wealth inequality.

Government control and subsidies of societal needs crumble under socialism.

While living in my hometown it was not strange to experience water shortages for weeks. An entire city running on tank water, to cook, bathe, and everything in between.

Government managed garbage trucks break down due to poor maintenance and few spare parts available, government stores sell limited products. Those who look for other options turn toward black markets where competition exists.

Behind the pile of trash, lies a government run daycare. Camilo Cienfuegos, La Habana. Photo by Michel Johnson-Figueredo.

Supermarkets and mini-marts not having any sort of food is also common, except for canned peas and tubes of ‘Picadillo de Soya‘, a government provided favourite that no one seems to know what it’s made of.

The issue with modern day socialists is their lack of real experience within socialism. Waking up in the morning, eating stale bread, topped with soy based oil, and a glass of water with sugar is a reality these ‘preachers’ have never seen.

The failure of socialism lives on in Cuba; forcing the government to sell off government property to outside investors, opening up private businesses to stimulate growth because ‘government’ cannot be the solution to every problem.

But as they take one step forward, they take three steps back. As soon as businesses and options are created for the typical consumer, it is taxed and regulated until businesses struggle to survive.

Receiving a university degree in Cuba, even studying medicine or engineering, is worthless. Yes, government covers tuition fees but doctors are paid a measly $25 to $50 a month.

After graduating, everyone must work for the government for a small wage of $5 CUC a month, for a period of up to two years. A longtime family friend, who’s wife is also a full-time doctor, works as a taxi driver on the side just to maintain his family.

If this is what socialism is about, why don’t we hear the media criticize it? Why is there no public outcry? Why don’t the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren take a step out from their shell, visit Cuba, and defend their socialist policies?

Well, in a 2016 interview with ABC News, Sanders was asked about comments he made regarding Cuba in 1970, speaking on education and healthcare. He clarified his comments, saying the economy in Cuba is a disaster. But he continues with this idea that Cuba has a good education and healthcare system.

A healthcare system that is reduced everyday by doctors being sent away to foreign countries in exchange for aid. As hospitals continue to decline in quality, President Miguel Díaz-Canel can’t even supply enough hospital beds for the aging population. Doctor’s constantly told my family that a bed wasn’t available for my uncle, until it was too late, and he passed a day after he was admitted.

As many Canadians and other tourists take advantage of discounted resort deals in Cuba, they see happy faces. They see Cubans dancing and enjoying life, not in anger or despair.

So the system must be working, right? Why wouldn’t it be if we’re not constantly voicing our opinions and calling for change?

The miscommunication here is that is who we are, as a culture and a people. In the worst of circumstances, the typical Cuban takes it as just another day he or she needs to survive.

In Canada, we live in luxury, constantly taking rights for granted; free speech, the right to vote, the right to protest and other fundamentals that are critical to our livelihood. But we continue to promote and protect ideologies that have long risen, crashed, and burned.

As the entitlement among my generation grows, institutions and governments match their rhetoric. Diversity of thought has been lost as we nit-pick what we like from socialism and believe we can use the same formula while solving for a different answer.

Humber College is among one of the many educational institutions that follows this mainstream standard. Hiring politically biased professors in general elective courses that continue to maintain one set idea of liberalism.

Courses which were once made to explore the arts, has now turned into a conditioning experiment by educators.

Instead of questioning the norm, professors and other students support the mainstream. Consistently dismissing the idea of challenging these narrative ideals set by our surroundings.

Those with opposing views to how I see socialism tell me I don’t know anything or that their kind isn’t the bad one. To me, socialism is socialism, no matter how you coat it.

Maintaining an open mind and discussing ideas through civil discussion is the only way to maintain our core values. I encourage you all to take advantage, as some of my family and friends in Cuba have never had that liberty.

Michel Johnson-Figueredo is a columnist at The Avro Post and a second year Bachelor of Public Relations student at Humber Lakeshore Campus.

Johnson-Figueredo: IGNITE no longer represents us, the students

OPINION

Michel Johnson
Columnist
The Avro Post
Our Opinion Policy.

Over the past couple of months The Avro Post has reported on changes to IGNITE, Guelph-Humber and Humber College’s student union.

The changes have further reduced transparency between the union and students. So what is IGNITE really here for? How can they truly represent students when they eliminate us from the conversation?

As we move on with the school semester, more students are becoming aware of IGNITE’s changes. Like myself, many aren’t welcoming of them. As a second year public relations student at Humber Lakeshore Campus, I understand the need for trust between an organization and it’s publics.

IGNITE has diminished that trust.

Since the Student Choice Initiative came into play this fall, IGNITE has chosen to cut students off from Board of Director’s meetings. Rejecting a reporter from The Post back in September and disallowing any student to attend board meetings without executive approval.

The Post has reported on events taking place behind the scenes at IGNITE, revealing by-law changes that would eliminate IGNITE executive elections and replace them with hired positions. Inside sources at IGNITE detailed meetings where employees were told not to speak to student publications.

The Avro Post was specifically mentioned.

The demand for silence by IGNITE towards employees is an indication they wish to control the narrative surrounding the changes. The decisions taken would continue to advance the corporate approach executives and the board are pushing.

The more I share this information — the more I realize our interests are no longer being represented. IGNITE went through an entire rebrand to rebuild itself as more student friendly, what are they now?

Well, instead of promoting and pushing student concerns, they are reducing transparency. IGNITE representatives hide behind their decisions as they continue to be funded with our money.

At Humber Lakeshore Campus, students are constantly complaining about a lack of electrical outlets in classrooms to charge their devices. In a time where the average student is using either a laptop or tablet, charging is a priority.

A simple problem, with no solution or discussion from our student body.

I can’t recall the last time IGNITE used their social media accounts to reach out to students, ask them to come in and talk, attend meetings and communicate our grievances.

I see the irony in IGNITE rallying students to fight against provincial government decisions, but what about their own decisions?

We as students are now needed more than ever for organizations like IGNITE to function. We now hold the influence over their decisions more so than ever before.

The Conservative provincial government, which is controversial within student circles has made cuts, but unlike our school government, they have allowed us to maintain the power to protest, question, criticize and explore their decisions.

IGNITE is on the verge of disallowing that liberty completely.

I have grown tired of being ignored by those who are elected by students and now believe they are above students. The consistent deflections and arrogance has created an environment ripe for change. From the top to bottom, change must come.

As IGNITE continues to make choices that will harm those they represent, the disappointment will only grow. That very same disappointment will fester, and eventually knock on the very door of a Board of Director’s meeting.

As far as we know, the next Special Meeting of the Members will be in mid to late January. This is where students will have an opportunity to overturn IGNITE’s decision to silence us.

Turn out and vote down the by-laws in January and save our student union.

Show them we care.

Michel Johnson-Figueredo is a columnist at The Avro Post and a second year Bachelor of Public Relations student at Humber Lakeshore Campus.

Nicholas Seles: Top 10 favourite movies

As a part-time critic for The Avro Post, I think it’s important to share what my favourite movies are so that readers can get a better sense of who I am as a moviegoer.


10. The Conjuring

Directed by James Wan, The Conjuring was the first horror movie in a very long time to actually creep me out. It had a very gritty, real tone to it and Wan’s understanding of making sequences tense help draw the viewers in and lure them into a false sense of security. The sequel to this movie managed to scare me, but I felt the story and direction was far stronger in this film.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine Warren. © New Line Cinema

9. What We Do In the Shadows

Taika Waititi’s major directorial debut saw three vampires; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon, living together in Wellington, New Zealand and it’s a hilarious movie. Loaded with jokes and such a unique premise, the success of this movie allowed Waititi to go on and continue to build his name with projects like Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit and the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. This movie also received a TV series adaptation that I thought was almost better than the movie it was based on and tackled a lot of humour that pushed the boundaries of TV in some cases.

The cast of What We Do in the Shadows. © Resnick Interactive

8. Whiplash

Damien Chazelle’s first major film came out swinging. A powerful dynamic between Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) and Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) results in a look at how dangerous the pursuit of success can be. The editing in this film is incredible, utilizing the music of the film to elevate the storytelling and keeping the raw intensity of Neiman’s training uncomfortable. I heard about the movie due to its Golden Globe/Oscar campaign and when I got to finally see it on home release – wow! It was the first movie I sat and watched twice (back to back) just to absorb it all.

J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller in Whiplash. © Bold Films

7. The Big Lebowski

Joel and Ethan Coen are among the my favourite directors and The Big Lebowski plays a big part in that. Despite a long list of great movies like True Grit, A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men and Raising Arizona; there’s something about the absurdity and no-purpose plot to Lebowski that makes it so charming and enjoyable. Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and Peter Stormare, the film is just a chronicling of one very average man’s miserable day spiralling into something even more ridiculous. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, watch it at your soonest convenience.

Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman in The Big Lebowski. © Working Title Films

6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

In a franchise that started out strong with the first film in 1996, the Mission: Impossible movies have just gotten better and better. Christopher McQuarrie took over from Brad Bird with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and then the sequel, Fallout. The sixth film took everything to new heights – bigger stunts, bigger set pieces, bigger cast, you name it. No matter how old he gets, Tom Cruise shows no signs of slowing down and it shows the most in this film, especially after he broke his ankle during a take but kept going.

Henry Cavill, Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson in Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
© Paramount Pictures

5. Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

I remember being four years old and my dad rented Star Wars Episode V from a video store (way back when) and it was one of my first ever live action movies that wasn’t directed at children. I was in complete amazement at what I was seeing. The Battle of Hoth, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Bespin, Dagobah… all of these distant and magnificent places and characters accompanied by John Williams’ iconic score. To say it left an impression on me is an understatement, and while I don’t hold Star Wars as near to me as I did as a child, there’s no denying that I’ll be there opening night for every new Star Wars movie.

Darth Vader attempts to appeal to Luke Skywalker. © Walt Disney Studios

4. The Godfather

When it comes to classic filmmaking, or films in general, you can’t, under any circumstances, forget Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo, it tells the story of a New York crime family in the 1950s. With a cast that has gone down in the history books; Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan and Diane Keaton, The Godfather appeared on my radar during my formative years, you could call them, the ones we all have in our early to mid-teens, and it opened my eyes to the finer side of film. There’s nothing wrong with explosions and superheroes and action movies, but to ignore what’s considered the classics is doing yourself a disservice, and The Godfather is one of those classics you have to see.

Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone. © Paramount Pictures.

3. Walk The Line

At the time that this movie came out, I was at an age where biopics didn’t exactly do much for me, but Walk the Line changed my life, for lack of a better saying. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon star as Johnny Cash and June Carter, directed by James Mangold, and it’s a fantastic movie. Chronicling Cash’s life from his troubled childhood through his first marriage, his rise to fame, drug abuse and eventual peace and reconciliation with Religion and June Carter. I was floored and blown away by this movie and instantly became a huge Johnny Cash fan. The movie made me also go out and get a guitar and I taught myself to play.

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line. © Fox 2000 Pictures.

2. The Middle Earth Saga

While this section is encompassing all six films (yes, I love The Hobbit trilogy too), if I was forced to pick one, it would be The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Fellowship kickstarted an interest in fantasy, and in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien in general. It was the first movie franchise to get me going back to the theatre excited, hoping to see a trailer for the following instalment. Return of the King ignited my love of films with “My friends… You bow to no one…” remaining one of my favourite cinematic moments of all time. Beautifully crafted from start to finish with a score that cannot be matched from Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings is brilliant.

The One Ring. © New Line Cinema.

1. The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Much like the Middle Earth saga before this, if I had to narrow the choice down, it would be Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, and I feel like that counts as one pick because it’s telling one over-arching story with the Infinity Stones and Thanos. Growing up as a fan of superheroes, what Marvel Studios has managed to achieve over the past 11 years is beyond astounding. The action, the stories, the characters – all on this continuing, ever-evolving journey. The riskiest thing Marvel Studios did one day was make Iron Man – now we’re moving into a time where we’re getting movies like The Eternals, Shang-Chi and Disney+ shows for characters like Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk and it’s glorious.

The Infinity War. Artist: Ryan Meinerding. © Marvel Studios.

Honourable mentions: Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese), The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson), SAW (James Wan), Logan (James Mangold), Toy Story (John Lasseter), Inside Out (Pete Doctor)

Re-‘IGNITE’ our union’s accountability to students

OPINION

Anonymous
Our Opinion Policy

Student unions are no strangers to controversy.

Earlier this year the Ryerson Student Union was audited after $273,000, in questionable expenses were discovered. Thousands spent on nightclubs, hotels, and other potentially questionable expenditures.

The school has since launched a forensic investigation into $700,000, worth of expenses that occurred over nine months. While some students may not think twice about their union while in college or university, it’s crucial to hold them to account.

Transparency from student unions should be expected, and officials should be forthcoming with information.

In 2018, Humber’s IGNITE managed a budget of $11,133,000. Of that total, just $197,000, is derived from “programming related” and “ancillary operations” revenue.

Humber students contribute the rest through dental fees and newly optional student fees. Almost 11 million dollars of student cash may be used at the discretion of our elected officials, do we not have the right to know where it’s going?

As the weeks pass, it seems IGNITE is becoming more and more tight-lipped.

Early in September of this year, they denied our reporters access to the previously open board meetings. The reason? So they can talk about pressing matters without censoring themselves.

While a reasonable person will see their point, they are discussing issues that are funded by you the student body. Later that month IGNITE’s board of directors were instructed not to speak to campus media and that all requests should be directed to their public relations representative.

Another ridiculous move considering all members elected are there to represent the students, not IGNITE. If they’re concerned about their brand as a student union over the students, then we have failed in selecting these so-called ‘leaders.’

It’s disturbing how bold IGNITE is in their quest to silence campus press. They claim “non-journalists” are able to attend their board meetings; however fail to provide details as to where these meetings are held, simply citing the excuse “information is coming.’ How long will this answer be acceptable?

IGNITE, and The Avro Post sat down for a much-anticipated interview this afternoon, the results paint a disappointing picture of the condescending ‘you can’t touch us’ attitude our union holds.

Instead of answering questions, IGNITE flipped the conversation to The Avro Post and how we conduct our publication and write our content. Let us not forget; we are students of Humber and Guelph Humber!

The fact students walking the halls take an interest in journalism, writing, accountability, and a search for the truth does not mean we lose the right to ask questions nor the credibility to share this information with our audience.

During this so-called “interview”, IGNITE made it clear to The Avro Post that students interested in sitting in on board meetings will have to make the request on a case by case basis.

Does this mean a student could travel to the meeting only to be turned away by an in the moment decision by the board? Seem’s like an effective way to discriminate against students that the board might deem as ‘unfavourable.’

During this meeting, Acting Communications Director Unika Hypolite and President Monica Khosla made it clear there were to be no audio recordings. If The Avro Post has an issue with fact-checking as IGNITE would like to believe, it is in their best interest in letting campus media record interactions.

It allows journalists to publish accurate information and defend themselves against crooked organizations that claim the publication is lying. I highly doubt IGNITE is adopting this rule to make it easier for The Avro Post to falsify information potentially. We’re left with few other ideas as to why this is happening.

Students need to hold their union to account. They don’t exist solely to plan frosh among other headlining events; they exist to represent the student body and fight for our rights, something Khosla proudly announced to first-year students at orientation this year.

I would implore IGNITE to put their $11 million where their mouth is and start to live up to this already deflating promise.

Opinion: Consider the Green Party

OPINION

Chris Johnston,
Letter to the Editor
Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
Opinion Policy

I am typically not one to discuss politics.

I am not a card carrying member of any party but I am motivated by the ongoing effects of climate change and young voters who demonstrated remarkable leadership and a clear vision of what they want during the climate strike from the elected officials after the upcoming election.

Please be aware that this is in the Green Party platform online.

The Green Party promises to “make college and university tuition free and forgive federal student debt”

This was also reiterated by Ms. May on CBC when she spoke with undecided voters on technology and innovation.

Hopefully, upon receiving this information your fellow university students will then pass it on to their parents and family for their consideration.

In this era of pocket book politics (tax credits and handouts to put money in your pocket offered by political parties), there is no other promise that offers to put more money in the pockets of students and the parents that pay to support them.

What difference can Canada make where we are such a small part of the climate change problem on a population basis but a big part of the problem on a per capita basis? We can assume a leadership role in the world by providing a model upon which other countries can move from fossil fuel emitters to using renewable energies so we can get to an overall zero carbon dioxide emission.

To those of you who plan to vote Green Party, please make sure that you cast your ballot on election day. 

To those of you who are considering a vote for the Green Party, please vote Green so that we can start on a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to make a livable planet well into the future. Using an analogy, I would rather fix the “leaky roof” now and not wait until later when the house is flooded and not fixable.

To those of you who do not plan to vote Green, if there was ever one election to change your vote, please make it this one.

Our climate crisis has worsened under the governments to date and we need the smartest peoples of all parties to work in “a cross-party inner cabinet to deal with climate change” and “limit global warming to a level civilization can survive, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on Canadians”, citing the Green Mission Possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Chris Johnston

Superheroes: Real cinema or fluff?

Martin Scorsese recently spoke out about the blandness of superhero movies. Is the claim valid?

In a recent interview with Empire Magazine, legendary director Martin Scorsese declared comic book movies (more accurately, Marvel movies) as “not cinema.”

It’s been a debate, online more than anything, whether superhero movies deserve the acclaim they get from fans and critics, as well as the massive financial return they receive.

Scorsese went into greater detail on how he felt about the movies as a whole: “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

This comment of course solicited responses from a number of different perspectives; those who wholeheartedly agree, those who stand to defend the Marvel Universe and those who see both sides. There are, however, a number of things to take into consideration when analyzing all angles

First and foremost; filmmaking is considered art, and art, as you’ll learn anywhere from anyone, is subjective. What one person finds entertaining or beautiful or sad; someone else may find something different in it. It’s why so many people will flock to see the latest blockbuster from Marvel or DC while some others may sit back at home and vehemently refuse to watch it. Both parties are right to do so because that is their preference.

So with that single point of art being subjective, should we stop there and say it’s a difference of opinion between Scorsese and Marvel? We could, but we won’t.

As much as I love the Marvel movies, from Iron Man to (in)patiently awaiting the first teaser trailer for Black Widow, there is a formula and pattern to these kinds of movies.

Is it inherently bad to follow a formula if it works? No, I don’t think so. It’s why families write down recipes and pass those down through generations – This is what works. Stick to it. Maybe play with it a little here and there, but this is the core idea.

My next point brings us to the fact that Scorsese mentions they don’t have a human connection in trying to convey emotions which is where he starts to lose me. One of the biggest draw factors to superhero stories, from comics to movies, is how we escape into those stories.

Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Daredevil, Iron Man… these are all characters we can see bits of ourselves reflected in; some of those good, some not, but it’s self-reflection. We’ve all wished we could dodge bullets or fly or had billions upon billions of dollars at our disposal to build technologically advanced caves under our mansions or construct flying suits of metal that are equipped with artillery – it’s escapism.

When you see yourself in another person, fictional or not, a connection is formed. Anyone with a close familial tie will instantly sympathize with Peter Quill/Star-Lord in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies because of his unwavering bond with his deceased mother. Someone who wishes they could be with the person they love, even if that’s impossible, will want to see Steve Rogers find happiness with Peggy Carter one way or another, or even understand the sorrow he carries with him 70yrs after World War II.

The stories may not overtly scream emotion at us, and it’s a slow build to trust the writers, directors and actors with our investments of time, finances and emotions, but the bonds of emotion are, in fact, there.

My last point brings us to the harsh reality that movies/film/cinema, whatever term you want to use for it, has changed dramatically. People are quick to criticize a comic book movie releasing once every few months (with the occasional one or two coming out in a shorter window) while the Western genre of the 1940s – 1960s had movies releasing once every few weeks, if not more.

Since those years, the movie theatre experience has declined drastically. Ticket prices are up (it costs $14.75 for a general admission, non-reserved seating, here in Ont., Canada) and the lack of attendance causes distribution companies to demand a higher percentage of ticket sales than ever before.

As a result, theatres increase the price of food and attractions to make up for the loss of income through ticket sales. Ever wondered why arcades and in-theatre restaurants have started to make a comeback? This is why.

Like it or not, tentpole movies like The Avengers or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and even non-comic book movies like Star Wars or the upcoming Avatar sequel – all of these movies bring audiences in to spend that money and keep the theatre experience alive.

Scorsese’s movies do not do that, and that’s where his approach may partially stem from. While critically successful, The Wolf of Wall Street brought in $392 million dollars when it released in theatres.

A month prior, Marvel Studios released Thor: The Dark World which was a fairly disappointing movie for many fans and even to this day, remains the black sheep of the MCU family. That movie’s box office take? $644.6 million.

Now of course, money does not equal quality, if it did, we would consider the Transformers movies some of the best ever and I’d be ashamed to live in that world, but there is a clear indication of what people go to the movies for – Fun.

Scorsese has his newest film The Irishman releasing in selected theatres next month, but it also premieres on Netflix the same day. The film had been in development for years but no studio would bankroll a 3.5hr movie because the landscape just does not support it as people don’t pay for 3.5hr gangster movies anymore, regardless of quality.

You know what movie recently got a 3hr runtime? Avengers: Endgame. Why? The sales supported it.

My rambling is not to be confused with disdain or resentment of Scorsese – I admire him greatly and deeply appreciate the contributions he’s made to filmmaking over his career. Ask any film buff for a list of their favourite movies and you’re guaranteed to find one or two Scorsese films.

I do however think that the bitterness and willful dismissal of comic book movies as “real cinema” or “art” or whatever debate the internet sparks on a weekly basis should be left in the past. Popularity does not mean something is terrible.

There’s even a small sense of gratitude, in a sense, that Scorsese should feel as the recent Todd Phillips movie, Joker, draws heavy inspiration from Taxi Driver, one of Scorsese’s most well-known movies. As a result, people who see Joker may even look into some of Scorsese’s movies if they haven’t already, which is the beauty of filmmaking and storytelling.

At the end of the day, we should not take aim at either side. Scorsese is entitled to his opinion even if it doesn’t fit the taste of most people, myself included. Are Marvel/superhero movies “real cinema”? Yes. For the time we live in, they are. They’re what keep the traditional theatre experience alive and what keeps people interested in movies (for the most part)

If going to a Marvel movie is comparable to a theme park, a Scorsese movie might be an expensive dinner out, then smoking a cigar with a hard drink at home in peace and quiet.

There’s an audience for both, and plenty of theatres to cater to them.

Johnson-Figueredo: No, a gun ban will not curb violence

Opinion

Michel Johnson
Columnist
The Avro Post
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Justin Trudeau and three other party leaders are pushing gun legislation to either cripple gun ownership in Canada or eliminate it completely.

The gun debate in Canada has jumped to the forefront of the national discussion over the past four years. Reporting on mass shootings has expanded from the United States and spread globally.

Push back from lawmakers and presidential candidates in the U.S. has also prompted or influenced political leaders in Canada to campaign on reducing gang violence.

Being anti-gun polls well with Liberal Party supporters and inspires change when violent crime is seemingly on an upwards trend. While some may believe placing bans on legal guns will reduce homicides, it is often those who have no regard for the law that cause violence.

Shootings that have created public outcry for enhanced gun restrictions in Canada, have been carried out with illegal guns that could not be controlled by sweeping government regulation.

This includes the Toronto Danforth Shooting in 2018 that was carried out by 29 year-old Faisal Hussain.

The semi-automatic hand-gun used by Hussain was in his possession illegally and was reported stolen in 2016. Hussain was responsible for the deaths of 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, and injuring 13 others.

Gang-related homicides were connected with 141 murders in 2016 across Canada, with particular upticks in Ontario and British Columbia. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, accounted for 21 of confirmed gang-related homicides in 2016. Firearm-related homicides that were also gang related account for 54 per cent of homicides. 22 confirmed incidents were in Toronto.

When accounting for the total number of firearm related homicides in Canada between 2000 and 2016, 75 per cent of firearm deaths were from suicides alone, followed by homicides and accidental deaths. These make up the majority of total firearm related deaths and cannot be regulated by gun legislation.

Often when politicians and activists give their speeches on gun control they fail to mention that responsible citizens aren’t committing the crimes. Possession and Acquisition License, or PAL, holders are subject to multiple exams, applications and daily background checks conducted by the RCMP, according to the TheGunBlog.ca

“All guns are banned already for everyone unless you have a firearm licence authorized by the federal police. Anyone caught with any gun and no licence can go to jail.” said Nicolas Johnson, the editor of TheGunBlog.ca.

Canadian gun owners have been considered irrelevant by left-leaning political parties in the current political climate but more than 2.2 million Canadians own gun licenses, according to RCMP data published by TheGunBlog.ca

“Trudeau’s plan has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with politics.”

Potential policies like those of Trudeau’s Liberals, Singh’s NDPs and other leftist parties will lead to Canadian gun owners and businesses having no place in Canada. Politicians fail to see that the impact of these policies will disenfranchise law abiding citizens and small business owners.

If the proposed legislation is fully passed and Conservatives fail to win a majority government, millions of Canadians sports shooters and hobbyists are at risk of losing more than just their property.

Michel Johnson-Figueredo is a second year Bachelor of Public Relations student at Humber College and Public Relations Officer for The Avro Post.

Nicolas Johnson is a leading advocate for firearm owners and editor of TheGunBlog.ca, Canada’s leading media on gun politics and policy.

Note: Nicolas Johnson and Michel Johnson-Figueredo are relatives.

Louise Bradley: Making the grade on campus mental health

Opinion

Louise Bradley
CEO
, Mental Health Commission of Canada
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

I remember my post-secondary years like they were yesterday.

And not because it was the joyful time I had hoped for.

For me, it was a time of turmoil — a time when I lost my closest friend to suicide, and her death made me realize that I had a lot of unresolved trauma of my own.

I’m telling you this because there are some people who question whether mental health matters on campus. People who say that universities are institutes of higher learning — full stop. That they don’t have a responsibility or an obligation to see students through the rough patches they encounter, to teach them how to bend — not break — when confronted with life’s inevitable challenges.

To them I say this: Were it not for a caring dean of nursing, who put me on a path to therapy, insight, and healing, I know I would not be sitting where I am today, leading the country’s national body on mental health.

Her kindness, her perception, and her insistence that I seek care reinforced the feeling that I was someone worth investing in. And I believe that every student, no matter their background, social status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserves the same kind of compassion I received.

Thankfully, many campuses today are realizing the value of investing in student mental wellness, and they are stepping up to the plate to bridge gaps in access to services. In fact, nine institutions so far have piloted The Inquiring Mind Post-Secondary training (TIM PS) — an evidence-based program that teaches students how to hold up a mirror to gain an understanding of their mental state — while another 20 are beginning to roll it out.

As I write this, some 3,000 students in Canada have been introduced to simple behavioural therapy techniques to manage stress and to the mental health continuum model, which describes mental wellness on a colour coded scale — green (healthy), yellow (reacting), orange (injured), and red (ill). The Working Mind, the workplace predecessor of TIM PS, has clearly demonstrated the program’s capacity to improve help-seeking behaviour and create more supportive, caring workplaces.

It makes terrific sense to start young people on an early path to self-care and self-awareness: to teach students that their academic progress goes hand in glove with their capacity to build resiliency, encourage them to look after their mental well-being, and support friends and family who may be experiencing a mental health problem.

With mental health services on campuses being oversubscribed because young people are more willing than my generation was to step up and ask for help, many institutions are recognizing the need to do things differently. This proactive approach will prevent a crisis from bubbling up.

By intervening appropriately, they will be sending new graduates out into the world who are equipped not only for the intellectual demands of their careers — but also for emotional rigours they’re sure to encounter.

With $6 billion in lost workplace productivity every year, training post-secondary students in TIM PS should bolster their mental wellness, as well as their productivity. 

Students are hardly “delicate flowers,” as a hard-nosed columnist once suggested. They are people on a search for knowledge, a quest for understanding. They should be encouraged to look both outward and inward to find the answers they seek.

Supporting them, and helping them to thrive, both academically and emotionally, will lead to a healthier and happier society.

Patrick: A wider political science community exists

Opinion

Justin Patrick
IAPSS Secretary General

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

For much of the twenty-first century, student government across the world has been fragmented, largely due to the collapse of the International Union of Students, or IUS, in the early 2000s.

This has presented significant obstacles to student collaborations between campuses, let alone between countries and continents.

Organizations like the International Association for Political Science Students — IAPSS — seek to reverse this trend by connecting political science students of the world in order to enrich the quality of field-related extracurricular and professional development activities, as well as to strengthen advocacy initiatives to improve political science education policymaking at all levels of government.

Despite being around since 1998, holding consultative status on UNESCO, and cooperating regularly with organizations like the International Political Science Association and the International Studies Association, IAPSS has strangely encountered difficulty engaging students in North America.

Invitations for mutually beneficial collaboration have gone unanswered by political science departments, local political science student associations, and politics-focused extracurricular groups across the continent.

At the same time, political science education in Canada and the United States faces considerable obstacles when it comes to the potential for elements of practical learning in curricula, cooperative education that offers work experiences related to areas of study, and political science graduates finding jobs in their field, not to mention steadily rising tuition fees.

Many of these problems are likely derivative from a lack of student input in education decision-making, which results in faculty striving primarily to fill program seats. In a number of other countries, these issues have been greatly reduced or have been alleviated entirely.

For the students of the University of Guelph and Humber College enrolled in political science and related fields, it is unlikely that they have heard about the political science student community that exists beyond their campus borders and spans the globe, nor opportunities like some of the most prestigious student conferences, journals, research committees, and networking events.

Perhaps the campuses’ local political science student association has not heard about IAPSS either, which would keep them informed about upcoming events, initiatives, and recent developments for free so they can pass the news on to their students.

One notable initiative involves drafting a Declaration of the Political Science Student outlining a set of basic education standards that all students in political science students and related fields should have, which can be used to contribute to education policymaking processes at departmental, campus, and governmental levels.

In getting involved with IAPSS or at least establishing a dialogue with us, Guelph-Humber students and their political science student association can contribute to this declaration’s development.

IAPSS is run entirely by students on a volunteer basis and finances itself based on individual memberships, which grant students voting rights at IAPSS general assemblies and allows them to run or apply for IAPSS positions, but IAPSS’ aid to students and their associations does not depend on how many are involved in a formal capacity.

In the spirit of inter-campus and international cooperation, we are here to help.

Kristy Lam: This is the club for you

Opinion

Kristy Lam
FCSS, Guelph-Humber

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

As clubs get started for the school year, many students often want to join clubs to get involved and, even for students who opted out, they can get involved right away.

One out of many amazing clubs is Circle K UGH; just to be clear, no, this is not your ordinary gas station convenience store. As the president of the Circle K UGH last year and this year, I want to officially let you know that there are incoming changes on how we operate. 

We are going to be running at the University of Guelph-Humber most of the time like last year, but we are opening up the opportunity to students at Humber College Lakeshore Campus. We are looking for someone to represent at Lakeshore as an executive.  

Circle K International is a third party club that is open to universities and colleges with the goal of improving the community that they live within through events. It also gives students the chance to bond with others while gaining friendships and connections with outside networks.

An event that Circle K ran last year that was successful was the holiday cards making for the Youth Without Shelter, an organization serves the population of homeless youth. During the holiday time, they were making holiday gifts for the youth who are homeless. 

Last year, another member and I went to a volunteer event at Habitat of Humanity and we had lots of fun demolishing shelves and sorting tiles. We also had a little social with the University of Toronto, McMaster University and Western University. 

We have a couple of events planned for this year, want to know what they are? 

Keep updated with our social media with Circle K UGH on Facebook, @circlekuofghnh for Instagram and @circlekuofghnh for Twitter. If you are interested in joining, feel free to message us on our social media handles or email us at uofghcirclek@gmail.com.

Johnson-Figueredo: Transparency dies as our representatives look on

Opinion

Michel Johnson-Figueredo
Public Relations, Lakeshore Campus

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Students every year elect new governments made up of candidates, with platforms, who ultimately hope to improve life while attending their college or university.

Ever since Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber established IGNITE in 2016, candidate platforms have increasingly been targeting transparency. But the recent actions and choices made by the largest college student union in Canada have been choosing against transparency and representation of the student body.

As a student at Lakeshore since the fall semester of 2018, I worry about where we stand in relation to the power of a student union and the limits they put on student access. On Sept. 11, a journalist with The Avro Post was turned away by an IGNITE staffer while trying to enter a Board of Directors meeting, a meeting that in previous years was accessible by students.

Then candidate and now board member Erika Caldwell herself attended the same type of meeting just last year, a meeting she would now have to require approval from Executive Director Ercole Perrone to attend. These changes, which have been made over the summer, represent the little interest in transparency IGNITE has this year.

Last year, most candidates running for student government ran on improving IGNITE’s transparency with voters and maintaining open dialogue between the student union and those on campus.

IGNITE even has a graphic on their governance section of their website boasting their transparency.

“IGNITE is all about transparency. We’re accountable to you, the student.”

But now, voters may be asking themselves if there was a genuine movement towards transparency or if we have allowed a student union to hide behind closed doors while they make decisions affecting us all.

Michel Johnson-Figueredo, Lakeshore Campus

The Avro Post reported on Sept. 12 that Jack Fisher, former president of the University of Guelph student union, questioned the actions of IGNITE. IGNITE cited provincial legislation but Fisher believes the student government is traversing a grey area, and that the ethics are questionable.

“It is my belief that they have a responsibility to the student body to be transparent with their fiduciary duty, even though the students vote on the decisions of the board once a year,” the former CSA president told The Post.

We’re reaching a time when students should be asking themselves if the words of candidates running for positions within IGNITE could be trusted during their campaigns. And if elected, can they keep their promises.

Students should understand, especially now more than ever what and how their representatives are handling the $11 million that IGNITE is provided. In the 2018-2019 operating budget provided on IGNITE’s website, more than $400,000 is set aside to run the actual government.

How much leverage does the actual student government have when it comes to transparency and conversation with the student body? The student representatives seem to be shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to being transparent.

For those who opted in to the optional student fees and are interested in new information from their Board of Directors, they will have to seek approval to attend a monthly board meeting.

Other than that, a SMOM — Special Meeting of the Members — or the AGM — Annual General Meeting — only happen once a year but are open to all students.

The next SMOM is taking place on Oct. 16 at the Student Centre located inside the North Campus. I encourage you to make your voice heard and demand transparency and accountability from your representatives.

Dhruv Singla: Students have a right to hold IGNITE accountable

Opinion: Dhruv Singla
University of Guelph-Humber, Business Administration

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

I wish to provide my perspective on the recent changes made by the student union at Humber College.

IGNITE has a responsibility to help the student body excel and reach their full potential. To do this, they are provided funding from the students. Students choose to pay fees which go into supporting activities around campus and elections.

This money is controlled by the student union, led by elected representatives of the student body who are paid for their service. This process is the same across all public Ontario universities and colleges.

These student unions who decide how to spend our money have a responsibility to spend it wisely but they must spend the money for the benefit of the greater student body. To ensure that this standard is met, student unions must make themselves transparent.

IGNITE’s recent decision to not allow students to attend Board of Directors meetings is isolating the student union from the student body.

The student body has the right to hold the student union accountable for the decisions that they make and not allowing any students to attend the meetings is stripping students of this basic right.

What’s new for fall 2019 at Guelph-Humber?

Summer 2019 … from the resurgence of Minecraft to the newest albeit bitter-sweet closure of the 3rd phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the summer of 2019 has been one of the most culturally engaging points of the year.

Unfortunately, even with some highlights in pop-culture and some groundbreaking events, such as the Toronto Raptors securing the 2019 NBA Championship and the numerous internet trends and shocking revelations of celebrities and media influencers, the end of this season comes with one of the most dreaded routines of all time; back to school.

The University of Guelph-Humber is a welcoming and helpful school environment, and on behalf of The Avro Post, I would like to share with you how you and your friends can be prepared for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Whether you are a freshman and are still unsure of what your really have access to, or you are a returning or a transferring student and are wondering what you can do to be more involved at school, this simple guide can help you discover what Guelph-Humber has to offer

Before even setting foot on campus — unless you live on residence, in which case you can still follow this step — the most important pre-semester advice I can provide is to prepare yourself for what to expect over the year by giving yourself at least a few days before classes to prepare yourself.

Keep in check with your roommates or potential friends you might have already made about events and organizations that are available to use.

The first personal top tip from me is to use a planner or some form of calendar to keep all your deadlines and activities in check. Time management was actually a major problem for me throughout the past year, and always has been.

Since then, the value of keeping track of time is crucial to maintaining not only good grades and a constructive academic atmosphere, but it can really help your social engagements and open yourself up to new possibilities. Even a simple record kept on your phone or Google calendar can save you tremendous amounts of time in the future.

You can also regularly check The Avro Post for regular updates on events and campus life.

The second step I would suggest talking is understanding your surroundings and your timings. Carrying on from the previous step, along with time management, your directional capabilities are likely to be challenged in more ways than one, and knowing the basic layout of Guelph-Humber and even Humber will help ease your transition into clubs, events and just straight up fun!

Along with directions, make sure you know your pace when it comes to not only studying, but University life; the worst possible outcome is where you do not feel comfortable, and trust me, nobody wants that.

If you feel like a class is going too fast or you may or may not want to try something, the best possible option you can take is to simply ask; every department at Guelph-Humber has program coordinators and professors are always available to meet with you and answer any questions you may have. Communication with your student email is also crucial, and weekly reminders from Guelph-Humber are always sent, so make sure you are always checking your Gryphmail!

If you have questions about clubs, societies, events and general student life, you can contact them online through social media or in person at regular meetings. The student union at Guelph-Humber, IGNITE also plays a role in improving student life as their mission.

As such, IGNITE is going to be hosting a Frosh paint party on Sept. 21, and will also be hosting the GH “get involved” fair on Sept. 11. As IGNITE does represent the student voice of Guelph-Humber alongside Humber College, I would encourage that you follow along with developments made by IGNITE through their website or by communicating with the IGNITE Guelph-Humber Board of Directors members and VP; Erika Caldwell, Julia Ciampa and Megan Roopnarine, respectively.

Throughout the year, it may seem like a challenge to really focus on school with so many cool things around. Another personal top tip to consider is to set goals and deadlines for yourself and avoid procrastination.

Although it sounds easy, it may be really difficult. For me, the simplest way to organize is by setting deadlines based on priority tasks, much like a challenging exam. Finishing the easy and shortest tasks first will not only lighten your load, but give you a sense of accomplishment to continue grinding through your work.

Ultimately, school is not only about how good your grades are or how high you rank in the class, but more about your ability to be able to learn and apply information in a practical way for your future, and it can make life much easier if your are organized in your work and your relaxation.

Lastly, the most important part of surviving school I learned was simply maintaining good mental and physical health. Since the first time I stepped into Guelph-Humber, I finally felt at a place in my life where I had proper control of myself and how I wanted to act.

This really helped boost my self-esteem and reduce my overall anxiety, and there are many avenues for help on campus. Mental health is taken very seriously at Guelph-Humber, and there are helplines and counselors available to help you if you need it.

The Student Wellness and Accessibility Center (SWAC) is open to students that need help with dealing with any problem, and Guelph-Humber students are available to use all resources for both health and dental at Humber.

Similarly, physical health matters as well, because a healthy body contains a healthy mind. If you don’t enjoy daily workouts or exerting too much effort, you can still find ways to engage in some physical activity such as joining fitness events or intramural sports teams at Humber, taking a walk in the Humber Arb, or simply using the stairs as an alternative to elevators and escalators.

In my first year, I really neglected my nutrition and my eating habits really went south. Fortunately, diverse food options are also widely available on the Humber North campus, and there are even a few shops nearby to purchase groceries.

The Humber cafeteria and Humber Express were particularly crucial to help me get through tough weeks. Overall, personal health should also be taken at your own pace more than anything else because you are ultimately the best reference for your immediate health.

At Guelph-Humber, you will find a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and although you may not feel immediately comfortable, you will eventually find you place here as both a student and as a a participant.

With upcoming events such as IGNITE’s Frosh paint party and the upcoming clubs, residence common events and even just around the school, you can take some of the pressure off your mind by enjoying a party, participating in team activities and even just relaxing with friends.

The most important part about university, and especially the University of Guelph-Humber, is that you find your own way to comfortably express yourself and succeed here, and that you can discover and unlock your potential for the future.

Along with the rest of the staff at The Avro Post, I wish you all the best of luck in the upcoming school year:

Swoop Swoop!

Hannah Derue: My postcard to IGNITE

Hannah Derue | Opinion


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.


In the final hours of a tumultuous provincial election in Ontario, like many Ontarians, I sat lurched over in my chair, horrified by the results that started pouring in on the news.

My mind started reeling through past headlines of the Mike Harris style cuts that came from our province’s last Conservative government.

I knew then to expect broad strokes of legislative change that would cut corners and so-called “red tape” for businesses and top earners, leaving our province’s most vulnerable members of society in the dust.

It came as no surprise to me that students were one of the first demographics to be put on the legislature’s chopping block, and it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. There are many potential reasons for why the PC government decided to impose the Student Choice Initiative but for now that is only speculative.

Here’s my take: Students are loud, they are (mainly) left, and they didn’t vote for Ford.

Now it’s on the students and their governing student unions and representatives to decide what actions can and will be taken from here.


What does it mean?

The so-called Student Choice Initiative will make it optional to pay the “ancillary fees” students have come to expect on their semesterly tuition and fee charges. These ancillary fees go towards Humber and Guelph-Humber’s menstrual kit initiatives, events like “Real Talks”, and the countless thousands of dollars that are poured into the marketing, promotions, and staffing required to maintain the IGNITE brand.

There are certainly concerns about whether services like the sleep lounge, bursaries and grants, and other programming will continue in the face of these new changes.

Undoubtedly, these initiatives are important to the student experience and enrich campus life for many students. For better or worse, the Ford government has put that decision in the hands of students.

When student unions run effectively, they provide a platform for students to speak out about the student experience, what it means to be a student, and speak openly about social and political issues.

They provide resources and supports for students in need that the college or university would not traditionally provide. What determines whether IGNITE sinks or swims is if they do what they are elected to do — To speak for students’ best interests.


What this means for Guelph-Humber

When IGNITE received news about the Student Choice Initiative from the provincial government, they took swift action to make postcards in support of what the student union provides. Make no mistake, this is an effort to ensure that the student union exists into the coming years.

IGNITE part time staff manned booths and handed out popcorn to students who agreed to write on provided postcards that they supported IGNITE and agreed to have their note sent to Queen’s Park.

When the government threatened to remove student union supports on campus, IGNITE responded with postcards in support of maintaining IGNITE’s campus presence. In doing this, they neglected to do their fundamental job — To advocate for the students they represent.

I personally messaged the VP of Guelph-Humber, Maheen Nazim, who declined my offer to organize a rally on campus in rejection of the Student Choice Initiative and the PC reforms to OSAP.

I was advised by Nazim to join the CFS if I wanted to stand up for students impacted by OSAP changes. I was told that IGNITE would be using its resources to promote its continued presence on campus and to encourage students not to “opt-out” via the postcard campaign.

As a result of these events, I’ve concluded that IGNITE isn’t working for the students, they are working for a brand.


What now?

If students want to see the situation at Guelph-Humber improve, they’re going to need to get active. They will need to write to student leaders and tell them that when they speak on behalf of students, they have a responsibility to do more than defend their paychecks.

It is evident that students who want to defend themselves from Ford’s cuts are going to have to look past IGNITE and to the legislature directly. They will need to pen letters to MPPs, organize walkouts and sit ins.

Students must actively resist PC actions against OSAP supports for low income students and against policy reforms like the elimination of the six month grace period, which effectively attacks graduates just as they’re looking to enter the workforce.

Ask your candidates in the IGNITE election what they will do to protect the students, rather than what they will do to protect IGNITE.

The bottom line: If IGNITE doesn’t represent the student populations’ interests adequately on the provincial stage, their jobs will be the first on the chopping block. No postcards or popcorn handouts will defend them from that.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Image of Hannah Derue supplied. Derue is a campus activist about to graduate from the psychology program at the University of Guelph-Humber. She ran for Senate in 2018 and the New Democratic Party’s women’s representative in Guelph.

Disclosure: Hannah Derue is the partner of Eli Ridder, Acting Editor-in-Chief of The Avro Post. Her opinion does not represent that of Ridder’s, The Avro Post or the staff of The Avro Post. Her piece was posted as all reasonable submissions are posted along the guidelines outlined here.

Why should students care about the IGNITE elections?

Katrina Di Raddo | Opinion


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.


Why should students care about the IGNITE elections? I don’t know.

How do you make students care about a student body election? You would think the very idea of a student body election would garner their interest and get them involved. It’s much more complicated than that, and not for many of the reasons that the youth vote is often lacking in public elections.

At most schools, the student body, including IGNITE, is run by students elected to one-year terms. Some of the candidates that step up have big and bold ideas. Like a typical politician, they run on a platform of promises.

As The Avro Post uncovered last year, IGNITE’s elected officials do a pretty poor job at keeping those promises. Some broken promises are simply ignored; perhaps the particular executive was a good talker but not a good walker, and thought the executive gig would look good on their resume.

On the other hand, other broken promises are unfortunately understandable – they have one year to plan and execute a major project, while still responsible for fulfilling their role as a student.

So how do other schools do it?

Some schools, like Western University, have candidates who run with a full campaign team. This team supports their candidate and helps in the development of campaign materials, videos, a website, a detailed written platform, and collecting endorsements.

Almost like a real election, right? What better way to show the student body you mean business than by portraying yourself that way.

For as long as I’ve been at the University of Guelph-Humber, campaigns for IGNITE elections were always run solo. There were no teams, no videos, no websites – or at least nothing prominent enough for me to have seen and/or remembered.

Just far too many tacky posters plastered in just about every crevice of campus. In my opinion, such a low-scale campaign removes any hype and severely lacks professionalism.

Why should students bother with their time? (Yes there are reasons – this is rhetorical).

At the same time, IGNITE tries to maintain a credible campaign cycle each year by hosting events such as campus debates. First of all, there’s usually only a handful of students that attend; an incredibly poor show of engagement.

Those that do attend are often the keeners – the ones that actually care and have solid questions. While the candidates muster up an often-scripted answer, nobody is there to really hear it anyway. Who are those answers accountable to, then?

Nobody. We know that. IGNITE’s lack of accountability and transparency has been criticized multiple times in various channels. This is nothing new.

To sum it up:

  • The school has low student engagement
  • Their elections are individualized and lackluster
  • There are more broken promises than kept promises
  • There is no direct accountability of the student government

So again, I ask: Why should students even care?


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Image of Katrina Di Raddo supplied.

Microsoft vs Apple. Who’s dominating?

Microsoft or Apple? Windows or Mac? Surface or iPad?

At some point in our lives we all find ourselves asking these questions and if you haven’t formed an opinion already we’re sure you’ll have one after reading these facts about both companies.

Let’s Face It. Microsoft Is Dominating The Computer Market.

In today’s time almost everyone has a computer and I can guarantee you almost %92 of the computers that your friends use have Windows on them. That’s because Windows is the #1 software for personal computers, corporations, restaurants, schools and large manufacturers. This is because Windows has more flexibility than Mac and provides more freedom. Overall, there are more computers with Microsoft’s software compared to Apple because Apple computers are the only computers allowed to have the Mac OS on it while Microsoft has its software on Dell, HP, Gateway, Lenovo and honestly, every other computer manufacturer out there.

Apple Leads By Example When It Comes To Phones.

Let’s be honest, Apple doesn’t have much competition when it comes to phones. The iPhone is the best selling phone every year no matter what Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone comes out. Apple outsells all of them every time.

While Microsoft has made some notable accomplishments with Windows Phone and Windows Mobile, Apple is dominating the mobile market and here’s why.

  1. Apple spent a lot of time perfecting the iPhone’s design and managed to retain its core features while adding new ones with each new model.
  2. While there’s tons of Androids and Windows Phones out there Apple started off with just one phone and went up the latter slowly, giving the phone the time it needed to grow project and consumer wise.
  3. Apple managed to perfect their marketing strategy to the point where celebrities who had an iPhone made others want an iPhone. Apples mobile presence was so strong people waited in line for days to buy one.
  4. Apple spends a lot of time on their commercials promoting their products. So much that even the smallest feature seems like the biggest feature. They’ve managed to make already existing features from other phones seem like new ones.

Microsoft Has Their Hands In More Project

While Apple decided to choose a more “linear” path by focusing on the mobile and computer market, Microsoft has done the exact opposite when it comes to their business and its decisions. Apple has their hand in the mobile, computer and audio market but Microsoft has their hand in a lot more. Here’s a list of examples showing how versatile Microsoft is.

  • Video Game Industry ( Microsoft Studios, Xbox, Rare, Mojang, Lionhead, Ubisoft )
  • Graphics/3D Industry ( DirectX, Avid Technology, Havok, RenderMorphics )
  • Mobile Industry ( AT&T, Nokia, Telecom, Windows Phone, Xamarin, Inception )
  • Programming/Management Industry ( VisualStudio, Microsoft SQL, Xamarin, etc )
  • Software Industry ( MSFT SLPS, Hotmail, Visio, Bungie, SoftArtisians, BlueStripe )
  • Security Industry ( XDegrees, Komoku, Bitdefender, Zoomit, SecureIslands, etc )
  • Music Industry ( Spotify, Zune, Groove, MongoMusic, MixRadio, Musiwave )
  • Hardware Industry ( Hitachi, PerceptivePixel, N-trig, Nokia, RenderMorphics )
  • Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Industry ( HoloLens, Kinect, Mobile AR, etc )

As you can see, compared to Apple, Microsoft has hundreds of acquisitions and projects they’re working on/with. Not only does Microsoft have stakes and invest in almost all of the companies they do business with but they also own almost all the companies they do business with.

This diversity is what makes Microsoft the “Redmond Giant” that it is. Microsoft is known for it business acquisitions and startup investments. Microsoft is also known to patent things and forget to publicly announce it. Meaning Microsoft owns a lot of future designs and technology that don’t exist which makes them extremely profitable in the long run. Imagine patenting 3D goggles before the technology fully exists! That kind of thing.

Microsoft VS Apple. Who’s More Productive?

This is arguably the biggest topic when choosing between Windows and Mac. The reason behind me saying that is based on the needs of the individual buying the computer. Most people buy a computer for school, which doesn’t require them to do much except write reports, browse the internet and maybe make a power point or two. Others use their computers for intense gaming, web design, programming, video editing and things that require more resources from the computer. Let’s talk about productivity.

Let’s start with Microsoft and Windows. For decades, Windows has been the primary choice for average joes, long time users and franchise owners. The software is in turn more flexible than any other operating system and has more potential than any other software. This is because the platform doesn’t have any restrictions or limitations and gives the user control and options.

Windows is also the #1 platform for software development and programming. You can’t program and create things on Mac like you can on Windows. Windows can also run Photoshop and similar programs that Mac can run but the design and simplicity are superior on Apple for most programs.

Apple/Mac has been the software of choice for people who deal with multimedia projects like Photoshop, Pro Tools, animation, video editing and designing. While Mac strongly benefits these types of users it lacks the necessary freedom to use other programs made for Windows and alienates the rest of the crowd, limiting its potential. Let’s compare.

  • Microsoft has the #1 OS for programming & development.
  • Apple has the #1 OS for multimedia design & development.
  • Microsoft Windows has more potential and can use all applications.
  • Apple’s software only allows you to install software approved by them.
  • Microsoft has more manufacturers, upgradeable hardware and more users.
  • Apple does not allow hardware modifications and 3rd party manufacturers.
  • Microsoft has a universal operating system that’s also fully customizable.
  • Apple has a universal operating system as well but without customization.

Those are a few difference between the two companies. One thing I’d like to point out is that Microsoft supports multimedia projects such as Photoshop and audio editing programs but when using Apple you’re getting a project experience you just can’t forget.

What’s Your Take?

Now that you have an understating of both platforms, what’s your take on this? Are you a Microsoft user or Apple/Mac user? Do you think Apple is better than Microsoft or is Microsoft better than Apple/Mac? Did I forget any features? Let me know and tell me why!

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