Woohoo, finally graduated! What a great way to end my time at UBC! | Guest Post by Lauren Riva

My graduation was a really special day that I was fortunate enough to share with my friends and family. After a morning jog through my neighbourhood, a haircut and last minute wardrobe changes, I found myself in front of a mirror adjusting my cap and gown. Actually, I found myself in front of a mirror having a minor panic attack, because I was late, had tripped down the stairs and was struggling to attach the hood to my gown. Luckily, two friendly grads — who I had never met before — came to my rescue, and after introducing themselves with their procession numbers, made sure that I looked presentable. (Thanks, guys!)

When I found my spot in the procession line-up, I was surprised with how many people I knew, who I hadn’t realized were graduating. Having delayed my graduation date with co-op and exchange, I hadn’t expected to see so many familiar, friendly faces. I had some good friends who had taken a similar prolonged undergraduate route, but it was really cool to see so many friends all in one place, celebrating the same achievement.


Lauren with friend Jessica

I also really underestimated how cool it would be to walk into the Chan Centre. I could hardly contain my smile as I walked past so many students and parents, and searched for my own. As graduate #57, I had prime seating in the second row and didn’t have to wait too long for my turn to cross the stage. But, hearing my name called, walking across the stage and shaking several hands are all somewhat of a blur! As I focused on not tripping on the stairs or on the stage, I was still able to appreciate the excitement in the moment.

After the ceremony, I took photos with my friends and family, and then went for dinner at a fancy French restaurant. I was really lucky to have my ceremony on a day where the weather cooperated, as it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. My brother, who is a dedicated student athlete and engineering student at UVic, came over from the island, skipping a workout and a lab to attend my ceremony. My parents, who both live in Vancouver, also took the day off work to be a part of the celebration. One of my best friends showed up after the ceremony with flowers; all of these things, in addition to the many phone calls and messages contributed to my graduation day feeling really special.


Riva family


Lauren with brother Thomas

With my dad as a UBC alumnus, I am continuing a family tradition, as the second generation of UBC graduates in our family. On my mom’s side, I am the first one in our family to graduate from any university, which is also pretty special. All of the love and support that I had on graduation day — not to mention throughout the course of completing my degree — made me feel really proud of my accomplishments. As somewhat of a perfectionist, occasionally I’ve been less than satisfied with certain grades during my time at UBC. But on graduation day, the grades, the time spent in the library, all of the little things that I like to stress over, don’t matter — I made it, I have a degree! Plus, in the course of completing my studies from an excellent university, I had so many incredible experiences along the way!


Lauren Riva

My UBC Grad Experience: An extraordinary day I won’t soon forget! | Guest post by Madison Grist

My UBC Grad experience began as I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed at 5:30 am (thanks Mom for waking me up after I slept through an impressive three alarms). While still half-asleep yet incredibly excited, I threw back a latte before we set out for UBC. My remarkable ability to sleep through nearly anything had resulted in a late departure… and anyone who knows me, knows that I am devotedly punctual. If I’m not 5 minutes early, I’m late. Accordingly, arriving 15 minutes late to the suggested 7am grad check-in made my blood pressure spike.

Nevertheless, I had ample time to don my gown, pin my hood (thank you Michael and Erin for your help!) and catch up with friends before the ceremony. A note to future grads: the check in time is ridiculously early and at the same time necessary, because pinning your hood is a finicky task that would be super hard to do in a rush or on your own. Once we were gowned up, we were placed into our procession and marched excitedly over to the Chan Centre.

I was lucky enough to be the very first undergrad in the procession! I was told to file into line behind the last MSc. Grad and hand my name card to the reader, then wait for my name to be announced. The reader was going to announce the beginning of the undergrads and then I was to walk across. Apparently the reader decided that I looked intelligent and distinguished enough to be getting a MSc. and began to announce my name… So I did as I was told and I began to walk across the stage (walk #1). I knew something was wrong, but if they were going to give me a MSc. instead I wasn’t about to complain! (Tuum Est right?) The reader got my first name out before realizing her error and promptly called me back across the stage (walk #2, this time in the opposite direction). She corrected her error, passed my name card to the undergrad reader and I did one final (and slightly awkward) walk across (walk #3). The audience laughed. I smiled. And now I have a funny story to tell and I got to show off my sparkly grad shoes during the extra stage time! Win-win.

Photo: Martin Dee

Photo: Martin Dee

Being the first to cross the stage meant that I could relax and enjoy the rest of the ceremony with decreasing cortisol levels (did I mention I did my thesis on stress steroids?) This gave me the perfect opportunity to take in the details I had missed before I crossed the stage; including-and-not-limited to the spectacular interior of the Chan Centre, the crazy get-ups our profs were wearing and the smiles on everyone’s faces (except my Grandpa, he was definitely asleep by then). The ceremony ended as the 300+ grads were conferred and we headed off to take about a gazillion pictures (I’ve included a few below).

The Grist famjam (Mark, Kari, Madison and Jesse Grist): Three UBC Alums and one future UBC Grad.

The Grist famjam (Mark, Kari, Madison and Jesse Grist): Three UBC Alums and one future UBC Grad.


Who knew four Honours Bio nerds could clean up this nice! Photo of Chris Greyson-Gaito, Madison Grist, Michelle Chen and Kyle Crowther.

Who knew four Honours Bio nerds could clean up this nice! Photo of Chris Greyson-Gaito, Madison Grist, Michelle Chen and Kyle Crowther.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying time with friends and family. We ate delicious food, took pictures, reminisced about our undergraduate escapades and toasted to the future while sipping champagne. I am so grateful for my family and friends who made the day extraordinary!

One expensive and good-looking piece of paper!

One expensive and good-looking piece of paper!


Five snapshots of a #UBCgrad: from Residence Advisor to UBC Dance Team President | Guest post by Madison Grist

Today I received an email that read: “Congratulations and Welcome to alumni UBC!‏” and it hit me, I am graduating! The fastest four years of my life will culminate with graduation next Monday where I will receive my Bachelor of Science in Honours Biology.

This realization prompted me to look back at what I have accomplished during the last four years. Looking back, I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing experiences and proud of the opportunities I seized at UBC. Most of all, I realize the incredible growth that I had over the last four years.

So what did my UBC experience look like? Here are some highlights:

  • Shuswap House in Totem Park was my home for two years (I loved it so much I came back as a Residence Advisor!)
  • I spent three incredible years on the UBC Dance Team, finishing off my last year leading the team as President.
  • I immersed myself into scientific research. First in physics, which I quickly determined wasn’t for me… Secondly in endocrinology, which became the focus of my Honours research.
  • I balanced school with countless part-time jobs: I applied my biology coursework in industry. I shared my passion for science with youth as a camp instructor. I learned how to be a leader working at lululemon. I performed for 30,000 people as a BC Felion.
  • I made a boatload of incredible friends that will be a part of my life forever.
2012 UBC Dance Team. Photo Source: Madison Grist

2012 UBC Dance Team. Photo Source: Madison Grist

Filing her thesis. Photo Source: Madison Grist

Filing her thesis. Photo Source: Madison Grist

UBC’s motto, Tuum Est, (“It is yours”) could not be more fitting. UBC opened up these possibilities in my life. The possibilities that excited me called me into action and have resulted in shaping who I am today as a grad. The best part is the possibilities that UBC provides are incredibly diverse and no two grads have the same UBC story.

So what am I most excited for at grad? It’s going to sound a bit silly… I am so excited to walk across the stage wearing these ridiculous bedazzled high-heeled shoes. Why? Because I think they let a little bit of my personality shine through amongst the hundreds of other grads. Each grad who walks this week has an individual “UBC experience” and I think that a little bit of that story can be inferred by the shoes they choose to wear that day.

At a concert with a friend. Photo Source: Madison Grist/Thecalendar.ca

At a concert with a friend. Photo Source: Madison Grist/Thecalendar.ca

#ShoesofGrad. Photo Source: Madison Grist

#ShoesofGrad. Photo Source: Madison Grist


Coffee, Co-op and History papers: My 5 years at UBC | Guest post by Lauren Riva

It’s such a strange feeling to be graduating. Here I am, one week away from my graduation ceremony, and the reality hasn’t really sunk in. As I sit at my computer, I no longer have to resist the urge to check my grades on the SSC – they are all finally posted – and there are no more last minute discussions or homework assignments on Connect. This morning, I made coffee in my coffee pot and slowly deliberated over breakfast choices, rather than rushing off to secure the best table in Irving K. Barber library.

Even though I was pretty sure it would happen eventually, it still feels like a bit of a surprise that my UBC journey is ending. After five years as a student in the Faculty of Arts, I will soon be a graduate of UBC’s International Relations program.  The last five years have been an incredible journey, full of unexpected adventures, challenges and caffeine.


As a UBC Arts Co-op student, my work terms allowed me to explore the Lower Mainland’s the non-profit sector, UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and Aboriginal litigation with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).  I published a book and a magazine article, and checked historical facts for a lawsuit. I learned how to face paint, about the intricacies of 3D printing and social media, and the complexities of Canada’s legacy with the Residential Schools.  My Work Learn position expanded my knowledge of UBC communication channels and media, while university became more affordable. As a Go Global participant, I lived in Paris for 8 months, and studied at the renowned Sciences Po. While the language and demanding course load made me pretty familiar with the university’s tiny library – I gave 10 presentations in one term! – I also spent a fair amount of time in the sampling the pastries, running through the parks and on Ryan Air flights. I made friends from all over the world who share my love for global politics, travel and pain au chocolat.


I took advantage of the wide variety of courses available to IR majors; I discovered the great works of literature of Eastern Europe, the accomplishments of the US presidents and how currency manipulation works. I wrote papers on a range of topics from Peter the Great, the global mining industry, cinematic representations of the Vietnam War to the role of testosterone in economic decisions. My time at Sciences Po significantly improved my French language skills; yet the people I have met over the last five years have helped me pick up random phrases in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Mandarin, Slovenian, Swedish and Tagalog. I was also a MUG leader, a Go Global and Bike Kitchen volunteer; I mingled with the Pre-Law, Arts Co-op, Political Science and International Relations students associations.

Sciences Po Exchange student picnic 2012


While my degree has taken me around the world, I’ve also learned a lot about Vancouver. Hailing from Qualicum Beach, BC – a town with 1 traffic light, and many people’s grandparents – I have come a long way in terms of new experiences. I became a yogi, a swimmer, and a ballerina; I’ve completed the Sun Run, the Grouse Grind and the Chief. I discovered sushi, quinoa, and how navigate public transit – as well as this city’s beautiful bikes lanes.


In addition to all the newfound knowledge, I have been incredibly lucky to have met so many wonderful people in the last five years. The friends that I have made at UBC – many of whom I met in first year, at Totem Park – are from a variety of faculties, with different skills, experiences and goals. It’s hard to come up with a favourite memory from my time at UBC, but it’s easy to say that all of my UBC memories would be much less memorable without the people that I shared them with, and met along the way!


What’s Happening at UBC? – May

may cherry cherry

Finished with exams? Stay connected with UBC and check out some of the events happening in the month of May.

May 1: Preserving Scrapbooks Webinar11am – 3:30pm

Scrapbooks can be challenging to preserve since they often contain a diversity of materials. Anyone with an interest in preserving scrapbooks or creating new scrapbooks that are more easily preserved is welcome to attend.

May 1: The Megacity of Jakarta: Problems, Challenges, and Planning Efforts – 12pm – 1:30pm

This presentation will describe the transformation of Jakarta and discuss the problems and challenges of Jakarta and its peripheries. The megaprojects and the planning efforts to address the problems and challenges in Jakarta and its peripheries will also be discussed.

May 3: “i Will Be Myself” Conference 8am – 5pm

The conference will be a one-day event that will bring together both
graduate students and professionals to explore the various aspects and themes of identity in children’s and young adult literature, media and culture. We invite you to join us for a day dedicated to children’s and youngadult literature, a day when wild things may roam and wizards may fly. Student tickets $18.

May 3: Performing the KOMAGATA MARU ~ Theatre and Work of Memory- 7:15pm – 10:30pm

A fully bilingual event featuring the performance of selections of plays by Sadhu Binning, Sukhwant Hundal, Sharon Pollock, and Ajmer Rode. Join Theatre at UBC for an intellectual and theatrical commemoration of the centenary of The Komagata Maru Incident to explore how and why it has been remembered by Canadian playwrights in Punjabi and English. Tickets $10.

May 6:  Arts, Well-being and Resilience: Ideas and Music- 8pm – 10pm

A Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies International Visiting Research Scholar public talk. Dr. Cynthia Cohen will report on her research into resilience, peacebuilding and the arts, focusing particularly on her collaboration with the distinguished musician, activist, educator and cultural worker Jane Wilburn Sapp. Leaders of local justice-seeking efforts will link the presentation to local initiatives and concerns.

May 10: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn-  8pm

Two of America’s finest banjo players start a bold new chapter, as the husband and wife team tour together for the first time. The duo will present music developed together, featuring an eclectic mix of traditional and original compositions. Tickets $10-$72.

 May 17: Royal Opera House Live Cinema at UBC- 1pm 4pm

High Definition opera performances from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The Royal Opera presents Verdi’s grand opera Les Vepres siciliennes for the very first time – and in a major new production. Antonio Pappano conducts a star cast that includes Bryan Hymel, Marina Polavskaya, Erwin Schrott and Michael Volle. Student tickets $18.

Special Olympics Canada comes to UBC


From July 8th to 12th, UBC will welcome thousands of participants from across Canada to its Vancouver campus for the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games. We spoke with Emily Ryan, who is working on the games, to tell us more about these games. Emily is graduating UBC in May 2014 with a Bachelors in Kinesiology with a Major in Kinesiology & Health Sciences.  

For those who don’t know much about the Canadian Special Olympics, what could you tell us about what the games are all about?

The Canadian Special Olympics are a national event for Special Olympics athletes across Canada. Special Olympics runs on a 4-year competition cycle: local, provincial, national, and international. This summer 2000 athletes, coaches, and officials from across Canada will be arriving in Vancouver and hosted at UBC for the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games.

How long have you been involved with the Special Olympics BC (SOBC)? What motivated you to get involved?

I got involved with SOBC in September through an upper-level Kinesiology course.  My team (Rachel Brodeur, Kimberely Jung, and Rhiannon Evans) and I were challenged to propose initiatives to foster human sustainability at these summer games.  We went on to present and publish our proposal and implemented our initiatives this past semester.

I am very passionate about the programs we have created this past year.  There is a lack of awareness of the term intellectual disability and programs such as Special Olympics on our campus. Our hope is that through the programs, events, and organization we have created, we will break down these barriers and created a thriving partnership between the University and individuals with intellectual disabilities.

UBC is hosting the Special Olympics Canada summer games from July 8th to 12th. What sports will people be able see when they come out to watch?

On-campus sports include: basketball, softball, bocce, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, and soccer.  Both 10- and 5-pin bowling will be hosted in Richmond.

What is one sport you are especially excited to see?

I am really excited to watch the basketball event!  Basketball is new to this year’s Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games.  I have also been out to a few of the local Vancouver basketball practices and am very excited to watch some of the athletes I have met represent BC in these national games.

If people want to get involved or volunteer, where can they find more information?

http://vancouver2014.ubc.ca is the place to go to check out volunteer opportunities for the games. Volunteer spots are filling up so I would encourage anyone interested in volunteering to sign up ASAP!

Any final words? Why should someone come out to watch these games in July?

We are very fortunate to have such talented athletes coming out to UBC this summer.  Take advantage of this opportunity and support Canadian athletes in the largest Canadian Special Olympics event ever!  As an added perk, admission is free and 8 of the 11 sports will be hosted at venues on our Point Grey campus.

Find more about the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games 2014 here 

Photo Credit: Special Olympics Canada

What’s Happening at UBC – April

Take a study break and check out some of the interesting events happening around campus this month.

April 2 – Open House Celebrating UBC’s 12th President

Wish Professor Stephen Toope and Ms. Paula Rosen well as they conclude eight years of service to the university. Come out to enjoy a snack, mingle with the President and sign the guestbook. Open to the UBC community – no RSVP required.

April 3-4 – Indigenous Women in Film

Join the Liu Institute on April 3rd and 4th for two exciting film events, including Q&A’s with the filmmakers. RSVP by emailing ubcsettlercolonial@gmail.com.

April 8 –  AMS Block Party

Celebrate the end of the year with the 7th annual AMS Block Party. Happening at MacInnes Field from 2:30-9:15pm. General tickets selling online until March 30th.

April 10 –  Bang! Festival

Join the UBC School of Music for a free afternoon performance of interactive computer music.

April 12 –  The City in Antiquity

Explore how people lived together in the ancient cities of Greece and Rome (from the second millennium BC to the sixth century of our era). Learn about the cultural, political, and geographical influences that shaped civic life, how these cities were transformed at the end of antiquity, and how the factors behind the triumphs of the ancient city continue to affect us today.

April 16 –  Marinate Me: 2013/2014 BFA BA Visual Art Graduating Exhibition

Don’t miss the Annual UBC Visual Art Graduating Exhibition. The conceptual theme of “Marinate Me” speaks to students’ immersion in educational theory, or their intentional lack thereof. Either by rejecting the system and being thrown on the grill raw, or by reflecting their seasoned array of knowledge that has been years marinating, students will serve up their work to a public audience.

April 17 – Debunking Digital Myths: Online Tracking

Have you ever noticed advertisements being tailored to your previous searches? Well, this is no coincidence. This interactive session outlines the issues of website tracking and online privacy, and how these concepts continue to evolve with the advent of new technology and applications.

Good luck with exams!

UBU ROI Unleashes A Hilarious Reign of Comic Terror at UBC!

Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry’s 1896 avant-garde satire about greed and the abuse of power, was outlawed for its scandalous language, violence and disrespect for authority. It’s a hilarious play unlike anything you’ve seen. The play runs from March 20th to April 5th at the Freddy Wood Theatre. Tickets to UBU Roi are only $10 for students and 2 for 1 for all faculty, staff and UNA residents ($11)

By Deb Pickman.

On it’s Paris premier in 1896 Alfred Jarry’s play UBU Roi provoked a 15 minute riot with it’s first word and was instantly banned. This is deservedly one of the theatre’s most remarkable plays, featuring some of its most unforgettable characters. With resonances of Macbeth and unflinching humour, UBU Roi, is an avant-garde satire of greed, stupidity and the abuse of power. This powerful play opens on March 20 at UBC’s historic Frederic Wood Theatre.

Here is my Q & A with MFA Directing student Ryan Gladstone who is at the helm of the production, which features the work of students in the BFA Acting Ensemble and BFA Design:

When did you decide to commit yourself to a theatre career?

I’ve been a storyteller since birth!  My brother and I wrote our first movie when I was about four, heavily influenced by Star Wars.  In high school I discovered a place in Calgary called Loose Moose Theatre run by Improv guru Keith Johnstone, and from that point on I’ve been creating theatre.

What compelled you to direct UBU Roi for your thesis?

I’ve wanted to do this play for a long time. When I learned about the riots that followed the opening words at its’ premiere, I was so excited that theatre could have this kind of an effect.  In 2002 I saw a production in Ottawa which was fun and wild, but I felt there was something missing.  From that point I started thinking about how one could create a production of UBU that recreated the shock and outrage from the original production.

Why do you think people should see this show?

Our production of UBU is a high energy, fast-paced, chaotic, and hilarious take on Jarry’s original play.  My guess is that many audience members will have never seen anything quite like it.  The play was actually created first when Jarry was only 14 years old with some schoolmates to lampoon a teacher and performed with marionettes in an attic.  We tried to capture this adolescent feeling by setting our play as if it was performed by a group of schoolgirls.  It adds to the chaos of it all.

What was your greatest challenge taking on this production?

With my own theatre company Monster Theatre I’ve created over twenty original plays, none of which has featured more than three actors.  This production of UBU has 16 performers playing over 40 parts!  So, orchestrating that many humans on our huge set has been a new adventure for me.  It’s been immensely fun and also challenging.

What are your aspirations after graduation?

Keep creating original theatre!  I’ve already started work on Monster Theatre’s next play that I am writing and directing, a puppet murder mystery called ‘Who killed Gertrude Crump?’

Who are your theatrical heroes? Your favourite director’s, practitioners, playwrights, directors and/or characters from plays.

In Calgary I spent ten years working with Loose Moose Theatre and studying with Keith Johnstone and am hugely inspired by his ideas.  Other theatrical faves are Bertolt Brecht, Mump and Smoot, Balinese mask theatre, and of course, Alfred Jarry.  My two other main influences are not theatrical at all, Joseph Campbell the professor of comparative mythology, and Chuck Jones and the other geniuses who created the early Looney Tunes cartoons in the 30′s, 40′s and 50s.

Those poor souls who rarely or never come to theatre – tell them what they’re missing?

UBU will be one they won’t want to miss.  There is nothing pretentious or cliched about it, an utterly original production that will have them laughing out loud, and hopefully shocked by the end.

Thanks to Ryan Gladstone for sharing this behind the scenes look with us. The play runs from March 20 to April 1. For more about UBU Roi or to purchase tickets see http://www.theatre.ubc.ca/ubu_roi/index.html

Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

What’s Happening at UBC – March

March is a BUSY month at UBC. Here is a look at some of the things happening this month, including MURC, Storm the Wall, International Women’s Day, and slam poet Shane Koyczan performing at the Telus Studio. And don’t forget to follow us on twitter @UBCevents and keep an eye on the calendar for the most up-to-date information.

March 6thEnvironmental Science Student Association Career Fair

ESSA hosts their annual career fair on March 6th, 2014 from 5-7pm in the Earth Sciences Building. This event is an excellent opportunity for anyone curious about working in jobs related to environmental science. Get the chance to meet scientists working in environmental science related fields and get to know how their degree and experiences have helped them get to where they are today. They will be over 20 guests, including WWF Canada, BC Ministry of Environment, Living Oceans Society, The Dogwood Initiative, and much more! The event is FREE for ESSA members and $5 for non-members

March 6thMina Shum Retrospective at the Norm Theatre.

The UBC Film Society will be having a free screening of Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002), a film directed and directed by award-winning filmmaker and UBC graduate Mina Shum.

March 7th- UBC Relay for Life

Part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, UBC Relay for Life is a 12-hour overnight event to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. In the past two years UBC Relay for Life has raised over $100,000. Sign up with friends to make a team of 8 to 15 people and participate by walking, jogging, running, and dancing around a track for the duration of the event. A fantastic way to have fun and raise money for a great cause, there we will be live music, food, entertainment, yoga, zumba, and guest appearances by UBC Improv and UBC Acapella.

March 7thCelebrating Women at UBC Booth in Irving K. Barber

Celebrating Women at UBC is a blog started by the Equity Ambassadors dedicated to the promotion and visibility of some of the interesting, intelligent, creative and passionate women-identified bodies at UBC. They will have a booth in Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on March 7th between 9am and 4pm.

March 8thUBC REC Tri Du

Cheer racers on at one of BCs largest, and longest running triathlons. Professional organization, friendly volunteers, and a beautiful course through the UBC Campus have all made this event a favorite for both those new to the sport and pros.

March 8thRegent College exhibit “Women of Substance”

Regent College presents work from Vancouver artist Sharalee Regehr.  Dedicated to honouring women who have made incredible contributions to society and history, Regehr’s body of work contains hundreds of paintings and represents over ten years of exploration. Using modern images, she juxtaposes colours and text reminiscent of medieval manuscripts and tapestries while addressing current issues. The exhibit runs until March 27th.

March 11thLiu Institute talk: South Sudan: What went wrong?

Come to this talk to learn about the world’s newest nation, and the current conflict that has claimed over 10,000 lives and displaced over 1 million people. Joseph Bartel will talk about this situation, and discuss some of the ways to restore peace and once again align South Sudan to a trajectory of stability and development.

March 12th – 14thBrain Matters

Brain Matters! Vancouver is an exciting venue for researchers, thinkers and members of the public to come together and explore the implications of brain science and social responsibility. Join in expanding the conversation about the ethical, legal and social implications of brain science for promoting brain health and enabling wellbeing.

March 18thDialogues on our City’s Future: Urban Indigenous Planning in Canada

How does the increasing presence of urban indigenous peoples impact community and regional planning? Join the University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft Mansion for this talk by Leonie Sandercock, professor at the School of Community and Regional Planning.

March 22ndMultidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC)

Want to know more about getting involved with research? Come to MURC and see what’s happening in the world of undergraduate research at UBC. Undergraduate researchers will be presenting on their work and keynote speakers will share their exceptional and exciting research experiences with you. There will also be information booths with research and funding opportunities. Come check out what your colleagues are doing, and get connected so you can do it too.

March 23rd to March 27th UBC REC Storm the Wall

Register by March 14th. This is one event that every UBC student needs to experience. Swim, sprint, bike, run and Storm the Wall! Participate as a Competitive or Just-for-Fun team, or challenge yourself to do the whole course on your own as an Iron Person. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of UBC’s longest standing campus tradition.

March 26thPresident Toope Open House

Come out to enjoy a snack, mingle with the President and sign the guestbook. Join the UBC community at this open house to thank Professor Stephen Toope for his eight years of service at the university. The celebration will be held between 1:30 – 3:30 at the Richard S. Hallisey Atrium, EME Building.

March 26thChan Centre Presents: Shane Koyczan

Get your tickets for this one quick. Shane Koyczan is an award-winning Canadian spoken word artist, poet, and writer known for tackling loaded social and political issues with furious honesty and tender humanity. In the intimate setting of the Telus Studio Theatre at the Chan Centre as part of the Beyond Words series, Shane will present, among others, his spoken word poem “To This Day.” This anti-bullying manifesto performed as part of TED Talks went viral on YouTube and now has over 12 million views.

Festival Dionysia – UBC Players Club

The Dionysia Festival, organized by the UBC Players Club, runs from 7pm February 26th to March 1st with a 2pm show on the 2nd, at the Dorothy Somerset Studio. You can buy your tickets online at http://ubcplayersclub.goodnights.me/ or cash-only at the door. Prices are $5 dollars for club members, and $10 for non-members.

Wednesday night was the premiere of the Players Club Festival Dionysia at the Dorothy Somerset Studio. The festival, in its third year, celebrates theatre and creativity by producing multiple one-act shows. This year there are 6 plays spanning a wide range of subjects and genres – all directed, acted and staged by UBC students, alumni, and other members of the Vancouver community. The festival is an excellent example of the power of theatre in creating community at UBC and in the greater Vancouver area. The Players Club (which happens to be UBC’s oldest club on campus) is an excellent place for students to get involved, regardless of background or theatre experience, in creative and theatrical work.

I visited the cast and crew on Tuesday, before their final dress rehearsal, to talk to some people about their experiences. What I found was a diverse group of people ranging from UBC alumni to professional TV actors, and theatre students to Business and PoliSci majors. For some of them this was their first experience working on a show. “I’m not in the theatre department so my only experience has been with the Players Club but I think this is a great way to get your foot in the door” Abigail, a Assistant Stage Manager told me backstage, “I haven’t acted or done anything related to the theatre before, but I was able to do this position and so now if I wanted to something more, like if I wanted to direct, this was a great way to start.”

“I came and saw a lot of plays here before, but didn’t know what was behind it. So it’s really cool to be behind the scenes and a great first step for anyone who wants to get experience and try something new” Cyrilla, another Assistant Stage Manager, added.

I also spoke to some of the directors about their thoughts on the whole experience. Joylyn, a second year student in the acting program, spoke about how much she learned in this her first directing role. “My acting experience has helped, but I definitely realized how hard directing can be.”

“Yeah as a director you need to learn how to be calm,” fifth-year theatre student John added, “you can’t let your nervousness become contagious.”

“I’ve learned that directors have feelings too!” Joylyn replied.

There were quite a few actors in the plays that were non-theatre students. Connor, a first year Arts student hoping to study International Relations, joined the Players Club after seeing their booth on Imagine Day. Since then he has already had a role in a production earlier this year called Never The Sinner. “As a first year, I was very surprised to get a role. I had a minor role but I was so thrilled because it was an eight-person performance. I plan on keeping my eyes open for more things upcoming with the club.”

In his fourth year studying Business, James had always enjoyed acting in high school. Wanting to keep that going through university he joined the Players Club.“Being in Sauder, there aren’t that many people that share this passion. So it’s been really cool to go to the Players Club and connect with other people that share those interests.”

“I’ve always just done theatre because I love it” Sarah, a UBC alumni, shared. “To me theatre was always a passion of mine and I never tried to do it as a job. As for joining the Players Club, it was a combination of the right place and the right time.” She saw a post about the festival at the Vancouver Public Library, which is how she connected with the club. “I’m sure they would find a lot of UBC alum that would love coming back and doing something like this. It’s a great way for alumni to stay connected with the UBC community.”

As club President Carolyn told me, the festival includes workshop sessions where the volunteers get to hone their skills. “It’s very much a learning and teaching process as well.” The club organizes many other events, such as play readings every other Friday, where students can come read plays out loud and meet new people. All in all it shows how inclusive and welcoming the club is. Walking backstage, it seems as though everyone is very friendly and close to each other, friendships have developed quickly as the preparation for the festival are only 5 weeks long. “It’s really great building community through theatre.” John said. He and Joylyn, who met through the club, are now working together on a production for this summer’s Fringe Festival.

“Seeing it all coming together so quickly has been the most amazing thing,” said James. “I haven’t acted in years which is why I am so excited. That moment, right before opening night, it’s just the best feeling.”

Photos Credits: Javier Sotres

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