Campus beat

Welcome the first edition of the “Campus Beat,” which hopes to help us provide more coverage of life here at the University of Manitoba. Feel free to send us your feedback and ideas to or on Twitter, @tobannews.

Strategic Project Grants fund three student research projects

Three University of Manitoba research projects will be receiving funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for a period of three years.

The total amount awarded was just under $1.4 million through the Strategic Project Grants (SPG) Program, which seeks to increase research in areas that could improve Canada’s economy, society or environment within the next decade.

The minister of state for science and technology, Gary Goodyear, made the announcement on Jan. 20, along with Stephen Woodworth, the member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre.

“Supporting science and research is critical to Canada’s future economic growth,” said Minister Goodyear. “This investment will bring together 100 teams of some of the world’s top researchers to work with industry on promising new projects that will help strengthen our economy, create jobs and bring other benefits for communities.”

The three researchers are working on projects in three different faculties. Joe LoVetri from the faculty of engineering, Martin Scanlon from the faculty of agricultural and food sciences and Peter Zahradka from the faculty of medicine will each receive between $291,000 and $575,456 to conduct their respective projects.

“I congratulate the three teams. Their research programs will add to and expand upon existing knowledge in areas that will have direct impact on local and national economies,” said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research) at the University of Manitoba.

Bison Recreation Services to introduce new cycling studio

Students will soon be able to cycle away their school stress in the Bison Recreation Services’ new cycling and circuit training studios. The room, which has recently witnessed the installation of new equipment, will feature 12 bikes from the LIVESTRONG series by Matrix.

Gary Thompson, director of active living for the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management, said the cycling room is meant to provide another option for those who prefer not to run.

“Variety is always good for sustaining active living,” he said.

Thompson mentioned that the bikes will be used as part of an activity led by an instructor.

“There will be a certified fitness leader that will be leading those classes, so you have the support of a trained professional.”

What makes the new bikes unique is that they have been designed to simulate outdoor cycling, so they have the feel of a real bike. “They’re just amazing bikes,” said Thompson, “and the beauty of them is that they can easily accommodate any body type.”

The renovations are a part of a larger project, the Recreation Infrastructure Canada Program, which comes from federal dollars.

According to Thompson, staff members are currently undergoing training for the new equipment. Although the new room has yet to be unveiled, demonstrations will soon be available down in the grotto.

Sue Johanson proved a popular personality among U of M students

Sue Johanson, host of the Sunday Night Sex Show, a live call-in Canadian television show, brought out a crowd last Wednesday at the University of Manitoba

Johanson came to the university to speak as part of the University of Manitoba Student Union’s Celebration Week. The 71-year-old sex educator managed to attract enough students to exceed the capacity of the Manitoba Room.

“We’re going to spend the next hour talking about my favorite subject — [ . . . ] sex,” said Johanson.

Johanson, who attended nursing school at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg and graduated as a registered nurse, spoke about the importance of sex education.

“We denied it, we ignored it, we did not give you the language,” said Johanson, in reference to her belief that there is a lack of education before high school.

Students in the crowd described Johanson’s presentation as being “awesome,” “hilarious,” and “inspirational.”

Faculty of nursing students at the U of M had the privilege of attending an intimate presentation before the lecture.

“It’s really inspirational to know that she went to St. Boniface and I do my clinical practice there. [ . . . ] It’s nice knowing that I’m in nursing and I could do exactly what she’s doing,” said Tiffany Dubeck, a nursing student at the U of M.

Stadium construction set to accelerate

Last Wednesday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced that construction on the football stadium at the University of Manitoba has moved on to the next phase.

“Over the past week, the piles for the stadium were being driven into the ground, an important step in building the foundation of the stadium,” said John Danakas, director of Public Affairs at the U of M.

A live feed from the construction site is available on the Blue Bombers website for fans who wish to monitor the construction along the way.

The chief transition officer for the Blue Bombers, Jeff Thompson, told CJOB that the team is on schedule to start playing in the facility in the 2012 season.

The Bombers have also announced that the Winnipeg Sun Centre on Maroons Road will be transformed into a corporate preview center. Corporate partners and season ticket holders can view the seating options, suite designs and other amenities that will make up the new stadium.

Annual political studies student conference to discuss the future of America

The 27th annual Political Studies Students Conference on “The Future of America as a Global Power,” is being held from Feb. 2-4 at the University of Manitoba.

The conference is hosted by the Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS) at the U of M.
This year, the conference will host a number of notable speakers who work on defence and security issues and who span various disciplines.

Jared Dudar, one of the conference’s organizers, said one of the best things about the conference is the exposure it gives undergraduate students to some of the leading academics in different fields.

“Whether you’ve been studying the idea of the future of the U.S. in-depth, or you’re just somewhat interested in it, you have the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds,” said Dudar.

“Even if you’ve never even thought of the topic, it can serve as a great way to open up new ideas.”

Paul Marion, a student in the MPA program at the U of M and volunteer public relations, thinks the conference will help foster discussion,

 “This is a great opportunity for students, faculty and the general public to question and interact with high ranking government officials [ . . . ] about future weapon systems like HAARP, WikiLeaks cover-ups or any other issue,” he said.

Marion listed Major-General Yvan Blondin, commander of NORAD region, and Sam Brock, minister-counselor for political affairs at U.S. Embassy to Canada, as well as government officials from the Department of National Defence.

Notable speakers from past conferences include Susan Strange, S. Neil MacFarlane of Oxford University and Premier Greg Selinger.

Justine De Jaegher, a third-year economic and political science student, will be volunteering with the conference.

“I’m really looking forward to it. [ . . . ] I think it’s a really relevant topic right now in political studies certainly, but also cross-disciplinary,” she said.

The conference will take place in the Great Hall of University College. Admission is free and open to the public.

International Development Week encourages global awareness

The World W.I.S.E Resource Centre will be hosting International Development Week (IDW) starting on Feb. 7.

The week will be held on campus and will showcase displays and presentations along with events for students to get involved. The week is part of the effort to promote international opportunities and awareness of global issues.

Various displays will be set up throughout the week, including information and statistics that challenge commonly held misperceptions about international development. Engineers Without Borders will be showcasing a life-size shantytown right in the Engineering Atrium.

The week will also host a “Fair Trade Revolution,” with a fair trade store operating on the second floor of University Centre.

On Monday, Feb. 7, the documentary The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo will be screened following an introduction by Serge Kaptegaine, founder and president of “Hand in Hand for Peace in the Congo,” a Congolese relief foundation in Canada.

Tuesday will see a public lecture to raise awareness about the plight of the Romani people, and on Wednesday, a panel debate on the relative merits and possibilities of micro financing will be held.

Duncan Farthing-Nichol, one of the organizers of International Development Week, believes that while there is certainly not a lack of talent or energy among U of M students, there is often not enough passion to turn ideas into reality.

“International Development Week is designed to create the drive and spark imaginations, to give students a reason to get involved and provide a few tools to get started,” said Farthing-Nichol.

“It’s about informing people, [ . . . ] but mostly it’s about getting students thinking about how they want to contribute to our world,” he said.