Geese-building and journalism: tackling important issues with CMU’s investigative journalism team

Tuition Freedom Day at CMU

CMU does things differently. If you’ve worked here, studied here, or even just visited campus, you know this is true. And one of these things we do differently is tuition.

When I first heard about Tuition Freedom Day in my first year of studies, I was confused by the event. Didn’t students here just pay tuition for the year and continue on like every other university? The answer was of course, no, because CMU does things differently.

Tuition Freedom Day marks the end of the fiscal year that is paid for by student’s tuition, and celebrates the beginning of the year that is paid for by grants and donations from the Manitoba government, churches, and individual donors. And so of course, in CMU fashion, we have a party to celebrate and thank the lovely people who make our educations possible through their generosity!

Some highlights of the event include addresses from church representatives, alumni, students, and donors, music from our ever-talented crew of music students, and FREE pizza!

It’s a heartwarming event, and my favourite part has always been watching the donors interact with the students during lunch. They see the learning, discovery, and growth of our student-body, and it’s our chance to thank them for making it a reality.

So come on down to the CMU Chapel on Wednesday, November 20 at 11:30 AM, and let’s all celebrate Tuition Freedom Day together!

– Chloe Friesen, 3rd Year Communications and Media Student

Crying out for the planet we live on | Guest Blogger Mackenzie Nicolle

“What do we want? Climate action! When do we want it? Now!” This was the chant that tore through the crowd as we marched in the global climate strike on the last Friday of September.

Many of us from CMU had just spent an hour in one of two churches adjacent to the Manitoba Legislative Building, sitting with people from many Christian denominations and other religions as we all cried out for one of the core things we all share— the planet we live on.

The climate strike in Winnipeg was a place that brought over 12,000 people together on the lawn of the Legislature. As such, it was a place where people came for many different reasons. There were youth who fear for their futures and want to show the world that they are willing to say something about it. There were parents who were marching for these youth. There were Indigenous folks who want everyone to remember the harm that has been done to the land and their people and for us all to be better in the future.

There were animal rights activists who preached the virtues of eating without animal cruelty, and explained the explicit ties between global warming and our eating habits. There were communists and anarchists who were clamouring for political reform. There were people of many different religions who wanted to fulfill their place as stewards of the earth. There were people who came simply because they wanted to be on the right side of history and wanted to witness the mass of humanity that accumulated in one place.

I watched many different groups of people I know move among the crowd, many holding up signs proclaiming the despair and anger they feel—how our apathy is killing us, how we are frightened to think about what the world may be like for our children, and how those who have the most power seem to be doing the very least, while the most vulnerable pay the price. We marched, chanting about climate action, gesturing to people in tall office buildings to come join us, marvelling at the surge of energy around us and the clean air we breathed.

Even though people came for such diverse reasons, what really mattered was that we were all there. This was not a rally that clearly pushed for any specific political or personal change to be done. But some people wore buttons that said, “We are many,” and I think in the hours of the strike, our numbers were a message themselves.

We were reminding ourselves that we are not alone in our desire for a sustainable earth. We were helping each other be aware of how many ways people can be affected by climate change. We were sending a larger message to a disbelieving world that the effect humans are having on the earth is something we need to take action about, now. And I think that if the number of small kids at the rally means anything, then we will have people continuing our chants about climate action for years to come.

– Words and photos by Mackenzie Nicolle, CMU Social Sciences alumna, Senior Residence Assistant, and current graduate student

Why I Love Sports: A Reflection on the Volleyball Home-Opener

I’ve never been all that great at sports, which is a funny thing to say, seeing as I’m on the CMU Women’s volleyball team.

Contact-sports frighten me (no need to push, just ask for the basketball and I’ll probably give it to you), my lanky limbs usually don’t work well as a team (if I’m kicking a ball you’re all in danger), and strapping shoes with blades to my feet and putting me on ice?! What are you thinking (I still don’t know how to stop on skates, I just turn in circles or brace for the boards…).

Chloe Friesen (centre) and team celebrate after a point

But something about volleyball just kind of clicked with me, and I’m so grateful it did, because I love sports. And I love them for more than just the game, or the points, or the jersey. I love them because of what happened yesterday, the day of our volleyball home-opener. Let me explain…

The day started off like any other Wednesday: I woke up, ate breakfast, and headed off to my Group Communications class. Following class was practice time. But, instead of using our typical afternoon practice slot for, well, you know, practicing, our coach (the illustrious Jayme Menzies) had arranged a different way for us to spend the afternoon.

The CMU Blazers women’s volleyball team and girls from Fisher River Cree Nation

Cue our new friends from Fisher River Cree Nation. Ten wonderful girls who came for a day packed with their favourite sport. Like with any new situation, the girls were timid and quiet at the beginning. We were all different ages, all had different stories that had brought us here, and you could feel a tenseness in the space due to the newness of the situation. But set up a net and toss in a ball? We had a noisy gym full of new friends in no time.

This is why I love sports.

We spent the afternoon practicing our volleyball skills, cheering the girls on, and celebrating every point like it was the game-winner of the finals. It was by simply standing on the court that I learned that my new pals loved Instagram too, that some of the memes I was using were outdated, and that sometimes the smallest girls jump the highest. Seeing these young girls gaze up at our Blazers with the most attentive grins, hanging onto every word and piece of advice we gave, was something I’ll never forget.

This is why I love sports.

CMU Blazer Annika Loeppky practices with a student from Fisher River Cree Nation

With a “THREE, TWO, TEAM!” we said our “see you laters” (the girls would also be attending our game that night) and headed out to our respective classes or study sessions. We at least had to do a little bit of schoolwork before the big game that evening.

Now, volleyball home games usually draw in a few fans, but little did we know that Residence Director and resident Blazers hype-man, Charlie Peronto, had a little something up his sleeve. What do you get when you put together a DIY poster station, free Halloween candy, costumes, and hilarious between-set games? Bleachers full of classmates and friends, hooting and hollering, blowing off some mid-term season stress and life’s troubles in the very best way. It was a gym full of joy like I haven’t felt before. That’s the only way I can put it.

This is why I love sports.

Residence Director Charlie Peronto and CMU students cheer on their team

Sure, both the men’s and women’s teams won their matches in straight sets (#goblazers), but that wasn’t close to the highlight of the evening for me. It was glancing at the stands while I was grabbing water from the bench and seeing a sea of people who I love so dearly, cheering, laughing, and dancing. It was congratulating and celebrating with my teammates after each point, and feeling so grateful that they are also my friends. It was waving to the girls from Fisher River Cree Nation, wearing their new Blazers jerseys with the biggest smiles.

This is why I love sports.

– Chloe Friesen, 3rd Year Communications and Media Student

(Pumpkin) Spicing Things Up at Folio Café: An Interview with Barista Nicholas Willms

“Oh my GOURD. This pumpkin spice latte from Folio Café is SQUASH goals.”

Alright, so you may get tired of really bad pumpkin spice puns, but I can guarantee you’ll never get tired of the one, the only, Folio Café pumpkin spice latte (PSL). This cup full of spicy fall magic is something Folio-frequenters wait for all year long. I talked to barista Nicholas Willms about the beverage and learned a LATTE about the famous flavour.

Nicholas Willms, barista extraordinaire

So Nicholas, what makes Folio’s PSL so special?

“One thing is that we actually make our own syrup from pumpkins grown at the farm right here on campus, by the Metanoia [Farmers Worker Cooperative]. That’s a big thing. We’re also not big fans of super sweet drinks, so we make our syrup a little less sweet so the focus is really on the pumpkin and the spices, not on how sugary it is.”

Thank you Metanoia farmers for making our PSL dreams come true! Can you tell me a bit about the process? What happens from the moment I order a PSL to the moment I hold the mug in my hands?

“It’s very easy. We put the cup on the scale and weigh out one ounce of the pumpkin syrup that we’ve made. Then we pull an espresso shot, steam some milk, pour it, make a little bit of latte art if we’re feeling a little artsy, and then we hand it over.”

And then we sip and smile. So I’m looking at the menu board, and you have another pumpkin spice drink! Tell me more.

“So we also have the pumpkin chai, which is a chai tea latte but with our homemade pumpkin syrup, which I think is a nice twist. It gives the chai latte a little extra flavour, a little extra spice. It makes for a fun change!”

Mm, that sounds delicious. I’ll be sure to tell all my chai-loving friends about it! Speaking of my friends, I have plenty of pals who look forward to the pumpkin spice season all year long. What’s the hype like leading up to adding the drink to the menu?

“People were asking for it for a couple weeks, even before it was up on the menu. We had to tell them that we didn’t have any pumpkins yet, so we couldn’t make it yet. But once it was up there, people got pretty pumped about it.”

People including me. I think I audibly cheered when I saw that it was back on the menu. What’s your personal favourite part about pumpkin spice season at Folio?

“I think it’s really cool to be able to make things from stuff that’s grown right here. I think it makes it taste better, I think it makes it more special because you could walk past the farm and see an actual pumpkin, and then be drinking it in a latte.”

Three cheers for a farm-fresh, subtly sweet, extra spicy, pumpkin dream of a drink! Thank you so much Nicholas for indulging me in this interview about one of my passions. Now, I just have one more question for you…

Could I order one PSL please?

– Chloe Friesen, 3rd Year Communications and Media Student

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