David MacNaughton, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States, will deliver the keynote address in this year’s Allan J. MacEachen Annual Lecture Series in Politics at StFX.
Mr. MacNaughton will deliver a talk entitled, “Difficult Choices for Canada in a Chaotic World,” at the event, which takes place Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at StFX’s Schwartz Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
This annual lecture series was established in 1996 through the generous support of friends and associates of the late Hon. Allan J. MacEachen.
Over the years, speakers at the MacEachen Lecture have included four former Canadian prime ministers, the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, the Rt. Hon. John Turner, and the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, as well as a number of distinguished academics, politicians, journalists and a justice of the Supreme Court. Past speakers have also included Linden MacIntyre, Preston Manning, the Hon. Bob Rae, the Hon. Frank McKenna, Dalton Camp, Senator Jerry Grafstein, the Hon. Roy Romanow, Dr. Margaret MacMillan, Dr. Jennifer Welsh, the Hon. Flora MacDonald, Senator Lowell Murray, the Hon. Dr. Donald J. Johnston, Allan Gregg and the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin.
David MacNaughton was recently appointed President of Palantir Canada. He will head up the Canadian operations of Palantir Technologies, the Silicon Valley-based data integration and analytics software giant. Prior to joining Palantir Canada, Mr. MacNaughton was Canada’s Ambassador to the United States. He presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on March 3, 2016. In the 1980s, Mr. MacNaughton transformed the public affairs industry by building an organization that comprised government relations, public opinion research and public relations. After selling his business in 1989, Mr. MacNaughton became president of Canada’s largest government and public relations firm and subsequently North American president of the world’s largest public relations firm. From 1995 until 2003, Mr. MacNaughton was President of Strathshore Financial and was an advisor to one of Canada’s leading investment banks. Mr. MacNaughton’s public sector experience includes work at both the federal and provincial levels, including as advisor to the Minister at the Departments of Transport, Industry and Foreign Affairs. He was principal secretary to the Premier of Ontario from 2003 to 2005 and the chairman of StrategyCorp from 2005 until his appointment. Active in community affairs, Mr. MacNaughton has served on the boards of the North York General Hospital, the Stratford Festival, the National Ski Academy, TV Ontario, the Toronto French School and the Toronto International Film Festival.
StFX human nutrition students will have access to new scholarships and bursaries thanks to the generosity of Sodexo Canada.
Sodexo, the campus food provider at StFX, has established the Sodexo Canada Scholarship, two individual scholarships of $5,000 to be awarded annually, as well as the Kevin Fraser Memorial Bursary, in memory of the late Kevin Fraser, former Sodexo general manager at StFX, which will see five bursaries of $1,000 each presented annually.
“Sodexo and StFX realize the importance of diet in healthy living and we want to be part of developing students who can help in this goal moving forward,” says Tim Hierlihy, general manager, Sodexo Campus Food Services.
“Kevin Fraser did a lot for students on the campus and in his community who were less fortunate and we wanted to honour his legacy in creating bursaries for students in financial need to honour his legacy,” he says.
“Our hope is by taking some of the financial pressure off of students and families, we can enable greater success in university, helping deserving students who want to graduate with their degree and give back to using the skills they have developed,” says Bob Hale, director, Ancillary Service.
Mr. Hierlihy says Sodexo and the Human Nutrition Department have had a relationship for many years, with Sodexo supporting the department either through helping a student to attend the Canadian Association of Food Professionals annual conference, food donations for the lab or working with the department in securing an intern or co-op student. The department also uses My Kitchen in Morrison Hall for sessions on healthy cooking.
Department of Human Nutrition senior lab instructor Brenda Hanlon says the department has always had a reciprocated relationship with the campus food service provider. She says this relationship grew under Mr. Fraser. “Students in the Foodservice course tour all Sodexo facilities on campus, Kevin and Tim have been guest lecturers in the Foodservice class, Chef Mike Pollock has used the food labs for food competitions, and visiting chefs have been guest lecturers for the HNU Seminar Series.”
She says both she and retired human nutrition faculty member Fran Haley have sat on Foodservice advisory groups and Ms. Hanlon has judged food competitions at meal hall. And student service learning projects have included consumer satisfaction surveys and waste audits. As well, Ms. Haley, Ms. Hanlon and Mr. Fraser were all members of the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professional (CAFP)-Northumberland Branch, providing mentorship to the StFX student CAFP branch.
Sodexo regularly hosts interns from the Integrated Dietetic Internship (IDI) Program for food service management practicum experiences, and is very supportive of the IDI sport dietetic interns working with StFX athletes on campus, says Laura Reid, dietetic educator, Human Nutrition Department.
The Sodexo Canada Scholarship will include one $5,000 non-renewable entrance scholarship presented annually to the top-ranked incoming first year student in the Human Nutrition Department, and one $5,000 non-renewable scholarship to a third or fourth year human nutrition student from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island who shows professional and academic promise and a commitment and interest in working in the food service industry.
The Kevin Fraser Memorial Bursary, established in memory of the late Kevin Fraser, who loved his time at StFX and contributed behind the scenes to many students’ success, will be awarded annually to any first or second year student from Nova Scotia enrolled full-time in the Human Nutrition Department. Five bursaries of $1,000 each will be presented each year. The award is based upon financial need.
The StFX Department of Athletics honoured its 2018-19 U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians Feb. 10th, at their annual celebratory breakfast. This year, there were 91 Academic All-Canadians, those student-athletes who have achieved an 80 per cent average or above while consuming a year of eligibility competing for a varsity team. The number was the second highest ever. Last year’s 96 is the all-time high.
“This celebration of excellence in the classroom is a major highlight of our year,” comments StFX Director of Athletics & Recreation Leo MacPherson. “The opportunity to celebrate the synergies between academics and athletics is important to all of us. The ongoing support provided by our senior administration and our faculty members was also acknowledged and very much appreciated.”
Out of the possible 275 eligible student-athletes who consumed U SPORTS eligibility by participating on a varsity team at StFX during the 2018-19 season, 33 per cent achieved Academic All-Canadian status, including 39 male and 52 female student-athletes. The X-Women soccer team had the highest percentage of any StFX team with 58 per cent of their team members earning the distinction.
There were 34 first-time Academic All-Canadians, 31 student-athletes who received the honour for the second time in their career, and 14 who were three-time Academic All-Canadians. Nine student-athletes earned the distinction of being a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians for four years, while an impressive three student-athletes were five-time Academic All-Canadians, including Elise Brennan, Chloe Brennan and Liam Elbourne – all soccer athletes. In addition, Elbourne was honoured as one of eight elite national U SPORTS Top 8 Academic All-Canadians, receiving commendation from the General Governor of Canada earlier this year.
The Athletic Director’s awards for academic achievement, presented to the top StFX male and female academic student-athletes, were Amy Graham from the X-Women hockey team who received the award for the second consecutive year, along with Liam Elbourne, a three-time winner.
The 2018-19 Academic All-Canadians were honoured at a celebratory breakfast at the McKenna Centre where they received a certificate from U SPORTS along with a gift from the Department of Athletics. All student-athletes were encouraged to invite a faculty member to accompany them to the breakfast. The breakfast bookended StFX Athletics annual Faculty Appreciation Week.
The complete list of 2018-19 StFX Academic All-Canadians is as follows:
Michael Adetola, Football Joanna Alphonso, Rugby
Mackenzie Bell, Rugby Dylan Bell, Football
Melanie Belong, Soccer Alison Blanchard, Rugby
Emma Boudreau, Track & Field Erin Brennan, Track & Field
Chloe Brennan, Soccer Elise Brennan, Soccer
Sarah Bruce, Soccer Carly Burrows, Hockey
Tane Caubo, Soccer Santino Centorame, Hockey
Paige Chisholm, Cross Country Josie Chisholm, Hockey
Benoit Cormier, Football Lane Cormier, Hockey
Olivia Crewe, Track & Field Marcus Cuomo, Hockey
Olivia Czipf, Soccer Olivia DeMerchant, Rugby
Aidan Doherty, Cross Country Liam Elbourne, Soccer
Hannah Ellis, Rugby Kelsey Ellis, Soccer
Jeremy Fagnan, Football Isaac Fagnan, Football
Allie Flower, Track & Field Megan Frost, Soccer
Claudia Fulton, Rugby Sam Gan, Football
Alley Goodreau, Hockey Brianna Gottschall, Basketball
Megan Graham, Track & Field Amy Graham, Hockey
Alexandra Hamilton, Rugby Liam Harrigan, Soccer
Rachel Hawkins, Soccer Joshua Henderson, Curling
Jane Hergett, Cross Country Ben Herringer, Soccer
A.J. Hewish, Soccer Sarah Hoerig, Rugby
Aaron Hoyles, Hockey Liam Hyland, Football
Matt Jemmett, Football Zoe Johnston, Cross Country
Jack Kennedy, Soccer Catherine Kennedy, Soccer
Adrian Kinney, Track & Field Emma Kuzmyk, Soccer
Justin Laforest, Hockey Taylor Leger, Track & Field
Lauren Liem, Cross Country Emma Logan, Curling
Travis Loov, Football Cole MacDonald, Hockey
Lauren MacFadyen, Curling Katie MacIntosh, Basketball
Paul MacLellan, Cross Country Patrick Marlow, Cross Country
Hana Marmura, Cross Country Jamie McCarron, Basketball
Therese McCurdy, Curling Cassidy McEwan, Hockey
Mac Murray, Soccer Matt Needham, Hockey
Alex Neuffer, Cross Country Brooke Noseworthy, Hockey
Patrick O’Brien, Curling Jordan Rao, Soccer
Angus Rawling, Cross Country Ashley Robson, Cross Country
Amy Rowe, Soccer Paytan Ruiz, Soccer
Lydia Schurman, Hockey Emily Sinclair, Rugby
Sam Studnicka, Hockey Madison Suart, Rugby
Catherine Thompson, Cross Country Patti-Anne Tracey, Hockey
Mark Tremaine, Hockey Chloe Walker, Track & Field
Katie Walsh, Soccer Carleigh Walters, Rugby
William Warren, Soccer Bailey Wasdal, Football
Jamie White, Basketball Larissa White, Soccer
Alex Yakimenko, Football
For two third year honours StFX physics students, attending the Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics held in Toronto in January was a terrific learning opportunity.
“Attending the conference was a very inspiring experience. It was amazing for us to see so many successful female scientists represented and meet female undergraduate colleagues,” say Claire MacDougall, an honours physics student from Halifax, NS, and chair of the Canadian Association of Physicists Student Advisory Council, and Catherine Boisvert a joint physics and math honours student from Montreal, QC, who is also president of the StFX Physics Society.
“We learned about the issues facing women, minorities and the LGBTQ+ community in this male dominated field, which will be extremely useful for both of us in our work with student advocacy. We also were exposed to career options outside of academia, which is not often something we learn about.”
Ms. MacDougall also presented her research, “Determination of Radiative Efficiency and Global Warming Potential of Several HFC’s and HFE’s” at the conference held at the University of Toronto.
The duo say they are the only two female students in their program, and that Physics Department chair Dr. Peter Marzlin and the rest of the physics faculty encouraged them to attend this national conference and provided them with the funding and support they needed to attend.
“The conference was a very supportive environment and validated some of our negative experiences as female students but more importantly shed light on the strengths and perspectives we bring as women to the field of physics,” they said.
StFX’s Service Learning Program recently welcomed one of its partners to campus, Maricarmen Valdivieso. the founder and director of Nexos Comunitarios in Pero, who was visiting with university partners in Canada and the U.S.
While at StFX, she met with Immersion Service Learning staff, toured campus and had an opportunity to meet with past program participants as well as the StFX group that will be travelling to Peru in two weeks.
StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business faculty member Dr. Denton Anthony will lead the StFX immersion trip to Peru over the university’s reading week. The group will travel to Cuncani, a remote community in the Andes, to work on a project called “Kick Off.” Playing, learning and growing is the goal of this initiative, which seeks to improve rural education, generating cognitive and non-cognitive skills through football.
“Building relationships is important for the success of Immersion Service Learning programs and their partner projects. We were pleased to host Maricarmen at StFX, and to discuss the wonderful projects that NEXOS are working and developing on the ground. StFX students have a rare opportunity with this organization, to visit an amazing community and learn about a very different way of life,” says Jodi van Dompseler, Program Assistant with StFX Immersion Service Learning.
Nexos Comunitarios is a Peruvian non-profit civil association, formed by a group of citizens and professionals committed to reducing poverty in isolated communities within Peru, and to promoting a better understanding and respect between different societies and cultures nationally and internationally. Their focus is on sustainable development and implementing community projects related to nutrition, food security, hygiene and elementary education.
Their programs are not volunteer programs. They are learning and service programs that seek to make participants aware of the power they have: to be a link between the community and the rest of the world. Students learn about international development, service, interculturality and addressing poverty.
StFX Immersion Service Learning has partnered with Nexos since 2015.
StFX biology professor Dr. Ricardo Scrosati is part of a team of 14 Canadian marine biologists that today had a large study, “Seafloor biodiversity of Canada's three oceans: Patterns, hotspots and potential drivers,” published in Diversity and Distributions, a leading journal in the field.
The study evaluated the marine benthic biodiversity of Canada's three oceans, from the Pacific, to the Arctic, to the Atlantic.
“Using field information compiled over many years by several labs, including StFX's Marine Ecology Lab, this team used data for nearly 3,000 species to identify biodiversity hotspots across Canadian marine ecosystems,” Dr. Scrosati says.
The team then used environmental information to investigate the most likely causes of such patterns.
Dr. Scrosati says overall, this study provides valuable information that should improve, among other objectives, the design of marine protected areas to preserve our rich and fascinating marine benthic biodiversity.
“We are happy to have the study published in this journal because it has a high impact factor, which suggests that the study will be widely seen in the scientific community around the world. Thus, on the one hand, in that way we hope to attract talented colleagues and students to do further studies on marine biology in Canada and, on the other, we would see exciting to see our approaches applied to other parts of the world towards the global synthesis that science is always seeking,” Dr. Scrosati says.
The beginnings of this project, he says, likely started from informal conversations among colleagues in the past, but it was a colleague, Dr. Mathieu Cusson from the Université du Québec, who in the end formally led this project to its successful completion. “Interestingly, the original idea behind this project has spread into new ideas and collaborations. For instance, with Dr. Cusson, we will be co-supervising a PhD student who will investigate the relationships between marine species biodiversity and the actual ecological function that such species collectively have in biological communities.” Dr. Scrosati will be going to Quebec soon to help design the studies.
All those entering the lobby of Mulroney Hall on the StFX campus on January 27, 2020 had an amazing opportunity to learn and talk about Holocaust education with a number of StFX students.
Students from psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair’s Psyc 441 held an all-day event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, displaying their final projects for the course, and being on hand to speak with all those who passed through.
Dr. Blair and the students had a visual display from Yad Vashem to hang in the art gallery space behind the replica of the Prime Minister’s office. In the lobby area, one group of students worked on a project aimed at “visualizing” six million victims, and another group working on activities to reduce prejudice. They also hosted a book display and educational materials and presented a video.
“I’ve been talking a lot about Holocaust education, and the misconceptions many students have,” says psychology student Cassidy Swan of Ottawa, ON. She says in her conversations she’s found that a lot of students know the basics of the Holocaust, but don’t know the when and the how and the steps in between that lead up to that point. It’s knowledge, she says, that people need to know more about.
“The knowledge is still valuable and needs to be taught.”
Fellow psychology students Alice Bruce of Pictou, NS and MacGillivray Smith of Enfield, NS, say they’ve had good response to the day, with several professors taking their classes through, and many community members and students stopping to talk.
Ms. Bruce says they’ve found people have varying degrees of knowledge about the Holocaust as Ms. Smith added the education is important for preventing future genocides. “In our class, we talked about the build-up to that and how you need to speak up for your believes before people start getting persecuted.”
FINAL PROJECT ASSIGNMENT
“The students in Psyc 441, which is a fourth year seminar course on the “Social Psychology of the Holocaust,” were given a final project assignment to “prevent the next Holocaust.” It was a lofty goal meant to be interpreted in abstract ways,” says Dr. Blair.
Each student had to decide how they would define the challenge for themselves - defining what is meant by the possibility of another Holocaust. “Does this mean genocide in general? The building blocks within society that allow for genocides, such as prejudice and exclusion?” says Dr. Blair. “In the end, most of the students developed projects related to Holocaust education, believing that education is a key element to reducing prejudice. People who know the details of the Holocaust and how it came to be are much more supportive of the need for Holocaust education and tend to be less supportive of extremist and prejudiced views.”
The students combined their efforts to create the event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, she says.
Some of the events they’ve put together include the visualizing six million project. This project attempts to grapple with the fact that fewer than half of Canadian adults can identify six million as the number of Jewish men, women, and children murdered during the Holocaust. This may, in part, be because it is so difficult to grapple with such a large number. It’s simply unfathomable, Dr. Blair says.
The students have been working for months to try to cut six million pieces of paper. They actually wanted to cut 11 million to represent all of the victims of Nazi persecution.
“Just now, as they are continuing to cut paper in the lobby of Mulroney Hall, they are about to reach one million, helping to drive home just how large these numbers are.”
As well, Dr. Blair said each student in the course was assigned a “twin” who was a child that died during the Holocaust and shared the same birthday as the student. They researched to find out as much as they could about this person. They’ve created a visual display about each twin, hanging in the art gallery area.
One student looked into what types of Holocaust education are provided in high schools and what people feel is lacking. The student compiled a list of facts that people commonly don’t know and has been talking to people about their Holocaust education experiences. As well, another student is building a Holocaust education website while another is working on a Holocaust education podcast and documenting the day and the course.
The Atlantic Jewish Council and the Azrieli Foundation also provided a number of Holocaust memoirs for the group to give away to students at the event.
"Holocaust knowledge is declining and the survivors will soon not be with us to share their stories in person. Consequently it’s a very important time to raise interest in Holocaust education to ensure that this knowledge is not lost to future generations. The universal lessons of the Holocaust can help us to understand important social issues today as well as those that we will face in the future," says Dr. Blair.
The visual display in the gallery area will remain up all week until Friday for people to walk through.
When a group of StFX physics students started planning an Atlantic undergraduate physics and astronomy conference, they decided to aim big—and the results have been more than impressive.
The students have attracted 2018 Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland; NASA engineer and advocate for diversity and inclusion in science, Renee Horton; StFX alumnus Allan H. MacDonald, winner of the Wolf Prize and the Herzberg Medal and professor at University of Texas, Austin; and Dalhousie University professor Jesse Maassen, to deliver keynote lectures when StFX hosts the Atlantic Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy Conference (AUPAC) from January 31-February 2, 2020.
The talks by all invited speakers are open to the public.
“It’s just amazing what they have accomplished,” says Dr. Peter Marzlin, faculty advisor and StFX physics professor, who praised the students who he says have organized and looked after mostly every detail for the conference.
“This is a conference that happens every year. This is the first Nobel Laureate that has showed up to speak. It’s really amazing. We’re really proud of the students,” said StFX physics professor Dr. Peter Poole, a Science Atlantic committee member.
StFX students and conference co-chairs Dean Eaton and Bryan Canam say they were thrilled, and a little surprised, they were able to attract each of the high-profile speakers they invited.
“We wanted to set the bar high,” says Mr. Eaton.
“These are the ones we were shooting for. We weren’t expecting them,” added Mr. Canam, who says they are much looking forward to the talks. “We’re more than pleased.”
Fellow students and conference committee members Thomas Hujon and Noah Tessema say they are looking forward to both the conference—a student organized event under Science Atlantic that looks to publicize and advertise research of many disciplines in physics and astronomy to undergraduate students in the Atlantic Provinces—as well as the chance to hear from the keynote speakers.
“These people are in the top rank of their professions,” says Mr. Hujon.
Mr. Tessema says their addresses should interest everyone, not just those with a physics background.
“There is always something to learn from people who have reached a certain success in life,” he says, noting it is inspiring to hear people speak passionately about their interests.
“You get an impression of what it takes for someone to be particularly good at what they do.”
The keynote addresses are scheduled to take place:
* Friday, Jan. 31: 7 p.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Jesse Maassen
* Saturday, Feb. 1, 11 a.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Allan MacDonald
* Saturday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m. SCHW 110, keynote speaker Donna Strickland
* Sunday, Feb. 2, 11 a.m., SCHW 110, keynote speaker Renee Horton
SHOWCASE STUDENT WORK
The organizers are expecting about 105 participants from universities across Atlantic Canada and elsewhere, with 32 students slated to present their work.
Over the weekend, undergraduate students will present talks on areas from particle physics and cosmology to atomic and solid state physics. There will also be other events such as a graduate fair, where graduate programs from across Canada advertise their programs to prospective students.
The StFX student organizers say they started planning the conference in February 2018, and that almost every senior student in the physics department is involved in its organization. In planning the conference, they say they’ve had to learn new skills almost every three to four weeks, from coding for their website to delegating.
They were also successful in securing sponsors, including their proposal to StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership for help in sponsoring the keynote speakers.
The undergraduate conference, they say, will be a great opportunity for students to showcase their own research, to attend a grad fair to learn about future opportunities, and to network and learn from students and faculty from other institutions.
Of course, interacting with the keynote speakers, people at the top of their profession, will be a key benefit.
“It’s huge, the significance of meeting and networking with the speakers,” the students say.
Dr. Donna Strickland
Dr. Renee Horton
Dr. Allan MacDonald
Dr. Jesse Maassen
From the stirring rhythmic beats of the African drumming procession that opened the ceremony to the closing prayer that encouraged all to hear in their hearts the powerful words expressed, the launch of African Heritage Month 2020 in Antigonish not only shone a spotlight on the culture and contributions of African Nova Scotians to society, it recognized the strength that comes with unity.
A large crowd of StFX students, faculty and staff, community members, and local school students filled the MacKay Room, Bloomfield Centre, on the StFX campus on Jan. 23, 2020 to unite and celebrate that February is African Heritage Month. The theme for the month is “The Ties that Bind: Faith, Family, and Community.”
“Together, we gather to honour and celebrate the many contributions that African Nova Scotians past and present have made to our society,” said Kelsey Jones, StFX Coordinator, African Descent Student Affairs, and co-emcee of the ceremony with Lorraine Reddick, Student Support Worker, Strait Centre for Education.
“African Heritage Month marks a time of reflection, awareness, and most importantly, education,” she says.
African Heritage Month is a great opportunity to learn about the contributions, history and culture of African Nova Scotians, Ms. Reddick says. It is equally important that this knowledge be integrated into learning throughout the year, she noted.
Ms. Jones says we must recognize the contributions of those who came before us and who laid the foundation, and we must honour their legacy and continue to fight for justice and equality.
Getting together for a meal with friends and family over the holidays is a time-honoured tradition. This year, that circle grew a little wider as a group of StFX international students and members of the local community connected over Christmas through a new program at StFX called Home for the Holidays.
The StFX Office of Internationalization arranged the inaugural Home for the Holidays program to connect international students studying at StFX with families living in the Antigonish community during the holiday season. StFX is home to students from over 40 countries around the world, and many are interested in learning more about Canadian holiday culture, says Donald Rasmussen, StFX’s International Student Advisor.
This year, he says 17 students were matched with eight host families, and reaction to the experience has been positive from all involved.
MEANT A LOT
“I was super excited. I really wanted to engage, and I was a little emotional as I was missing my family,” says Anamika Saxena of India who was one of three international students to spend time with StFX Gerald Schwartz School of Business professor Rhonda McIver and her family, enjoying a meal and a visit at their home.
“It meant a lot for me, to rebalance my emotions, and to have people around me.”
Eshitha Chitla, also of India and taking a master’s in applied computer science, says it was a great chance to meet people, to learn more about Canadian culture and for people here to learn more about her culture.
Both students said they really enjoyed the meal, and the fact their hosts took the time to prepare something that would appeal to their Indian heritage with lots of spices, as well as the chance to spend time with “the sweet little children,” who played games and showed the visiting students their paintings.
“It was really nice. We really enjoyed it,” Ms. Saxena says.Home for the Holidays-01-MyStFX.jpg Home for the Holidays-03-MyStFX.jpg “We loved it,” says Prof. McIver.
She says her family was interested in getting involved in the program as they wanted to know some of the international students better, to learn about their culture, and to help the students feel more at home on campus
“Part of it is making sure students are fitting in and feeling comfortable and at home and that they have some allies. I have a son at university. I know what it is like,” she says.
She says her family hopes to connect again with the students over the term.
Mr. Rasmussen, who the students praised for his strong support of international students, says the program was promoted online and through the local Antigonish radio station and their office received immediate interest from faculty and staff members at StFX, as well as members of the broader Antigonish community.
In most cases, students were invited to their host family’s home during the holidays to enjoy a meal, meet family members, and experience Canadian holiday festivities. Some groups also got outside for winter hiking and snowman-making.
He says the office plans to run the program again next year.