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Sev Astor

We Need to Reform Multiculturalism

As a naturalized citizen who’s been through the whole integration process as a pre-teen, I have an opinion or two on Canada’s current multicultural policies. Before I start criticizing multiculturalism, I’d like to mention that I truly believe that when it was first introduced in the 1970’s, multiculturalism was a bold, progressive idea which made newcomers feel welcome and included in Canadian society. At the time, embracing and celebrating foreign cultures, rather than assimilating them, seemed like the moral thing to do. But, times have drastically changed and promoting the same multicultural policies of the 70’s in today’s social climate is no longer progressive but rather, regressive. Just like any other social policy, multiculturalism has to be reformed to keep up with current times. We must first acknowledge that the social context of the 70’s, when the idea of multiculturalism was first introduced, was very different from that of today. At the time, the term diversity, upon which the idea of multiculturalism was founded on, stretched only as far to cover differences in collective, homogenous cultures. However, in today’s era where individualism is in and conformism is out, differences in our individual identities are not only tolerated but also celebrated. In turn, the term diversity has taken on a new meaning. Our definition of diversity today goes beyond differences in collective, homogenous cultures and touches the individual itself. So, if our definition of diversity has evolved over the past forty years, why haven’t our multicultural policies? Ironically, the same multiculturalism which was used as a tool to promote diversity, is now hindering real diversity and oppressing second-generation immigrants. The glamorization of the traditional view of multiculturalism is leading many newcomers to believe that they have to retain the culture of their ancestors in order to have any form of identity… Read More

The HUBkit: a new way of living?

Every year in the month of May, Le Salon International du Design de Montréal hosts a mega showcase for design professionals and the public. This year’s showcase was held at Place Bonaventure from May 24th until the 26th. While the kiosks and presentations were impressive as usual, one Montreal startup, ABNORMstudio, stole the show by claiming three prizes for their innovative product the HUBkit - designed by ABNORM and built/executed by SIAM and Ma Maison Digitale. Founded in 2010, ABNORMstudio specializes in designing and creating multi-functional spaces. Intrigued by the HUBkit, I interviewed Aboudi Hassoune, founder of ABNORMstudio to get more insight on their new innovative product:First, tell us a bit about your background.As a kid, I was always into arts. I’ve always loved to draw and create my own toys. I fell in love with architecture during secondary school when my parents were building a house. That is when I first realized that I wanted to become an architect. Soon after, I completed a technical degree in architecture from CEGEP Saint-Laurent and majored in interior architecture at Université de Montréal. I landed my first job in the field when I was 18 years old when I was still in CEGEP. This way, I got to experience and practice what I was learning in school. Since then, I’ve been freelancing for companies and building my own clientele so by the time I got to University, I was already doing my own projects.So tell us, what is the HUBkit?The HUBkit is a multifunctional and flexible modular unit about 2 feet by 4 feet long which resembles a massive cabinet. It is actually a retractable space which has 3 components: a shell, which holds the wiring and the electrical components, the module, which consists of the cabinet and the retractable system, and… Read More

Are you in the right major?

Q&A With Dr. Sarah StroudEver toss and turn in the middle of the night wondering whether you’re really in the right major? Well, maybe that’s just me... but you’re probably one of many college students experiencing a quarter life crisis. The demand of the market, pressure from one’s parents, or the difficulty of the program are just few of many considerations that most students factor in when it comes to choosing their major. But, it is also said that they should take a truly unbiased decision and pursue their passion free of external societal influences. So how should you, in this day and age, choose your major? Do we really find our true passion in college, or do we adapt to whatever career that we choose to pursue? In order to help you brainstorm through these questions, I interview Dr. Sarah Stroud, a professor in the Department of Philosophy at McGill University.Professor Stroud, do you think it’s reasonable to approach the question of whether one is in the right major from a philosophical perspective?I definitely think it’s good to approach this question in a reflective way. I don’t know if reflective means the same thing as philosophical, but there are some ideas from philosophy than can help us make progress with this sort of question.Is there any particular philosopher who tries to answer this question?No, but there is something which we often see in philosophical texts that I think is really relevant. I think it’s really helpful for students to make a distinction between things that we value for the sake of other things and things that we value for their own sake. A good example of the first kind would be money. We don’t value money for its own sake. We value money for the other things it brings… Read More

So you want try out for a varsity team?

As the temperature starts to drop and the fall semester begins many new and returning college students are wondering whether they should be more involved in their school. There are many clubs and student organizations one can join, varsity teams being the most popular choice of all extracurricular activities. Playing on a varsity team is not easy, especially when you’re most concerned about your heavy course load. To shed light on this balancing act and the accessibility of varsity sports, I interview Gianni Settino, quarterback for the McGill Redmen.To begin with, what is your major at McGill? I am currently in my third year in computer science.And what exactly made you decide to join a sports team? Well, I’ve been playing football for a long time and I just wanted to continue playing. I didn’t really put that much thought into it, I sort of knew playing in University was the next step. I also really enjoy the camaraderie of being with my football family.How many hours a week do you dedicate to training? Usually about 25-30 hours a week but that includes meetings, game films, strategies, not just physical training a lot of other stuff. From September to the end of October the training is pretty intense. Off-season I would say 10 hours a week, which include 1 or 2 practices a week, weight lifting and occasional meetings.Do you think it’s possible to join a sports team and a student club? Honestly, I don’t know how much time a club takes per week since I’m not part of one. But for comparison, I’ve had part time jobs during the season for which I was dedicating 10-12 hours a week on top of football practice. Keeping my part time job was hard. I would just come home and go straight… Read More