Year in review: A look back at campus news in 2017

By in News

As another year passes, it seems only suitable to reflect back on 2017 and the most significant events on campus. From research finds to the first-ever gender-equality week, University of Saskatchewan students, faculty and staff have contributed to another successful year on campus.

Here is a list of the most memorable highs and lows on campus in 2017.

Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor

First Women in Leadership week on campus

Jan. 16-19: The U of S Students’ Union established the first Women in Leadership week on campus. The USSU, along with other student groups that promote gender-equality, hosted a leadership workshop, an art show and a networking gala. The events celebrated women in leadership positions by acknowledging their achievements and encouraged female students to take on leadership roles in their communities.

Memorandum of Understanding a commitment to Indigenous student learning

Feb. 2: U of S President Peter Stoicheff and Chief Bobby Cameron from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pledge the university’s commitment to its Indigenous students.

The MOU aims to be a platform from which Indigenous voices can be heard, as it states that Stoicheff and Cameron will meet annually to discuss strategies for improving the enrollment and graduation rates of Indigenous students, both in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Provincial budget cuts affect students

March 22: Saskatchewan’s 2017-18 provincial budget was released this past March, stating that the funding for base operational costs at post-secondary institutions in the province would decrease by 5.6 per cent or $18 million. This is the largest cut to provincial funding that the U of S has ever experienced.

By the time the provincial budget was released, the tuition prices for the 2017-18 academic year had already been determined. On June 20, the U of S Board of Governors announced the approval of a deficit budget of $16.7 million for the 2017-18 year to offset the cuts. The USSU lobbied against these cuts by reforming the Saskatchewan Students’ Coalition.

Laura Underwood / Layout Manager

Saskatoon’s first free Dental Day

April 8: The U of S and the College of Dentistry collaborated to create Saskatoon’s first free dental day, known as Dental Day YXE. With the volunteer efforts of dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental therapists, denturists, specialists and students, approximately 200 people received free dental work. The purpose of this event was to help those who may not have dental insurance or the funds for dental services.

Student group wins award for project on food security

May 9-11: U of S students won the Project Partnership Best Project award for the HSBC Indigenous Advancement Project at the Enactus Canada National Exposition held in Vancouver this year.

Enactus U of S, a student group at the university, sent four teams to compete at the competition in Vancouver where the project on food security, titled Food for the Future, won the competition. The project focused on funding strategies and the development of educational resources to foster the creation of community gardens in vulnerable northern Saskatchewan communities.

U of S student group uncovers dinosaur bones

June 2: The U of S Space Design Team (USST), a student group focused on developing space technology, was preparing for a Mars rover competition in the Midland Provincial Park near Drumheller when the team discovered dinosaur bones, hadrosaur to be specific. The Mars-like terrain in the park was suitable for the first-ever Canadian International Rover Challenge, which was held in July, where the U of S team won first place overall.

Saskatchewan Students’ Coalition

July 18: USSU President David D’Eon put out a press release announcing that student union representatives from the U of S and four other post-secondary institutions had signed an agreement to rally together against the provincial budget cuts to post-secondary funding. The SSC consists of 60,000 students from all over Saskatchewan who have seen a reduction in their educational funding due to the provincial budget.

In the media release, D’Eon discussed how budget cuts would disproportionally affect Indigenous peoples and families with low incomes due to the post- secondary-education gap. The coalition is concerned with improving post-secondary education for people of all backgrounds, and SSC members hope the government will take action.

Edwards School of Business reaches centennial milestone

September: This fall marked the 100- year anniversary since the Edwards School of Business was established in 1917, with only 17 students. ESB was the first accounting school to be established in Canada and now has over 26,000 alumni. It began as the School of Accounting and then grew into the College of Accounting, which became the College of Commerce, before eventually taking the Edwards name in 2007.

Before Sept. 1, Justin Trudeau also held a town hall event on Jan. 25 in the Health Sciences Building. Photo: Jessica Klaassen-Wright / Editor-in-Chief

Trudeau visits campus to discuss student opportunities

Sept. 1: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre to speak with Indigenous students about the Federal Student Work Experience Program, which aims to help students bridge the gap between studies and employment.

At the event, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu said that the FSWEP will cost approximately $73 million and create 10,000 work-integrated-learning positions for students. An additional $221 million over five years will create 50,000 positions for graduate researchers.

Physical and mental health services merge into Student Wellness Centre

Sept. 5: The U of S Student Health Services and Student Counselling Services amalgamated into the Student Wellness Centre in September. The SWC is located on the third and fourth floors of the Place Riel Student Centre, where services focus on the overall physical and mental health of students and their families. The services offered include doctor’s appointments, mental health counselling, nutritional counselling, sexual health care, physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Discovery of link between HIV-fighting enzymes and cancerous cells

October: Madison Adolph, a finalyear PhD student, and Linda Chelico, Adolph’s supervisor and a faculty member in the department of microbiology and immunology, discovered that three enzymes in the APOBEC3 family known to fight HIV can cause human genes to mutate into cancerous cells.

Adolph worked on her undergraduate honours-thesis research in Chelico’s lab through the summer of 2012 and into her graduate program. This discovery has increased researchers’ knowledge about how to treat cancer by looking at the reaction between HIV, HIV-fighting enzymes and cancerous cells.

Edwards JDC West is made up of 46 students who volunteer their time with six charity organizations. Photo: J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor

Students surpass Chillin’ for Charity fundraising goal

Nov. 2: Students and staff volunteered to jump into a freezing pool as part of an annual student competition to raise money for affordable housing projects run by Habitat for Humanity. Edwards JDC West, a student group on campus that organized the event, is affiliated with JDC West, the largest annual business competition in Canada.

JDC West promotes charity and volunteerism across its 12 student branches through competitive community involvement with multiple organizations. During this year’s Chillin’ for Charity event, the Edwards JDC West branch challenged Dean Keith Willoughby, of the Edwards School of Business, to jump into a pool if they surpassed their fundraising goal of $7,500. The students raised approximately $10,000, and Willoughby took a plunge into the cool outdoor pool.

Remai Modern and U of S sign partnership agreement

Dec. 5: U of S President Peter Stoicheff and Remai Modern Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Burke signed a partnership agreement, a unique agreement between a university and a city-owned art museum.

The goal of the partnership is to benefit the Saskatoon community with collaborative initiatives that focus on diversity, sustainability, connectivity and creativity. The projects will vary, including Indigenous approaches, public programs, partnered exhibitions, artwork, acquisitions, scholarly work, research and teaching initiatives.

Sophia Lagimodiere