George C. Riefel Bird Sanctuary host Langara’s photography students

Langara’s professional photo-imaging students took a trip to George C. Riefel Bird Sanctuary in Delta, B.C. to try out bird photography equipment. (Edmond Lu photo)

More than $100,000 worth of photography equipment and 30 years of experience in bird photography were both on loan to students of Langara’s professional photo-imaging department as they spent last Wednesday at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta.

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Sean Geobey skeptical of unpaid internships


Some students say they simply can’t afford to work for free. (EDMOND LU photo)

A researcher from the University of Waterloo sees youth unemployment as Canada’s “collective problem,” and the rise of unpaid internships in the job marketplace may be hindering more than helping.

Several students said they can’t pay bills with job prospects alone.

“An amazing opportunity is no good if I’m living in a cardboard box.” Said Megan Muir, an environmental studies student.

Some students see it as an investment for the future.

“As long as it’s in my field, I’d still be able to put it on my resume, even if it’s unpaid.” Said Jo Marcilla, a nursing student.

A recent report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives titled The Young and the Jobless examines employment problems for those aged 15-24 in Ontario. Sean Geobey, the author of the report and a doctoral candidate at the University of Waterloo, doesn’t believe these internships actually lead to job opportunities.

“If they’re not paying you, they don’t have a strong incentive to ensure that you are going to be doing real work that’s providing real value to the company,” said Geobey in a phone interview. “So it’s questionable whether or not it’s giving you skills that will be valuable in the marketplace.”

The Employment Standards Act in B.C. states that any work that would normally be done by a paid employee must be compensated with the provincial minimum wage, unless the work is being done for school credit, which makes many unpaid internships technically illegal. Still, there is some evidence that unpaid internships persist in the marketplace. The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, HootSuite and even Bell Mobility were recently the subject of some controversy over advertising unpaid internship positions.

Unfortunately, very few statistics are gathered on interns, so it’s difficult to know for sure how these unpaid positions affect employability. The Canadian Intern Association, a non-profit organization that “advocates against the exploitation of interns and aims to improve the internship experience for both interns and employers” recently partnered with two graduate students from the University of Victoria to conduct a survey to “address the gap in knowledge surrounding unpaid internships in Canada.”

But this is not a problem young people can solve alone, says Geobey. “Too much of the conversation is about what responsibilities young people have. This is an inter-generational responsibility, older workers have to train younger workers, and young workers have to learn the skills to be productive in the future.”

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur remains missing, search underway

A Malaysian Airlines flight bound for Beijing lost all contact with traffic control at 2:40 a.m. Malaysia time on March 8. Search and rescue is already under way, but the plane with 239 on-board has yet to be found.

Rescue efforts continue both on the sea and in the air, with several countries having dispatched ships and aircraft trying to locate the missing Boeing 777 jet.

It’s been confirmed that two of the passengers had boarded the plane using stolen passports. An Austrian and an Italian man on the passenger list were both reported as not being on the plane. Both passports were stolen in Thailand. The U.S. has sent a special FBI task force to look into any possibilities of a terrorist attack.

Malaysian Airlines confirmed in a press release the exact coordinates where the plane lost contact.

A map showing where the plane lost contact with traffic control.

China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, the U.S. and the Phillipines are all contributing to search efforts, according to Malaysian Minister of Transport, Hishamuddin Hussein. Hussein also denied earlier reports of a confirmed plane crash.

Both Vietnamese and Chinese air traffic control say the plane never made contact and did not enter their airspace.

The flight was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. MYT and took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m.. The plane disappeared from radar less than two hours after take-off at 2:30 a.m., and no distress signal was sent by the pilots.

According to the airline’, a total of 12 crew, all Malaysian and 227 passengers are on board from 14 countries — including two Canadians.

A tweet sent by Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) nearly 12 hours after their first press release confirming the incident.

Two infants are among the passengers, one Chinese and one American. The passenger manifest has been released by Malaysia Airlines.

A team of workers were sent by Malaysia Airlines to Beijing Airport to attend to relatives of the passengers.

Malaysia Airlines' "Go Team" was sent to Beijing airport to attend to relatives of passengers. (Photo @bernamadotcom)

Malaysia Airlines’ “Go Team” was sent to Beijing airport to attend to relatives of passengers. (Photo @bernamadotcom)

Joella Cabalu film The Gran Nigel to screen at Langara Student Film Festival

Joella on-location with Nigel Wakita while filming The Gran Nigel.

Joella on-location with Nigel Wakita while filming The Gran Nigel. (Joella Cabalu submitted)

Joella Cabalu’s inspiration for her short film The Gran Nigel came to when her clock radio awoke her with the fascinating tale of Vancouver Circus School instructor, Nigel Wakita, who had just completed the GranFondo, a 122-kilometre bicycle race — on an unicycle.

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Langara student claims win in Steveston Kendo Tournament

The Steveston Kendo tournament is host to competitors from all over the continent, such as Vancouver and McGill University. (Edmond Lu photo)

Langara student Wesley “Cannonball” Lee defeated competitors from kendo clubs all around North America, taking first place in the Steveston Kendo Tournament’s beginner bracket last weekend.

The Steveston Kendo Tournament is the largest kendo tournament in North America. This year, the tournament was host to competitors from Quebec all the way to Hawaii.

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Polymer Dance offers contemporary classes at Sunset

The intermediate class warms up with a series of exercises (EDMOND LU photo)

Vancouver-based Polymer Dance has teamed up with Sunset Community Centre to offer contemporary classes at Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre.

Kristina Lemieux and Miriam Esquitín created Polymer Dance because both work in the non-profit sector with busy schedules but also love to dance. They found Vancouver’s dance scene too inflexible and institutionalized to accommodate non-professional dancers like themselves.

Polymer Dance’s aim is to provide instruction and performance opportunities to hobbyist dancers interested in the contemporary style.

Polymer sometimes invites guest instructors, like Ashley pictured here. (EDMOND LU photo)

Esquitín has been teaching dance since 1999, with training in ballet and other dance techniques. She named the group Polymer because like the chemical compound, each individual changes the properties of the whole.

“It’s very representative of what we’re doing…ultimately we’re a unit made of our individualities,” said Esquitín.

Lemieux has been dancing most of her life, but she has not received any professional dance training before coming to Vancouver from Edmondton. She uses her strong organization skills to select dancers from all skill levels and puts together performances in various venues.

“It’s a very conscious choice, to be using public space.” Lemieux said.

“Art should go back to the community,” Esquitín added. “It’s a more democratic approach, that’s very important to us.”

Each class is divided into two portions, the first part focuses on the techniques of contemporary dance, and the second is for improvisation. This improvised aspect is what makes contemporary dance so appealing, Lemieux suggests. “There’s structure, but within that structure there’s a lot of room for individuality.”

As a part of their “anybody can dance” philosophy, Polymer offers a beginner’s class, but Miriam suggests prospective students should at least know what contemporary dance is.

“After all, you don’t sign up for a contemporary class like you do a Zumba class.” She said.

“There’s structure, but within that structure there’s a lot of room for individuality.” (EDMOND LU photo)

Langara out of flu vaccine

Langara health services put up a display showcasing flu information.

Langara health services put up a display showcasing flu information. (EDMOND LU photo)

Langara has run out of the flu vaccine for the year, which immunizes against the H1N1 virus that had claimed the lives of 13 British Columbians this season.

According to the B.C. Center for Disease Control, H1N1, or “swine flu”, affects a much younger, healthier population than other flu strains.

The demand for the vaccine this year seemed to take the province by surprise, with many clinics and pharmacies facing shortages and the Ministry of Health unable to resupply them quick enough. Continue reading