Category Archives: News

Growing Garden

Filmmaker helps the Dawson Peace Garden grow

By Jennifer Hughes

“I’d love for the people to get a sense of what tragic events really do to people and then watch in awe as you see them push forward in such courageous ways,” Adam Reider, a former Dawson student and independent filmmaker, said.

Reider is currently in the process of making a documentary film about Dawson’s Peace Garden and the positive strides the community has taken since the 2006 shooting.

Donations are needed in order to complete the filming of Infinity Loops, its current working title. Reider has started a campaign on, which can be found by typing ‘Dawson’ into its search bar, to raise the $11,750 he needs in order to finish the film. So far he has raised about $2,000. The deadline for this online campaign is Dec. 20.

“Ideally if a bunch of people gave really small donations, they would add up to a large amount,” Reider explained about the crowd funding website. “But it’s an all or nothing situation, so if I don’t reach my goal [by the deadline], all the money already raised goes back to funders.”

The donations go towards “buying and renting equipment, paying a crew, paying researchers and pushing the film towards post production and then some type of distribution,” Reider said.

Infinity Loops will be Reider’s first feature film. He is the owner of the production company Rail City Media and has done a short fiction film called Dog Sitter. He also works on the films of others all the time.

“When I heard of this project [of the Peace Garden] I remember this spark of creativity firing off in my mind,” Reider said. “I realized there is a story to be told here.”

The Peace Garden, located on campus between Wood Avenue and Sherbrooke, was built this year in memory of the 2006 shooting. The garden contains three interlocking loops, called infinity loops, which is where the film’s title originated.

“It would be interesting to see,” Fethi Guessabi, a fourth semester Social Science student said about the documentary. “I think it’s a good idea. Things happened, we need to know how to deal with it and not just forget… It [the Peace Garden] is symbolic. The garden is a good way to remember.”

So far Reider has been filming for about four months and plans to continue until next September, which will mark the fifth anniversary of the shooting and official launch of the Peace Garden.


Mirror reading

Dawson Psychology teacher, Shelagh Robinson gave a MirrorRead last Saturday

By Gabe Gilker

The snow and cold wasn’t enough to stop a room full of kids at the Mile- End Library to show up and experience Shelagh Robinson’s original MirrorRead books at 10:15 a.m. Saturday morning.
Robinson is a Psychology teacher at Dawson who has created her own style of books based on Leonardo Da Vinci and Lewis Caroll, author of Alice in Wonderland. With four more books coming out on top of the four already available to the public, along with the applications Robinson is one of the first people to market and explore this idea that Da Vinci created centuries ago, and the original letters to the real Alice were written in.

“When I found this out I started making my own mirror-read things, I would write out texts and flip them by hand. I’ve been making these kinds of books for over 20 years now for all my nieces and nephews.” Robinson said.

All the text in these very strange books is written from right to left and backwards. The books were designed to be read in front of a mirror with a child. Why? Ever notice when you read side-by-side with someone you can never really see their reactions? Well reading in front of a mirror gives you a new perspective on reading and more eye-contact.

These books go beyond “just a children’s book.” Adults benefit from this mirror-reading as well. When the brain reads from right to left it engages both sides of the brain. Not only does it engage the creative left side, but it also activates the problem solving right side too.

“Every time we activate the right side the brain matter growth in that hemisphere of our brain actually changes when we activate it.” Robinson said, “So by mirror reading you are actually transforming your brain.”

Robinson has also developed two new applications made for the iPad or iPod. The first one is like a translator, it takes entire web pages and mirrors them so you are forced to read backwards.

“It takes a little practice to start reading backwards, but with practice it becomes easier and easier, and don’t get discouraged if your kids are better at it than you are, they can do it faster naturally,” Robinson said.

The second application is a sort of Scrabble-like game, with having to spell words backwards within the time limit. The way to reach a high score is to write longer and more complex words than your opponent.

“We’re in the process of making more applications for the iPad and iPod, like crossword puzzles and Sudoku,” Robinson said, “Sudoku backwards is a completely different experience.”

DrJes Revival

Dawson’s scientific research journal is back in motion and has big plans for the future

By Corey Lesk

The Dawson Research Journal of Experimental Science (DrJes) has announced that it will be releasing its eighth issue early in 2011.

The journal, which is run by Dawson science students, has not released an issue in more than two years but has regained momentum this semester.

DrJes, which released its first issue in 1999, publishes papers on original scientific research conducted by Dawson students in the fields of biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, technology, and psychology. It is a venue for students to have their work formally recognized and to participate in the process of reviewing and critiquing scientific research.

DrJes is a peer-reviewed journal, meaning that all of the articles are reviewed by professors from either Dawson College or another institution before being published. It is the only CEGEP-level scientific journal in Quebec. Some projects are conducted under the guidance of experts in the field, and the journal is noted for the high caliber of its articles. Robert Wolke, in his book entitled What Einstein Told his Cook, referred to DrJes “a most impressive journal that publishes . . . professional-quality research.”

Issue eight will feature articles on several fascinating scientific studies, including a novel experiment modeling evolution using simple robots plus staff and student editorials. The issue’s cover photo, which was chosen from among the most visually impressive of scientific images, will be a sure bet for a mid-afternoon stare.

“I’m happy the journal is still alive. It is important that students publish and get credit for their work and that their peers can read about what they have done,” Jessica Lazar, the journal’s Co-Editor in Chief said. Among the journal’s plans for the future are research seminars, in which students and staff will be able to present their work, answer questions, and discuss.

For further information about the DrJes, posters will be available at the SPACE exhibit in the Warren G. Flowers Gallery. Past DrJes issues are available at the library and in the physics and math tutorial rooms 7A.1 and 7B. or online at

The journal welcomes feedback, questions, submissions of articles or editorials, and volunteers. Simply make a post in DrJes’s forum on the journal’s website.

Go forth and copulate

Health services ups free condom distribution

By Anna Frey

Dawson girls have been snatching up the condoms from the free dispenser in the 2D washroom over the past week and a half.

“It gets filled with about 150 condoms, and they’re all gone in a day and a half,” Genevieve McCready, the Health Education Nurse at Dawson, and innovator of this idea, said. “It’s always being used.”

Health Services has always been handing out free condoms in their office, with last year’s distribution totalling an estimated 7,000 contraceptives. However popular these free tools already are, McCready believes that the installation of the dispenser in the washrooms will encourage more students to pick some up.“People are shy, but the basket is right by the door so they don’t have to really see anyone.”

Another issue she was concerned with was the lack of attention paid to the night students. “Our doors close at 4 p.m. so they don’t have the chance to visit. The availability in the washrooms will help them.”

Matthew Mancini, DSU Communication Director  believes that the school does a good job of promoting the use of contraceptives. “I am a big proponent of safe sex,” he stated. “I think the school does a lot to promote safe sex. It’s a really important thing to make people aware of, and Dawson does it well.”

Though Mancini supports the College’s efforts, he does believe that birth control, in the end, is a personal choice. “It’s one thing to promote healthy practices, but these kinds of decisions are ultimately up to the individual.”

“I go for free condoms,” first semester Social Sciences student, Melissa Rogers, said. “They give out Trojan, which are expensive to buy in stores.”

Health Services does get sponsored for condoms, which McCready said brings in about 3,000 free contraceptives per year. “But to keep the washrooms stocked all year round it would cost us nearly $6,000. We don’t have that kind of budget.”

The dispenser itself was built by a Dawson employee from Plant and Facilities, because nothing of the sort could be found on the market.

Only one machine is currently on campus, but McCready hopes to get another installed in the men’s washroom soon. “It was not my decision to put it in the women’s, I think men would take more than women,” she stated, going on to explain that there is less of a stigma attached with men collecting condoms than women.

“We haven’t gotten any complaints about this project,” she said. “At least, not yet.”

Strike against high tuition fees

The DSU is planning a rally in Quebec at the Government Consultation of Students against the rise of tuition fees

By Elise Favis

The Dawson Student Union (DSU) is planning a trip to Quebec City by bus on Dec. 6, where students will rally against the university tuition hikes at the Government Consultation of Students.

The rally is associated with Education is a Right, a federal-run campaign that the DSU has been promoting from the beginning of the semester.

“Tuition fee increases are just not acceptable,” Amanda Arella, DSU Deputy Chairperson explained. “[Higher fees] are not the solution to funding our universities and would make education less accessible.”

As of last spring, the Quebec Government proposed that tuition fees should heighten to the national average. If such a proposition is enforced, university tuition will rise 250% higher than the current rates. This would ask students to pay $5,000 in fees, rather than the current $2,000 approximate fee. The issue has reached the attention of student bodies around Quebec, creating controversy and outrage amongst them.

“Ultimately, the reality is that students are often living under the poverty line. They have to start thinking about how they’re going to pay for school,” Arella said.

According to Statistics Canada (, the median average yearly income in 2008 per household was $27,000.

“The majority of Dawson students are in pre-university programs,” Shannon Gittens, DSU Director of External Affairs said. “This will be an issue they will have to face and they need to be educated on what they’re going to step into.”

The DSU believe that with Dawson’s large population, they are at an advantage to make a huge difference, “If everyone makes an effort, it becomes cumulative,” Gittens continued. “The little things become something big. We’re 7,000 students, so we have an advantage that no other English school in Montreal has.”

The DSU has advertised and educated the issue by the means of tabling in the upper atrium, flyers, posters, giving out declaration forms, Facebook events, class talks, and live action events that students can look forward to in the upcoming weeks.

First semester Cin/Vid/Com student Jeremy Towner expressed his view, “Some people just can’t afford that kind of money to go to school.”

“Higher tuition fees are kind of necessary in the sense that universities can’t go on with such low income,” Julia Smith,  a third semester Social Science student said.

The DSU urges students to take part in the fight against tuition fees. To sign up for the rally, visit the DSU’s office on the second floor beside the student information kiosk. Students are asked to donate $5 to reserve their spot, and the money will be refunded to their respective owners after the event.

As well as the rally, an online petition has received nearly 12,000 signatures to date concerning the tuition hikes. The petition can be accessed on the Quebec National Assembly’s site at

“Students should be aware that post secondary education is their right and tuition fees are a barrier that stops them from accessing that right,” Arella concluded.

Fajitas, African drums, and a Flamenco star

Multicultural week took place at Dawson in order to promote different cultures

By Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault

Dawson hosted a series of events to promote different cultures and to provide entertainment for its students as the end of semester approaches, in Conrod’s, all through last week.


Learning how to make certain foods was one of the activities held during Multicultural week. On Tuesday students could learn how to make Italian panini’s, Mexican fajitas, Lebanese pitas, and Vietnamese spring rolls. They were allowed to eat it while the food fair was held on Wednesday and Thursday.


“I love how Dawson is always organizing events. I come to school every week and there’s always something new happening,” Addison Attar, a first semester Social Sciences student said, “this world-sandwich idea is great. I’m really enjoying this fajita.”


Food wasn’t the only thing on the menu, live music filled Conrod’s. Multicultural week started off with internationally recognized flamenco guitarist, Michael Lauke, on Tuesday, then Sotropik Live Caribbean band performed on Wednesday, and an African drum workshop was held on Thursday for any student who was interested to participate.


“I was never too much into world music but I actually really enjoyed the upbeat rhythm of the Caribbean band today,” Angelique Frehner, a third semester Pure and Applied student said.


The last component of Multicultural week was a display exhibited in Conrod’s about beauty through time and across cultures. Students could view the display and then vote on the best one according to their perception of beauty. “This is really beautiful, I love the idea. It’s nice to see different beauties for a change,” Alex Rawson, a Literature student at Dawson said while looking at the display.


Multicultural week provided Dawson students with a variety of workshops, music, food, and art to enlarge their views on the world’s cultures. It ended up reflecting on its own community, culturally diverse but somehow unified.


Open mic with Ignatieff

The Law, Society and Justice program invited guest speaker Michael Ignatieff for an “Open Mike” session

By: Jonathan Feist

Michael Ignatieff, leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, gave a well attended “Open Mike” session alongside Liberal MP Marlene Jennings and Liberal Candidate Phillipe Allard on Monday, presented by the Law, Society and Justice Profile.

As Multicultural Week at Dawson comes to an end, the Liberal leader once again reminded students of the unique nature of our country, and of the abundance of different races and cultures present in the room.

Ignatieff immediately recognized Dawson’s courage and solidarity upon taking the stage, addressing the 2006 shooting, and expressed his support of gun control in Canada.

Students, staff, and outside visitors alike lined up the length of the multi-purpose room to ask the Liberal Leader a wide array of questions, ranging from Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, to anti-retroviral drug accessibility in Africa, and the recent 16-billion dollar contract for fighter jets in the Canadian military.

Ignatieff made it very clear from the beginning that one of his key priorities is post-secondary education across the board, stating he would “make an extremely substantial proposal directed at making post-secondary education more effective and accessible.” He noted that “this range of culture and race is not possible in any other country. Everyone is equal, and I want to make sure no one is excluded from education.”

“I don’t have 20 priorities. I have about three, and one of them is post-secondary education,” he said.

“Mr. Ignatieff promoted funding for post-secondary education on concrete grounds rather than on an ambiguous notion of ‘the right to education’,” Corey Lesk, a third semester Pure and Applied Science student, said. “He spoke about several issues reasonably and with foresight.”

At Iganatieff’s side was Liberal MP Marlene Jennings, who elaborated on Ignatieff’s responses on occasion.

“Mrs. Jennings’ insistence that several of the population’s concerns, such as the treatment of animals in industrial farms, were being addressed by committees and inquiries inspired little confidence,” Lesk said.

“Mr. Ignatieff is to be commended for traveling the country holding these ‘Open Mike’ forums, while our Prime Minister refuses to take questions from the media,” Benjamin Berman, University of Montreal student, said. “Many politicians attempt to run from giving tough answers with double talk and vagueness, but in general, I do have the impression that Mr. Ignatieff gave thoughtful and honest answers to questions,” he said.

In closing, Ignatieff stated the importance for Canadians to have a political system that we believe in.

“Our place here is brief, our time is short, our goal is to make sure that someone in this room thinks ‘he’s up there now, but I’m going to be up there next time’,” he said.