A Better Way to be Inclusive at Alberta's Universities

Two incidents at two different Alberta schools have hammered home an important lesson for me about how to defend diversity, respect, and civic engagement on our campuses. This fall semester has seen issues of race and identity go viral at two of the province’s institutions. First was the “Trump Hat” video at Mount Royal University and then came “Turban, eh!” at the University of Alberta. The intimidation tactics on display in the Mount Royal video have unfairly brought hate and threats of violence to Zoe Slusar, the girl who demanded the hat's removal. A few weeks later we saw something very different happen at the U of A when Arundeep Singh Sandhu focused on creating a positive defiance to racism. He was right, you cannot defeat fear with intimidation, but you can make it look ridiculous in a way that unifies decent people. We need people like Slusar who are brave enough to show leadership but we also need that leadership to more closely follow the tactics Arundeep proposed in Edmonton.  

When Slusar confronted a fellow student with a demand to remove his Trump Hat she unknowingly put form to the feelings of siege many whites who support Donald Trump have been feeling. Trump’s slogan of “make America great again” feeds on a growing fear of cultural and economic inadequacy. Many progressives don't yet understand the fuel they give to these fears through their often condescending and dismissive attitudes. Worse yet is the reactionary right who believe this narrative, and have responded with brutality. In Slusar’s case they dug up a ton of personal information and threatened to rape and murder her family. There’s no moral equivalency between these two wrongs. It did no good for anyone when Slusar targeted a lone Trump supporter by issuing an ultimatum, his hat or punishment from the University president. Media and online spectators defended Mr. Trump Hat’s freedom of speech but in private the deplorables tried to ruin Slusar’s life. Minor intimidation in the name of good unleashed evil and this is the status quo young people, especially young women, will be confronted with every time they speak out. It should horrify every Liberal and Conservative that there’s a keyboard warrior out there looking to collect enough information about you to harass you into silence.

That same kind of scum rolled out their intimidation tactics in our provincial capital via a poster campaign targeted at our turban-wearing friends and neighbours. Like Slusar’s attackers they wanted to inflame and isolate, their “F@#$ Your Turban” posters were an attempt to create division among Canadians. For Canadian Sikhs and Muslims the turban is a symbol and faith but it holds larger meaning within our shared Canadian history as the garment worn by innumerable soldiers willing to fight and die in defence of the Canadian lifestyle. If shouting back didn't help, then how can our generation respond to such tasteless and ignorant attacks on our countrymen? Arundeep, an Edmonton millennial and former city council candidate, had barely articulated his idea to hold a turban tutorial for the curious before it took off. Look in the political arena to see just how effective this approach is. Conservatives like Jason Kenney and Liberals like Justin Trudeau praised the response in the halls of government and Arundeep was invited to share his thoughts with television and radio news organisations across Alberta. A brilliant response to discrimination. This time the ignorant look idiotic while everyone else comes closer together.

I'm trying to make a point here that the next time you see someone being generally discriminatory, use the opportunity to grow the conversation instead of shrinking it. The young generations have shown a capability for this leadership. The age of social media has brought with it fear, intimidation, harassment, and isolation tactics and it’s up to us to pry these platforms back from the detestable shouters and shamers. It'll be hard and filled with forced smiles, but tolerance cannot be achieved in fiction or history through the deployment of threats and intimidation, no matter how noble the goal. A student at Mount Royal with the right goals but wrong actions has faced psychological torture for her momentary lapse of judgement. That’s sick. Meanwhile a different approach in Edmonton has turned insult into enlightenment and I think that’s pretty cool. Let’s not be politically correct bullies or criminally disturbed cyber-stalkers in life and online. It seems to me there’s a nice space in the middle for those of us who strive to be fast on our feet, sharp in our minds and quick with our hearts. Where on that spectrum do you want our future to be forged?

Your friend,

Warren Mitchell

My Journey to IME

Welcome to the IME 2016/2017 blog. As the first post of the year there isn't really much to say except that things haven't picked up just yet. So to start things off I thought I would share with all of you avid readers about my own, personal, slightly skewed journey that led me to IME. 

When I was in grade 11, my mother suggested that I become an English teacher, and I thought GREAT! An outlet where I could creatively write and read at the SAME TIME all while getting paid! (For all English teacher hopefuls creative writing and reading are not the only components out there FYI). So I applied to the U of L and I was accepted right away. And so began my journey at the University and I lived happily ever after...

...But not actually. My English course was a disaster, and I felt like a failure. This was supposed to be my major, THIS was something that I was supposed to be good at. So I switched my major to music and started taking my GLERs (General Liberal Education Requirements). When the audition for studio came around I completely dropped the ball and wasn't accepted. I felt confused, for the second semester in a row I had failed at something that I was supposed to be good at. So I decided to take the following year off.

On my year off I worked, and worked, and worked. I barely had time for anything and so my personal life took a step back while I focused on paying off the student loans I incurred from my singular year of studies. In January, one of the restaurants I worked at decided to get an Instagram to post pictures of the daily specials. This was something I got involved with right away as an AVID "Instagrammer". Posting and editing photos to entice customers to come and eat with us was something I really enjoyed. As I became more interested, I came to discover that these sorts of activities were related to a career in marketing. So I reapplied to the University of Lethbridge and got accepted once again. 

Then it began, I took my first semester and although I struggled and had difficulty with multiple classes, for the first time I actually felt like I wanted to succeed and do well. For the first time since starting university I felt like I belonged to a program that was the right fit for me. In my second semester Mike Madore (the IME program director) came and visited my intro to marketing class and told us all about IME. I thought this was another great opportunity to get out there, get some experience, and give back to the community that I belong to. So naturally I signed up that evening. 

So far we've received our groups and the social media assignments, and I could not be more excited to be running this website with my group. Later this week we start our first lecture and that's also pretty thrilling. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can fail and switch and even screw up and still belong to something as cool, as interesting, as inclusive, and as useful as IME.  

So don't worry, we'll keep you updated, but for now I'm going to sign off. 


A slightly confused, slightly disorganized, but VERY passionate marketing major 

Final Semester Recap

The IME Class has been incredibly busy this past semester, and it is absolutely crazy to think that the year is already coming to an end. It's been a wonderful year full of countless valuable experiences that have helped us all grow as young professionals. 

The class worked very hard together to organize and present the "Bowling For a Cause" Fundraiser, in partnership with the Lethbridge and District YWCA's Harbour House. The event took place on March 19th at Holiday Bowl where teams signed up to compete in a charity bowling tournament. The event also included a silent auction, as well as a wrap-up evening hosted at The Spice Grill where 10% of all proceeds at the restaurant that evening was donated. The class was also lucky enough to work with the Enmax Centre to set up a booth at the final Hurricanes Home Game of the season, as well as auction off an entire Box Suite for the Marianna's Trench Concert. Overall "Bowling For a Cause" was a great success, and together we helped raise over $1500 for Harbour House!

In other news, members of the IME class all had the opportunity to compete in the KPMG Case Competition. Three out of the Top Four teams in the competition were members of the IME Class, and we are very proud to announce the an IME team took home first place! Congratulations to Katherin Colburn-Swartz, Alex Glydon, and Jacquelyn Walker on their amazing accomplishment! Sixteen out of the past Eighteen winners of the KPMG Case Competition have come from the Integrated Management Experience Class. As you can see, this program helps us develop valuable skills that pay off!

Throughout the semester, we also had the opportunity to listen to several incredible guest speakers. Greg Stonehocker is a reputable ActionCoach for businesses, and provided us with some valuable insight into the importance of Networking. Michelle Phaneuf of Workplace Fairness Alberta helped our class learn how to 'Structure Conversations for Business Success'. Finally, Amanda Schewaga from The Marketing Girl came and spoke to our class on Marketing, with an emphasis on Social Media. Many of the IME students also attended various PDP industry nights on and off campus. These included the ATB Money workshop, marketing conferences, international business nights, finance nights and many more. All of these events provided the IME class with the opportunity to network with industry professionals, as well as learn and expand our marketable skills.

As the semester comes to a close, it is important to look back and reflect on the many doors that this program opened us up to. While it was a lot of hard work, each and every student has come out of this year stronger, more confident, and more prepared for the business world! 

IME is proud to announce that they will be working with the Lethbridge Special Olympics next year for their community projects. Meetings with future IME students are already taking place, and this years IME class is looking forward to seeing the great legacy of IME continue!

Spring Semester Here We Come!

The IME class is ready for 2016, after a nice and relaxing holiday break. All groups are back and already continuing on developing their ideas for this year's charity event planning with YWCA’s Harbour House. In other news the class has also been invited to participate in the University's KPMG case competition. Students in groups of three, will be tasked with tackling a general business strategy case. They will be expected to send in a written document for judging and if successful be entered into the finals. Winners of the competition will be honoured at the University Scholarship Dinner and presented with trophies. The IME class is very excited for the opportunity to apply their their skills in this years KPMG case competition.



On December 11, a few members of the 2015 IME class took part in the annual Giftwrapping program at Park Place Mall! This event is ran by Volunteer Lethbridge and provides a service for anyone to come in and get their gifts wrapped with all proceeds going towards Volunteer Lethbridge programs and services. This includes Project Paintbrush, Leaders of Tomorrow, Human Voice Drive and the D.O.E.S. program. The Giftwrapping program is entirely volunteer driven and the IME class was eager to lend their time to help such a wonderful cause in the community. 

The Giftwrapping booth is located near Santa's station at the Park Place Mall and will be available during all mall hours up until close on Christmas Eve. So if you would like to get your presents wrapped this year, or are looking at volunteering then head on down to the booth for more information or visit the VL website. 

For more information on Volunteer Lethbridge or if you are ever in search of opportunities to volunteer within the community, visit www.volunteerlethbridge.com  

Just About Christmas

Before we all prepare to wrap all our presents, decorate our trees, and drink all the eggnog, IME class had our final presentations for our YWCA projects this morning. Everyone did an absolutely amazing job providing their solutions to the YWCA's Duty To Accommodate problem. Hopefully Kristine can use some of the solutions to help the YWCA create a policy that works for them! 

All the teams will continue to work on their sponsorship ideas over the Christmas break, but hopefully we all get some time to relax and spend time with friends and family! 

Until January, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the IME team of 2015. See you in 2016!  

Risk Management and Safety

As the IME class begins thinking of concepts for a sponsored event, it is important to keep in mind the risks and safety concerns with these off campus events. Toby Clark, here at campus safety has spoken to us, and gave a presentation on managing risks associated with these events. This presentation went into depth on larger concepts such as liability and safety to the little things like whether we can have either Coke or Pepsi products at our event. The first step to managing risks is taking the "no fun" approach and thinking of everything that can go wrong at an event. After that is to come up with ways that we can reduce the chances of such outcomes from happening. This is a very large part of event planning, and can ultimately ensure a much happier time for everyone.

Overall this was a very insightful presentation, and valuable knowledge when planning out any large events for any purpose.

Marketing IMC Workshop

Today we had the privilege of having Bob Cooney here in our IME class to talk about communication. Cooney works in the field of communication, helping other organizations communicate with other organizations, or media. He came in today to tell us how to market ourselves, our school and any sales pitches. Ultimately, he told us how to say all the right stuff! After telling us how to get in the news (do good and smart things, not bad and dumb things), he continued by telling us what counts as news (unusual conflict will always make news), and finished off by giving us a few helpful hints when talking to reporters (everything, and he did mean everything is always...ALWAYS on the record!).

All in all, a very exciting day in the IME class! Thursday brings us a new guest speaker and a new workshop! Things are always moving forward!

Follow Bob Cooney on twitter! @bobcooney

Follow us on Twitter:  @ime_uleth             or Facebook: University of Lethbridge IME


YWCA Project

The University of Lethbridge IME class is excited to be given the opportunity to work with the YWCA Lethbridge & District - a local non-profit within the community. After meeting with Kristine Kassie, CEO of the organization, our class has been tasked with developing a Policy and Procedures handbook to handle the issue of ‘Duty of Accommodate’. Specifically, management is looking for us to help create a process chart in order to simplify the steps that need to be taken when dealing with accommodation issues within the workplace. Additionally, they are looking for help in communicating with physicians in order to better understand what activities a person can do based on the physical demands of their job. This project has been designed as a live case that each of the groups within IME have an opportunity to develop a solution that they will present to the class and Kristine. We are looking forward to applying our existing knowledge into a real-life situation with the hopes of implementing this into the YWCA!

PD Workshop - Colours (personality)

The class was recently given the opportunity to have our personalities tested to find out which colour or plaid pattern each student possessed underneath the True Colours test. The colour personalities being orange, blue, green and gold. The assessment asked students to identify their “color spectrum” using four cards that represented key personality types. Each color has particular strengths and each analyzes, conceptualizes, understands, interacts and learns differently. It was explained to us by these differences, if not acknowledged and understood, can become barriers to interpersonal communication, making understanding between people of different types difficult. It was a great experience for the students and it gave the separate groups insight on how to communicate and work together more effectively.