Editorial—Happy Chinese New Year

Despite my name, I’m not of Asian descent at all. I’m a mixed bag of eastern European and Germanic elements. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get targeted by telemarketers that are only able to speak in some asian language I can never recognize.

Still, I’m always  interested in the cultures and celebrations people have around the world. It’s always amazing just how different and how similar we all can be at the same time.  So this issue, I was quite happy to get an article explaining some of the traditions specific to the Chinese New Year (not, as it’s explained in the article, to be confused with the lunar new year, which is celebrated by many cutlures.)

But in Canada, and especially in the wake of the George Stanley trial, the most common thoughts about other cultures tend to involve that of indigenous Canadians.  It’s an issue that’s been on my mind in a number of ways lately, as if you’re involved in literary circles, there’s a large debate going on right now about the issue of cultural appropriation.  A debate that, although I fully understand the reasons, I was still disappointed it was not touched upon in our recent interview with AU’s new Writer in Residence, especially considering how it connects with AU’s own Angie Abdou.

And I’m not alone. The topic of how western and indigenous cultures are intersecting was also on the mind of our own Barbara Lehtiniemi, who looks at what she took from her own coursework in indigenous studies and how it’s informed her take on the issues.

Coming back to AU, however, our feature article is an interview with the Executive Director of AU’s Graduate Students’ Association, highlighting some of the concerns unique to a distance grad program that are even different from the typical undergraduate program.

Next week, I hope to include a short questionnaire that will likely be a very long article, as the Voice Magazine is asking questions of all 19 candidates for the AUSU council election.  Find out where they stand on issues that are likely to matter to you, as well as some of what makes them tick.  Remember, these are the people who will be deciding what happens not only to your AUSU fees, but also to all of the programs AUSU currently runs.  So make sure that the ones you vote for are the ones who will best represent your ideas and ideals.  This may be especially important this year as the next council will be present during the next Alberta General Election, a key time to sway politicians into making promises for post-secondary education and when politicians actually start to pay attention to student concerns.

Of course, we also have a selection of our regular articles and some lighter fare, including news, events, scholarships, a brief look at the history of emojis (including the infamous chocolate ice cream emoji—which you probably know as something different), how to make your diet obsession work for you instead of against, and a look at why you might want to just start all over.  Enjoy the read!