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Taking up the Commuter Challenge

Hundreds of members of the Queen’s community are leaving their cars at home this week, opting instead to walk, cycle or bus to work. They’re taking part in the annual Commuter Challenge, a national weeklong competition that encourages people to find an alternative way driving alone to get to work.

[Commuter Challenge]
As part of the Commuter Challenge, Queen's University will be hosting the Roll-in Breakfast on Tuesday morning. (University Communications)

Queen’s is taking part again this year and is encouraging everyone participating to log their travels at commuterchallenge.ca. From there, participants can see the greenhouse gas emissions they’ve avoided, the calories they’ve burned, and track how well the university, Kingston and the province are doing as well.

“The Commuter Challenge brings awareness to how easy it can be to find an alternative form of transportation,” says Aaron Ball, Sustainability Manager. “Whether it’s walking, cycling, using public transport or carpooling, we hope the event gets people to reconsider how they get to work.”

Along with helping the environment and getting some exercise, there’s a reputation to uphold as well. Queen’s was the city’s largest participating group last year and Kingston has taken first place in its size category for three years running. Last year alone, Kingstonians responded to the Commuter Challenge by travelling more than 37,000 km by using active transportation and those changes saved 2,475 L of fuel and prevented the emission of 5,702 kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr. Ball says that each person who participates can add up to a big effect on our environmental impact.

“At Queen’s the average commuter produces 2-3 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, so anyone we can convince to change that, even part-time, has a large effect. Your heart will thank you for the changes you make as well.”

To make cycling to work easier, the university is holding a “roll-in breakfast” on Tuesday morning at University and Union, passing out coffee and breakfast foods. The Sustainability Office is being joined by the Alma Mater Society and Athletics and Recreation at the breakfast station to help pour coffee and share tips on going green and getting your weekly 150.

Even people not cycling to work on Tuesday are encouraged to come to the booth to sign up for campus’ new bicycle registration system. The online database, which was created by three Computer Science students, aims to deter bicycle theft by letting anyone with a NetID register their bike using their serial number, a photograph and recording other distinguishing features.

FIT TIPS: Be an active commuter and Get Your 150

The Kingston Commuter Challenge is May 31 to June 6. This week-long event encourages employees and community members to use active and sustainable forms of transportation (such as walking, taking transit, cycling etc) instead of driving. For the last three years, Kingston commuters have achieved the highest participation rate of a city our size in Canada!

Cycling to work is a great way to Get Your 150 and burn several hundred calories while improving your cardiovascular functioning, leg strength, balance and coordination, plus improvements in mood, and can help with weight management. Take advantage of these great health benefits while being an active commuter. Don’t forget to wear your helmet!

To find out how you can win great prizes and take part in the Kingston Commuter Challenge from May 31 to June 6 visit www.gogaelsgo.com


Rector at Convocation: Memories that will last a lifetime

The following is the first in a series of three articles by Queen's University Rector Mike Young on his experiences during convocation.

  • [Rector Mike Young]
    Rector Mike Young speaks during one of the Spring Convocation ceremonies held May 22, 2015.
  • [Rector Mike Young]
    Rector Mike Young stands as Chancellor Jim Leech makes his way to the stage in Grant Hall.
  • [Rector Mike Young]
    Rector Mike Young speaks to the gathered graduands and their family and friends at Grant Hall.

Queen’s University does a lot of things really, really well.

A convocation ceremony in Grant Hall serves as one of the best examples of something very special that we have going on at Queen’s. A total of 21 ceremonies in the spring and a handful more in November provide graduating students, and lucky people like me who get to take part, with a magical farewell celebration in our most iconic Queen’s landmark.

Let me give you an idea of what a typical convocation day looks like through the eyes of one of the three folks on stage sitting in thrones:

For the morning ceremonies, which all begin at 10 am, I show up to Kingston Hall’s Red Room with the rest of the Chancellor’s procession at about 9:30 am. I pick up my script for the ceremony (which at this point doesn’t feel entirely necessary as I could recount a ceremony in my sleep) and jump into my Rector robe. After a few moments of getting settled, it is my job as honorary convocation drill sergeant to get our procession into the proper form, ready to enter Grant Hall.

The next part has always been one of my favourites. After we are all set to go, the bagpipes start singing as we line up and watch the students exit Kingston Hall with smiles on their faces as they proceed towards Grant, before following them and their faculty members in attendance. The walk outside from Kingston to Grant Hall is often a time where I reflect on how special the day is for the soon-to-be graduates about to convocate. It is during this walk that I get energized for each and every ceremony, whether it be the first or the 21st.

After the students and faculty have made their way into the gorgeous convocation hall, I get to lead the Chancellor’s procession as the organist plays “Flourish for the Chancellor” – a tune that sends shivers throughout my body every time I hear it – that comes to its apex as I walk up the stairs, reach my seat, and turn around to face graduates and guests. The Chancellor and Principal assume their seats next to me, we sing “God Save the Queen” (a song that I had to pretend I knew the words to for the first dozen ceremonies), and then we sit.

Sitting in that big throne is quite the experience. It’s much more comfortable than you might think, though I’ve yet to figure out where to rest my hands. Sitting on that stage, in that seat, in those robes, is something I can’t properly put into words. Convocation is arguably the happiest day of many graduates’ lives, and I get to be one of the first to congratulate them on their immense accomplishments. As if shaking the hands of our newest alumni wasn’t enough, I also have the honour of speaking at convocation, at which point I will highlight the importance of the support provided by family members and friends throughout one’s university experience.

From students who decide to take a selfie with the Chancellor, to a student last week who was less of a hand-shaker and more of a hugger, to a student overcome with joy and tears in their eyes – it just never gets old or less enjoyable.

Add to this that I get to meet some of Canada’s and the world’s finest individuals when it comes to guest speakers and honorary degree recipients, and I trust it becomes clear – Queen’s Convocation is unlike anything else. As an undergraduate student coming out of my fourth year, it’s especially surreal that I will be watching so many of my classmates walk across that stage.

In my robes, and on my throne, I’ll be waiting – with a huge, uncontrollable smile on my face.

See you soon, class of 2015!

Mike Young is the Rector of Queen's University. He is the 34th person to hold the position.

Take the Queen’s Alumni Review readership survey

Queen’s faculty, staff and students are invited to take part in the Queen’s Alumni Review readership survey, which runs from May 28 to June 15. The Review is mailed to Queen’s alumni and friends worldwide, and is also available across campus. The current issue features Queen’s students, staff, faculty and alumni who are changing the way we think about mental health. Feedback from the survey will help to shape the magazine’s content in the future. If you are not currently on the Review email circulation list, and wish to participate in the survey, email review@queensu.ca

A family and Queen's tradition

[Dolan Family Convocation]
Mariah Beahen, seen here with her mother Karen Dolan, will be wearing a gown that dates back to 1903 and a hood that was first worn in 1897 when she graduates from Queen's University on June 8. They are two of 14 members of the Dolan family who have graduated from Queen's. (Supplied Photo)

When Mariah Beahen stands on the stage of Grant Hall on June 8, it will be a moment of accomplishment steeped in family tradition.

As she receives her Bachelor of Arts degree, the Kingston resident will be wearing regalia that have been in her family for more than a century.

Her hood was first worn by her great-grandfather’s brother, John Henry Dolan, when he graduated from Queen’s in 1897. Her great-grandfather, George Robert Dolan, wore it the following year.

Similarly, her gown was first worn by John Henry’s wife, Laura Nugent, when she graduated from Queen’s in 1903.

That’s 118 years of family tradition over four generations.

It’s a deep connection that will only add to the life moment for Ms. Beahen.

“Even though it may not appear that I stand out, I think internally I will feel that I am standing out in that gown,” she says.

All told, Ms. Beahen will be the 14th member of the Dolan family to graduate from the university, almost all of whom have donned the family regalia.

Perhaps not surprisingly, both hood and gown are in excellent condition, cared for as a family heirloom.

“The gown is in incredible shape,” says Karen Dolan (BFA’78, BEd’79), Mariah’s mother and a Queen’s graduate herself. “It’s unbelievable.”

The significance of the event and the continuation of family tradition are not lost on Ms. Beahen. She has been amazed by the response.

“It’s pretty amazing since every person that I share the story with sinks it in for me more because everyone is just ‘Wow, that’s just incredible,’” she says. “I’m really glad I have the opportunity to do this.”

It will also be a big moment for her 92-year-old grandmother, Lois Dolan, who has taken care of the gown and hood in recent decades. Just getting the items ready has made her so happy, Ms. Beahen says. She has even stitched in the names of the graduates, including Ms. Beahen.

Karen Dolan turned down her chance to wear the gown when she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 1978. It’s something she now regrets but is happy that her daughter has made a different decision.

“I was given the chance to wear something that has been in my family since 1897 and I said no,” she says. “Luckily, Mariah said yes.”

The Dolan family’s connection to Queen’s is strong and 10 of the graduates have been women. The vast majority have also gone on to become teachers.

Another key family connection to Queen’s University is the Dolan Scholarship, created in 1992 with a donation of $1.5 million from the estate of Kathleen (Kay) Dolan (BA’24, MA’25), which provides selected students $3,000 a year for three years.

Putting the brakes on bike theft

Two new initiatives aim to give cyclists more peace of mind when parking their equipment on campus.

The university will construct its first secure bicycle parking facility near the courtyard between Mackintosh-Corry Hall and Dunning Hall. Additionally, Queen’s now offers a bicycle registration system that will help reconnect owners with their bicycles when they are recovered by police or found by other people.

The university is enhancing bike security by adding a secure storage facility and creating a registration system. (Photo by Charis Ho)

Leah Kelley, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainability 2014-15, Alma Mater Society (AMS), says the secure storage addresses one of the major barriers to active transportation on campus. A 2012 report by School of Urban and Regional Planning students found that 83.5 per cent of survey respondents said that the addition of secure bicycle parking would encourage them to cycle more.

“Biking infrastructure is always a key issue of importance due to the large number of students who cycle to campus during the year,” says Ms. Kelley (Artsci’16). “Bike safety in particular is of great concern due high theft rates, which is why students are so excited to see the first step towards improving bike security at Queen’s come to fruition.”

Take the Commuter Challenge
Cycling to and from campus is one of several ways the Queen’s community can participate in the Commuter Challenge May 31-June 6.
The event encourages Canadians to leave their car at home and walk, take the bus, cycle or carpool to get where they are going.
Visit the Commuter Challenge website to sign up.

The secure facility will accommodate approximately 70 bikes and be enclosed by 10-foot-high steel fences. Members who register to park their bikes in that area will swipe a key fob or their staff card to access the facility. They are strongly encouraged to lock their bicycles to the racks inside the secure area. 

Construction on the facility is slated to begin shortly and open by September. Financial support for the project came from Housing and Hospitality Service’s Sustainability Fund and the AMS’ Sustainability Action Fund.

Staff and faculty will have to pay $50 annually or $30 per term (fall, winter, or spring/summer) to park their bicycles in the area. For students, the charge is $30 per year or $20 per term (fall, winter, or spring/summer). Visit the Sustainability Office website to register.

Additional deterrence

Fourth-year computing students Luke Dowker, Adriaan Hoekman and David Jiang developed the bicycle registration system for an independent project in CISC 498. Staff, faculty and students can log into the system using their NetID and register their bicycles using the serial number, a photograph and other information. They can also use the system to report a stolen bicycle. The system produces a stolen-bicycle report that can be forwarded to the local police and other stolen goods registries. Anyone who finds a bicycle can search the registry to see if it has been reported stolen.

“Anything we can do to reduce bicycle thefts is a good thing,” says Neal Scott, a professor in the Department of Geography and president of Cycle Kingston, an organization that promotes cycling safety education in Kingston. “The students did a great job creating an easy-to-use system that will hopefully make thieves think twice about stealing a bike on campus.

"Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to register their bicycles even if they do not bring them to campus," he adds.

Recognising dedicated Kingston alumni

[Kingston Alumni Awards]
Peng-Sang Cau, left, is being honoured for her entrepreneurial spirit and leadership in Kingston’s business development, while David Pattenden, right,  is being honoured for his remarkable and multifaceted contributions to both Queen’s and the Kingston communities. (Supplied Photos)

Prominent Kingston businessperson/philanthropist Peng-Sang Cau (BCom’94) and active Queen’s board member David Pattenden (Arts'67, MA'69, LLB'71, MEd'74, LLD'03) will be honoured by the Kingston branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association for their contributions to the Kingston and Queen’s communities.

Ms. Cau is the 2014 winner of the Jim Bennett Achievement Award, which was inaugurated in 1993 and is given to a Kingstonian who has made outstanding contributions to the Kingston or Queen’s community through their career, sports, art or volunteering. 

Originally from Cambodia, Ms. Cau escaped the oppressive rule of Khmer Rouge in the 1970s to start a new chapter in her life and in the history books of Canadian entrepreneurship. Currently the president and chief executive officer of Transformix Engineering Inc., based in Kingston, Ms. Cau is a successful and savvy entrepreneur, philanthropist, and an outspoken advocate for Canadian manufacturing.

“Peng’s ability to excel academically and in business while adapting to a new language and culture is simply inspiring. She is making a positive impact in the Kingston business and sports communities through her involvement with KEDCO, Kingston Technology council and coaching a number of youth sports teams,” says Kingston Branch president Lee Wetherall.

Mr. Pattenden is the winner of the 2014 Padre Laverty Award. Inaugurated in 1967, the Padre Laverty Award is given to a resident of the Kingston area, for outstanding service to Queen's University or jointly to the Queen’s and Kingston communities.

As a member of the Queen’s Board of Trustees Governance and Nominating Committee, Queen’s University Council Program Committee, Chairman of Queen’s Human Mobility Research Centre, and Chairman of the Atrial Fibrillation Association of Canada, Mr. Pattenden is being honoured for his remarkable and ongoing contributions to both Queen’s and the Kingston communities.

“David’s contribution to Queen’s has been truly exemplary of an alumni. He has been involved with Queen’s at every level, from student to Queen’s Council to the Board of Trustee. He was nominated by Padre Laverty’s nephew, which makes this a special moment in this award history,” says Ms. Wetherall.

The Padre Laverty Award and Jim Bennett Achievement Award will be presented on May 28, at Ban Righ Hall. For more information, or to register, please visit events.queensu.ca/kingstonawards.

Cycling to help cancer battle

  • [7 Days in May]
    Cyclists participating in the 7 Days in May met with researchers from the NCIC Clinical Trials Group on Monday.
  • [7 Days in May]
    Funds from the 7 Days in May cycling event go directly to research on pancreatic cancer being done at the NCIC CTG.
  • [7 Days in May]
    Riders participating in the 7 Days in May fundraising ride stopped at Queen's University on Monday.

Dressed in their trademark purple jerseys, a group of cyclists helping fund the battle against pancreatic cancer visited the research clinic that is benefitting from their fundraising efforts on Monday.

Funds raised by the 7 Days in May cycling are donated to the NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) at Queen’s University for its ongoing clinical trial PA.6, which is targeted at improving the survival odds for pancreatic cancer patients.

“The funds raised support the PA.6 trial that if successful will improve the cure rate for patients who undergo surgery for pancreas cancer,” says Janet Dancey, director of the NCIC CTG. “It is a very important trial being conducted by the academic research community. 7 Days in May raises funds that allow the trial to be conducted and also awareness for research, for the study and for patients with pancreas cancer.”

The ride, which also aims to raise awareness around pancreatic cancer, circles around Lake Ontario and the 20 participants have already raised nearly $44,000 toward their goal of $50,000.

The stop in Kingston marked the start of Day 3 in the week-long ride that will cover just over 1,100 km.

The 7 Days in May Foundation was founded by Gord Townley, who continues to ride, in memory of his mother Lorraine Townley, who became an advocate for others by participating in clinical trials before dying in November 2011.

NCIC CTG is an academic clinical trials cooperative oncology group that conducts phase I-III trials testing anti-cancer and supportive therapies across Canada and internationally. It is one of the national programs and networks of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute CCSRI, and is supported by the Canadian Cancer SocietyThe NCIC CTG’s Central Operations and Statistics Office is located at Queen’s University.

Proposed academic accommodations policy posted

A newly-proposed policy for academic accommodations for students with disabilities has been posted on the website of the University Secretariat for the Queen’s community to review and provide feedback. 

The community will be able to provide feedback until June 8. Feedback can be sent to policies@queensu.ca.

Power outage will affect some West Campus facilities

A planned power outage by Utilities Kingston will affect Richardson Stadium, the Coastal Engineering Laboratory, GeoEngineering Laboratory and the West Campus Storage building on Thursday, May 28, from 9 am to 7 pm. 

Questions or concerns regarding this planned work should be directed to Utilities Kingston by phone at 613-546-1181 x 2442.

This work is weather pending, and the alternate dates are June 3rd and 4th.


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