Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"How to change the world"



Well, here we are - our cover article of SFU's Student paper, The Peak, as promised! I had a prof ask me yesterday, much to my embarrasment, "is there anything you don't do!?" She was referring to my winning photo which is still on the homepage of sfu.ca and to the video contest i won just over a year ago. And really, there are a lot of things I don't do. For example, I definately don't participate in that particular prof's in-class discussion verey often, as most of the jargon flies right over my head. But for the other things I have chosen to do... I just seem to be getting a lot of press! It's strange and interesting. hmmm...

Take a look at the article! See what you think. Deanne Beattie is an amazingly talented writer, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Can You Handle it?" A photo shoot, a news article, a big hill

Burnaby Mountain is big.

And, I already knew that. I've been up that mountain a zillion times by bus, and I even walked it once. So, I figured since we had a photo shoot for an article about the Ride in the SFU Student Newspaper, The Peak, on Friday... it might be the epic day that I cycle up that beast of a mountain and prove to myself - I can do this!

I made it as far as Hastings and Duthie. Which, for all those who are unfamiliar... is about a 0.001% of the way up the hill. Then, with it's shiny yellow bike racks cutting through the wind, the bus came to my rescue and saved me from what would have been a long, sweaty-grimy-disgusting-panting-breath-seizing sludge upwards.

But, whatever. I'm not ashamed. The downhill ride on the way home was excitement enough for one day. 10 minutes of straight downhill steepness... I was going insane. Did I mention it was after sunset? Yikes.

But yes, indeed, we were up there for a photoshoot. My amazing friend Deanne Beattie has written what sounds to be a fabulous article about myself and two other SFU students who are doing the RtBtC down to Mexico (there are two routes this year, one from BC to Mexico, and mine through Europe). She posed the idea to me in January and has since met with the 3 of us 3 times each to ask Q's about why we're doing this, our training schedules (if any!), fundraising techniques, team logistics, whether or not we're considering dropping out... things like that. The article is for The Peak - SFU's student newspaper and should be out this coming week! All this SFU press is pretty neat, and we maaaay even be on the Front Page! More to come on that...

Adam, Jessica (the two other SFU riders), and I are also collaborating to throw a Pub Night at the Sfu pub on March 3rd - and to go along with the Can You Handle It? slogan, we're planning a Handlebar Moustache theme. Get it? Handlebars? Like, on a bike...? ya. And having live Irish music hopefully? We'll see how it goes... an interesting experience in throwing events, however. Booking, poster making, coordinating... it's neat. But I think advertising is the big one. Must.. get.. word.. out!

But the planning is in the works for two more fundraisers! I'll give you the skinny...

The next one (weekend of March 14th/15th) will be a Tour de Stanley Park pledge ride with after event at Vancouver's own, Steamworks pub! This will be the "final project" of my Communications 425 Applied Cmns for Social Issues course. The goal is to basically re-create the Europe route, and have different bike shops/establishments sponsor our mini teams (made of members of our class) as they tour around Stanley Park for the morning! We'll raise funds and awareness, and end with a social gathering debrief at Steamworks Pub to show a video of people's thoughts about microcredit, amongst other things. I'm stoked for this!

The other thing is a bicycle/ earth day fundraiser in Metchosin! I have the community house booked for April 25th and am planning to have an art sale/ raffle fundraiser with some live guitar or something. This is still in the works... but I think that everyone who comes should be given a slice of pie with cheddar cheese, too. Because that's what i want, righhhhtt now. That plan is subject to change...

Well, that's all for now. Bought some new bike lights today!
peace love and hippopotamus y'all.
g

Friday, February 13, 2009

Micro-credit for SFU credits

Being a student in the School of Communications at SFU has been good to me so far.

Through one of my courses, "Applied Communication for Social Issues", I have been able to team up with a classmate to work on a semester-long project which will basically re-create the communication ideas behind the Europe Tour and culminate in a mini-tour around Stanley Park in Vancouver.

This means, I'm getting credit for fundraising, and making sense of this bike ride from a communications point-of view. woo!

Our professor is this genius man, Markwick, who has successfully seared a quote from Aristotle into our minds for the rest of eternity. Aristotle argument states that "Man is born for Citizenship". And Markwick's argument agrees that it is in empathy for one another that change is created.

food for thought.

Our project pitch can be seen in this unintentionally comedic video:

Gala & Candice from candice drouin on Vimeo.

More credit? You be crazy!

Yes, it's true. I'm milking this for everything it's worth. After a rather heartfelt and convincing conversation with my co-op advisor, they have agreed to allow this 100% volunteer trip be a co-op work experience. Which makes sense, because there is a ton of work to be done. But for me, this means I'll be considered a full-time student while travelling abroad, still be eligible for scholarships, and student loans. (Which is good - because then I will be able to ride off government $ while I live in Turkey at the end of our trip! juuusstt joking... muahahaha)

Anyhoo... I think the co-op people at SFU like me, because I keep randomly winning these co-op contests and giving the communications co-op faculty a reason to be proud of their students. In January I won the Work Integrated Learning Photo Contest open to all of SFU.
I was shocked, to be honest. The grand prize was a Nikon D90 Camera - which is almost the same price as the bike/bike accessories that I have to buy soon! But I am promising myself that I won't return the camera in exchange for cash, despite my small urge to do so.

The point of this post? I guess that the ride is for all sorts of people's credit now... not just micro-credit, and not just personal credit, but credit to SFU, and to a degree too.

The Decision to Ride

Every day I have a tiny flip-out thinking about what I've committed myself to doing.
Four thousand kilometres on a bicycle is no small task even for someone who is physically fit... and at current state, I am left of center on that premium.

"But this is more than a bike ride"

I agreed to become an "Agent of Change" with the Global Agents for Change Ride to Break the Cycle for a few reasons:
A) It would be a great chance to meet (and spend 8 epic weeks on the road with...) 27 other invigorating people my age who are genuinely concerned with the state of humanity and are interested in making a difference
B) By the time we depart Amsterdam on July 1st we will have collectively fundraised
$100,000 for our 100% youth-operated Microcredit Fund
C) I can't imagine a better way to travel through a foreign country and interact with local communities than physically peddling every step - feeling the bumps in the road and sleeping in community centres
D) and of course... my gluteus maximus could use some discipline after 22 years of free time...

A few facts about me

I don't think there is anything unique about me, in particular, that is making me commit to this challenge. I am currently a full time university student in the midst of an undergrad degree. I serve tables a few hours a week and make some pocket change, but not enough to create savings. And I have student loans. Some might say these are things that one would consider fallbacks in taking time off school, and from saving $ to go 'travelling'.
But, for these simple reasons, I believe this situation is unique. I am a full-time student and have the opportunity to integrate this experience into my degree, and use resources from the university to promote the Ride. I don't have a mortgage, or a cat. And... student loans should be spent on getting the education you want, not the one that's prescribed.

A Decision is Made

So, when the lovely Shawn Smith (president of GAFC) offered me a spot on the trip back in November 2008, I tossed around the dates and the numbers and the time and the energy and the absolute chaos of it all, and said yes.

Three months later, and here we are. Our team of 25 riders and 3 ride leaders is assembled. We have sorted into 3 organizational committees: Internal (what is our message?), External (how do we relate with the communities we meet?), and Logistics ( to minimize the amount of "wrong turns"). Fundraising is underway. I'm learning about bicycles (Who knew there was more to them than 2 tires and a set of handlebars??). And finally, I have gotten around to creating a blog.

Therefore, enjoy! support! comment! and contact me for ways to donate! (online donations can be directed to the link at the left of this blog)


thanks so much

gala