Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — October 2010

Douglas Coupland’s vision of the near future

Douglas Coupland’s been getting a lot of media coverage for his Massey lecture “Player One: What is To Become of Us?” which he’s currently in the process of delivering across Canada.  The CBC has produced this short trailer for Player One, which is, I would assume, the first trailer ever produced for a Massey lecture. After watching that, check out this interesting (and funny) interview about Player One between Coupland and a journalist from the Ottawa Citizen.

Coupland’s also been getting people talking with two recent pieces published in The Globe and Mail, the first “A Glossary of New Terms for a Messed-Up Future” and, the second, “A radical pessimist’s guide to the next 10 years.”  Listen to this interview about the latter piece that Coupland did this week with NPR’s All Things Considered.

As you’ll see from my blog for English 180, my students (and I) have really enjoyed reading and discussing Coupland’s novel The Gum Thief. I’m really looking forward to getting ahold of Player One later this week and to hearing the Massey lectures once they’re available online.

October 18, 2010   Comments Off on Douglas Coupland’s vision of the near future

UVM’s annual Ottawa trip


Students at Parliament HIll

For over a half century, UVM students have been participating in our annual Ottawa field trip. Students from UVM courses on Canada this semester and students from the Canadian Politics class at St. Michael’s College will be headed to Ottawa for three days. During our stay, we’ll attend Question Period, meet with Members of Parliament, tour the House of Commons, visit the Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery, and attend an Ottawa 67s game. Students will also have ample time to explore and experience Ottawa on their own.

Needless to say, this trip is a huge amount of work for me and the three other faculty involved.  It is also, however, our favourite event of the year, by far. Most students tell me years later that this trip was their favourite experience during their entire four years at UVM. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to take my students there each year.

Here is the full itinerary for this year’s trip:

Thursday, October 21:

• Depart from south side of Waterman Building (College Street) at 7:00 AM sharp. Participants will arrive no later than 6:45 in order to assure a prompt departure, because Parliament won’t wait for us (and we won’t wait for you). Students ought to be dressed for Parliament (i.e. “business attire” -jackets and ties for men) because there is no time/place to change once we are on the bus. We will plan on arriving at St. Michael’s at 7:05 to pick up the St. Mike’s group.

• Brief lunch at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa before walking over to Parliament.

• Walk to Parliament for tours and to go up the Peace Tower and view the Memorial Chamber (if time allows).  Tours for Massell students (Group A) are at 12:15.  Tours for Ayres and Martin students (Group B) are at 12:30.

• 2:00-3:00: Attend Question Period

• 3:00-4:30: Meet with MPs in room 209 West Block.

• Group photo outside of Parliament.

• 5:30: Quick group meeting after checking in at the Lord Elgin.

• Dinner on your own.

photo by Jarvis Chen

Friday, October 22:

• Breakfast on your own.

• 9:00-3:30: Tours of the Grand Hall and Canada Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and tour of Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada.  Group A will report to Lord Elgin lobby by 8:45 AM and bus will leave for Museum of Civilization at 9:00 (9:30 tour).  Group B will report to Lord Elgin lobby by 9:15 AM and bus will leave for Museum of Civilization at 9:30 (10:00 tour).

• Lunch on your own at Museum of Civilization before heading to National Gallery.  Group A and B leave for National Gallery at 12:30 PM (1:00 tour).

• 3:30: Both buses leave National Gallery for Carleton University.

• 4:00-6:00: Author reading and reception with Richard Harrison

• 6:45: Bus leaves for hockey game, Ottawa 67s vs. the Brampton Battalion at Ottawa Civic Centre.

Hall of the First Nations, Museum of Civilization. Photo by Jarvis Chen

Saturday, October 23:

• Breakfast on your own. Morning free for shopping, sightseeing, touring, etc.

• Check out of Lord Elgin by 12:30 PM.

• 1:00: Buses depart from Lord Elgin. Arrive in Burlington around 5:00 PM.




Crossing the border: A passport, passport card, or enhanced driver’s license is now required to cross the US-Canadian border.  Students will need to present such documentation before boarding the bus.

Dress Code: Dress is “business attire” Thursday, and “neat and clean” Friday. In general, pack for chilly weather.

Money and Food: We will provide refreshments at the Carleton reception and vouchers for concession food at the hockey game.  $75 – 100US should cover other meals. We strongly suggest that students exchange at least some of this at a local Burlington bank (including the Chittenden bank inside the Davis Center) before October 21.   You may want to bring a few snacks.

Ground Rules: Attendance and participation at all scheduled activities is required. “Downtime” is your own. Be very aware that your conduct and actions represent UVM, St. Mike’s, Vermont, and the USA. We expect and require nothing but the most respectful and responsible behavior while you are on the trip.

Students who violate the UVM or St. Mike’s student codes of conduct during the trip will be asked to leave the trip and return home by their own means. We have done this before and will not hesitate to do it again. These incidents have been incredibly rare in the over fifty-year history of this trip. The students from Vermont have a stellar reputation with the Lord Elgin Hotel, the House of Commons, and every other institution we visit. Each year, our students are recognized as being great ambassadors for the United States. You do not want to be the person who breaks our very successful record in Ottawa. If you do, we may just feed you to this giant spider at the National Gallery…



October 3, 2010   Comments Off on UVM’s annual Ottawa trip