Computer age produces new social system, says researcher

A York researcher says members of peer-to-peer file sharing networks, like the early users of Napster, are part of a previously unseen social system, reported United Press International June 21. “Everything that is crucial to establishing a system of social solidarity through gift giving – social distinctions, norm of reciprocity, and rituals and symbolisms – could also be found in the consumption activities of Napster users,” said Markus Giesler, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. As traditional social systems, self-imposed rules emerge in the process of downloading and uploading files, and symbolisms appear in the user names people choose, said Giesler. Members of online file-sharing communities also adhere to a norm of reciprocity – that is, they must share music if they want to receive any. “One of the most interesting conceptual take-aways of this research is that social solidarity is not only to be found in the classic and often romanticized social organs of family, neighborhood or church community,” said Giesler. The research appears in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Lindström receives academic recognition at York

Finnish-Canadian history Professor Varpu Lindström, who in her research has concentrated on Finnish immigrants in Canada, has been awarded the title University Professor at York University, reported the North American Finnish weekly newspaper Vappa Sana June 21. The title is an acknowledgement of her accomplishments as a teacher and university administrator. Michael Michie, associate dean of York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, said in his speech at York’s convocation June 14 that Lindström has occupied many important administrative positions at York. “In each one she has left her mark on the growth and functioning of the University.”

University Professor is not just an honorary title – it also guarantees its bearer lifelong research funding, said the newspaper. And research is precisely what Lindström will start doing after having served years in the University administration. Her next research project will begin later this year and will last three years. It is called “Missing in Karelia” and it is a joint project of York, University of Helsinki and University of Petroskoi in Russia. “The aim of the project is to find out what happened to those Finnish-Canadian communists that left for the Soviet Union in the 1930s,” Lindström said. A documentary was made about the topic in 2004 called Letters from Karelia for which Lindström was the historical consultant.

Researching your own cultural group presents some challenges as well, said the paper. Lindström, for example, has had to be careful as not to associate herself with any Finnish clubs or societies in order to keep her neutrality in the eyes of her interviewees and the Finnish community in general. An exception is the Canadian Friends of Finland (CFF) which she has founded and which aims to be a society for all Canadians, regardless of political or any other affiliations.

Business Week  finds an international outlook at Schulich

The student body at York’s Schulich School of Business is diverse in more ways than one, reported Business Week June 21 in its online edition. More Schulich MBAs have a background in tech and engineering than business, and former students of the arts and humanities make up a big slice of recent classes. More than half of the students are international, and 37 per cent of those students are from Asia. More than a third of students are women. Many of Schulich’s MBA students take night classes where they are mixed in with part-time students. This all makes for an eye-opening MBA education, but it can also make the job tough for the school’s career services director, Joseph Palumbo. Palumbo recently talked about the changing needs of Schulich grads with Business Week intern Kristin Dew. “We have to not only give them the tools to look [for jobs] on their own, but we’re also supporting their career search globally. We attend the international MBA consortiums, but we also make frequent job treks to the US, Britain, India, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, France and Japan. We’re doing virtual global career fairs, job postings, and networking. We also have full-time offices in Beijing and Mumbai.”

Student teacher paints mural to say ‘thanks’

A photo in The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo) June 21 featured New Dundee Public School host teacher Jody Michalofsky standing with York student teacher Alana Viner of Kitchener and their Grade 1 and 2 students in front of a mural painted by Viner. She painted it in the school’s front entrance as a thank you after spending five months at the school as a student teacher.

Film is a tribute to student’s late mother

A York film student has turned the camera on cancer to help raise funds for a cure. Will Beauchamp‘s drama, called Fly Away, will be screened along with three other short films June 22 at the Royal Alberta Museum, reported the Edmonton Examiner June 21. Beauchamp has had a very up close and personal experience with the disease. His mother Pauline passed away from lung cancer in October 2005. He made the film as a tribute to his mom. “It’s a horrible thing to see. It’s so slow, and you kind of see someone rot basically,” he says about watching his mom die in a hospital bed.

Beauchamp, who grew up in Edmonton, has been making movies since he was 13 and after the Columbine shootings he and his classmates at Archbishop MacDonald High School decided to make a film about teen bullying and began work on a script in Grade 10. By the end of Grade 12, Beauchamp’s feature-length film Pariahs won best feature in the International Teen Movie Festival, which led to a $20,000 scholarship from Warner Brothers.

Ricky Foley’s a Leo in BC

A nudge by BC Lions president Bob Ackles finally landed York first-round draft pick Ricky Foley, who signed a Canadian Football League contract Tuesday after he was cut by the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens, reported The Vancouver Province June 21. Ackles called Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome to discuss Foley, saying there was a place for him eventually on the Lions. Foley thought he was destined for the Ravens’ practice roster. Instead he’ll have the same status for a while with the Lions, at about one-tenth the salary. “It hurts, because you get a taste of [the NFL]. What hurts more is watching others play,” Foley said. “But being with the Lions is what’s best for me. I need to be here.” Foley will start as a defensive end but the Lions will eventually work him on to the roster as a linebacker.

Students create a ‘Whippersnapper’ of an art company

If you’ve always wanted to draw, paint or photograph but don’t know an easel from a paint brush, three students believe you don’t have to be the next Leonardo Da Vinci or David LaChapelle to show off your artistic talents, reported Metro (Toronto) June 21. Ryan Hughes, along with York students Patrick Struys and Luke Correia-Damude believed something was missing for independent artists. As students themselves, they wanted to give art and media hopefuls a chance to show off their stuff and, so, created their own art and media company, Whippersnapper. The three postsecondary students started their non-profit media art gallery in December 2005 and have been providing showing spaces for artists ever since. Since their inception they have grown their team from three to five with the addition of Peter Adas and York student Josh Barndt.

Moscoe warns of subway funding pressures

The city may have to decide between keeping its streetcars running or paying its part to build the subway north to York University, TTC chairman Howard Moscoe says. A decision last month by the provincial government to change the Ontario Transit Vehicle Program, wiping $331 million in funding off the TTC’s ledger “through the backdoor,” has thrown future funding of the system in jeopardy, reported the Toronto Sun June 21. “We have this horrible decision to make,” Moscoe said. “Are we going to sacrifice our streetcar fleet and our light-rail ambitions and the World’s Fair and the development of the waterfront to build the subway to York University? I don’t think the majority of councillors are going to sacrifice all that to build a subway to Vaughan,” he said. The policy change means the province will pay for refurbishing buses, but not streetcars or subway cars.