Alumna financial adviser counsels couples

Many couples who butt heads over money seek help from a financial planner, wrote Sara Efron in her column Love & Money in the National Post Feb. 7. But those who end up sitting on a couch in York alumna Karin Mizgala‘s office in Vancouver get financial advice that goes beyond the ordinary. Mizgala (BA ’85) describes herself as a "financial social worker".

While most planners incorporate some life goals and planning into their service, often it’s just a cursory set of questions or a questionnaire. Mizgala, however, has built a business that formally combines financial planning with life planning and marriage counselling. According to Mizgala, financial issues are a common source of strife in relationships. "It’s very rare that couples have the same values around money," she says. "Most people operate unconsciously and don’t think about what they’ve picked up from their family. Add our own confusion to somebody else’s, and it’s an explosive situation."

Chris Robinson, finance professor at York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, thinks Mizgala’s approach is an idea whose time has come. "The personal element is critical in financial planning," he says. "Money is a huge issue that couples have to deal with. If they don’t deal with it, any financial plan, however brilliantly conceived, will fail."

Students freeze to ice tuition hike

With freezing campus camp-outs to push for a "freeze" on tuition, and calls for Canada’s first ministers to set nationwide standards for higher learning, students across the country this week are thrusting colleges and universities into the political spotlight, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 6.

"My sleeping bag is only good for -17 C but it gets pretty cold by 3am," said York student Hamid Osman from outside his pup tent on York’s Keele campus, where he began a week-long protest camp-out last week for a tuition freeze. "We have to do something to send a message that (Ontario) politicians can’t raise their salaries by 25 per cent and then let tuition go up by 20 to 36 per cent over the next four years."

York’s podcast team delivers postponed talk from afar

A session on distance education using podcasting at Cape Breton University by presenters Diane Zorn, lecturer in York’s Atkinson School of Arts & Letters, and Kelly Parke, York’s senior multimedia designer, had to be delivered by podcast, after the original session scheduled in November was cancelled due to a widespread power outage, wrote the Cape Breton Post Feb. 6. When Parke and Zorn returned to Toronto they created a podcast of the workshop that they were originally going to present in person. CBU faculty, staff and members of the Cape Breton business community heard the presentation last week.

Multicultural week helps develop sense of community, says organizer

York University’s fifth annual Multicultural Week runs Monday to Thursday at the Keele campus, wrote the North York Mirror Feb. 5. "We have a significant number of international students at York," said Farhan Ali, student director of the event. "Multicultural Week really provides a platform for us all to learn more about ourselves while developing a greater sense of community."

A race to find identity

His film might not have any definitive answers, but that doesn’t bother York graduate Sobaz Benjamin (BA ’97, BFA ’01), wrote The Daily News (Halifax) Feb. 6. "This film, for me, is – among other things – about dialogue," said the Halifax filmmaker, whose Race is a Four-Letter Word airs on CBC’s “The Lens” Feb. 6 & 10. "I want people to come and say to me, ‘I didn’t like the nudity in the film. I thought it was too much,’ and tell me why, so we can talk about it. Or, ‘I really didn’t like the way you presented issues of race on an individual level.’ I welcome the reactions people have had and will have," said Benjamin, who explains the idea for the film first came to him while he was a film student at York University.

Hamilton veteran’s son became York environmental pioneer

A story about a benefactor who buys and returns Canadian war medals to veterans’ families, noted that the son of Corporal Harold Arthur Livingston, whose First World War medals were returned to his family, was York Professor Emeritus John Livingston, who became a pioneer of Canada’s environmental movement, wrote the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 6. The younger Livingston, who was a veteran himself, was the primary figure behind CBC’s “The Nature of Things” through most of the 1960s, and went on to become a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. Livingston died in January 2006.

Guitar-playing alumnus performs in Quinte

Quinte’s Safe Youth Foundation, in collaboration with the Quinte Guitar Association, is hosting two fabulous guitar performances, including one by York alumnus Norman Liota (BFA ’86) on Friday, Feb. 23, at 8pm, wrote the Belleville Intelligencer Feb. 3. After graduating from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and having taught at high school, Liota abandoned the straight and narrow for the adventurous life of an itinerant musician.

Originally trained as a classical guitarist, but cutting his teeth on virtually every style of music, Liota often performs with back up musicians but his strength as a soloist is impressive. Liota has become a rare breed of performer who makes a guitar sound like an entire band. His music is infused with elements of folk, jazz, blues and classical, all synthesized to a sophisticated degree.

Hockey mom extraordinaire

An article about Whitby hockey mom Karen Gibbons in the Oshawa-Whitby-Clarington This Week Feb. 2 noted her son Chris Thomas is a member of the York Lions football team.