Will the rat race be next for kids?

Uh, shouldn’t kids be running around outside instead of using treadmills and exercise equipment that mimic adult fitness activities?, asked the Toronto Star April 5, in a story about a new line of fitness products for children.

Physical education specialist and York alumna Candace Brown, director of the Children’s Studies Program in York’s Faculty of Arts, thinks so. “I don’t think it’s appropriate,” she says. “Children are motivated to be physically active by the Four Cs: choice, challenge, curiosity and creativity.” While a treadmill may be a novelty initially, she says, “I can’t see a child sticking to that for very long … I’d say for about 15 minutes, knowing children.”

There is a case, to be made, however, in favour of the mini-gym equipment, including the treadmill, in the opinion of Rosie Carusi, manager of fitness & lifestyle programs in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health.

She believes anything we can do to motivate young children to be more active is probably a good idea. (Statistics Canada has reported that 26 per cent of children under the age of 18 are overweight or obese.)

“It’s not ideal, but it’s better than the alternative – being sedentary,” she says, noting that more kids are developing high blood pressure and becoming lethargic and depressed. “And if the parents are using a treadmill, it can create a culture around workout time and paying attention to our bodies.”

Divorced men now buy suits instead of cars

While US menswear retailers grapple with the threat of recession, menswear sales in Canada remain buoyant – thanks to the country’s high divorce rate, wrote the National Post April 5. The large number of guys entering the singles market again is driving menswear sales, particularly at the high end.

Alan Middleton, a marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, says men in the past would have dealt with a break-up by buying an expensive sports car. Today, it’s designer clothing. “They ask themselves, ‘how do I relaunch myself both in my personal life and in business?’ “

But the phenomenon goes beyond rebounding from divorce, says Middleton. “It’s also about staying young. You don’t want to be out of fashion today because it emphasizes your age. Part of staying young is looking young.” And the solution can be a new wardrobe.

Soccer experience inspires novel

After releasing her highly successful 2005 book, The Righteous Smuggler, multiple award-winning children’s author and Thornhill resident, Debbie Spring (BFA ’79), has returned with her latest novel, Breathing Soccer, wrote the Richmond Hill Liberal April 5.

Based loosely on true events from her own life, Spring’s juvenile-paperback story explores the dilemma 13-year-old Lisa faces when her asthmatic condition interferes with her love, desire and passion to play soccer.

“I’ve had asthma all my life, but things like yoga have helped me with it and I’ve always been the best that I could be,” Spring said. “My parents told me not to tell anyone about it because they didn’t want me to be treated differently.”

Writing for more than 20 years, Spring is a graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and the mother of two children. She tried acting as a career, she said, but always enjoyed writing and being with children.

New fine arts dean has international experience

Barbara Sellers-Young, a former dancer, choreographer and director, has been named as the next dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, wrote the North York Mirror April 7. Sellers-Young will succeed Phillip Silver as the dean of the faculty for a five-year term on July 1.

As a professor, Sellers-Young has taught at universities in England, China and Australia, while her research projects on the moving body have taken place in Sudan, Egypt, Nepal, Japan, China, England and Australia. "I believe this background will serve in the profile that York is creating as an international university," Sellers-Young said. "It is a privilege and an honour to have the opportunity to work with a faculty that has a national and international reputation and at an institution that has a far-reaching educational mission."

Advance your career with innovation training

Now, there’s an innovation edge available to executives and managers: the Masters Certificate in Innovation Management, offered by York University‘s Schulich School of Business, wrote The Toronto Sun April 6.

Delivered by the Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC), the continuing education program is the first in Canada to help tomorrow’s innovation leaders advance their careers and achieve measurable value for their organizations.

“The main takeaway value of this program is that graduates will learn how to implement innovation in their organizations,” says Claude Legrand, program director. “People know they need to innovate, but they don’t have the resources in place to learn how to do it practically. This program fills that gap.”

LeGrand, the co-founder and president of Ideaction, a consulting company that specializes in sustainable innovation and change management, approached the Schulich School of Business last year after observing a substantial thrust toward service innovation over the last five years among governments and universities in Europe.

Alumnus band leader studied with Oscar Peterson

As vocalist/poet John Moon breathlessly delivers his lines in Andy Milne’s "Blackout", the piano, bass, soprano sax, and drums rise and fall in the background, dramatically accenting the song’s intimations of mystery and anxiety, wrote The Santa Fe New Mexican April 4. Such moments, conjured up by Milne and his band, Dapp Theory, promise a stimulating set in the intimate quarters of the Gig Performance Space when the quintet performs on Friday, April 4.

The bandleader, composer, and pianist earned his bachelor’s degree ( BFA ’90) in music at York University in Toronto, Ontario. Among his teachers in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts was the great Canadian jazz pianist [and former chancellor] Oscar Peterson, who instilled in the young Milne the idea “that getting ‘your sound’ comes from within and not from the piano,” Milne said in a 2003 interview with the New Mexican’s Pasatiempo arts magazine.

NHL prospects are tested by York kinesiologists

Early in June the NHL brings in the top prospects, including the Europeans and Americans, to a combine in Toronto, wrote the Peterborough Examiner April 5. It’s there students and staff from York University’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, in the Faculty of Health, will put all the young players through a series of time-proven physical evaluations to determine their level of fitness. Some teams often bring in their training staff, along with their scouts, to watch the players go through the excruciating, gut-wrenching testing. Afterwards, each team has the opportunity to interview the player for 15 minutes.

City of Edmonton holds parties to attract Ontario grads

Edmonton’s business development agency says it is pleased with the success of month-long media campaign designed to increase the city’s profile among Toronto’s university and college students, wrote The Edmonton Journal April 5.

The Succeed Sooner campaign included “Ed Parties” on three campuses where students had the chance to sip drinks, listen to a DJ and talk to some of Edmonton’s young professionals. Attendance at the three parties varied, wrote the Journal: 300 students at the University of Toronto, 350 at Ryerson University, and 630 at York University.

Grad jumps on Ottawa condo deal

It was buying madness last weekend as young, first-time buyers, older dedicated urbanites and investors smelling a golden opportunity slapped down multiple cheques to reserve condos planned for Bank Street at Gladstone Avenue, wrote the Ottawa Citizen April 5.

Buyer and York alumna Samantha Moonsammy (MA ’06), 28, a former head girl at Ottawa’s St. Pius High School, who is already carrying student loans that helped finance a degree from the University of Ottawa and a masters degree in communications & culture from York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies, is looking ahead to the future – starting with her job in the federal government and a chance to jump into the real estate market.

What the experts say

After “a slight hesitation in January”, financial services employers are on campus, and they are still selectively hiring, said Professor Maureen Stapleton, finance course director in the Schulich School of Business at York University, in a story on the prospects of recession in The Globe and Mail April 5. Students are not anxious about the prospect of “life on the bread line,” she said.

Feminist Porn Awards taking focus off male hardcore

The filmmakers at the Feminist Porn Awards gala included Loree Erickson, a York University student who tackles disability and gay issues on the big screen, wrote The Toronto Sun April 5.

On air

  • James Stribopoulos, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the effectiveness of a police sweep during the “summer of the gun” in 2005, on CBC Radio April 7.