Faster, stronger — deadlier: Why do elite athletes sneer at risk and tempt the gods, and why do we encourage them?

York University kinesiology Professor Parissa Safai thinks US snowboarder Shaun White’s refusal to participate in the slopestyle competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is the first whiff of a bubbling conflict. “I think the games get romanticized to the neglect of rational study of whether these athletes are risking their life and limbs,” said Safai in The Globe and Mail Feb. 14. “The answer isn’t to sit here and say, no, no, no Olympics. Because there is something to be said for risk. If athletes don’t push themselves, we risk not seeing the human body in its fullness and glory. I cannot deny the thrill of watching them do these things with their bodies, the genuine and honest uncertainty of the outcome. . . . I don’t mean to advocate that we bubble-wrap everyone.” What does bother her, she says, is a lack of transparency. “My question is, who profits from this? And my answer is, not the athletes.” Read full story.

Ontario Archives releases First World War love letters
Before he was killed in the First World War, Harry Mason wrote longingly to the Toronto girl he loved, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 15. . . . On Valentine’s Day, the Ontario Archives published a collection of heartbreaking and fascinating letters between the adoring Harry Mason and Sadie Arbuckle. . . . The gripping letters are part of the Archives of Ontario’s World War I exhibit, which will include a travelling exhibit of diaries and letters in June, and an exhibit of correspondence at the archive’s home at York University this fall. Read full story.

Rite of a Canadian spring
If you thought bears and wolves were the scariest things you might encounter in the woods of Northern Ontario, York Dance Ensemble has a surprise for you. Think of a tribe of near-feral youngsters, whipped into an atavistic frenzy that drives them to human sacrifice. In reimagining Stravinsky’s legendary 1913 ballet score, The Rite of Spring, Artistic Director Holly Small and her creative collaborators at York University decided to reset the composer’s evocation of ancient pagan Russia in the wilds of the contemporary Canadian north, using imagery from painter Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven as visual inspiration. They call it Rite Redux, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 14. Read full story.

Around the world with an MBA
As the world has become smaller, executive MBA (or EMBA) programs have extended their reach to give students the opportunity to work on real projects in a global setting. . . . Students who enrolled in the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program last month, offered through the Schulich School of Business at York University, will be participating in a new global strategy project that involves going to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to learn about business throughout the region. “We are excited about this new initiative because the format complements the breadth of coverage about a region in our existing global electives with an in-depth, practical experience through the project,” explained André deCarufel, the academic director for the Kellogg Schulich EMBA program, in the Toronto Star Feb. 15. Read full story.

Taking local business beyond borders
For Thomas Rohricht, a 44-year-old MBA student at the Schulich School of Business, nothing beats getting real-life experience. That’s why he’s enrolled at Schulich’s Centre for Global Enterprise, a new initiative that puts MBA students on the front line with small- and medium-sized enterprises interested in looking beyond Canada’s borders. His team is working alongside peers with an automotive parts manufacturer with operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. “Nothing can replace real-world consulting experience,” said Rohricht in the Toronto Star Feb. 15. “Our team has been forced to overcome client difficulties and internal difficulties.” Read full story.

Your MBA survival guide
Choose your school wisely. Picking the right fit for you is crucial, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 15. Look into full- versus part-time, the culture, the length of the course and where it’s located. Some programs accept students straight from their undergrad, while others require you have a few years of work experience. “Look at what you want to be doing five years into the future and then work backwards from there,” said Hosup Lee, a financial analyst on the Minto development team who graduated from the Schulich School of Business at York University in 2013. Read full story.

Wake up to startup potential
While working as a national accounts manager at Pepsico Foods Canada, Dan Tzotzis did his MBA part-time at York University’s Schulich School of Business. Then, in August 2012, he and two friends tapped their collective experience in consumer packaged goods to launch their own company, AWAKE Chocolate. Their idea was to market high-caffeine chocolate bars. They’ve achieved more than $2 million in sales in their second year and now retail their product in 8,000 stores in Canada and another 8,000 in the US. Tzotzis credits the MBA program with giving him “an understanding of what I was good at and who to surround myself with – people with complementary skill sets.” Also, one of his professors provided advice in the early stages for AWAKE’s marketing and design plans, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 15. Read full story.

Bikes to boost student performance
Students at five elementary schools in the Halifax region will have a new tool in the classroom to help them concentrate when they’re feeling a bit overwhelmed – bikes. . . . Luke MacDonald, one of three partners at Aerobics First sporting goods store in Halifax, spearheaded the initiative, reported the Chronicle-Herald Feb. 16. He introduced the idea, based on one he saw implemented during a Run for Life brainstorming session at York University in Ontario in 2012, to the school board, which approved the project. Read full story.

Could York Region become Canada’s next big tech hub?
Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., have been home to some of Canada’s brightest stars, but little-recognized York Region may be taking a run at restoring some of the tech limelight to the country’s $155-billion industry, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 17. . . . Karna Gupta, head of the Information Technology Association of Canada, credits the region’s success to its diverse population and the way its nine municipalities, schools including York University and Seneca College, and incubator ventureLAB have made explicit efforts to work together. Read full story.

It’s time to privatize Canada’s leading ports and airports
“The falling Canadian dollar, weak economic growth, and high trade deficits, despite robust commodity exports, suggest the need for fresh thinking about future strategies for companies, governments and national institutions,” co-wrote Schulich School of Business Professor Charles McMillan in The Globe and Mail Feb. 17. “Globally, the worst of the 2008 economic downturn is over, but the recovery is tepid at best. Canada, by any standards, is well positioned to take advantage is this global rebound. But it can do more. It is time to make Canada’s leading ports and airports a global destination to serve wider markets. It is time to privatize Canada’s leading ports and airports.” Read full story.

Laval, Marie de l’Incarnation intertwined with Canada’s history
The beginnings of the Church in Canada include a series of firsts that go beyond reminding us of who we are. If Blessed Marie de l’Incarnation and Blessed Bishop François de Laval become saints this year, in time for the 350th anniversary of the founding of the diocese of Quebec, these new saints could inspire Canadian Catholics to imagine what their church will become. . . . If Canadians could come to understand the world of Bishop Laval and Marie de l’Incarnation, they might see the origins of this country differently, said York University history Professor Boyd Cothran in the Catholic Register Feb. 17. “When they got here they discovered a complex indigenous place where they had to compromise, they had to learn how to live together and they had to create community,” Cothran said. Read full story.

Social responsibility more than a business add-on
As long as social responsibility remains a side pursuit for businesses rather than a core purpose, people will continue to think poorly of corporations, wrote Dirk Matten, the Hewlett Packard Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in ABC News Online Feb. 18. Read full story.