The University of Lethbridge celebrated its latest graduating class on Saturday with its 2017 Fall Convocation.
The Fall Convocation saw the university award 249 degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Some 200 students were expected to take part in the event.
This year, Buffy Sainte-Marie, a leader and longtime advocate for Aboriginal people in Canada and around the world, received an honorary degree.
In her career, she has addressed topics that often remain hidden — abuse, women’s rights, equality, education and war.
Her community work has allowed her to see the effects of colonialism on Indigenous people around the globe.
These concerns became the themes for Sainte-Marie’s music, teaching and artistry.
Mike Mahon, president of the U of L, said Sainte-Marie had earned the degree in part due to her constant commitment to justice and equality.
Sainte-Marie spoke about the importance of traditional knowledge and the people in her life who shared it.
“I learned most of what I know back home,” she said. “The people back home are masters of valuable information and mindsets.
“Many have lived lives of poverty and obscurity,” she added, noting they did not have the opportunities afforded to others.
She ended her speech by singing part of her 2015 song “We are Circling,” keeping time by drumming her finger against the microphone. The song represents Sainte-Marie’s philosophy of life.
Zombies help encourage blood donations
Galt Gardens became the setting for a horror movie come to life as the undead descended on the downtown park Saturday.
Dozens of zombies of all shapes, sizes, and stages of decay came together to take part in the Lethbridge Zombie Walk 2017.
This year’s event was organized by local makeup artist Katt Panic, and started at noon in the gardens before the gathered horde shuffled off toward City Hall at 3 p.m.
“It’s all about Halloween fun,” said Panic. “We like to get the community out to celebrate Halloween, and to make sure the community is alive and active and celebrating (the season).
Panic said while makeup is her biggest passion, she was also interested in helping people — and was happy Canadian Blood Services was able to set up a booth for the event.
Peter Campbell, a volunteer for Canadian Blood Services, said a zombie walk is a humorously good fit as a place to solicit blood donations.
“It’s very appropriate,” he said.
On Saturday, the booth was set up to provide information and to sign up new donors.
“Every month we have hundreds of appointments that need to be filled,” he said. “We always need people to come into the clinic and give blood.
“People always need blood, and we are always looking to help people across the province, and especially here in (the Lethbridge region).”
Seeing water crisis firsthand
Nearly 12 million people in Madagascar do not have access to clean drinking water and over 21 million can’t access a decent place to use the bathroom.
In just over a week, two locals from Brio Spa and Salon in Lethbridge will be seeing the water crisis first hand as part of WaterAid’s study tour of Madagascar.
Owner Heather Tytula and Aubrey Boehr were selected to attend a 10-day tour after they both raised more than $7,500 for WaterAid Canada during Aveda Earth Month — that’s more than double the total amount Brio raised last year.
Aveda salons across Canada have supported WaterAid for over a decade. Last year, Aveda Canada committed to a three-year project to ensure 100 per cent of the population in Sabotsy Anjiro and Belavabary, two districts in Madagascar, have access to clean water.
Over $507,000 total was raised for the project during Earth Month 2017 and Tytula and Boehr were among the top fundraising teams.
They held a yard sale in the back of the salon and Kinetic Indoor Cycle & Fitness hosted a class to support Brio’s fundraising effort.
“People came and were super generous and just donated money for Earth Month,” Tytula explained.