Alumni Shout-out: Marc Champoux

This interview, written by Philip Girvan, StFXAUT Communications Officer, appears in the Summer 2018 edition of The Beacon.

The Beacon regularly features interviews with StFX University Alumni on the topic of their relationships with StFXAUT Members who challenged, inspired, or helped in some way. This issue’s interview is with Marc Champoux (BBA ’88).

Marc works as the Managing Director, Private Client Division, with BMO Wealth Management Inc. Marc also served as Co-Chair of the Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games Organizing Committee which took place in Antigonish from July 31 to August 4.

The Beacon: Thanks for doing this, Marc. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Marc Champoux: Graduated from StFX with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Class of ‘88. I came to StFX from a small town in Quebec, just east of Montreal. I had never really been in Nova Scotia. I’ve never really left.

The Beacon: You’re one of these X grads that didn’t hit the road.

Marc: We stayed in the province and lived in Halifax for a number of years, but have lived in Antigonish for about 20 years. We’re lifers. (more…)

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September 2018 President’s Message

This message, published in the Summer 2018 edition of The Beacon, was written by StFXAUT President Mary Oxner.

Dear Members,

The summer in Antigonish was uncharacteristically hot and many of our colleagues were displaced out of their offices for the summer months. Our campus welcomed Special Olympians, coaches, family and friends from across Canada. The Special Olympians provided examples of real joy, comradery and persistence. Hopefully your summer had elements of joy, productivity, relaxation and adventure.

As the days get darker earlier and the students arrive on campus and in the community, we are reminded that the beginning of another academic year has arrived. In this academic year we will engage in processes to gauge your priorities for collective bargaining. Our Collective Agreement expires June 30, 2019 but preparation for negotiations will begin as the term begins.

I am looking forward to welcoming our new Members and in hearing your thoughts about our progress going forward.

Mary O.
StFXAUT President

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Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, will appear in the Spring-Summer 2018 edition of The Beacon .

The Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games are taking place in Antigonish from July 31 to August 4. These games are a qualifying event for athletes to represent Canada at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games. While these are the first national games hosted by Antigonish, and only the second to be held in Nova Scotia, Antigonish has hosted several Special Olympics Nova Scotia Summer Games.

In addition to hosting a number of sport events, StFX University is serving as host of the athlete’s village. A number of people aligned with StFX, including AUT members, students, alumni, and other StFX personnel, have already volunteered hundreds of hours to get to this point, and, during the games, hundreds of volunteers will volunteer even more hours.

The Beacon had opportunity recently to speak with two StFX alumni volunteering with the Games: Marc Champoux, co-chair of the Games Organizing Committee, and Alison Sampson, who is staffing the family services booth. Champoux had no prior involvement with the Special Olympics before being contacted by his friend, Dr. Bill Stanish, who, as Champoux, put it, “approached me one day and said, ‘I need to ask something of you and I need you to say yes’”.

Special Olympics Canada 2018 Summer Games office located on St. Mary’s Street


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2017 StFXAUT Book Prize Award

This article, written by StFXAUT Executive Assistant Susan MacKay, originally appeared in the Spring-Summer 2017 edition of The Beacon.

The StFXAUT would like to congratulate the 2017 Book Prize Award recipients Emily Pipes (BA Psychology) and Emily Keenan (BA Political Science with First Class Honours with Subsidiary in Philosophy).

Left photo: Emily Pipes and Dr. Norine Verberg (Sociology); right photo: Emily Keenan and Dr. Jeffrey Spring (Political Science); photo credit: Susan MacKay

Each student was presented with cash award of $200 and The Right to Be Cold (2015) by Sheila Watt-Cloutier.

The StFXAUT Book Prize is awarded at Spring Convocation to two graduating students who demonstrate a commitment to social justice advocacy and community development on campus or in the community. Please visit this page to learn more about the StFXAUT Book Prize Award

Congratulations Emily and Emily! We wish you the very best in your future endeavours!

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The StFXAUT Breaking the Silence (BTS) Connection

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, originally appeared in the Spring-Summer 2017 edition of The Beacon.

Dr. Mary Oxner, StFXAUT President, presents a cheque to Breaking the Silence (BTS) members; front row (left to right):
Wyanne Sandler, Mary Oxner, Justine Frame, and Amberlee Boulton; back row (left to right): Janette Fecteau, Clement Anson, and Coralie Cameron; photo credit: Susan MacKay

Remember, Resist and Thrive: Rooting Education in Indigenous Worldviews was a panel discussion hosted by the StFXAUT and Antigonish Breaking the Silence Guatemala Solidarity (BTS) on June 19, 2017. Three speakers from the New Hope Community Bilingual Institute in Rabinal— School Director Sandra Lopez, current student Andrés Colocho Chachal, and Lilian Bolvito, a member of the first graduating class from the school’s recently created technical program – shared the school’s struggles and challenges, as well as their impressions of Nova Scotia, to a crowd gathered in the St James United Church Community Room. The New Hope Community Bilingual Institute is a school dedicated to the local indigenous Maya Achi culture that teaches the Maya Achi language, community development, and the history of colonization and other injustices committed against indigenous peoples.

This discussion was only the most recent demonstration of solidarity between Antigonish and Guatemala. Antigonish businesses donated building materials and school supplies to the New Hope Community Bilingual Institute. Community members contributed financially and volunteered their labour to help build the school. Speakers from Guatemala travel to the Maritimes every year, and Antigonish is almost always a stop. (more…)

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To Eat An Almond

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Beacon.

Left to right: Brendan Ahern and Majd Al Zhouri; photo credit: Janie Lundsen

On April 27, 2017 a year ahead of schedule and less than a month after reaching an earlier milestone of $70,000, StFX for Syrian-Antigonish Families Embrace (SAFE) reached a fundraising goal of $100,000. These funds will allow SAFE to sponsor another family of Syrian refugees.

During the April 27 fundraising event, 21-year old Majd Al Zhouri, one the first Syrians to arrive in Antigonish, performed his one-person play To Eat An Almond. The acclaimed play debuted on March 24, 2017 during Theatre Antigonish’s annual one-act play festival.

Other recent stagings include a performance before 150 teachers at Dr. John H. Gillis Regional High School during an April 28, 2017 In-Service Day, and a May 11, 2017 fundraiser at Glasgow Square Theater in New Glasgow for Pictou County Safe Harbour Refugee Project. Majd also delivered a speech adapted from the play during the first national Interchange Conference held May 24-26, 2017 at StFX. (more…)

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Getting to Know You: The StFX Chemistry Department

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Beacon.

Small classroom sizes, individual opportunities like small and private lab spaces, and close, personalized instruction are among the benefits that the StFX Department of Chemistry have provided third year honours student Oliver Kuehm. Kuehm extolled the benefits of what The Beacon assured him was a fairly rare occurrence, “With the profs coming to you …you get to learn from a first-hand perspective what they’re doing. You have a lot more knowledge before you go into a circumstance”.

Kuehm eventually accepted an invitation to work on a research project led by Assistant Professor Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley that is investigating light-induced reactions. Dr. Hallett-Tapley explained the research to me as “using light to promote reactions. Find[ing] things that are more environmentally friendly and kind of playing on the solar energy boom with the ultimate goal of using visible sunlight to promote these types of reactions. It’s what we call photo-catalytic green chemistry”.

This is just one example of the interesting research projects being undertaken by the small but vibrant department. Over the last year, Dr. Shah Razul has been working on ways to better improve the preservation and freezing of lobster. The News recently profiled this work. According to Dr. Razul, lobster is the first step, and that once it is demonstrated, his “cryoprotectant formulation is better than anything else out there, then you can go to anybody…and, of course, once you have success with one system, you can extend it to other systems: there’s scallops, there’s crabs, there’s fish…ice cream. There’s no shortage of things”. (more…)

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Alumni Shout-out: Alexis MacDonald

This interview, conducted by StFXAUT President Mary Oxner, originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Beacon.

The Beacon regularly features interviews with StFX University Alumni on the topic of their relationships with StFXAUT Members who challenged, inspired, or helped in some way. This issue’s interview is with Alexis MacDonald (Psychology ’99 with First Class Honours).

The Beacon: During your time at X was there any particular Professor, Librarian, Lab Instructor, Coady Program Staff Member, Nurse Educator, Extension Program Staff Member, or Learning Skills Instructor that helped you, inspired you, or was a mentor to you?

Alexis: There are several StFX Professors and staff who had a major influence on my life decisions – I couldn’t narrow it down to one: (more…)

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Key Dates

Some of the upcoming deadlines in the Fourth Collective Agreement include:


April 1st:
• Requests for a twelve month extension to probationary period for those on pregnancy, adoptive, parental or sick leave for a period of at least 25 consecutive weeks. (Article 4.4 Conditions of Employment:1.0)

April 10th:
• Recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Awards to be notified. (Article 2.7.1 University Research/Publication/Teaching Awards:4.8.1)

April 15th:
• Applications for URPTA, based on research or publication, made to the appropriate Dean, at the Faculty Members’ initiative due. (Article 2.7.1 University Research/Publication/Teaching Awards:3.1)

April 20th:
• The Outstanding Teaching Awards Committee shall notify, in writing, the Deans of Faculty of its selections. (Article 2.7.1 University Research/Publication/Teaching Awards:4.9)


May 15th:
• Submission to the University Librarian by each Librarian of a copy of an Annual Report of professional activities. (Article 3.3 Annual Report:1.0)

• Deadline for performance evaluation of Lab Instructors (unless contract termination date is prior to May 15th. (Article 4.6 Performance Evaluation:2.0)

May 31st:
• The Chair /Coordinator informs each Faculty member in his/her department/IDP in writing of the Faculty Member’s teaching assignment for the forthcoming Academic year. (Article 2.0.2 Chairs of Departments, Coordinators of Interdisciplinary Programs and Assistant Director, School of Nursing:2.3 b)

• Faculty Members who qualified for a sabbatical leave but the leave is not granted are required to send a letter to the Chair, appropriate Dean, and Chair of the University Council for Research (UCR) indicating revisions or updates to the sabbatical plan or withdrawal of the sabbatical application. (Article 2.4.1 Sabbatical Leave:3.2)


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Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund (AEFF) Society

This article, written by StFXAUT Communications Officer Philip Girvan, appeared in the Winter 2018 edition of The Beacon.

The Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund (AEFF) offers emergency financial support to individuals and households living on low incomes that are unable to pay the full cost of heating their homes during the winter season. As its name implies, the AEFF is a response to situations where people living on low incomes in the Town and County of Antigonish face an imminent threat of losing heat. This could include receiving a disconnection notice from the electric utility or running out of heating oil or wood. Applications are made through the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre.

Left to right: Dr. Mary Oxner, StFXAUT President and Dr. Clare Fawcett, StFXAUT Secretary, present a cheque for $1,800 to Mr. Mike MacDonald, Chair of the Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund (AEFF) photo credit: Susan MacKay

Growing concern around the issue of Heat Poverty led to the organization of a community-based Heat Poverty Initiative in Antigonish in September 2008. A committee was formed and the AEFF was launched on January 5, 2009. AEFF clientele are among the Town and County of Antigonish’s poorest households. Approximately 400 households, representing 1300 people in Antigonish Town & County, report an annual income of less than $15,000. Half of the people are children. Last winter, the AEFF was able to assist 75 households.

An $1,800 contribution from the StFXAUT to the AEFF was used to pre-order six loads of wood ($300/load) for households seeking help with firewood. The timely donation of these funds ensured that the wood was removed from the woods before snow-fall and was dry when delivered.

Mike MacDonald, AEFF President communicated to The Beacon that the AEFF “welcomes the StFXAUT as a major sponsor, joining the Town, County, Sisters of St. Martha, and the East Coast Credit Union”.

To learn more about the AEFF, including how to donate, please call Mike MacDonald at (902) 863-8737. To apply for help, please call (902) 863-6221.

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