Campus Life - Kamloops  

Call and Response Exhibition celebrates student creativity

Looking for an escape from the every day? Then make your way to TRU’s Visual Arts Gallery to see student creativity on display. Currently on exhibit, Call and Response showcases select 2D and 3D artworks.

The fourth annual exhibit runs until Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Call and Response is an annual exhibition that celebrates exceptional artworks created by students enrolled in first-year visual arts courses,” says visual arts Studio Technician Lea Bucknell. “Brief descriptions of individual course assignments, the calls, are posted alongside groupings of student artworks, the responses. Visitors to the gallery can see how the artworks relate to one another as well as gain an appreciation for the variety produced by individual creativity.”

There are more than 45 student artists with works in this year’s exhibit.

“Congratulations to the many students who have work in the exhibition,” says visual arts Professor Don Lawrence. “And thank you to the faculty members involved in teaching these courses and the gallery committee who helped the students and the visual arts program realize this exhibition.”

There will be a closing reception for the exhibition on Wednesday, Feb. 2 from 1 – 3 p.m. in the art gallery. Please note that COVID restrictions will be in place.

The gallery’s regular hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Law professors publish new book on digital privacy

Associate Professors Chris Hunt and Robert Diab have published a new book: The Last Frontier: Digital Privacy and the Charter.

Featuring 11 essays written by many of Canada’s leading privacy scholars, the book examines emerging privacy issues across a range of contexts, including a reconsideration of the Supreme Court of Canada’s approach to s. 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, privacy interests arising in the Criminal Code’s voyeurism provisions, privacy in civil discovery and privacy and its relationship to access to justice.

Other essays tackle privacy implications for familial DNA searches and for the tracking and tracing regimes related to COVID-19, and the use of complainant records in sexual assault trials.

Taken together, the collection offers a valuable source of analysis and insight into major developments in privacy law that have emerged over the past decade and will likely influence these debates for years to come.

Fellowships recognize TRU environmental science students

Graduate students Camille Roberge and Brandon Williams have each been awarded $7,500 Environmental Science and Natural Resource Science Fellowships as a result of their commitment to research and potential for future contributions to their respective fields.

Roberge and Williams, both Master of Science in Environmental Science (MScES) students, are encouraged by this recent honour.

Camille Roberge

Roberge, whose research explores the impact of forest cutblocks (harvested areas) on declining moose populations, is working with the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, who recognize the vital role these animals play in the well-being of their community.

“They’re very concerned over the decline in the moose population in their traditional lands,” says Roberge, who’s studying wildlife management unit 3-18, which spans an area west of Kamloops to Merritt.

“The moose are an incredibly important species for them, so they want to figure out why this is happening. If you look at historical imagery, this beautiful, forested land is now a tapestry of cutblocks. Forestry is seen in every single part of that management unit.”

Cutblocks and moose health

Under the supervision of Professor Karl Larsen, Roberge is looking at whether plants and cutblocks provide lower nutritional quality than plants growing in forests.

“There’s a researcher at UNBC with some preliminary work at a site in Northern BC, and he found differences in plant nutritional quality between cutblocks and forests,” she says. “The plants growing in cutblocks have greater access to sunlight, and so they have a lot more energy to put into defensive compounds to defend against herbivores like moose. Some of these defensive compounds bind plant proteins. So when the moose is digesting the plant, it can only extract a portion of the protein and the rest passes all the way through, which decreases the nutritional quality of the plant.”

Roberge is also following 12 female moose over the course of two years to see if the cutblocks affect their health.

“Each moose uses cutblocks a different amount, so I’m seeing if the moose that use cutblocks more, and are more reliant on the food in cutblocks, have less fat accumulation and are less likely to get pregnant or successfully keep their pregnancies over winter,” says Roberge.

Brandon Williams

Prescribed burning and native grassland

Williams’s research uses traditional Indigenous knowledge of prescribed burning as a tool to transition an agronomic dominated grassland community to a native plant community.

“My work represents a unique partnership between the Nlaka’pamux First Nations and the Highland Valley Copper mine, where a common goal is to transition the now currently agronomic dominated plant community at one of the tailings holding facilities to a more biodiverse native grassland,” says Williams, who is working with TRU Professor Lauchlan Fraser.

Considered mine waste, tailings can contain high levels of hazardous contaminants and heavy metals. As a result of this, mining companies are responsible for landscape restoration of the area surrounding the holding facilities.

“Historically, this was done by simply creating pastureland by sowing agronomic grass species onto the landscape,” says Williams. “The problem, however, is these species are extremely hardy and can grow in the worst of conditions, and thus can become good competitors in that environment, which limits the amount of new species that can enter. As mines are now concerned with enhancing biodiversity of these sites, they are looking for ways to do this. Prescribed burning, which can help introduce new species after burning, was introduced as a way this might be done.”

Impacting student research

Receiving these grants has been hugely beneficial for these students, not only financially, but also by acknowledging their previous research excellence.

“I’m so over the moon and grateful that I’ve been given this award,” says Roberge. “It really means that I have so much worry taken off my shoulders in terms of the financial stress of going to school. It also means that the people I’m working with at TRU see the validity in what I’m working on and understand its importance. I live and breathe this every day. I know how important this is to the Nlaka’pamux Nation and being able to share that with the TRU community and have them understand the importance of the work is validating.”

“I’m ecstatic,” says Williams. “This award helps me stay and finish my work. It’s very exciting this money can support me through that. And it’s so important for me to get my work out there.”

These fellowships were generously created by an anonymous donor. Students who receive these prestigious awards are selected based on their demonstrated potential for future contributions to our understanding of the environment.

Standing in support with T’exelc

A message from TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn

Dear students, staff, and faculty,

Yesterday, Williams Lake First Nation (T’exelc) held a news conference and informed Canadians that its preliminary geophysical investigation has identified 93 potential burial sites on the lands of the St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, the site of a former residential school.

The news is another painful reminder of an ugly history brought to light last summer in Kamloops when Indigenous leaders confirmed the presence of 215 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. These revelations have brought shock and sadness into our communities, especially for Indigenous people, who have long known many of their children died and were buried unnamed and unremembered at residential schools.

This announcement will no doubt return these unresolved issues to the forefront of our collective thoughts, causing fresh pain and sorrow. Thompson Rivers University offers our support to the T’exelcem and our Indigenous partners, and to anyone who may be affected by this news.

I want to remind everyone of the following support resources available to assist those in need:

Resources available to students:

TRU Counselling Services: call 250-828-5023 (Kamloops) or 250-392-8000 (Williams Lake)
24/7 Provincial Counselling Services: Here2Talk.ca or call 1-877-857-3397
Co-ordinator of Indigenous Support Services, Williams Lake: Geraldine Bob, email [email protected] or call 250-392-8000
Indigenous Student Development (Cplul’kw’ten): reach out to an Indigenous Learning Strategist at [email protected]

Resources available to faculty and staff:

Counsellor support through LifeWorks: call 1-877-207-8833
Campus Wellness Advisor: Joy Demsey, email [email protected] if you need further support

Other services include:

Williams Lake First Nation: Emergency Emotional & Spiritual Health Resources
First Nations Health Authority: Mental Health and Wellness Support
Indian Residential School Survivors Society: 24 Hour Crisis Line, call 1-800-721-0066
KUU-US Crisis Line Society: 24 Hour Crisis Line (British Columbia)
Métis Nation BC: 24 Hour Crisis Line, call 1-833-METIS-BC (1-833-638-4722)

In addition, Williams Lake First Nation is burning a sacred fire at the Chief William Arbor for three days and everyone is welcome to attend.

These continue to be difficult and painful times for truth and reconciliation in Canada. Our university strongly believes in the 94 calls to action made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—a commitment reflected in our strategic goals and increasingly in our actions.

TRU’s vision calls for us to be a place of belonging, as inspired by the Secwépemc word Kw’seltktnéws. It means we are all related and interconnected with nature, each other, and all things. This vision means we must be willing to share the emotional burden of these sins of the past and accept that we have a responsibility to heal the harm caused by colonialism.

We must be willing to mourn the horrific loss of these children alongside our Indigenous partners, neighbours, and friends with humility and respect, and once again pledge our commitment to the hope of healing and reconciliation for the future.

I urge you to remember these children and stand with me in support of those who are faced with the heavy task of bringing their lost souls back to those who loved them.


Brett Fairbairn
President and Vice-Chancellor

Note: Standing in support with Williams Lake First Nation (T’exelc), flags are lowered to half-mast on TRU campuses on Wednesday, Jan. 26, and the flag situated on the Campus Commons on the Kamloops campus has been replaced with the orange Every Child Matters flag until further notice.

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