Fundraising…send a student to NOLA Wednesday, Mar 10 2010 

Hi all

This is a fundraising appeal to help send students to New Orleans this May to take part in rebuilding work. They will be rebuilding housing and replanting wetlands as well as other community participation initiatives.

Donations over $20 that require a receipt should be made out to Ryerson University. Donations that don’t require a receipt and under $20 also welcomed. You can also make a donation via PayPal using Visa or Mastercard – (If you need my mailing address for a cheque, let me know).

For my American Friends – you can donate directly to the organization on our behalf and get a tax receipt and put Ryerson University in the designation or dedication lines. This will go to their expenses but without funds there would be nothing for us to do when there 🙂

This trip is part of a course that I teach at Ryerson (co-teaching (now yay!) with Pascal Murphy). We are taking two groups of students – 20 in each class – for two weeks each. Just to give you an interesting breakdown of numbers:
* there are 5 York students, 34 Ryerson students (including continuing education) and 1 non-student.
* there are 4 male students and 36 female students (grl power!!)
* just over 1/2 have taken or are taking the homelessness course
* almost 2/3rds are students of colour (despite the racial make-up of New Orleans this is rare for volunteers).

Bios for students are on our blog at as well as info about our experience last year!

Students are available to do a presentation after the trip in the GTA area. I am able, with past students, to do a presentation before the trip if you have a potential fundraising opportunity.

There is also a video made by some of last year’s students (about thirty minutes in length total) available at:
Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Part 4 –


PS Tweeters and bloggers – please spread the word!!


Better late than never! Sunday, Mar 7 2010 

Hey everyone! My name is Lori Dagenais. I’m a fourth year Environmental Studies student at York University, but I’ll be returning next year to finish my visual arts minor and French certificate (please don’t think I’m fluent though!). I’m really passionate about environmental issues, particularly local foods, unnecessary resource use, and human health impacts.

...I love winter

And now for something completely different. I’m a big music fan, and only really justify spending money on the necessities: concerts, CD’s, and food! I also enjoy painting, and working with my hands. Figuring out how to make things on my own, and learning in general, are up there on my list of favourite things. Plus I’m always up for exploring — there are so many amazing people, places, and experiences to take in every day, and I say why not?

New Orleans is one of the cities I’ve wanted to go to for a long time. The music, food, and warm people just seem so refreshing. But the more I learn about the current conditions, the more disappointed I am in our system. The injustices so many people continue to face five years after Hurricane Katrina are pretty transparent; maybe human action/inaction is the bigger disaster. At the same time, there is so much that can be done, and I am thrilled to help out in any way I can. My friend Alyssa (who is also going on this trip) co-hosts an environmental show with me at our campus’ community radio station. I’m hoping we’ll be able to shed some light on the issues that many media outlets have forgotten about. I’m also looking forward to reconstructing homes and restoring wetland areas. But what I’m most excited for is meeting people and listening to their personal stories.

Big thanks to Alyssa for telling me about this course, and to Tanya and Pascal for taking me on so late in the game! I really appreciate it, and am looking forward to getting to know everyone 🙂

A good no holds barred NOLA blog Wednesday, Mar 3 2010 

I love reading blogs about New Orleans. They are great at giving folks a sense of the flavour of the city, the mood, the recovery etc.

The G Bitch Spot  – http://thegbitchspot – was recently pointed out to me as a good blog to follow. She describes her blog as: “The G Bitch Spot at which a mad black woman rants about New Orleans, insomnia, teaching, education and “education,” various -isms and anything involving a bitch, a spot or the letter g.”

Give it a read, you’ll be glad you did.


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