6 The Chronicle December 19 - 25, 2017 chronicle.durhamcollege.ca Campus The campus church is here for you Kirsten Jerry The Chronicle “The feeling of being in (a) community is so important.” That’s how 21-year-old Durham College (DC) student Abby Bell describes being involved in campus church, a non-denominational, student run organization for the Durham College and University of Ontario Institute of Technology communities. “We all want to be in a group and we all want to be in a community…we want as many people to join us as possible.” The organization gets support from Calvary Baptist church in Oshawa, as part of a massive group called Power to Change, which extends to about 60 colleges and universities across Canada. The campus church has operated for more than a decade. There are roughly 50 student members, who can meet at a variety of scheduled events throughout the week. The program Alpha, which Bell describes as “Christianity 101” runs Mondays. It addresses questions such as “what is the purpose of life?” says DC student Rob Mc- Taggart, 21, who is co-president of campus church with Kyra Cooper. Small group gatherings are held on Tuesday to Thursday. The church has a meeting every Friday in room L207 at 6:45 p.m. called Refresh, bringing in local pastors and speakers and encouraging questions and small group discussions. These meetings average 35 people, with occasional attendance of college staff. They tackle tough topics such as why the Bible is relevant today, and whether or not the Bible is sexist. There is also worship music and snacks. McTaggart says the small group discussions are “a good way for people to actually meet somebody, rather than sliding in the back, 10 minutes late, and then just leaving at the end.” “One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to have a high percentage of people who are not Christian,” says McTaggart. While making announcements about events can be good for spreading news, a “face-to-face encounter” helps to build the community within campus church, and encourage those invited to attend, McTaggart says. “A huge part of why I started was because the president at the time… remembered who I was,” Bell says. “That meant so much, and that’s one of goals that campus church has is to make people feel like ‘hey, you matter,’ because everyone does matter.” “There was one specific topic,” Bell says, recalling a small group discussion about whether the Bible Courtesy of Rob McTaggart A group photo of members of campus church on a weekend trip to one member's cottage. is sexist, “where the girls I was sitting at the table with, we all had different, like, perspectives on the topic, but we were still able to talk about it.” She says the conversation would have been “harder” in a different context, but structure given by campus church allowed the group to learn from each other. “If we want to be able to live in community with people we have to be able to relate to them,” McTaggart says. “I’ve had good opportunities to meet with people who are atheists, and Muslims, people of all different beliefs.” “We want to be able to make campus church a place where everyone feels welcome, and have good discussions about our beliefs, but in love,” he says. She believes newcomers to college and university are still finding out who they are and what they believe in. In some conversations she’s had, it is “the first time” the person thought about their beliefs. “We have a beautifully diverse campus,” she says. “We all believe that Jesus loves them, and we want them to know that,” but not in a pushy way. Campus church tries to give visitors “something to think about” and to figure out what they believe for themselves. Bell says any challenges around differences in religions would be addressed through love. Campus church has both outreach events and orientation week events, as well as a conference from Dec. 28 to Jan.1 in Richmond Hill. Next semester the church is hosting a “scientifically-based” event in the gym on Feb. 12 about the effects of pornography with Fight the New Drug, a group from the United States whose goal is to spread awareness about the ramifications of porn. “Every year changes,” Bell says, “but the one thing that stays the same is, you know, the fact that we want to be a community and that we want to be a community that cares and that cares about each other’s well-being and growth.” Service animals helping out all over campus Austin Andru The Chronicle Durham College says the 2018 academic year will mark the highest number of service animals ever at DC. As recently as 2015, there were only a couple of service animals on campus. Now there are 10, says Meri-Kim Oliver, vice-president of student affairs. A service animal policy at Durham College has been drafted by the new Accessibility Committee and is under review to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Oliver says “the policy is in approval process.” It is the first stand alone service animal policy at DC. Linzie Mark, 26, is in her third semester of Durham College’s practical nursing program. Mark was diagnosed with anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mark has a border collie named Eloise to help her through the day. Eloise is still in training and when she’s done her training, she will be able to assist in anything from calming, night terrors to anxiety attacks. “As much as she’s learning, I’m now able to do new things as well,” Mark said. Service animal dogs also have a wide range of uses for people with visual and aural impairments, seizure disorder, diabetes and autism. Mark is working with her trainer who says it is important for the dog develop a strong bond early. Currently, Eloise and Mark attend classes every day. “I don’t think there’s been a service dog in the nursing program before,” Mark said. “There was a lot of questions and concerns. I had a couple profs who didn’t handle it well.” Mark said some profs had some sanitary concerns about having the dog in labs and hospitals. However, Mark says most of the faculty have loved having the dog or just didn’t notice. “I think there’s a lack of knowledge,” Mark said. She hopes the new policy will bring awareness. “My goal is for people to be educated.” Mark says she sometimes gets negative responses. “I often get asked, very judgmentally, ‘when does your dog get to be a dog?’” “Just because she’s with me doesn’t mean she’s not getting what she needs,” said Mark, who keeps food and a bottle of water in her bag for when Eloise needs water or feeding. There are many different service animals for varying reasons. There are guide dogs for the visually impaired, diabetic alert dogs, medical response dogs, seizure alert dogs, hearing alert dogs, emotional support dogs and autism service dogs. Helen Prinold, a puppy raiser coordinator for Autism Dogs Services says negative responses are common for people with service animals. “I think one of the misconceptions people have is that these people are using them as a fancy pet or a crutch,” said Prinold. “It is a support that is vital for them to live a full and rounded life.” Students should always ask before touching service animals Prinold says. Sometimes it is OK to pet them, but it all depends on the type of Photograph by Austin Andru Alexander Massicotte, a photography student at Durham College, with his therapy dog Rugger. service animal used. “Dogs for the blind often cannot be petted,” said Prinold. “However dogs for autism can be petted, but always ask.” Prinold says more accessibility for service animals will mean an improved quality of life for the students who need them.
Campus chronicle.durhamcollege.ca December 19 - 25, 2017 The Chronicle 7 Youth drug coverage in Ontario Claudia Latino The Chronicle Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will bring a fresh start to the new year for people who take prescription medication. Starting Jan. 1, babies, children, and people 24 and under who fall under OHIP will get their prescription medication fees covered under a new program called OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare. A local Laurentian University graduate is one person who will benefit from the program. Amanda Mullins, 22, of Whitby, was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 12. The autoimmune disease attacks healthy tissues such as the lungs, kidneys, heart, and joints, causing inflammation to these areas. In Mullins’ case, the disease caused inflammation in her heart and she has developed arthritis. Her diagnosis came after Mullins experienced swollen joints, tiredness, and a malar, or ‘butterfly’ rash across her cheeks. The disease also caused growth problems in the healthy tissues of her body. “I was experiencing these symptoms for about a year. My parents were very concerned about my health. I had to go see a doctor,” she said. Mullins didn’t understand what Lupus was doing to her health. She wasn’t aware of how severe the disease could get if left untreated. “At the beginning, it was all new and I wasn’t understanding what was going on with my body. As I got older, I became more educated on what Lupus was,” she said. As a little girl, she was active. She loved to play outside, and always participated in a variety of sports. The disease affected her emotionally when the active side of her was taken away. “The disease was at its worst when I was first diagnosed. I wasn’t able to play the sports I wanted because it would put so much pressure on my body,” said Mullins. She said her family and friends were supportive and wanted to help her as much as possible. “Since it attacked my heart, my friends and especially my parents were extremely involved in taking care of me because of how serious Lupus is,” said Mullins. “And the fact that I was in the hospital regularly for check-ups also raised high concern.” She takes expensive medication daily to treat Lupus as well as a Medications covered Photograph by Claudia Latino Amanda Mullins' medications are covered under the new plan. drug called Prednisone to relieve inflammation in her hands and knees. These are of the more than 4,400 drugs that will be covered by OHIP+. Currently, her father’s insurance pays for most of the cost and she pays the remaining fees each month. Mullins says the new program will help her save money and will allow her to focus on applying to get a Master’s degree. “The plan impacts me in a positive way and it couldn’t have come any sooner,” she said. “I plan on getting my Master’s degree in September next year so the plan will help reduce costs which definitely helps as a returning student.” OHIP+ stops coverage once individuals turn 25. Although some people may be eligible for full coverage on prescriptions through Ontario’s Drug Benefit program. According to Ontario’s health ministry website, some of the medications covered by OHIP+ are antibiotics, inhalers for asthma, ADHD medication, arthritis, EPI-pens, insulin and oral diabetic drugs and medications related to mental illness. The plan has impacted me. Mullins said she is proud to live in Ontario for reasons like this. “Ontario recognizes that it’s hard for youth to pay for things sometimes. "It can get expensive for us and even for parents too. That’s why I am so thankful for health care in Canada,” said Mullins.