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Top 10 Strategies to Impersonate a “Normal” University Student

Our glorious university provides us with many privileges and countless possibilities compared to the students from their ‘basic’ universities. Yet when one descends from their mountain tops to the commoners, one can find oneself in a pickle: how to impersonate a “normal” university student. Due to our revolutionary thinking and teachings, we have transcended common understanding. To avoid potential suspicion, we provide you with some essential advice on how to pretend to be a completely normal university student and keep our university environment safe from the unworthy.

  1. Do not forget to blink

We are trained to absorb information from all of our senses, and beyond. Hours of night training in the art of staring at dank memes can impede our blinking ability. We understand that closing our eyes for a fraction of a second could cause us to miss valuable information, as any information deserves to be accepted equally amongst all our senses, but commoners do not understand that. They do not think that auditory and olfactory information are as important as visual information, hence we must descend to their level.

  1. Select a degree that you want people to believe you are doing

Many may not have the full capacity to grasp what  ‘block plan’ or ‘question’ means. It is hard  for them to understand that you design your own degree, so you must make one up and go with it if you are to assimilate. Here are some suggestion of possible degrees, if you have a hard time thinking of one on the spot: psychology, computer science, astrophysics, international spa management, Viking studies or cannabis cultivation. Anything will do if you can give a smartass sounding sentence or two about any of these degrees.

  1. Accept any food given for free

There is a saying amongst ordinary students: “free food is the best food”. This is because they were never granted the gift of Dana’s Hospitality, where we have all the food in the world (unless you are vegan, have food restrictions, want a balanced diet or want babushka’s premium borscht). This saying suggests that we ought to eat whatever is given to us without hesitation and with the utmost appreciation. If you are caught in a situation where questionable food is being given for free, politely excuse yourself and claim that you are full. This should save you from being suspicious.

  1. Complain about the prices and money

While money is of no true value to us, as our feelings, sanity, and exceptional thinking are more important, many common students only want money. While we may not understand their desperation, we must play along to be ‘normal’. Saying phrases such as “I’m pursuing an executive career so I can afford 6 beach houses” and “money is lyfe” are typical amongst average students.

  1. Rely on TV and Internet for your sources

While dirty tricks played by media sources such as CNN, BBC, Buzzfeed, Daily Mail, The Sun and Cosmopolitan attempt to fool us into believing that Kylie Jenner is pregnant, we know the truth. By using our superior “critical thinking skills” we can deduce that she is not. However, many commoners do not possess such skills, so we must learn their ways and pretend to believe the news. Gather a lot of unreliable resources and then come up with the best strategy on how to accept information without double checking it. Common students do not bother with such things, for they are too concentrated on money and avocado toast to think. So shall we.

  1. Always carry a textbook with you

According to our investigation, there are certain periods of time during the year when an average student “hits the books” and prepares for the ritual commonly known as “exams”. While we do not understand what it is, we must be ready at any time to be questioned about it. Our anthropologists observed that students sit and read a textbook, occasionally copying information and looking at dank memes for academic research. Therefore the optimal strategy is to pretend to prepare for the ritual of “exam” and read a textbook until the suspicion is gone. If questioning persists, tell them phrases such as “these are my final midterm exams”– this usually erases all the skepticism towards you.

Our investigation upon the full ritual of “exam” preparation will be soon released. Our best advice is to keep yourself alert and avoid libraries.

  1. Tire yourself out

Another feature of a typical student is to always be tired, regardless of the situation. Due to their poor life choices, regrets, and search for instant gratification they have plenty of free time to complain about being tired. Everyone is used to complaining about being tired.

While Quest students maintain their physical and mental health always, we must succumb to their ways to truly understand and get rid of any cynicism from commoners. Hence a day before heading downhill, we recommend you stop your balanced diet, do drugs and read the sexual misconduct policy, then head out into the woods, rebuild the ninja-fort and provide a clear map to it. After this series of easy tasks, you must hike up to the Chief, balance on the rock, take your pants or bra off to take a photograph on top of the mountain, climb down and clean all the garages, then put your pants or bra back on. Once these tasks are done you might feel different. Do not be afraid, this is what tiredness supposedly feels like. This is when you are ready to go downhill and assimilate with all the other ‘tired’ students.

  1. Consume and Do Shady Shit

One of the values our enlightened students share with the normal ones is the need for experience. While for us experience is all about learning, appreciating others and contributing to the community, for the common student this often takes the form of consuming or doing something really stupid. So shall we! Take precautions, as this might be hazardous to you and not everyone can do this. There is no shame in turning back and staying in the ‘safe’ (bears are safe, ok?) environment of our university. If you are the brave one, then we salute you with slam poems and ukuleles! You will also have my personal admiration: I will not write about this one, for it is too lewd for me.

  1.  Become Dirty

No, this not an innuendo.

Normal students do not appreciate hygiene as we do. Their excuses follow the pattern of either not having enough time or they “forgot to”. How disgusting! But if we are to be like them, we must go down to their level. Shower ONLY once a week, preferably on weekends. Wear the same clothes for several days in a row to gain a special scent of pheromones to attract other tired common students to you. Do not wash these clothes in any circumstances, as the bacteria has the ability to die and that makes clothes clean again. When you will look like you are barely holding your life together then you are doing everything correctly.

  1.  Pretend not to know what you will be doing after graduation!

Perhaps the greatest irony found in the ordinary university students is their inability to contemplate what they will be doing in life after graduating. Their entire university experience was planned around their boring degrees, yet they do not know what to do.

On the other hand, we design our own lives and studies, which is perfect for living your life to the fullest. However, we must not stand out from these students. So, if you wanted to become an entrepreneur, lawyer or chemist you shall forget about it. As you are surrounded by the simple-minded, they will not only mistrust you but you might get them stressed out as they shrink in the presence of your excellence.

High Intensity Interval Training: An Introduction

This piece probably should have been written three months ago, just as the weather began to turn wet, not while we’re in the middle of the winter. Despite that, the information here might still be valuable, and there’s nothing to say that interval training isn’t useful in the summer months as well.

Consider your average 5km run on the trails behind Quest: you know your loop well, the elevation gain/loss is fairly minimal, and you can cruise it in between 20 and 35 minutes. Maybe you’ve started to get complacent, and what was once hard when you started running is now second nature. While it is good to see progression, that progression might have plateaued, and you don’t feel like you’re getting out of the run what you used to. Moreover, it’s cold, wet, and slippery: far from prime jogging conditions.

One way crush this plateau might be to turn to high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short. The framework for HIIT is simple, and the benefits of consistent practice have immense potential. Brief, all-out work periods are followed by a briefer rest, repeated for 5-10 minutes. That’s it. Compared to a 30 minute 5km, interval training appears more efficient. But what exactly is happening during HIIT training, and what benefits come from it?

HIIT functions differently from a conventional cardio workout in that you are performing short sprints versus a longer, sustained level of energy output (steady state training). Anyone who says a series of short sprints is easier than a long run is either lying to you or hasn’t done them before.

The benefits of HIIT was first brought to light in the 1970’s by athletics coach Peter Coe, but was not made popular until the results of a 1996 study run by sports physiologist Izumi Tabata. He conducted his experiment on Olympic speed skaters. In the results, the subjects who underwent HIIT saw a greater increase in their V02 max capacity (the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual has available to them during intense exercise) compared to the control group who underwent traditional, steady state training over a 6 week period. This protocol has been aptly named the Tabata Protocol. The protocol follows:

You will perform the routine 4x/week. It will be performed on a stationary bike.

  • Warm-up 2-3 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  • Work: crank up the resistance to a challenging range – between 11 and 14, and cycle above 85RPM for 20 seconds.
  • Rest: reduce resistance or intensity, and cycle for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the work/rest cycle for 7 more reps.
  • Cool down

That’s it. 10 minutes and you’re done.  Simple on paper, nasty to get through in practice. At no point should this protocol feel easy. If you don’t feel completely gassed by the 8th rep, you probably sandbagged it.

Beyond the V02 max increase reported by the Tabata study, other benefits of HIIT include improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and lowering of insulin resistance and decreased blood-glucose levels.

Although the benefits of Tabata training are numerous, critics have pointed out that the regimen is psychologically demanding, and may not be viable for the average person to undertake rigorously. It is hard getting on the bike day after day, knowing how badly you’re about to suffer. Those who can stick to the program, however, will likely notice a difference in their aerobic capacity after 6 weeks time.

HIIT training is an efficient way to train hard, while staying warm and dry. The next time you’ve got 20 minutes to kill, throw some shorts on and go look for a bike. It will suck in the moment, but will pay dividends in the long-run.

My roommate doesn’t like Neil deGrasse Tyson

Contrary to the title of this article, I will neither discuss cosmology nor perform a psychological analysis of my roommate. Rather, I hope to convince readers of the importance of academic journal clubs in an interdisciplinary undergraduate setting. As my roommate explains to me, Neil deGrasse Tyson often casts the canons and phenomena of natural science as ultimatums. It is as if, according to deGrasse Tyson, science (particularly natural science) is the sole key towards understanding the world around us. He has emphasized that there are objective truths, and questioning those truths is futile. Because deGrasse Tyson is popular among young people, his teachings are likely influential when it comes to societal beliefs. We should feel concerned if younger generations are encouraged to favor natural science and all of its associated “truths”, yet the act of questioning those truths is discouraged. I find such ideology conflicting largely because the scientific method’s founding principle is the act of questioning. Regardless of what we question, the ability to contest “fact” on its own needs both fortification and practice.

Because I am a student, more so a Quest student, I often assume that my practice of questioning is both proficient and employed often. However, it is worth asking, “am I quick to view science publications as a testament, pure, and free of bias?” And, “when I use published work as evidence, am I capable of defending or justifying the arguments put forth in that published work?” And also, “have I critically appraised an article by asking questions that challenge what may or may not be taken for granted?”

Perhaps this is one of higher education’s greatest fallacies: that scientific literature is often free from scrutiny. Is my practice of questioning truly proficient if I fail to critique an article regardless of its prestige, reputation, or objectivity?

Evaluating my own tendencies, I feel assured when citing published work. My argument is somehow more valid because I have referenced something of “distinction”. I do not intend to remove power from evidence and it is fair to acknowledge that published work has undergone rigorous critique prior to publication. Furthermore, I believe that the value of published science cannot be overstated. However, we must continue (as readers) to appraise evidence in a thorough and rigorous manner versus equating unfounded power with the theories or proposals put forth. Our appraisal of published work becomes more “founded” when the rationale, method, discussion, etc. each influence our scientific questioning. The very design of a study can easily constrain results; this is often purposeful and advantageous. However, by practicing scrutiny in instances such as these we can come to a better understanding of what is explicitly known and what remains to be determined.

Quest’s Health Science journal club acts as a platform in which one’s own critical appraisal abilities come to light, beyond what the classroom provides. Speaking only from personal experience, the environment of journal meetings is explorative, engaging, and fulfilling. Critical appraisal forces us to commit, to question not only the work itself but also the inferences put forth by other club attendees (students and tutors alike). Meetings often include a presentation of a recent journal article relating to health sciences, and a collaborative discussion following the presentation. As the discussion develops, I begin to either reevaluate my original standpoint or entertain something entirely unfamiliar. It’s satisfying to engage with the literature and feel a sense of authority as I challenge the implications of the article. If you are not yet convinced to attend, think of Health Science journal club as Quest’s very own, very prestigious, (😉) article review board—and you, a fellow board member, capable of suggesting any critique, following any curiosity, or challenging any assumption put forth by other “members”. Assuming this role of arbitrary power is rather fun. And, as mentioned by someone who has previously attended, it is both surprising and enjoyable to observe the tutors in attendance wearing a different hat—one that essentially levels the playing field. I consistently walk away satisfied and impressed with the quality of discussion, regardless of the number of attendees or the topic presented.

I am, or perhaps, was, disinclined to take issue with deGrasse Tyson’s celebrity persona. His mission to bolster science’s presence in society is admirable; this I will not deny. However, my fellow skeptic of a roommate has brought forth a valid concern. As you evaluate your own opinion of “Mr. Space-time Odyssey”, ask yourself whether you too fall subject to an ideology of ultimatums and preemptive, unfounded trust in published science. Essentially, if you’d like to better society (yes, BETTER SOCIETY) and promote the existence of questioning (regardless of what is questioned), please take part in Quest’s Health Science journal club—a place in which critical appraisal is the name of the game.

Meetings are held every Wednesday of the second week of block at 4:15 (Academic Building). For Block 1, of Spring 2018, the meeting will be held on the third Wednesday (1/31/18). We will be discussing a recent article published on brain performance-enhancing supplements. If you have any questions, please contact either myself or Marina Tourlakis.

Emails:

Claire.MacMurray@questu.ca

Marina.Tourlakis@questu.ca

 

“This Degree Ain’t Free”

The cost of tuition for the upcoming academic year at Quest is $34,000 Canadian. According to a Vancouver Sun article from 2007, Quest’s inaugural class paid $24,000 per year. This is a $10,000 increase since Quest was founded in 2007, excluding the increased cost of room and board. Tuition at Quest is still significantly less than most high-end universities in the U.S., but it is the most expensive places to get an undergraduate degree in Canada.

Why is the cost so high? Quest is Canada’s first non-profit, secular, independent (private) degree granting university in B.C., and as such, it lacks the financial support of the Canadian government, or an affiliated religious group, that Canadian universities generally rely upon. Quest’s costs are high because the school leases all its residences (Quest only owns the land beneath Red Tusk and Ossa, and rents the buildings from the developer),  maintains its facilities (as well as the facilities it rents), and of course pays its faculty and staff. Currently, tuition needs to covers the majority of these costs.

Quest offers a different education from a typical undergrad. This is possible in part because the university does not have to fulfill criteria for receiving funding from either the government or a religious group. The flexibility that faculty, staff and students have to shape what a Quest education looks like comes from the fact that we rely primarily on students and not external benefactors for support. As a consequence of this, the financial burden on student tuition is heavy.

To learn more about this dilemma I spoke to Darren Newton, Dean, who brought forth two ideas for bringing revenue into Quest without sacrificing its independence: fundraising and the monetization of Quest resources. Here is what Newton had to say about the two avenues.

What would the monetization of Quests resources look like?

“We would say ‘Come up here for a weekend in July. Richard Hoshino will teach you math as applied to the business world, JF will take you on an adventure pursuit for a team building exercise,’ then we advertise that to managers of big companies. Our cost would be less if we had 25 people paying 2500 dollars for a 3-day executive training. We have been focused on our core functions, to the point that we haven’t had someone dedicated to just thinking those kind of ideas, like monetizing the facility and the staff that we have here to actually generate a surplus of revenue. We have been light on that in the last decade.”

How might fundraising ease the financial burden put on students?

“If we had externally funded scholarships we would be able to give those to anybody, particularly people who are not from an economic class that could to afford to come here on their own. So if we had benefactors that were giving us money for student scholarships, not for supporting the university, but said here is $200,000 for you to invest so every year you can give some of that money to a student from an economically disenfranchised part of the world, then we don’t compromise our tuition but we do get that diversity of voice not only in terms of where they come from but from what kind of economic class they come from.”

In short, there are currently major financial barriers to potential students for whom the cost of Quest’s tuition is still out of reach. Given that the average cost of undergrad tuition in Canada is $6,571 per year, many people may not be prepared to pay Quest’s continually increasing tuition costs.

Board of Governors to Publish Agenda and Meeting Minutes

Mary Jo Larson, Chair of Quest’s Board of Governors, announced during Community Update last Monday that the Board will now begin publishing their agenda and meeting minutes on the Quest website. The agenda for the January meeting is currently posted. The meeting minutes will follow as soon as each board member approves them.

This decision marks the first time in Quest’s history that the Board has published either the subject or the content of what they discuss.

In an email to the Mark, Larson said she expects the meeting minutes to take four weeks. Typically the board has approved meeting minutes at their next meeting (in this case, March 2nd), but they decided to speed up the process for publication.

Larson told the Mark that the decision was made because of multiple requests by current students and alumni. She explained that the Board was “reluctant to publish the agenda and minutes in the past, because each Board meeting involves at least a few confidential matters that cannot be discussed publicly”. The Board will now save those discussions for their “Executive Session”, which currently occurs after each meeting. “I hope the students will be glad to know that their concern and input has had an impact” Larson concluded.

The Board’s decision marks a significant change in the evolving discussion around Board transparency. In December, the Student Representative Council wrote a resolution advocating that the Board take on a member from the students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The new Quest University Canada Alumni Association has also made plans to advocate for greater representation on the Board.

The agenda for the January 13 meeting indicates the Board planned to hold a three hour regular meeting, which will make up the published minutes. The executive session is scheduled to take six hours. It will not be documented in the minutes.

The board planned to discuss a range of issues directly affecting students. One bullet point notably reads: “tuition cap”, another: “early payment discount”. Quest tuition has risen by $10,000 in the past decade (see “This Degree Ain’t Free”, this issue). To our knowledge, a tuition cap has not been discussed publicly with students.

The first item under the President’s section is the “DQAB recommendations”. The Degree Quality Assessment Board audited Quest in September. At his ‘Fireside chat’ President George Iwama explained that the DQAB expects the university to comply to three major recommendations: 1) two members of the board meet to discuss financial and legal issues with the chair and vice-chair of the DQAB, 2) “monetize” Quest’s remaining assets, 3) create a “teach-out plan” with another University—an agreement where students can transfer should the university close.

Quest’s recent decision to partner with Board member Michael Hutchinson, and build on its remaining land parcels may be a first step towards recommendation two.

Quest may have also accomplished recommendation three by creating a “teach-out plan” with Capilano University in North Vancouver. The Squamish Chief reported last week that Capilano agreed to accept Quest transferors into their bachelor of arts program with a major in “Liberal Studies” beginning in September of this year.  

Other agenda items of note include Destination Quest, “Board member recruitment”, and “the leases on North and South”.

The last item is significant because, as reported last issue, Quest claims in its defense statement in the lawsuit with former president Peter Englert that one of the reasons for his firing was because, according to Quest, Englert signed a “lease modification” on North and South.  Quest claims the agreement, made with owner of the buildings, the Almoner Foundation, “increased the rate payable by Quest in the range of 23 percent” as well as “removing Quest’s right of renewal”. They conclude, “The loss of renewal was a benefit to Almoner and a detriment to Quest, which may negatively affect Quest’s ability to offer residences, potentially limit the student population and pose challenges for both Quest and students”.

Finally, the Board planned to discuss the ombudsperson. Karen Elliott, Quest’s first to hold the position, is leaving January 28 after serving since August 2016. Quest is reportedly searching for her replacement.

Re: the ‘Art Walk’ article, published in the Arts & Culture section for the December 2017 issue of the Mark

I write to the Mark Masthead to express some issues found within an article recently published in your December 2017 issue. The article, Art Walk, presented several issues which I will address point by point. I am not sure if this article is an example of a lack of poor reporting or a misunderstanding of what the Arts Walk stood for, but regardless the Arts Walk was the first ever of its kind at Quest and deserved an article that did it justice, while also connecting the meaning behind the event to a larger discussion about what the current geography of the arts are at Quest.

A simple starting point is the misspelled title of the article and event itself that is consistent throughout the article. ‘Art Walk’ was not the name of the event, ‘Arts Walk’ was the running name of the event. The arts space coordinators agreed on a plural form of ‘art’ to encompass the many forms of art that are present and experienced here at Quest.

Amidst a few other incorrect labellings of the arts spaces on this campus (see Ossa dance studio, see Red Tusk Arts Bay/ Art’s Bay), a second issue I took with this article was an odd narrative of the Arts Walk being solely about someone’s roommate making screen prints for the event. To clarify, these shirts were created as per a request made by George Iwama for the Parents Weekend reception, which fell on the same night as the Arts Walk. I, for one, am a fan and an owner of one of these screen printed shirts, but again they were not the heart of the Arts Walk as this article may have otherwise implied. Emphasis should have been placed onto the great amount of work put into the Arts Walk from many other organizers who incorporated a variety of creative components into their spaces. Questions such as “what does it take to run an event like this for the first time?” or “why is this type of event important for students at Quest?” could have been asked, but unfortunately were not. Or perhaps a version of these questions were asked but not answered in a way that pointed to any sort of greater essence of what the current artistic landscape is at Quest.

This leads me to a third issue, which is the fact that Ava Swanson, the SRC Arts and Culture minister, was not mentioned ONCE throughout this article. Running an event such as the Arts Walk requires an individual (or a few) to spearhead the organization, communication and facilitation of the components involved in such a large-scale event. Ava did just that. Ava kept the arts space coordinators on track and helped secure the intended vision for the evening. While I am on this point, I want to thank the other women who help run the many arts spaces on campus and made the Arts Walk a success: Aina Yasue and Nritya Giridhar for the Dance Studio, Satori Clarke for the Music Bay, Emily Weber, Amelia Schmidt, Sadie Ainsworth and Zanna Kortenhof for Quest Coast Sound Radio, Elsa Eleni for the Quest Arts Bay. It is also important to mention the many volunteers and artists who helped make the event happen, many of whom I do not know the names of or exact roles but I am trusting that the Arts Walk would not have been what it was without their help.

To clarify, the Arts Walk came together from an idea proposed to the Arts Space Coordinators group, which consists of the space coordinators mentioned above as well as the Quest Art Gallery headed by Dan Ellis and Henry Jokela. The Arts Space Coordinators meet monthly as a way to hold ourselves and each other accountable for the physical spaces that are provided to us by the university. We meet so that we can make sure these spaces are being respected, fulfilled and so that we can offer a wealth of knowledge and tools for students to use. We update one another on upcoming events and programming we have going on in each space, and help support one another in these endeavors.

As someone mentioned in the article, I was quoted saying that Quest students should “stop complaining and start doing.” I stand by what I said, but I wish that there had been more room to expand on what that ‘doing’ would look like.  We have had many moments to be critical about the arts at Quest, and these critiques should not halt as they can be formative pieces as to how we can move forward. It is true that we do not have a comprehensive list of arts courses offered at Quest. It is true that many students feel and perpetuate a narrative of ‘arts frustration’ on this campus. However, it is important to put these frustrations into action, as there are many ways to get out and ‘do’ more with arts at Quest.  Please look forward to an article in the next issue regarding how to make these steps moving forward with the Arts at Quest.

Response from the author:

Elly,  

Thank you for reminding me, and our readers, how important it is to tell a story right.
I apologize to anyone that this article may have offended, and especially to the Arts Walk organizers and volunteers. The title, lack of information, and especially, the tone in the article created an image of the Arts Walk that was ambiguous and deeply misleading. I regret this very much. If there was anything that I hope came across in the original piece, it is that I had a wonderful time at the event and am grateful to those who worked so hard to put it on.

Elijah Cetas

From the Masthead

In addition to the errors the letter-writer brings up, Henry Jokela was misquoted saying “you take up space and don’t sleep.” This sentence was misleading and inaccurate of Jokela’s beliefs. In the interview he did not say “taking space”, but “making space”, and meant making space for other artists. We apologize for the error.

Put People First by Following Their Lead

In an effort to create an increasingly inclusive culture, we as Quest students often tirelessly shift our language towards politically correct terminology. For example, in conversations about gender and sexuality we fight assumptive, binary, and heteronormative vocabulary. This shift in language can at times result in spurts of frustration or passion, but most notably, in empathy.  Most of us have, at some point, been labelled thoughtlessly, giving us the ability to step into the shoes of a person of a different label with a similar experience. It is for this reason that I, a person with a disability, propose to you (Quest students), that our community adopt people-first language, for now.

People-first language (PFL) is a linguistic prescription catered towards increasing inclusive language for individuals living with disabilities. Using PFL I would identify as a “person with diabetes,” rather than a “diabetic.” When I first heard of this movement, I thought it was excessive; I have spent 20 years of my life being called a diabetic, I don’t find it insulting, and it’s not a false statement. However, every person has the right to place the emphasis on whichever part(s) of their identity they choose. This is particularly powerful because ability and our definitions of ability are not an individual’s choice. PFL is one way to give agency to people labeled with disabilities. Another is Identity-first language (IFL), with which I would identify as a “diabetic person”.

  The evolution of PFL encompasses the original movement as well as a countermovement, IFL. The original movement started in the early 1980s with the Denver Principles, which were written by an advisory committee of People with AIDS. Prior to giving their recommendations, the committee states: “We condemn attempts to label us as ‘victims’, a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally ‘patients,’ a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are ‘People With AIDS’.”

The PFL movement states that non-PFL highlights disability first as opposed to the person themselves. The movement looks towards intersectionality, and points out that each person living with a disability lives a different experience. Assigning a non-person first label, like “diabetic” can reduce a person (who inevitably has many facets to their identity) to their disability.

While PFL raises a convincing argument, IFL acknowledges the social construction of disability. Supporters of IFL state that dissociating disability from identity reinforces negative and derogatory notions of disability. For this reason, individuals who are of this perspective often reclaim identifiers such as “diabetic.” The arguments for PFL and IFL both point towards a powerful question: how does the language that we use reinforce norms with regards to ability?

I interviewed Krista Lambie, Manager of Accessibility, Equity and Career services, about how these language prescriptions are or can be applied at Quest. We spoke about how Quest’s resources use PFL because, “it is currently the most prevalent, best practice.” In the interview, Lambie also provided general tips for the Quest community. The first was, “use what people identify for themselves.” This sounds simple enough, but it can be challenging and uncomfortable to confront someone about their personal preferences, let alone confronting someone about their health. To this, Lambie suggested identifying what you’re doing and saying why you’re doing it, when appropriate. By acknowledging that there are different ways for people to identify, we create safe spaces for people to be as they wish. As Lambie so eloquently stated, “understand that our language with relation to protected characteristics and human rights is ever evolving. Be open to that being reframed for you when necessary.”