Partnerships

Saint Mary’s archaeological expedition to share the story of people enslaved at coffee plantation in Cuba

 Students unearthing artificacts at the Angerona Plantation archaeology site. 

Students unearthing artificacts at the Angerona Plantation archaeology site. 

A group of Canadian university students are about to depart on an archeological expedition to Cuba, spearheaded by Saint Mary’s University. The students will be excavating historical artifacts and investigating the cemetery at Angerona, a Cuban national historic site and former slave plantation, 80 kilometres east of Havana.

Interested in applying to join the expedition or looking for more information?

Email Professor Taylor at c.aarontaylor@gmail.com. The fee to join the expedition is $1600 (this includes accommodations, meals and transportation within Cuba) plus airfare and tuition (2 credits). The deadline to apply is May 4th.

“This expedition offers an opportunity to work with our partners in Cuba to uncover more of the lost history of the Angerona Coffee Plantation,” said Aaron Taylor, a Professor of Archaeology at Saint Mary’s and the program’s instructor.  “This plantation has a big historical significance in Cuba, and we want to help tell the stories of the people who were enslaved there.”

During the 19th century, Angerona was one of the largest slave plantations in the Americas—yet little is known about the day-to-day lives of the people who lived there.

 A collection of some of the artifacts found in the first year of the excavation.

A collection of some of the artifacts found in the first year of the excavation.

From June 10 to July 1, students from Canada and Cuba will be working together on excavating, identifying and interpreting the artifacts they find.

In addition to continued exploration of the site’s barracks, this expedition will include an investigation of the plantation's cemetery and the recovery of skeletal remains. This will provide a clearer story of life on the plantation. The team will be able to learn more about the people on the plantation, such as their general health, diet, age of death, and burial customs. This will include further research into the possibility that Nova Scotia supplied large quantities of codfish to Cuba during the period of the plantation system.

This trip marks the second year of what will be at least a five-year partnership between Saint Mary’s University, Havana’s Cabinet of Archeology and the College of San Geronimo.

 For more information about the expedition and to apply to join the team, visit http://www.smu.ca/academics/departments/cuba-archaeology.

Saint Mary’s biologists receive federal funding for Fish Behaviour and Physiology (FiBP) Lab

  Dr. Laura Weir and Dr. Anne Dalziel

Dr. Laura Weir and Dr. Anne Dalziel

Two Saint Mary’s biologists have received funding to investigate how environmental variation influences fish populations in Atlantic Canada, which should help predict how fish will fare with continued changes in climate. Drs. Laura Weir and Anne Dalziel will use their $200,000 John R. Evans Leaders Fund award from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to develop a Fish Behaviour and Physiology (FiBP) Lab at Saint Mary’s University.

 “Saint Mary’s is delighted that Drs. Weir and Dalziel have received a prestigious CFI research award,” says Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice-President Academic and Research. “This investment supports not only the world-class research taking place at Saint Mary’s, but also our students access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and technologies.”

Integrative studies that combine the genetic, biochemical, physiological, and behavioural mechanisms are needed to understand how fish populations adapt to environmental change. The FiBP Lab will investigate how these mechanisms contribute to differences in environmental tolerance, physiological performance, and reproductive behaviour among populations and species of fish common to Atlantic Canada, including salmon, trout, stickleback, killifish, alewife, and herring.

“Fish are a valuable natural resource,” says Dr. Laura Weir, assistant professor in the Department of Biology. “Our research will provide important baseline knowledge and inform policy and conservation efforts for our local fish populations.”

Research in the FiBP Lab will also help scientists and the public understand how biodiversity in aquatic environments is affected by coastal development.

“Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and understanding how changes to coastal waters will impact the animals living there is essential,” says Dr. Anne Dalziel, assistant professor in the Department of Biology.

The FiBP Lab formalizes an existing research collaboration between Dr. Anne Dalziel, an expert in fish physiology and evolutionary biology, and Dr. Laura Weir, whose expertise lies in behavioural and evolutionary ecology. Currently, the pair are working together to discover the physiological and behavioural mechanisms that lead to the unique breeding coloration of the white stickleback, an endemic Nova Scotian fish.

About the John R. Evans Leaders Fund

The John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) supports Canadian researchers by providing them with the research tools and infrastructure required to become leaders in their field. It also helps Canadian institutions attract and retain world-class researchers by remaining internationally competitive in areas of research and technology development aligned with their strategic priorities.

Celebrating global connections

 Dr. Charles Beaupre, Canadian Co-Director; Maria Pan, Chinese Co-Director; Susan Summerby-Murray, Saint Mary's President Rob Summerby-Murray; Dr. Eric Henry, incoming Canadian Co-Director; Dr. Guo, Zhaoyang incoming Chinese Co-Director

Dr. Charles Beaupre, Canadian Co-Director; Maria Pan, Chinese Co-Director; Susan Summerby-Murray, Saint Mary's President Rob Summerby-Murray; Dr. Eric Henry, incoming Canadian Co-Director; Dr. Guo, Zhaoyang incoming Chinese Co-Director

Today was a celebration of global connections between Saint Mary's University and our partner institutions in China, notably Xiamen University. 

 Maria Pan receives a gift of appreciation from President Rob Summerby-Murray

Maria Pan receives a gift of appreciation from President Rob Summerby-Murray

The University hosted a fond farewell for outgoing Co-Director of the Confucius Institute at Saint Mary's University, Maria Pan.  It was also a time to welcome her successor, Dr. Guo, Zhaoyang,  who has arrived on campus.  At the luncheon today, hosted by President Rob Summerby-Murray and his wife Susan, members of the Confucius Institute gathered with colleagues from Saint Mary's University, the Chinese Society of Nova Scotia and local business leaders.

"The success of the Confucius Institute at Saint Mary's is a testament to the long-standing connection between Saint Mary's and Xiamen University in China," said Rob Summerby-Murray. "The support from Xiamen and from Hanban has been greatly appreciated. Under the direction of Maria Pan, the Chinese Co-Director, the cultural exchange and community engagement has grown by leaps and bounds. "

President Summerby-Murray went on to note that Maria Pan has been a Co-Director for six and a half years, a demonstration of her strong leadership and the considerable accomplishments under her tenure.

Today also marked another transition as outgoing Canadian Co-Director Dr. Charles Beaupre and the university community welcomed Dr. Eric Henry into the role of Canadian Co-Director.

Provincial ministers meet at Saint Mary's CLARI facility

 Robert Summerby Murray, President of Saint Mary's gives a tour of the Atrium to Labi Kousoulis, Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and Advanced Education; Richard Brown, Prince Edward Island Minister of Communities, Land and Environment; and Zach Churchill, Nova Scotia Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development

Robert Summerby Murray, President of Saint Mary's gives a tour of the Atrium to Labi Kousoulis, Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and Advanced Education; Richard Brown, Prince Edward Island Minister of Communities, Land and Environment; and Zach Churchill, Nova Scotia Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development

Saint Mary's was honoured to host a meeting of members of the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET)  at our CLARI facility today.

The council is an agency comprised of the provincial departments across Atlantic Canada responsible for public and post-secondary education, and its purpose is to enhance cooperation in public and post-secondary education by working together to improve learning, optimize efficiencies and bring added value to provincial initiatives.

"CLARI is an example of the positive change promoted by CAMET. This space allows us to work together across geography, across sectors and across organizations. So it is very fitting you are here."
- Robert Summerby Murray, President of Saint Mary's University

CLARI is a cross-province, multi-post-secondary education partnership designed to support Nova Scotia communities with academic and research expertise, designated spaces and communications technology to address social and economic challenges.

Enactus Saint Mary’s expand Square Roots Token Program before departure to Enactus World Cup

 (Left to Right) King of Donair co-owner Nicholas Nahas; Basha Lebanese co-owner Chico Rashaydeh and his father, Khalas Rashaydeh; the Honourable Lena Metlege Diab; Saint Mary's University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray; Ray's Lebanese Cuisine owner Hady Bahliss; and Enactus Saint Mary's co-presidents Meredith Drost and Valerie Caswell. 

(Left to Right) King of Donair co-owner Nicholas Nahas; Basha Lebanese co-owner Chico Rashaydeh and his father, Khalas Rashaydeh; the Honourable Lena Metlege Diab; Saint Mary's University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray; Ray's Lebanese Cuisine owner Hady Bahliss; and Enactus Saint Mary's co-presidents Meredith Drost and Valerie Caswell. 

Enactus Saint Mary’s students are proving that business and social good can be one in the same. Enactus Saint Mary’s students created the Square Roots Token Program, which aims to help address food insecurity and reduce food waste in the province.

On Tuesday, September 19th, the newest restaurant to take part in their Square Roots Token Program was announced. King of Donair’s four locations on Quinpool Road, Lacewood Drive, Windmill Road and Sackville Drive, join pioneer restaurants Basha Lebanese on Inglis Street, Rys Mediterranean on Spring Garden Road, and Ray’s Lebanese Cuisine in Bayer’s Lake.

“I hate waste, especially when it comes to food which is why I was more than excited to join the Square Roots Token Program,” says Nicholas Nahas, co-owner of King of Donair. “I would love to see greater accessibility for the tokens and more businesses join so that food waste is not even a concern in the city. I believe in this the program and hope it succeeds not only as a business owner but as a graduate of Saint Mary's University.”

 Two students holding the Square Roots tokens.

Two students holding the Square Roots tokens.

The program works by offering tokens for $5 which can be purchased and given to someone who is known or seen to be in need. The tokens are then redeemable by the recipient for a meal made from surplus food ingredients from partnering restaurants.

The announcement comes just ahead of the team’s departure for London, England, where they will pitch the Square Roots Token Program at the Enactus World Cup. The Enactus World Cup takes place from September 26-28, and will mark Enactus Saint Mary’s first time on the international stage.

“This is what we mean when we say Saint Mary’s students are citizens of the world,” says Saint Mary’s University President, Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “It’s thinking how your day-to-day work and activities, even while you’re a student, can have a beneficial impact on others outside the university, community and indeed around the world.”

Enactus is the largest student leadership organization in the world, striving to solve environmental, social and economic issues through entrepreneurial action. With over 150 students involved on campus, Enactus Saint Mary’s is one of the chapters leading the charge on the national, and soon to be, international scale.

“Our Square Roots Token Program began in April 2017 and we are so excited about the amazing response and support that we have received from our partnering restaurants in Nova Scotia,” says Meredith Drost, Co-President of Enactus. “It is truly inspiring to see the passion to reduce food waste in our own community from our customers and partners. Our team is also thrilled to have the opportunity share our program with the world when we travel to the Enactus World Exposition next week in London, England. We would not be here today without the amazing support of Saint Mary's University, the Sobey School of Business and the Business Development Centre.”

The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab attended the event today on behalf of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis to celebrate the program’s latest achievements.

"We all know that government alone does not have all the answers to the challenges we face. We have to look to the community and the private sector to find solutions. When this happens, we witness a powerful force for change,” says Ms. Metlege Diab.  "This new formula for success combines business acumen with social consciousness. It teaches us how human capital can be directed and best used. This will benefit our economy as a whole - and help us build a stronger Nova Scotia.”

As a show of support for the program, President Summerby-Murray said the University purchased 100 tokens to be delivered by the students to those in need.