Many people are pulling together to create different programming for students given the new reality that comes with COVID-19. However, St.FX University has existing societies and groups in place, which makes these new programs more easily accessible, and possible to create. One group on campus that has been working hard this summer and that will continue throughout the year to deliver new and revamped programming to help students adapt, is CFXU Radio.
Otherwise known as The Fox, CFXU Radio is student led, and student driven. Given the pandemic, and restrictions on meeting in large groups in person, the radio is presumably going to play a bigger part in campus life this year. Marin McBeath, the new Station Manager for 2021, says that this year, she wants to revamp the radio station. Marin says,
“We have so many resources, but we need to rethink how we can make them accessible, especially in light of our current global pandemic. We are going to publicize much more on our social media platforms about upcoming events, and this year, we are going to be partnering with the Students Union entities to produce Bingo Nights with prizes that will potentially be delivered via Drive-U.”
Marin knows very well the challenges that come along with the Radio. Working her way up from intern, to music director, and now managing the station, she says the Radio has offered her an opportunity to “grow as a leader”. Coming to St.FX as a transfer student from Ottawa U, Marin enjoys the multitude of opportunities that have become available to her since her transfer. Marin recalls that her transfer had a lot to do with the small and inclusive feeling that St.FX offered. In Ottawa, Marin felt slightly lost in the crowd, as the university itself was nearly as big as her hometown of Moncton, NB. Both of her siblings, already pursuing their studies at St.FX encouraged her to apply.
Marin applied to both the Jazz Studies program, and the Bachelor of Arts program here at St.FX. Marin originally began her St.FX journey in the Jazz program which she loved, before switching into the History program which she had previously been studying during her time at Ottawa U. The Jazz program gave her the confidence to apply to the Radio, as many of the previous station managers had been involved in the Jazz program as well. Marin said,
“The Radio has been a safe space for me. I get to hangout with artsy folks who love all kinds of art and music. Music has been a gateway to community for me. Meeting new people can be hard and awkward, especially when you have social anxiety like I do. Having something to meet and discuss always helps connect you to humans.”
Marin remains active in many aspects of campus life other than the Radio as well. She is not only taking an Honours in History but has also been Co-President of the History Society for two years. Marin also sits on the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee and gives consent workshops in cooperation with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association (AWRCSASA). In relation to her time at X, Marin speaks very highly of St.FX’s Sexual Violence and Response Advocate, Heather Blackburn, whom she says is “is extremely supportive” and approachable. This extra effort put forth by Heather in her advocacy, is one of the reasons Marin feels that X was the right fit for her. The staff here truly care about students and their successes.
Marin mentions that she would be amiss, if she forgot to mention the History Professors who she says were instrumental in her success academically. Nancy Forestell, teaches both Women’s and Gender Studies and History. Marin says,
“Nancy has encourages me and believed in me, boosting my confidence that enabled me to commit to an undergrad honours thesis. I am grateful for her lectures that went deep into, at times, heavy topics.”
Now, with COVID-19, Marin has been spending her time preparing for her honour’s thesis. She notes that as a history student, much of what she does is read, so the online format of classes this year was not going to deter her from attending classes. When St.FX announced that they would be returning in person, Marin opted for a mixed method delivery, taking both online and in person courses. Last Semester, Marin missed having certain classes in person, so this mixed course delivery sounded like a good option for her. She says that when the year came to the abrupt close, she missed “some of her classes, especially those with Barry Mackenzie. His classes allowed me to chat with my peers in group discussions, and I found myself remembering insights more after those discussion periods.”
Marin says it is important this year to keep an eye out for programming that is being offered online so that we can keep our community safe. This year, we can look forward to Radio shows like Miscellaneous Rhythm, and Radio Bingo which will be advertised on CFXU’s social media. The History Society will also be doing some ‘History Hangs’ with various topics that they are hoping to deliver via Zoom. I for one am happy that we have such great societies and clubs, which offers students the opportunities to flourish. As Marin’s experience at St.FX points out, it is important to get out there – even if that looks different now-a-days!