uOPRA Elections 2015

The school year is finally coming to an end and with it uOPRA’s 2014-2015 Executive team finds a new generation of PR and Comm leaders that will take the club to a whole new level.

Elections for the new 2015-2016 Exec team will be held this Sunday, April 19th at 10:00 am at the University of Ottawa (Faculty of Social Sciences Building, room 1005). All candidates will give a short speech outlining why they would be a good fit for the team, and what new ideas they would like to implement for the upcoming year. We hope to see you there to support and vote for your favourites!

Without further ado, here are the candidates!

Courtney Saunders


A University of Ottawa student, heading into her 3rd year of studies, is majoring in Communication and minoring in Business Management. Upon graduation, she has aspirations of a career in event management. Courtney was raised in a small town located between Kingston and Toronto, but was drawn to Ottawa from an early age for its picturesque downtown and beautiful sites. Courtney is passionate about volunteering, her friends and family, recreational running, cooking, canoeing and camping. She believes that everyday is just another opportunity to smile and appreciate the little things that life has to offer.

Running for: President | VP Finance

Jahrusha Coke-Talbot


Running for: President | VP Social

Sarah Pudwell


Sarah Pudwell is a second year student in the Communications program. This is her first year with uOPRA but she has always had an interest in being part of a team working together to do great things. She has played an important role in the planning and organizing of many events in the past and is excited to continue bringing her skills to the uOPRA team next year.

Running for: VP Social | VP Secretary

Jocelyn Courneya


Finishing up her second year, Jocelyn is a Communications major with minor in Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. A member of uOPRA since its start in 2013, Jocelyn’s passions lay within social media, public relations for non-government organizations and blogging. Equipped with coffee, Jocelyn is always ready to meet new people, take on challenges, and gets active in her support of all uOPRA activities and initiatives.

Running for: VP Social | VP Secretary

Shanice Atkins-Broome


Shanice Atkins-Broome is a 19 year old student, currently studying at the University of Ottawa. She is  majoring Public Relations to receive her Honors of Bachelors. With passions such as acting, writing, and even dancing at times, Shanice is able to express her creativity through blogging – being one of UOPRA’s bloggers. With hopes of being in the PR industry, Shanice takes the experience of being apart of such a diverse organization in hopes to further her dreams of being a PR professional and share her talented gifts with others.

Running for: VP Secretary

Emily Guterres


As a second year member of UOPRA, Emily feels like she knows the club/organization inside out. She thinks that she would make a great fit as a VP Secretary because of all her past efforts with UOPRA.

She is not only familiar with the history of the club, but she brings fresh and new ideas to uOPRA and she’s ready to put them into action. She is driven and hardworking. She would be thrilled to be a part of the 2015 – 2016 Executive team.

Running for: VP Secretary

Jordan Alfred


Jordan Alfred is currently a third year student at the University of Ottawa. He is pursuing a double major in Communications and Criminology. He decided to get involved with the UOttawa Public Relations Association after attending their first annual conference. His passion for Public Relations developed in High school, wherein he became intrigued with the concept of shaping people’s perceptions, in reference to how they view companies and certain figures within the media. After graduation, his goal is to either, pursue a graduate degree in Public Relations or attend law school. When he isn’t focusing on school, he enjoys playing sports (basketball, skiing, running) , watching TV shows, and hanging out with friends.

Running for: VP Finance 


What Are You Wearing?

The history behind your favourite brands, slogans, and logos

Written by: Jocelyn Courneya

Edited by: Patricia Michelena

Have you ever purchased a t-shirt, or liked and reposted an image because you thought, “Hey, that looks really cool,” but didn’t know the true symbolism or meaning behind it? It is likely we’ve all been a culprit of this at one point or another. Liking how something looks is a major part of our reasoning for purchasing or sharing something. However, many popularized brands and organizations come accompanied by logos and imagery that carry a much deeper meaning than “looking cool”. Some of our favourite slogans and brands come with stories containing much greater historical and social meanings than you may have thought.

To give you some more insight on the t-shirt you’re wearing, or last picture you liked on the Facebook page of your favourite organization, uOPRA has broken down the history behind some of our favourite logos, slogans and brands.

Slogan: Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm-And-Carry-On

We use it when we fail a test, miss out on our morning coffee, or are facing a tough assignment at work. “Keep Calm and Carry On” is a prime example of a slogan that has not only been decorating offices, coffee mugs, bedroom walls, and t-shirts over the years, but carries its use into our daily lives.

History: While it may be fairly new in popular use, the beloved logo is actually over half a century old. The white lettering on top the union jack, is a product of the propaganda initiatives of the British government, used during the Second World War.

These posters decorated England in attempts to lower anxieties over the ongoing war and attacks within and outside of Europe. The posters were apparently disposed of entirely after the war had ended, and resurfaced decades later, after one of the historical posters was rediscovered. Instead of just applying to war, the popularized image now encourages calmness in our day-to-day anxieties.

Organization: Anonymous (Guy Fawkes Mask)


If you’re a fan of their work, or consider yourself a twenty-first century activist, slacktivist, or hacktivist, chances are you have at least noticed the grin wearing masks commonly dawned by many of today’s protesters and anarchists. Often the most recognized wearers of these identity-hiding masks are those members of the online activist group Anonymous. Maybe you’ve worn one yourself, have shown your support for the group through a profile picture or cover photo, or recognize the image from the film V for Vendetta. Whatever the connection may be, many do not know the story of the face behind the mask, or in this case, the face that is the mask.

History: The white anonymous mask is created in the image of 17th century rebel and British anarchist, Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was a member of a group of English Catholics who had plotted to blow up the house of lords, and assassinate and dethrone the Protestant King James, in what is historically known as the Gunpowder Plot. Although the plan was debunked by an anonymous letter of warning sent to the monarchy, fictional stories and images of Fawkes, created long after his death, made the early rebel a symbolic figure of protest and anarchy.

Many moons later, the face of Fawkes, in the form of a mask, was outfitted to the anarchist main character in the Alan Moore and David Lloyd comic V for Vendetta. The comic was later adopted as a popular film. The mask is now worn by many to symbolize their movements in overthrowing and denying current systems of power and control, and can be seen in use online by many hacktivist groups, and on popular websites like 4Chan.

Company: Chanel



While you may not be in the position to afford one of their designer fashion products, chances are that the logo of this famous fashion line has caught your attention a time or two.

History: Following popularized rumours from within the fashion industry, the designer brand’s famous interlocked CC logo is not just a symbol for the name of the organization’s founder Coco Chanel. Other theories state that the logo actually comes from the original emblem on the Château de Crémat in Nice, France. The interlocking Cs can be viewed on the stained glass window of the chateau, which can be viewed in the image below.








Fun fact, the font used in the logo was designed specifically for Chanel!

Brand: Obey


While you may recognize this logo being sported by skateboarders, Tyler the Creator and being stamped across your boyfriend’s favourite snapback, the famous red and white logo goes beyond being just the symbol for a popular clothing company.

History: Shepard Fairey is the man behind the brand, creating the popularized abstract sticker of late wrestler Andre the Giant while studying art in Rhode Island in 1989. Fairey’s sticker sparked a movement of embracing a “do-it-yourself” mindset through street art, which carried on into North American punk and skate culture.

If you’ve ever taken an interest in the street-art culture, take notice of the tag lines and stickers used by some artists to publicly advertise their works. While the Obey logo has greatly grown in recent popularity, being found in stores like Urban Outfitters, the logo symbolizes a large movement within the underground art world. The idea of Obey acting as an oxymoron is that its real messaging is to “disobey” popularized advertisements and propaganda, and instead embrace individualism and freedom.

So, what’s in a brand? Much more than you may think. Those daily symbols and images we may have become almost numb to have a lot more to say than you may think. Have a brand you love or organization you support? Check out their origins, chances are by wearing, sharing, and supporting them, you’re saying more than you thought.

Spark Creativity this Valentine’s Day

Written by: Pina Capuano

Edited by: Sarah Dean

February is a month where we seek shelter from the dragging winter days and wait for a groundhog to tell us if spring will strike early. It also marks another golden opportunity for companies to show off their branding strategies and strut their stuff on the Valentine’s Day runway. But while the romantics of us swoon over the thought of flowers, poems, and chocolates, Valentine traditions are being broken as companies come up with creative ways to steal our hearts. 

Tea: Valentine’s Day Blends

Tea: Valentine’s Day Blends

Tea, for one, has come onto the scene hotter than ever. With specialty tea shops cropping up everywhere and following the suit of specialty coffee shops like Starbucks and Second Cup, Davids Tea is one company putting their spin on Valentine’s Day. Complete festive Valentine and love-inspired blends, pink tea accessories, and greeting cards, Davids Tea is giving romantics the opportunity to do something a little different, and a little unique this Valentine’s Day.

Arthur George by Robert Kardashian

Arthur George by Robert Kardashian

If you’re not into tea, another way to warm up your Valentine’s heart is by starting feet first. Arthur George by Robert Kardashian has a line of Valentine’s Day socks complete with playful sayings and colourful hearts. Sure, footwear doesn’t exactly scream romance, but these fun socks are a great way to add some personality into your February 14th festivities.

 The best part about these unique gifts though, is that they still leave plenty of room for classic boxes of chocolates and flower bouquets. If you’re really looking to go outside of the heart-shaped box though, why not get creative?

 Glass blowing studios usually offer a variety of classes at different skill levels and give students the opportunity to make anything from vases, to paper weights, and jewelry. It’s a craft that is unique and you’d be surprised at just how many cities have glass blowing studios and artists. Both group lessons and private classes are available and whether it’s a package through a website like Goupon, or one directly through your local glass blowing studio, this one of a kind surprise is sure to melt your Valentine’s heart.

Flo Glassblowing - Pink Vase & Ornament

Flo Glassblowing – Pink Vase & Ornament

 So there you have it, three ways to make this Valentine’s Day your own and surprise that special someone with something as unique as your love.

Find your Passion within PR

Written by: Courtney Saunders

Edited by: Emilee Darling & Patricia Michelena


For all of my life, the importance of health and nutrition has been prominent within my household. As I got older, my enjoyment and desire to really delve into the health and nutrition world intensified. However, as a student who has never truly excelled in science, but loved the communication and business field, I knew that an education in communication and business was more catered to my strengths than an education in nutrition. Luckily, while I was thinking how I could incorporate my love for nutrition with that in communications, I stumbled across Crave PR. I was so excited to find a local company, that combined two relatively distinct, and separate career avenues together. It was that moment that I realized that everyone’s dream job is out there, ready and waiting to be discovered.

An education in public relations allows for many opportunities to branch off in a direction that allows you to truly pursue your passion. Immersed within program, when I really started to unearth the field and its components, I realized it is a career that offers flexibility in its practices, and it will allow me to pursue my passion for health and nutrition.

Based in Burlington, Ontario, Crave PR is a public relations firm that specializes in food, nutrition and wellness, as well as in lifestyle products and services. At the same time, it also assists clients in areas of business, such as consumer brands in food manufacturing, commodity marketing boards, kitchenware, consumer packaged goods, snack foods, along with health, wellness and beauty brands, pharmaceuticals and family and lifestyle products and services. I personally love how Crave PR works with clients and brands to help develop and explore avenues for PR opportunities while assisting clients in understanding how to fully utilize the range of multimedia communication tools available for their company or organization.

Crave PR acknowledges that reaching the desired audience is more than just simply getting the attention of the media and obtaining news coverage. With a carefully designed “menu” of services, Crave PR is able to help clients who focus on health and wellness gain attention from consumers, media outlets, blogs and social media platforms.

To name only a few of their services, Crave PR combines the love of communications, event management, writing and editing with photography and recipe development, which allows them to offer a very diverse environment to work within.

Crave PR is a great example of how the field of public relations can be the doorway towards an exciting career, and the realization that you can effectively incorporate your passions into said career. A job in public relations allows individuals opportunities to embrace what they are passionate about and apply that passion to their work.

 Crave PR is just one example of a public relations firm that can align with your personal interests. With the vast number of PR firms in a wide variety of areas of interest, you will definitely be able to find an organization that suits you, that is waiting for young, creative individuals to welcome to their team.


Written by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

Edited by: Pina Capuano & Patricia Michelena



Will Tom Brady receive yet another Super Bowl ring? Or will the Seattle Seahawks be back-to-back champions like the New England Patriots?

Before football season approaches, fans already have their top two picks for which teams will make it to the Super Bowl. Right or wrong, the anticipation for the Super Bowl increases as football season comes to a close.

The following three examples illustrate how public relations strategies are used to draw the audience’s attention towards football’s biggest night of the year.


Whether it’s being humorous with reporters, or by granting interviews to gain extra exposure, football players across the country embrace Media Day. Journalists approach the players to gather insights about their game strategies, giving fans the inside scoop as the Super Bowl approaches.

Reporters aren’t only interested in the players though, they also try to capture the momentum leading up to the big match between the New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks. Interesting stories are revealed, especially with the Seattle Seahawks participating in a back-to-back Super Bowl championship game.

Fascinating questions arise on Media Day, such as whether the Patriots will stop Lynch, and how the Seahawks will do the same against Brady. Questions about how players handle media exposure, are commonly asked and we can expect concerns to arise about the deflated football scandal.   In all, Media Day garners a lot of publicity and gives us a taste of what’s to come tonight.

Here is an example of this year’s Media Day, stauOPRA2rring the Seahawks own, Richard Sherman.


What platform can grab the attention of more than one hundred million viewers on sport’s biggest championship game of the year? COMMERCIAL ADS! Before Sunday’s big game, countless commercial ads are advertised. Delivering a variety of content, they appear to all propose very similar messages: watch the Super Bowl and buy my product.

From Justin Timberlake, to Kim Kardashian, corporations hire high-profile celebrities to spark the interest of football fans everywhere, in hopes of receiveing an increase in their product sales. Some commercial ads consist of a combination between alcohol, technology, food, cars, and various other products that fans desire.

Fortunately, for Universal Pictures, their timing couldn’t have been better. Their commercial for film, Ted 2, stars Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who’s currently the talk of town just days after he addressed his team’s public scandal about “deflate-gate.”  For Universal Pictures, it’s a chance to turn this obstacle into an opportunity by having Brady’s character perceived in a more positive way.


uOPRA3Remember Prince’s ’07 performance where the skies opened with actual rain during his ‘Purple Rain’ finale? Or Beyonce exploding on stage by having all the ‘single ladies’ tell their men to put a ring on it?

Over the past decade, many talented and phenomenal artists have graced the Super Bowl stage showcasing their versatile musical skills. The significance of the Super Bowl halftime show embodies an essential connection to pop culture the television audience has nationwide. From a public relations perspective, it broadens the brand of the performing artists and helps expand their musical audience as well. From billboard ads, to parody videos, it all builds anticipation and promotion to football’s biggest night of the season.

This year, ‘Katycats’, as Katy Perry calls her fans, will witness Ms. Perry hit the famous Super Bowl stage. With a massive hit like ‘Firework,’ it’s possible Katy may do the unthinkable and just blow the minds of the audience. Will she introduce the song with real fire works?

When the game is done, either the Seahawks will be Super Bowl champions, for the second year in a row, or the New England Patriots will be champions once again. Tonight we will see how the football season concludes and what it means for the upcoming year.

Course Review: CMN 3130

Written by: Sarah Dean

Edited by: Patricia Michelena

CMN3130| Communication Planning

Professor: Evan Potter

Communication Planning, CMN 3130, was by far the most beneficial and hands on course I have taken so far in my University career. Both Evan Potter and Natalie Montgomery taught this course during the fall semester of 2014. Although I can genuinely say Natalie Montgomery was one of the greatest professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, I cannot personally comment on her Communication Planning course, or review it. My professor for this course was Evan Potter, the supervisor of the Journalism program at U of O.

As I approached the fourth year of my communications degree, I was ecstatic to start classes that didn’t require me to sit in a lecture hall with 300 people, listening to a professor speak for 3 hours a week. Don’t get me wrong, these professors were brilliant, and I learned more about communication theories and issues surrounding this particular industry than I could have imagined. However, I was ready for the practical experience, and was eager to really learn what it meant to be a communicator.


This is exactly what Communication Planning taught me. It was a third year course, consisting of a 3-hour night class, with approximately 60 people in a small sized classroom. Additionally, there was one required textbook for this class, and although it was expensive and could probably be found online, I found it extremely helpful to study for the midterm and exam. Each class consisted of discussions of current issues relating to crisis communications and communication planning within an organization. This was by far the greatest part of this course, and allowed us as students to relate all the theories and practices we were learning to real life situations we were interested in. On top of that, each class ended with in-class group work of completely a communication plan, adding a new step or aspect each week, and then briefly presenting our material to the class.

Every course comes with some negative aspects. In this case, these negatives were the midterm and final exams. Although they seemed like deal breakers at the time, because I found them absolutely horrible, they actually weren’t as bad as I thought once I received my marks back.

The midterm was a group project, that was very time consuming and unlike any other project I’d done so far. We were to create a public environment analysis, which consisted of a public opinion scan and a media analysis, from 50 news articles and other articles/ sources given to us. This may seem difficult enough, but to make it even harder the material was only handed out the very last day of classes before reading week, and the final project was due the very first day back from reading week. This made it impossible to meet with group members more than once, resulting in work none of us were proud to submit. On a positive note, the professor graded very quickly and although we thought it was poorly done, we received an A, so none of us could really complain.

In terms of the final exam, it seemed very straight forward going into it, as we were told exactly what we had to do and what we had to know in terms of theories and practices. However, this was the only final I had ever written that took me over 3 hours to complete. When I walked out of the final exam classroom after 3.5 hours, 95% of the students were still writing. The exam clearly had too much information and not enough time. However, like the midterm, it was also graded quite well, so I can’t really complain too much about that either.

This class was challenging enough, but not so much that it made it impossible to be productive. Every class seemed like we were learning new strategies we could actually use in our future careers, which was a really great change from other classes I’ve taken in Communications. Although there were some issues with the testing, overall I really enjoyed both the prof and the course as a whole.

Rating: 8/10

There’s Magic in You During the Season of Giving

Written by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

The day before the biggest holiday has arrived – Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas and is recognized as a holiday for many, in anticipation of Christmas Day. But for some, Christmas Eve is the day you hustle and bustle for last minute shopping for family and friends. And for young kids, it’s the day you stay up at night for the first sign of Santa.

Everyone tends to go through different emotions during Christmas season. While there are many who are eager to open their gifts and look forward to drinking Eggnog, others may be grieving a sudden loss in their family or have no home to be comforted with love.

From the highs to the lows, Christmas season is celebrated differently for a variety of people.While we may be caught up in the moment of excitement, we should always remember there are people with little to nothing.

Here are 3 ways your presence can make a difference this holiday season:

Participate in Holiday Food Drives


Throughout the holiday season, there are plenty of businesses hosting food drives. Many companies seek employees, and sometimes visitors, to bring in non-perishable canned goods. These items are usually donated to local food banks within the community. This is a great way to lend a hand to those in need and an amazing way to help your community.

Game Night


Who doesn’t love participating in fun activities for a great cause? I sure do! You may not want to collect perishable food items and bring them to your local food bank alone. But you’re willing to go bowling with your peers and dance along to classic 90’s jams. Well why not make it 2 in 1? Grab a couple of your friends to go bowling and have them bring perishable food items. In all, you enjoy a great night out with friends and collect cans where a group of you can later deliver to a local food bank.

Share a Smile


The simplest things mean the most. And they do say, “the best things in life are free.” Life is filled with the simplest things that can leave the greatest effects on an individual. There are days where the less fortunate don’t have a home. A home where one is cherished with love and feeling secured with their own being. By simply sharing a smile with someone you come across, this can completely change their attitude. It must be an amazing feeling for those in need to know there are genuine and warm hearted souls out there. If you come across someone, quickly lace them with a smile. A smile is free and has the power to be the source of joy for someone.


From my family to yours, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas!


Team uOPRA xo





Christmas Music: For Profit or For Cheer?

Written by: Jordan Alfred; Edited by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

Growing up, Christmas was my favorite holiday of the year. I was able to see extended family I hadn’t seen in months, indulge in Christmas food and lots of eggnog. All while listening to my favorite classic Christmas songs.

Christmas and holiday music have truly become an indispensable part of pop music. People in the music industry noticed that it became an essential factor in the holiday season and capitalized on this. They created an entire market based solely around keeping the same traditional themed music, just with different approaches and new artist. From a PR perspective, it’s clear that by using these songs in combination with promoting a company or product is extremely beneficial and generates vast amounts of profit. So, what songs have been commercialized and used the most year after year? Here are a few to give you an idea.


  • All I want for Christmas is You– Written and produced by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey, this song was released in 1994 as the lead single from her first holiday album, ‘Merry Christmas’. The song has been covered by 18 major artists and has been used in countless TV shows, movies and commercials. It also been critically acclaimed and established as a Christmas standard in North America, especially in my home.



  • “This Christmas” – Sung originally by American jazz musician Donny Hathaway in 1970 this song did not gain much recognition during its era. However, after countless other artists chose to cover this song it has become one of the most popular songs in Pop and R&B to date.


  • “Jingle Bells” – In 1857 James Lord Pierpont published one of the best-known holiday songs across the globe. Originally written for American Thanksgiving, lyric changes and multiple revisions altered it use for Christmas. The song has been performed and recorded by a wide variety of artist from The Beatles to Frank Sinatra and countless other artist. It was also the first song broadcast in outer space.


Of course those are only a few of the most well known Christmas songs. Other notable Christmas songs that have become commercialized are, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, “12 Days of Christmas”, and “White Christmas”. All things considered, whether you believe the commercialization of Christmas songs to be a good thing or bad thing, they are here to stay, just ask Michael Bublé or Mariah Carey.

7 Things to Let Go of Before 2016

Written by: Emily Guterres; Edited by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

The New Year is slowly approaching and with the holiday season already upon us, many of us are reevaluating life choices.

Some are reflecting on goals achieved or mistakes made. But why wait for the New Year when we can start making changes now?

Here are 7 things to let go of before 2016:

1. Let go of your comfort zone. 

The truest forms of self-actualization occur out of the richness we experience. Opportunities and life opens up in so many remarkable ways when we allow ourselves to face our fears and trade in our every day comforts for a life that we may have always desired.

2. Let go of your opinions of everyone’s life. 

Nobody has a perfect life. Although, we all like to make it seem like we do. Social media shows everyone’s filtered life, blissful accounts of flawless friendships and relationships. In this digital era, where comparing yourself to others has never been easier, it’s important to remember people are easily capable of curating and painting false pictures of their life. Those girls or guys we compare ourselves too are capable of doing the exact same thing.

  1. Let go of waiting.

It’s often easy to get carried away with the infatuation of waiting. Waiting for things can become almost familiar. Waiting for someone to ask you out, waiting for the promotion at work, or even waiting for the first text –it’s all easy to do. How about we let go of waiting and make our lives what we want it to be?

We all have potential within us – it’s the adrenaline that makes your heart race, it’s what you think about constantly. If we meet our goals with the same ambition, we cannot fail at making even our craziest dreams a reality.

  1. Let go of trying to change people.

You should treat others with the way you want to be treated. So often we approach situations with an elitists attitude. It’s easy to think their way is the “right” way. Instead of pointing out what’s wrong with someone, maybe we should look at ourselves. We all can do things to improve our self. We could eat better, exercise more or motivate ourselves to find a better career.  Your energy would be better spent on helping yourself become the better person instead of focusing it upon others.

  1. Let go of a love that won’t love you back.

Love is quite possibly the most complex, exciting and addictive feeling. It’s a feeling that can build someone up to be the best version of themselves. Or it can break someone. It’s important to remember the struggles, the thing that caused the relationship to end in the first place.

There is always someone out there for everyone.

There is someone willing to accept your flaws, quirks, and insecurities. These are the breathtaking people that you should be looking for. There are so many people who have the potential to create something “special” with you, someone who drives you and inspires you to be the best version of yourself. Open yourself up to the standard of love you deserve.

  1. Let go of the idea that it’s too late.

It’s truly never too late to change your life. It’s never too late to be the person you always wished you could be or to love the way you wanted to love. We don’t have to be the same person we were a year ago. We don’t have to make the mistakes we did when we were younger. We can seek new opportunities.

We have to believe that we’re never too old to change, to pick up the puzzle pieces and start over.

  1. Let go of thinking you have to it all figured out.

It seems like everyone’s asking your sister, your parents, your cousins, maybe even your classmates, “What are you planning on doing with you life? Where do you want to be in 5 years from now?” A lot of people don’t know and that’s okay. Take time to discover your passions and what makes you excited.

Start asking yourself, “Why do I want this opportunity? Is it an opportunity to challenge yourself to grow and make the change you want to see in the world?”

You’ll earn a great income doing things you’re passionate about it, even if it’s not obvious at first. The people who are truly successful at what they do are people who love what they do.

Every day is a new day for a fresh start and a chance to make change.








The Red Holiday Cup

Written by: Courtney Saunders; Edited by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

“Can I Please Have a Grande Peppermint Mocha? Hold the Red Holiday Cup.”

With the unveiling of the 2015 Starbucks red holiday cup on November 1st, many have taken to social media to unleash their feelings about this year’s design. Why is there such uproar over a coffee cup, one might ask? You could say it all boils down to two things: publicity and visibility.

Every November, Starbucks releases their highly anticipated holiday cup design alongside their holiday drinks menu -just in time for Christmas. Starbucks, as like any company. has become increasingly conscious of the need to be culturally and religiously inclusive due to the gladly welcomed diversity represented throughout North America. However, Starbucks’ diversity inclusivity mindset isn’t something new. Rather, it began years ago with the launch of the holiday drinks menu, ensuring that their seasonal promotional campaign was inclusive and that it positively resonated with all customers.

Starbucks states that their 2015 holiday cup, a solid red design, with their iconic green Starbucks logo, takes on a more simplistic and holistic look. This look provides customers a “blank canvas” and a chance to “create a story of their own” expressing the holiday or Christmas in their own unique way. However, customers and concerned citizens are in an uproar over the removal of symbols of the season like ornaments, reindeer, snowman, and snow from the red holiday cup that have been featured in the past.

Those lashing out on social media believe that Starbucks is taking the ‘Christ’ out of ‘Christmas’, silencing the Christianity religion by not featuring iconic holiday symbols on their cups. While Starbucks stands strong behind the need to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.

But what if that’s what Starbucks was going for? A cup that elicited argument through a healthy, controversial, public debate that revolved around an issue that people were passionate about, automatically conjuring up authentic emotions and opinions. In this case, the saying “all PR is good PR” should really be examined. Because why, year-after-year of having creatively and elegantly designed red holiday cups, would Starbucks make the decision to have a plain red cup absent of any of their usual holiday symbols?

The 2015 red holiday cup perfectly fits the Starbucks corporate values of diversity and inclusion. Therefore, Starbucks didn’t bend any cultural inclusion rules, or stray away from their ‘holiday’ themed yearly promotion strategy. With Starbucks being a successful billion-dollar corporation, was the commotion and noise caused by this year’s red holiday cup really an unforeseen accident? Or, is there a small possibility that the seemingly harmless and innocent solid red-coloured holiday cup was created the way it was to cause the controversy, visibility and heated discussion that it did?

How will you be celebrating the last day of 2015?

Written by: Sarah Pudwell; Edited by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

Now that Christmas is almost here, it’s time to start thinking about plans for the next big event of the holiday season. It also happens to be the last one of the year! You know what I’m talking about – New Year’s Eve!

I’ve compiled a list of events that you can do right here in Ottawa. There’s an event for everyone, whether you’re celebrating with friends or family, or even by yourself. So listen up because you’ve only got 13 days to figure out your plans.


#1 NYE Extravaganza Club Crawl 2016

Night Out with Friends

(or family if you’re parents are super hip and into this sort of thing)

Hosted by: Student Tours and Clubzone

Price: $25 (early bird tickets)

Location: The crawl starts at Pub 101 and continues to three other clubs downtown.

Get your friends together for a night of fun in downtown Ottawa. No line or cover at 4 clubs as well as other perks that can be found on their website: http://newyearseveclubcrawl.com/event-info/

#2 NYE on Sparks Street

Fun With the Family

(or with friends because some people don’t do clubs, myself included)

 Hosted by: Sparks Street

Price: FREE

Location: 35 O’Connor Street (Why not Sparks St. you ask? I don’t know, you’ll have to go to find out!)

Live music, midnight countdown feat. Maple Leaf Drop and FIREWORKS. #Kaboom Check it out here: http://sparkslive.com/event_listings.html

#3 NYE in Front of the TV

Night in with the Bae

(friends and family are optional)

 Hosted by: You

Price: Priceless.

Location: Your house. Or your friend’s house if they happen to have a better TV/ couch/ food selection.

If you’re not one for crowds, invite some friends over to watch one of the various NYE Countdowns on TV. Don’t forget the bubbly.


Have a safe and happy New Year!

See you in 2016,

Team uOPRA

Surviving my First Year as a Public Relations Student

Written byAlyssa Dobranski; Edited by: Shanice Atkins-B.

Here’s how I deal with my courses:

  1. Take a lot of notes in class and read them over later.
  2. Actually read the textbook and take notes along the way rather than just highlighting the bolded words.
  4. Use the anonymous question box on LectureTools and Echo 360 to ask the TA questions because I’m too shy (I’m in communications, but I am too shy to communicate. Oh the irony!)
  5. Keep all classes and their content separated and organized.
  6. Take a five minute dance party break when I’m studying and want to die.
  7. Make tons of friends in my classes so I have someone to study with later.
  8. Understand how all of my professors teach so that I get the most out of the class.

I know these seem pretty repetitive to what everyone was told at the very beginning of the semester but trust me, they’re all important when it comes to managing your courses. I’m always so surprised at the amount of notes I have when studying for an exam. Granted, I am that really annoying person who has to write down every tiny detail but either way, there’s always just so much information to know for exams.

The struggle of studying

I think I stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before an exam just trying to cram the last bits of chapter three into my brain, which I can assure you is very useless. No matter how much information you may get in the lecture, be safe and read the textbook anyway. I’ve definitely learned my lesson and I’m so thankful that my good friend coffee was there to support me in my time of need. Okay, so maybe coffee and dance party breaks aren’t essential in surviving course work, but fuel for your body and study breaks are. I really am a coffee addict though so whenever it’s time to whip out the books and slowly die, I usually keep a cup of java nearby just for a little ‘pick me up’. However, the coffee doesn’t last forever and my brain slowly realizes that I’ve tricked it into studying for too long and that’s when I become restless. My body needs to get up and do something after sitting for hours trying to understand why we’re so bad at communicating that we need to be taught how to do it.

Music and Studying

For me, I enjoy listening to music and dancing so much to the point I will put my headphones in and blast Eminem or Beyoncé and dance or fake rap around the room until I feel better. Normal people would just go hangout with friends or go for a walk to the cafeteria where there are mind blowing cookies to make your day, but I’m not normal. Thankfully this is unknown to most people so I can still make all those lovely study buddies in class. And if people find out, well there’s still that anonymous question box for the TA’s.

Friends aka study buddies

I wouldn’t have survived this long without the friends I’ve made and that question box. It’s a relief to know that when you feel completely lost in class other people do too and you’re not alone.. I’m fortunate enough to have the same group of friends in all three of my communication classes, which is especially nice when all of my classes start to merge together. The past few weeks my friends and I have noticed that our professors have all brought up the same points or examples at different times throughout their lectures. Thankfully, my friends and I are able to stay on track understanding the content of our courses.

Understanding my Profs

While keeping the content for each course separate is important, paying attention to each of your professors teaching styles and understanding how to learn from them is just as significant. I got lucky with my professors this semester. They’re all wonderful people and exceptional in their field, but it took me some time to get used to how they teach. Professor Salha is really funny and full of life during her lectures. But at times it’s hard to get the point of her lecture for that day so you need to take notes as best you can and go back later to look at the PowerPoints. Professor Ferguson, I’ve already briefly mentioned, has a lot of experience in her field and has many outside examples that tend to take up most of the class. Utilising the question box in LectureTools and asking the TA to help you understand her point is sometimes necessary. Lastly, Professor Hashash is really good at lecturing but he doesn’t post his slides online. So if you don’t get the information in class, you’re out of luck. (unless you’ve made friends who have the rest of the notes)

These are very minor issues. Overall, my professors are very fair about their examinations and expectations for their students and they’re all willing, to help me if needed, so I really did hit the jackpot this semester.

My experience so far has been great and I can only hope that it will remain that way throughout my next few years here at the University of Ottawa.

Let’s Talk About our Future


Written by: Emily Guterres; Edited by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

Have you ever been afraid of pursuing your passion because of what others think?

My dad is an accountant. He’s always tried to convince me to enter a field where there is a lot of calculations and pays well. Mind you, me and numbers have never got along. Only this year I’m trying to understand numbers because of my keen interest in media analysis.

You can become a lawyer to make your parents happy, your sister happy and hey, maybe even yourself. But at the end of the day, you know what’s best for you. You know what you like and you’re the only one who truly has the answer.

Over the summer, I was mulling over my program thinking I had to do things that will make me ‘attractive’ to employers in order to brand myself and my future.

But then I thought: people love people who are passionate about what they do.

You know what interests me? Publicity, Education, Health, Sports Marketing, Branding with Entrepreneurship, Customer Service & Event Planning.  And here I am trying to figure out what realm should I specialize in. I try to remind myself that I’m still young and I wont have all the answers today or tomorrow.

As Jeffrey Remedios expresses, “Do what you love, do what you’re passionate about and the economy will follow.”

Especially in today’s society, people pick and choose who they like when it’s beneficial to them. You will have people who don’t believe in your ideas, who don’t want to be on your team and even shut you down. Being a young woman living in Ottawa having many ideas towards making changes on a big scale, I often feel shut down by most. But then I come across certain people who genuinely support you and wholeheartedly believe in you. These are the type of people that will help you strive towards your goals and be your biggest cheerleaders throughout your journey.

Even after telling me to “go where the money is”, my father always dropped some inspiring gems whether I liked to hear it or not. He shared with me, “I finished with a psychology degree not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. My dad put me in business school, and from there things kind of fell into place.”

What he always tells me is “he still doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life.”

So I ask myself Why should I? I’m a young ambitious 20-year-old, who is excited to step foot into the work field. Whatever opportunities come my way I will gladly accept and learn from the experiences. Who knows, I may end up doing something completely opposite from what I desired years ago.

We all mature at different times and figure life out at different times.

Heck, I still have a hell of a lot to learn.