A Toast, A Toast to Me

I’m a passionate writer, editor, and content creator with six years of education, and 5 years of combined work experience in publishing and marketing. A long time ago I graduated from J-school at Sheridan in Oakville, and then moved onto my degree in Communications and Professional Writing from York, graduating in 2016.

I’ve been a managing editor for both a monthly culture magazine distributed at Sheridan called TRAVIS, and a weekly community newspaper called Excalibur, with a 10,000 issue distribution at York University.

While working as a traditional journalist, my time as the Executive Editor (Online) for Excalibur required the development, implementation, and measurement of communications strategies tailored to Excalibur. This included the management of their WordPress CMS, social media feeds, while blending the worlds of print and online. I reported to a board of publishers, setting goals, consulted on hiring, and handled conflict as it arose.

As their Editor-In-Chief, I pushed for best practices in regards to journalism, developed an over-arching vision, and managed a paid staff of 12 coordinating the efforts of section editors, copy editors, designers, and photographers in the production of an 18-page weekly newspaper.

By sacrificing my personal life, I also worked as a Communications Coordinator with the Faculty of Health at York University. I was assigned to develop the online presence for Stong and Calumet colleges, implementing communications strategies, developing copy for internal documents, coordinating social media feed with HootSuite, and presenting reports on the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Currently, I’m a content marketer working for an agency called DMG. Here I manage DivorceMag.com and edit daily content on the topics of family law and divorce. Additionally, I create multimedia for many clients including video projects, podcasts, website copy, while performing SEO on new and existing client copy.

I’m a motivated young professional capable of writing for multiple audiences while editing and creating content for any medium. I’m a journalist turned content marketer, thirsty for new knowledge and experiences.


The Nitty Gritty on Netflix and Chill -Excalibur Centrespread

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-12-25-48-pmView the Pdf here: NetflixAndChill

View the online version here: Excal.on.ca/the-nitty-gritty-on-netflix-and-chill/

Romance is dead, well sort of.

Face-to-face interaction is on its last limbs, and the process of hooking-up has gone from charm and wit, silly dates, and awkward moments, to well-lit and Photoshopped photos.
Start swiping, because asking someone out in real life is becoming less socially acceptable, and hoping on the fiery world of Tinder is where it’s at.
If you are unfamiliar with this geo-location, often shallow, but overly effective dating app, you should start indulging in some options.

If you are familiar with Tinder, you are even more aware of what many people toss into their Tinder profile. People fill their short Tinder bio with tidbits of information on how much they love dogs, the bar, or cosplay. You may also be aware of the infamous tidbit, “Netflix and Chill.”

Netflix and Chill: it’s a phrase, it’s a slogan, it’s an internet meme, and it’s officially capitalized in the Excalibur cannon now and forever.

But more often than not, students and single-folks are throwing around a new breed of code for sex, whether it be casual or not.

What does it really mean when we say “Netflix and Chill?” The general internet consensus is that it’s a euphemism for sex. We might equate it to the new-era “hot coffee.” You know, that time after your lovely date, you invite someone in for a coffee. Not normal coffee, but really fucking hot coffee.

When you throw down this line, are you really looking forward to the coffee or is something else on your mind? Who drinks coffee at night? C’mon, we’re talking about sex.

“Usually in the context I’ve heard it, Netflix and Chill means coming over to hook-up,” says Sarah Flicker, York professor who has done research on youth and sexuality.

“It’s really not all that different from 20 years ago when I was dating,” she says. “The idea was to have someone come over, cuddle up on the couch, and see what happens. It has, for quite a while, been code for ‘I’d like to make out with you and spend some time together’.”

For those using online dating, Flicker says it has certainly made the process of finding a ready and willing partner much easier.

“For better or for worse, it’s made sex and casual sex easier to access for some people. But depending on where you are posting or fishing, you might be looking for different things.”
She notes that those using Tinder might be after something different as opposed to those using longer-form dating apps like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid.

“Folks looking for a relationship, a connection, or something deeper might be interested in putting in a little more effort into presenting themselves, as well as scanning potential partners,” says Flicker.

Hooking-up or not, she encourages everyone to be safe and highlights the importance of consent, asking questions, and telling either friends or family where you are going and what you’ll be up to.

“Being safe also means to plan for sex and sexual activity,” she says. “Do you have your condoms? Are you prepared? And are you making sure you have all those resources that you might need to have a good night?”

Kaylee Cameron, a sexual health team lead at Student Community Leadership and Development, says that these sexual codewords have always been around.
“It’s an easier way to say what folks would say otherwise in person,” she adds. “It’s like ‘hey would you like to step out for a moment?’ Those kind of phrases will get the idea across.”
Cameron, who is a sexuality studies major, works as the deputy coordinator of outreach and communication at TBLGAY.

She notes that Tinder takes a lot of the pressure off different forms of online dating, but users shouldn’t assume that being invited over for Netflix and Chill will necessarily mean sex.

“You always have the right to ask for clarification,” she says. “You should continue to ask until you know what that person is trying to say to you. If you think someone is trying to get you into bed, ask.”

“I don’t think anyone should assume that someone will have sex with them just by having them in their house or by going on a date,” she adds. “That is something that has to be talked about and it has to be very clear.”

“Folks have the right to say no to going over to someone’s house, no to having sex once they are at someone’s house, and the right to ask and make sure every situation they are getting themselves into is as clear and consensual as possible.”
Shannon Tebb, a matchmaker and dating consultant working downtown Toronto, explains that the term Netflix and Chill is a major turn-off.
“When people log onto online dating, they want to have a positive experience. It’s almost like saying you like to hang and bang.”

“These code terms aren’t very good, if anything they should just pick up the phone and call the person, rather than use code words,” she says. “You don’t know how people will react. It’s negative, it’s forward, and there’s not much effort in thinking of a date.”

Tebb works with people who have moved past online dating and are now willing to use a matchmaker to help make that important connection.

“I never tell women to go over to a guy’s (or girl’s) home, until at least date five or six, or until they are comfortable. A lot of times when a guy (or girl) comes over they think they are sleeping over.”

She acknowledges that Tinder is being used by a lot of young people, but suggests it’s not the best approach to dating.
“If you don’t have a lot of time for online dating then it’s faster, but it’s all based on outer appearance and I don’t think that’s fair,” she says.

“Some people don’t look good in photos. But Tinder is like you’re shopping for someone, like you are going down an aisle and looking at the different types of salad dressing, and you’re picking the best one. It isn’t fair to everyone else who would be a totally cool and awesome partner if you’re going for the hottest one you see.”

She also notes the importance of representing yourself properly on online dating sites. After all, using creativity and having a plan can go far beyond a Netflix and Chill experience.

“Men and women have stopped asking each other out. It’s this hookup culture,” she says. “Whatever the name, these sites are all the same.”
And I’ll be honest, I’ve explored the deep dark underbelly of Tinder. It’s an awful place in my opinion, full of awkward first messages and judgement, but that’s just dating.

I’ll be even more blunt. I’ve been invited over to someone’s house for some Netlifx, and some aforementioned, chilling. Netflix and Chill was discussed in some casual flirting and I was excited to do just that. Watch some Netflix and chill out.

The honest truth is that I was under the assumption that I was actually going to partake in some Netflix watching. Was I out of the loop? Did I not read the code correctly? Did I disappoint my Tinder match when I became emotionally invested into the ending of Prometheus?

But nothing happened other than an awkward hug and some snacking. It was many weeks later that I learned about the possible underlying meaning of this new codeword, “Netflix and Chill.”

Frosh Week actually had an event that hopped on this internet sensation. Game Cinematics was the title of movie night at Winters College, but Peter Howie, a fourth-year film production student claims that a handful of the bosses nicknamed the event Netflix and Chill. He attended the event and explained it was a light-hearted movie night with large amounts of popcorn.

“That’s what I heard it being called as a joke every now and then,” he says.

“I think the term has gained a rather unfortunate second meaning as a euphemism for sleeping with someone. I’m not sure how it happened, or even when, but that it seems to have turned that way overnight.”

Howie adds that the causal nicknaming of the event was a great tongue-in-cheek way of bringing attention to how the term has changed so much from its literal meaning.

So are we talking about sex or can we as young adults actually enjoy some Netflix and chill out while doing so? I don’t see why not. But the internet is demanding that Netflix and Chill is code for sex.

I’m here to suggest that Netflix and Chill doesn’t always have to associate with sex.

Maybe I had the wrong assumption, maybe I was in the dark, but when did we stop Netflixing, and start “chilling?”


Presidential Profile: Initiating The New Sheridan President

To read this profile on Sheridan President Jeff Zabudsky, click.

By Michael Burton

“Coffee?” she asks me.

“I, uh, um, ab—” I stumble over my words, and stare back at her with a lengthy awkward silence. I call this the deer in the headlights look. “Oh, no thank you.” The receptionist just offered me coffee, but I was barely able to get a sentence out. This is going to be good, I thought to myself as I walk into a large, intimidating office.

I’m nervous—I’ll just go ahead and admit this—as I’m about to sit down with the new Sheridan president, Dr. Jeff Zabudsky. I’ve never met him before. He’s only been around for a couple of weeks. But make no mistake; he’s the new sheriff in town. He’s a true Sheridan Bruin.

“The president will see you now,” the receptionist says to me, probably laughing to herself. Zabudsky, a dark haired, suit-wearing man with an inviting face, takes my hand and shakes it.

“Coffee?” he asks. “Oh no, thank you,” I say quickly. Maybe a little too quickly. Coffee seems to be popular in these woods. By now everyone in this office thinks I’m afraid of coffee.

“So, TRAVIS Magazine” he says, stirring his coffee. And that sets everything in motion.

We begin our chat discussing his career leading up to Sheridan. Zabudsky, 46, graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism some years ago. From there, he worked in radio for 10 years at CJRT 91.1, which plays jazz and classical music. You can tell as you listen to him go on in his radio-friendly voice. He’s affable in person, hardly intimidating like his title at Sheridan might suggest. President, that is.

Throughout his radio career, Zadusky worked heavily with college-produced radio programs that focused on distance education. He helped create the materials to complement distance learning back in the day. He’s been involved with out-of-classroom learning since the start. Before the Internet, before all those fancy bells and whistles were put on your MacBook. Back when distance education utilized the radio and when materials were sent out in the mail.

Over his career, Zabudsky saw every corner of Canada. He worked in Nova Scotia as a distance education specialist. He was vice-president of academics at Sault College in northern Ontario. Then onto President of Red River College in Winnipeg. A post he gave up in January to take the reins at Sheridan.

“I think Sheridan is lucky to have him,” Catherine Rushton says, now interim President and CEO of Red River College. “Here, he was very good at linking the college to the community and increasing the college’s profile with the city of Winnipeg. He’s extremely energetic, personable, dynamic, positive and very committed to college education. He will bring all those things to the table.” Along with all his experience, Zabudsky also bring a healthy dose of know-how in education with his Ph.D in educational policy studies from the University of Alberta.

“You learn different perspectives on things,” Zabudsky says, reflecting on his travels across Canada. “Different ways of looking at the world, different provinces do different things with education. You learn from it. It was a great experience. But it’s nice to come home.”

Zabusky is home—his family lives in Southern Ontario—and was blown away by the warm embrace from the Sheridan community. Signs were draped across both campuses welcoming him to his new stomping grounds. Not bad for his first day on the job.

“Sheridan has a fine reputation, not just in Ontario, but right across the country,” he says through a smile. “I wouldn’t have come back to Ontario to just any college. It had to be the right place. I’ve come to many new jobs, and I really have a feeling that this is the perfect place for me, at the perfect time of my career.”

I wouldn’t have come back to Ontario to just any college. It had to be the right place. — Dr. Jeff Zabudsky

So the big question, which he must have anticipated: What’s next for Sheridan? Upfront, it sounds like Zabudsky has quite a plan. “Sheridan will be a much larger institution in the coming years,” he says first in the macro sense. “We’ve got to grow.”

With the addition of the Mississauga campus, Sheridan is going to get bigger, more diverse in both its programs and students. There will also be demographic changes as Sheridan is seeing an aging student body. There will be more programs offered, particularly more degrees offered. Students will be continually integrated into the workforce and there will be more applied research.

Distance education is a big point in Zabudsky’s strategic plan for Sheridan. There will be more of it. He also plans to make it more effective for as many prospective students as possible.

“I want this organization to be one of the leading edge technological facilities in Canada. I need to set that compass and say that’s the direction we’re going in,” he says. “You can’t have good education without a good teacher,” Zabudsky further notes.

“People think you can take materials, put them online and suddenly you don’t need a teacher anymore. Nothing can be further from the truth. Good education to me is about a strong relationship between faculty and students. Everyone who recalls the best experiences in their education was about those interactions between the teacher and the student.”

Zabudsky faces a big challenge ahead of him—students are becoming even more integrated into social networking tools. We, students, are a complicated breed, but we are the future regardless of how distracted and networked we are.

“I think there is something to be said for the multi-tasking nature of today’s emerging students. Technology can be a distraction, but we have to figure out together—faculty and students—how we make this new world of technology work,” Zabudsky notes. Yup, we’re talking about the lovely world of Facebook. We’re talking about how students can’t seem to get through a lecture without double-clicking their news feed. But I’m only basing this on personal experience.

So what’s the answer? We can’t close the laptops—we paid for this technology; it’s integrated into our learning. Are we really learning as we Tweet, Stumble and update? “There’s a certain point when you’re not learning, just because there is so much going on,” Zabudsky admits. “I think people who grew up without technology are pretty linear in our thinking.”

“We have to acknowledge that technology may have changed how people are learning. It’s a bit of give and take with the traditional faculty saying,  ‘This is how you learn.’ But we have to adapt to how the next generation learns.”

It’s all about the big picture. By working with technology and things like Skype and Facebook, Sheridan’s learning experience will become even stronger, even more current. “Students are going to be solving problems of tomorrow. That’s going to be a big deal and we need to work together. We will be viewed across the country as a leader with technology. We will be innovative and looked upon as an institution by industries that want to work with Sheridan.”

A scary thought, graduation. Growing up, getting a job, entering “the industry.” But that’s Zabudsky’s aim; to make it an easy, successful transition into the workforce. But just in case, he has some advice to spread as graduation looms for many of the student body.

“Follow your passion,” Zabudsky says. “Say yes to everything, get as many experiences as possible. Embrace everything. Immerse yourself, run for student government and get involved.” This isn’t the first time someone suggested that I say yes to everything. It’s good advice.

“If you don’t test yourself, you won’t know what you’ll love.”

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One Shot With Andrew Mark

Andrew Mark left us speechless with this year’s cover photo. He got the shot that sent shivers down our spines, and left us wanting more. Thanks, we hope our magazine can do your work justice.

“I’m really grilling you on a Monday morning,” I said.

“Yeah, but it’s 1 p.m.,” Andrew Mark said as we chatted at one of the many coffee shops in Oakville. It feels like morning, but it isn’t. This coffee shop is bustling with chatter, people carrying shopping bags and sipping on espresso. I’m asking specific questions about his work, and how he managed to pull off one of the most stunning shots we’ve seen all year.

“It’s a personal creative,” Mark said.

“I know this girl from way back and I asked her if she’d be interested in going out and just shooting. We just had the most phenomenal day. That shoot alone was probably the most successful shoot I’ve ever done.”

“I just saw it and made it happen,” he said.

His photo was the perfect fit for our cover. The girl, her smile, the serene and warm feeling of Mark’s photo couldn’t be better. It screams for your attention, while being incredibly easy on the eyes. A one-in-a-million shot if you ask me, something that could never be recreated, even if you tried.

Are we lucky for having such a spectacular cover? Well no, there is no luck involved. We call it talent, careful planning, and a wild obsession for challenging yourself to do better. We’ve searched long and hard for the perfect photo for this issue, and it wasn’t easy. Mark walks away with $200 for his hard work, and a couple bragging rights he may or may not use.

This photograph beat out close to 200 other photos. It was chosen as the best by Sheridan photography professor David White, and the staff here at Travis. Mark is into his 2nd year of photography at Sheridan, married at 20 years of age and originally from St. Catharines. He literally knocked our socks off with his work – we had to go looking for them. And if you’re interested, you can see more of his work online alongside his stellar wedding photography.

“It’s like a full on photo shoot,” Mark said describing his passion for shooting weddings. “Everyone is dressed up you, got the makeup on, you got the stylist going. You have the whole reception hall decorated. I’m not a traditional shooter by any means. I’m so far from traditional wedding photography that I see it as more of a fashion shoot than romantic or ooey gooey.”

Mark hopes to be shooting weddings full time when he graduates, starting up a business and making an impact in the Niagara region. When the wedding season slows down he plans to do more commercial work, and hopefully start a second business to focus on commercial photography.

“I just really like the ability to make a business out of it. For me photography is just as much of a business as it is about photography,” Mark said. “If you can’t make a business out if it you’re going to flounder. I’ve been able to start up a wedding business that is going to help me go somewhere with my career. That will get my name out there, and bring in cash to fund any further development.”

“It’s a really big industry and you don’t need 50 grand worth of cameras to start up,” he said. Mark is hoping to take advantage of Niagara’s reputation as a wedding hot spot, and build his list of clients from there.

“It’s super competitive, anyone can pick up a camera. It’s the only profession where on the weekend anyone can go out and take some pictures. You don’t hear people saying, ‘Well on the weekend I went up to Boston and did some brain surgery.’”

“You have to be good, but there’s work out there. Especially in the wedding industry, it starts with personal connections and develops. It’s still an art, and you need personal ways of doing it,” he said. “If you can sell your personality and style there’s a market for you. Even if it’s the same thing everyone else is doing. If you do it different, better, or you have a unique way of doing things, there’s your market.”

The tools he’s been given by the Sheridan photography program have inspired Mark’s outlook on the industry. Sheridan has developed a reputation as one of the best schools for applied photography in Canada, and that’s why Mark ended up here.

“I heard it was the best, I didn’t apply anywhere else,” he said. “If I was going to go to school for photography, it was going to be Sheridan. My cousin-in-law graduated from the program. I just decided it was going to be Sheridan or it was going to be nothing.”

As for influences on his own work, he cites Rob Campbell a photographer from British Columbia. He tries to stay away from contemporary shooting, and bring his own style and view into every shot. “The idea is to blow your mind with every shot. Every shot has to just rock,” Mark said. “It’s between perspective, lighting and angles. To document the day and do it well you need incredible light and incredible perspective. With that, you’re going to succeed in the business.”

With the knowledge Sheridan has provided, coupled with Mark’s own personal drive, it’s easy to see that he’s going to make an impact on the industry. His style is unmatched – and his own professionalism is going to push him into bigger and better things. But it’s one step at a time just like the rest of the students here at Sheridan. After graduation he is going to be thrown into a world of professionals and amateurs battling for position in one of the most competitive industries in Canada. It will be Mark’s own passion for his craft that will separate him from the masses. His love for all things related to photography will make him shine brighter than every kid out there with an SLR and a Facebook page.

“It just developed into a hobby, a passion, and then a career,” Mark said explaining why he is still shooting. “It’s hard to put my finger on why I love photography. I could go into anything and enjoy it, but photography just worked.”