Celebrating the Beauty of Black Culture

The dream Martin Luther King Jr spoke of in his famous speech is on its way to being a reality. This dream is being made possible by the great individuals who played an instrumental part in the growth of the Black community, including allies across all backgrounds.

Check out the category below that highlights the beauty of the black culture. 

Connect with these community organizations for resources and knowledge: 

For centuries black communities around the world have created hairstyles that are uniquely their own. These hairstyles span back to the ancient world and continue to weave their way through the social, political and cultural conversations surrounding black identity today.” Check out this Visual History of Iconic Black Hairstyles to learn more about Black hair.

Check out:  Harriets Humongous Hair by Ni Lo 

The species and flavors of African cooking are not just about food but are a living testament to the strength and movement of the African Diaspora. Cooking is not solely about feeding oneself– through cooking one comes to learn about the land and their relationship with it, their traditions, and their community. Particularly in America. The story of Black cooking is a tale of resilience and ingenuity. Black folks have learned to keep their traditions alive via cooking and the storytelling involved in it. 

Check out this list of regionally popular African spices, are any of them familiar to you? Are they popular in your family’s regional cuisine? Consider using and learning more about them in celebration of Pan-African culture.

East Africa

  • Cumin
  • Tumeric
  • Corainder
  • Fresh Tamarind
  • Grated Coconut

West Africa

  • Curry Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Maggi Cube
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaf
  • Nutmeg

 North Africa

  • Zaatar 
  • Cumin
  • Sumac
  • Sesame (toasted Sesame) 
  • Mint 
  • Lemon


Rhythm – human library



To begin, separate your page into two sections. I’m using a journal, but you can also you just a sheet
of paper or a word document. The first section will be our “Where I Want to Be” section, and the second will be our “How I’m Going to Get There”. Then, divide each section into as many smaller sub-sections as you would like (I’m using four per section). Each sub-section will be dedicated to a different area of your life, so make as many sub-sections as different areas you want to focus on. Once you have your layout set up, you can start filling in the title of each section and sub-section. Here, I’ve written, “Where I Want to Be” and “How I’m Going to Get There”, as well as labeled the sub-sections “school,” “work,” “personal,” and “social.”  


Take a moment to think about some goals you would like to accomplish in each area you’ve identified. These goals can be as long-term or short-term as you would like, but I find it most helpful to envision things that I wish I was already accomplishing rather than things I would like to accomplish “one day.” You can come up with some goals and then write them under their corresponding sub-section, or you can go sub-section by sub-section and think about each area of life and what goals you want to accomplish in each (which is what I did). Make sure to only identify a reasonable number of goals, as making too many goals can result in you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged from achieving them. Once you’ve written down your “Where I Want to Be” goals, we can move on to “How I’m Going to Get There.” 

How I’m Going to Get There

In this section, we will be coming up with concrete steps that can be taken to achieve these goals. General goals such as “workout more” or “read more” are typically difficult to achieve because they rely on willpower to somehow make them happen, rather than an easy-to-follow action plan. So here, go back over the goals you have written in your “Where I Want to Be Section”. For each goal you’ve listed, write a plan of how you will achieve it in the same corresponding sub-section, but in the “How I’m Going to Get There” section. For me, my goal to do more physical activity became a goal to go to the gym three times a week; my goal to practice more piano became a goal to practice piano every other day. After you’ve turned your general goals into manageable actions, all you have to do is do your best to perform these actions, and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals.


Now that you have completed both your “Where I Want to Be” and “How I’m Going to Get There” sections, do whatever you need to do to personalize it. This can be decorating it, putting it somewhere you know you’ll see it, adding your action plans into a habit-tracker, or anything that will make it work for you! 


How To Quick Pickle Any Vegetable


  • 1/2-pound fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, green beans, summer squash, or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, or rosemary (optional)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons whole spices, such as black peppercorns, coriander, or mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs or ground spices (optional)
  • 1 cloves garlic, smashed or sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar, such as white, apple cider, or rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, or 2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)


  • Chef’s knife and cutting board
  • 1 wide-mouth jar with lids
  • Canning funnel (optional)


  1. Prepare the jars. Wash jars, lids, and rings in warm, soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry, or dry completely by hand.
  2. Prepare the vegetables. Wash and dry the vegetables. Peel the carrots. Trim the end of beans. Cut vegetables into desired shapes and sizes.
  3. Add the flavorings. Divide the herbs, spices, or garlic you are using between the jars.
  4. Add the vegetables. Pack the vegetables into the jars, making sure there is a 1/2 inch of space from the rim of the jar to the tops of the vegetables. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing.
  5. Make the brine. Place the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if used) in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the brine.
  6. Remove air bubbles. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if necessary.
  7. Seal the jars. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
  8. Cool and refrigerate. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.


Storage: These pickles are not canned. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. If you process and can the jars, they can be stored at room temperature unopened.

Check Out Your Community League

Community leagues are great places to work on local projects. They offer various services to their residents’ and a space to engage with one’s immediate community. Leagues often have many free or reduced-price classes, space for gardening, and event rental opportunities.

Alberta Avenue, Community League, for example, has a stunning garden and a honeybee hive! They host many exciting events, including; garden pub nights, outdoor pro wrestling matches (cage and all), Qigong, frequent naloxone training workshops, honeybee hive inspections, and more!

Community leagues are great places to volunteer and do extraordinary things in your neighborhood!

Click here to view your local community league.

Garden #1
Garden #2

SAMU Awards Night Nominations 2021

SAMU Awards Night allows us the opportunity to celebrate students and SAMU staff for their contribution towards enhancing life at MacEwan University. The awards recognize those who have made exceptional contributions to SAMU’s programs or services; who have made extraordinary academic or extra-curricular achievements; and those who have made positive contributions to SAMU and students as a whole.

Thank you to all of the nominees and winners! Enjoy the presentation below.


Regrowing Kitchen Scraps

Here’s a list of my favorite kitchen scraps to regrow! They’re super simple to do with everyday items you already have in your home. Regrowing food is a great way to practice sustainability, and it works in small spaces.

TLDR: Here are the videos with my kitchen scraps after one week and two weeks!


  1. Green Onions

Green onions are one of the easiest kitchen scraps to regrow! Find some fresh green onions with the roots intact from your grocery store or farmer’s market. All you have to do is slice off the bulbs’ ends with the roots intact, fill a small jar with water and place them. Make sure you have enough water to cover the roots but not the tops. It only takes a few days for the onion to start growing shoots! I’ve repotted my green onions in soil (pictured), and they’ve already grown so much in only two weeks.

  1. Lettuce

Lettuce is simple to regrow. All you need is water and a jar. After you’ve used your lettuce, cut off the ends and just place it inside a jar of water. Keep the tops out of the water, with the ends submerged. After a few days, you’ll begin to see fresh new lettuce sprouting from the top. The water will need to be changed frequently (whenever it starts getting murky and green). You can repot this into dirt to keep growing, but I decided to leave it in water. Here’s how mine’s looked after one week!

  1. Tomatoes

Regrowing tomatoes is easier than you might expect! Did you know you can propagate store-bought tomatoes? Start by cutting up a tomato into thin slices and placing them directly into a pot of soil. Cover the tomatoes with more soil and water frequently. After about a week or so, you’ll see sprouts begin to pop up, and once these sprouts get big enough, separate and repot them to allow them to grow nicely and evenly without clumping together. Another method I found on YouTube that might produce better tomatoes adds an extra step where you strain the tomato to separate the seeds before potting. This way, the seeds are growing away from the decomposing tomato itself, which helps with the process. Either method works, and you’ll be able to get some great tomato plants from this trick! You can see my tomatoes’ progress using the sliced method after only two weeks in the photo below.

  1. Mint

Did you know you can regrow the mint you find at grocery stores? Start with cutting a few inches off the stem, right below the bottom nodes where the mint leaves start. Remove the mint leaves near the bottom and place them in a jar of water. Not only will your mint stay fresh, but it’ll also start growing more leaves! I find it best to use mint with a thicker stem for regrowing. I’ve been using this trick for about two weeks now, and the mint looks fresher than ever. The mint I had started with was pretty wilted, and this is how it looks now, outside the fridge! This trick works with other herbs, like basil and cilantro as well.

  1. Garlic

To regrow garlic, grab a small jar for your garlic bulbs – keep the cloves in its skin and place it inside the jar of water with the flat end down and pointy end facing up. Keep this on a sunny windowsill and change the water out when it gets cloudy. After a week, you’ll have garlic greens ready to harvest! The tops of garlic greens are best, so snip off the first few inches and keep regrowing. You won’t grow new garlic bulbs from this trick, but you’ll get delicious garlic greens to use as garnish. I’ve repotted my garlic along with my green onions in soil, and this is how it looks after two weeks.

  1. Carrot

You can sprout carrot tops just by placing them inside water! You won’t be able to regrow the actual carrot, but you can get some really neat carrot plants from this trick. Cut one inch off the top of a carrot, stick toothpicks into the sides and place it on top of a jar with water. Submerge the bottoms of the carrots into the water while keeping the top out. Place this somewhere it gets light and watch it sprout! Mine’s been growing for about a week now, and I’ll be potting it in soil soon once it gets more root growth.


Compost 101 – Apartment Edition

Composting is something that has always seemed very daunting to me. However, I’ve found an easy method to get started with composting – in an apartment! This method doesn’t require worms, though you can use them if you want to do vermicomposting.

First, you’ll need to get a bin or container for your compost. You can find specific compost bins online or simply use a storage bin. There’s a ton available that are small and compact enough for an apartment countertop or balcony.

Next, you’ll want to start collecting organic matter for your compost. There are two different types of materials you want to incorporate into your bins.

  1. Green ingredients – this includes all your vegetable scraps (raw or cooked), fruits (avoid citrus), and other nitrogen-rich ingredients like tea leaves, coffee grinds, eggshells and grain products.
  2. Brown ingredients – These include paper towels, cardboard, newspapers, pet fur and human hair, leaves, and other items that are rich in carbon.

What you want to avoid are meat and animal products, as well as plastics and bones.

I started collecting kitchen scraps in my freezer and other materials in preparation to assemble the compost bin. When putting the compost bin together, I layered dirt, green ingredients, and brown ingredients while mixing in some water to keep the compost pile moist. Once you have this set up, all you have to do is wait. Check on it once a week to ensure that it’s decomposing well. Turn the compost and add water. Turning the compost helps to add oxygen which can help speed up the process. If you find that your compost smells, add in more dry brown ingredients and mix the compost. If you find that it’s too dry, add some water while turning.

Once the compost is ready, as quickly as two-to-three months, you’ll be able to use this nutrient-rich soil in your garden! Composting is a great way to divert food scraps away from the landfill and provide you with rich soil to grow plants! The City of Edmonton will be rolling out green bins this year, so this is the perfect time to start getting into the habit of collecting food scraps and learning how we can help our environment.

Sustainability Documentaries to Binge

Sustainability blogs were written by the Community Assistant, Karman Ngan


Looking for an easy way to learn about sustainability and the impacts we have on our earth? Check out this list of my top 10 favorite sustainability documentaries to binge!


  1. A Life on Our Planet

David Attenborough, English broadcaster and natural historian, explores the history of life on Earth and our current impacts on the planet, with the loss of wild places due to climate change. He offers his vision for the future and hopes to save our environment and natural habitats before it’s too late. Available on Netflix.


  1. Broken

Broken is a docuseries investigating the means of production for everyday consumer products and their impacts on society and the environment. It speaks on consumer habits, overbuying and the effects of this global crisis. There are currently four episodes in season one available on Netflix, which explore different aspects of consumerism and its products.


  1. There’s Something in the Water

This Canadian-centric documentary brings attention to the struggles of rural and minority communities and their fight against corporations and the dangerous effects of industrial waste. The exposé calls for government action against environmental hazards that disproportionately affect low-income POC communities in Nova Scotia. Available on Netflix.


  1. Fools & Dreamers

Fools & Dreamers is a 30-minute long documentary about Hinewai Nature Reserve in New Zealand and botanist Hugh Wilson’s work in regenerating this native forest. Hugh spent 30 years turning degraded farmland into a 1,500-hectare forest where wildlife and waterfalls are abundant. This is an excellent documentary about conservation and allowing the planet to restore itself, one forest at a time. It is available for free on YouTube and Vimeo.


  1. The Biggest Little Farm

This documentary follows a Los Angeles couple’s 8-year journey in turning a 200-acre abandoned, depleted farmland into a biodiverse and sustainable farm. It provides insight into the world of farming and the Chester’s efforts in living in harmony with nature. Available on Netflix.


  1. Chasing Coral

Chasing Coral follows a group of scientists, photographers, and divers in their work documenting our coral reefs’ disappearance and its impact on our ecosystems. This documentary shows the effects of coral bleaching and the coral reefs’ death but offers hope in saving our oceans and preserving nature. Available on Netflix.


  1. A Plastic Ocean

A Plastic Ocean is another great documentary that explores our pollution and environmental impacts on the ocean. When filmmaker Craig Leeson ventures out to film the blue whales, he’s instead met with plastic waste. This documentary urges us to think about the plastic we consume and how it affects our ocean. Available on Netflix


  1. Where the Future of Fashion is Headed

This documentary explores the world of fashion and how destructive fast fashion is to our planet. It focuses on the future for sustainable fashion and how we can stay trendy yet environmentally friendly and supporting a circular economy. Designers use plants and organic goods to create fabric and textiles, rather than contributing to the tonnes of fashion waste that ends up in our landfills. Available to watch on YouTube and documentaries.io.


  1. Down to Earth

Zac Efron and wellness expert Darin Olien travels the world to explore healthy and sustainable ways to live. This series shows how different places in the world tackle sustainability differently and may give you a new perspective on helping our planet. Available on Netflix.


  1. Kiss the Ground

In this documentary, science experts and activists look at how we can preserve our planet by fighting climate change in examining the importance carbon and earth’s soil has on our environment. Regenerative agriculture could be the key to saving the world and solve the soil erosion crisis. Available on Netflix.

Low-Waste Challenge

This challenge was taken by SAMU staff members Karman and Macey.


This week I attempted the Low-Waste challenge, where I tried to make as little waste as possible and document all the garbage that ended up in the landfill. I live with my partner, but we tried to list just the waste that I created. The challenge was a really fun experience and opened my eyes to how much trash and unnecessary plastic waste we create.



I started the week okay and didn’t make too much trash! I ended up making salmon and veggies, so most of the veggies were able to be composted (Check out how to compost here [link to compost blog]!) I’m collecting my scraps in this container in my freezer until I can transfer them into my compost. Unfortunately, we can’t recycle chip bags and styrofoam, so those ended up in the trash.

Sustainability tip: bring produce bags when shopping for fruits and veggies to reduce the amount of little plastic bags used!



Tuesday ended up having a considerable amount of waste compared to Monday. I received an order from Sephora, so that contributed to a lot of the garbage from today. Produce like mushrooms usually come in these little plastic containers, but they do typically stock them in bulk so you can bring your bags and avoid waste. I made curry for dinner, which also created a lot of waste. However, I added the carrot scraps to the compost container. I also collected the paper towels and produce tags in a container to be composted along with the veggie scraps, although I ended up using more paper towels than usual.



We had leftover curry for dinner on Wednesday, so no extra waste was created, which is always a bonus when making food in bulk. However, I did make congee for lunch and collected the plastic container. Each little egg was also wrapped in its own plastic packaging, which created more waste than I would have liked. However, I was able to rip up the paper towel rolls for the compost bin! I usually don’t buy coffee, but I did today and wasted a little plastic cup. I miss being able to use our reusable cups, but we aren’t able to because of COVID health restrictions. Therefore, I try to have more coffees from home.



Today was a takeout kind of day, so I ended up with plastic waste from lunch (and a disposable fork, unfortunately). Ordering takeout/delivery usually creates a lot of non-recyclable waste. With COVID, restaurants aren’t able to use containers you bring in, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re trying to be more conscious of your waste. I made more congee for dinner with the leftover pork here, so the styrofoam tray is now collected as waste. I used some strawberries and placed the waste with the organics for composting, which is exciting!



Last day of the challenge! My partner ended up ordering Bahn Mi’s, so our lunch came in plastic wrap, and our salad rolls were in these styrofoam trays with more plastic wraps and little sauce containers. We also finished our box of Chips Ahoy, which unfortunately wasn’t able to be recycled. The only waste here that was recyclable was the paper towels I collected and a can of Bubly. We ended up finishing the curry today, so we were able to go a few days without more waste from our evening meals.


From this challenge, I realized how much waste I make that can’t be recycled or composted (and how little vegetables I actually eat in a week… oops). I think being aware of your carbon footprint and how much you contribute to the landfill is important, and collecting my own garbage for a week really highlights that. This challenge has also motivated me to find alternatives to some of the products I use to be more environmentally conscious.


I recommend everyone try doing this challenge and hopefully reduce their own trash! There are many different versions of this challenge, a popular one being collecting all your waste that would end up in a landfill and trying to fit it into a 1L jar. That is something I would definitely try to do again, although it might be a little more difficult during a pandemic.



It has been quite some time since bringing focus to my waste and how I consume products during this pandemania. However, I realized how diminished my efforts have become when I recycle, compost or preserve produce. The low-waste challenge itself forced me to think much slower in how I prepare meals. I found, with more intention cooking and using all parts of a vegetable; a ripple effect was created that made portion control a significant focus. Intention cooking also spotlighted how I try and cut corners in the shuffle of working from home. Before having more disciplined routines working from home, I would let my scraps and waste collect in smaller bowls that I would then throw away since I do not know where to safely take my compost in the downtown core during winter months. With more research on sustainable composting for apartments or urban cities, I discovered compostable bags that break down over time just right in the trash bin. It was quite the pleasure to see the waste visually I was living with, and I have already adjusted my daily routine to keep my waste low and my reusables items in a healthy rotation. All in all, this experience was very simple and brought a gentle awareness to my consumption, waste, and preservation of produce.

This is five days’ worth of recycling and items I could not contribute to my kitchen scrap bin. I was happy to use a lot of paper waste in my fireplace as kindling.

This is seven days’ worth of composting goodness. I will admit I needed quite a bit of lemon juice, and their carcasses took most of the room. I plan to add soil and some earth scarps to let this batch live on my garden patio until it starts its cycle.

SAMU Gray Gallery Presents Moments Recaptured

About the Exhibit

For this exhibition, my work reflects on my family’s past and how this affects my personal identity as an aspiring artist. Three out of four of these works are paintings based off of old polaroid photo portraits of my family members. A lot of the time, recapturing these old portraits through the medium of painting allows me to feel more connected to my family during a time that is not currently accessible to me. Each painting is rendered quite realistically with some exploration of colour in order to bring these past moments back to life.

The first piece, ‘Splash’, is a portrait of my maternal grandfather swimming. Despite never meeting my grandfather, he has played a significant role in me pursuing art. As a photographer, my grandfather is one of the only family members other than myself to pursue an artistic practice. My second portrait ,’Volkswagen For Sale’, is another portrait of my grandfather. The third portrait, ‘Washing Up’ is of my mother around the age I am today. My mother has played a strong influence in my strong work ethic as an artist. Finally, I have a self portrait, ‘Introspection’. By including myself along with the young portraits of my grandfather and my mother, this is a display of each of our generations linked together, and how my past family influences have informed who I am today.

Learn More About the Exhibit

About the Artist

Gwynne McMaster is a multidisciplinary artist whose current practice involves motion, memories, and mundane moments. Gwynne aims to connect with her audience through visual storytelling using the mediums of traditional animation, painting, drawing, and film. Gwynne is particularly drawn to cinema and the notion that art can be brought to life on screen. Along with this, Gwynne’s work is inspired by the Canadian outdoor environment that surrounds her, as well old family photographs. In 2017, Gwynne won the Fort Saskatchewan Art in and Public Places Award (Youth Category) for her Painting, Old Barn. On multiple occasions from 2017-2019, Gwynne also had her paintings displayed at Fort Saskatchewan City Hall. Gwynne is currently in her final semester of her Fine Arts Diploma at Macewan University and will be attending Vancouver Film School for classical animation this following September.

Follow Gwynne’s artwork on Instagram. 


Volkswagon For Sale


Washing Up