On January 5th, 2017 the campus of Brescia University College in London, Ontario was packed with students from across the country. This year the Association of Canadian Human Ecology Students’ (ACHES) Conference was held by the Students’ Human Ecology Association (SHEA) from January 4th to January 8th. This annual conference allows interactions between Human Ecology and Home Economic students across Canada, to promote a national unity and development for the profession.
The title ACHES stands for a formal grouping of representatives from Canadian universities and colleges offering programs in Human Ecology, Home Economics, Home Economics Education and other related courses. This formal grouping of representatives comes together once a year at the ACHES conferences organized by each university in turn. This year forty-nine students from Brescia University College, Ryerson University, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta and the Universitie de Moncton participated in the annual conference. Twenty-seven of those students came from out-of-town.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Becoming Agents of Change.” Students going on to graduate from university or college face numerous challenges in the current economic and social environments, including the loss of value for the family home, food skills and basic skills such as managing personal finances. With such challenges in mind, this conference enabled delegates to think critically about the challenges they face, and become inspired to make a positive change for a better ‘tomorrow’.
The annual ACHES conference brings together Human Ecology students from across Canada, providing them the ability to network as well as learn from professionals with a variety of backgrounds and accomplishments. Speakers chosen were from diverse backgrounds and spanned across the topics of Human Ecology. Topics included food insecurity, family structure, socio-economic status and attainment of education, health at every size, sustainable architecture, and professional associations within Ontario.
While the schedule was packed with fun activities between speakers, here are a few key aspects that attendees were able to experience. Delegates enjoyed the opportunity of engaging with the London community through tours of the Labatt brewery and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). These activities allowed insight into two unique aspects of Human Ecology and the history of London. The Conference Committee had the opportunity to partner with SHEA’s Faculty Advisor and Professional Home Economist Lucyna Mahood to participate in a food lab demonstration. Delegates had the unique experience of working in a food lab within Brescia while preparing fun and tasty recipes. Finally, a social connection was fostered between all attending delegates and the conference committee through delegate dinners and the annual gift exchange on the final evening.
On Friday, January 6th professionals in the London area had the opportunity to engage with students. A professional networking event was hosted in partnership with the London Home Economics Association (LHEA) and the Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA). The ACHES Conference was fortunate to have these two associations sponsor the event. OHEA also donated cookbooks, which were used in a raffle event to help fund the conference.
The Conference Committee would like to thank OHEA, LHEA, the Canadian Home Economics Foundation (CHEF), the Brescia University College Students’ Council (BUCSC), Lucyna Mahood and Gladys Ylimaki, MadMatters, Sandra Venneri, and SHEA and their fundraising directors for funding the conference. They would also like to thank Eat-Well Canola, Jason Eaton, WOW Butter, The Original Cakerie, Nutrition Bites, Epicure, CHEF, OHEA, Shelley Smellys, and Grocery Checkout for their in-kind donations. The conference would not have been as successful without their contribution and generosity.
The 2018 ACHES Conference will be hosted in Moncton, New Brunswick by the Universitie de Moncton. The Conference Committee looks forward to attending and encouraging more students to explore the profession. Through the Committee’s diligent work in securing funds, the 2017 ACHES Conference is being devoted to aiding Human Ecology students in the future to attend conferences. We hope this allows the development of a passion for the profession and enables students to advance their professional network.
“Overall, I enjoyed every moment of my time in London. Everyone was very welcoming and warm. From networking with all the delegates (and hosts), I am confident that the next generation of Human Ecologists will make a significant change in the world.” 2017 ACHES Attendee
“I really loved going to the conference. It lit a fire inside me and I definitely left feeling inspired.” 2017 ACHES Attendee
2017 ACHES Conference Committee: Hillary Stevenson, Rachelle Provost, Leah Mete, Rebecca Hartley, Brittany Van Bree, Angela Piaskoski, and Ranuri Kandumulla