The year that was: 2015 in review

The hangovers have worn off, the noisemakers have been silenced, the sky is free of fireworks and we’re all back to school. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to reflect on the year that has passed. So I’ve decided to use this space this week to share with you some of the top stories of 2015 that appeared in The Omega.

One of the biggest stories of the year was the federal election. Already in full-swing by the start of the fall semester, the election brought two of the four major party leaders to Kamloops. Both Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair visited the city in a bid to win voters over to their party. In the end, Justin Trudeau and his Liberals were victorious while all three parties battled in the Kamloops riding, with the Conservatives coming out on top after the Liberals and NDP split the progressive vote. Voter turnout was a big story following the election. With a turnout of 68.5 per cent, it was the best showing in 22 years.

In March, we put forth one of our best features to date. “This is my body” was a collection of stories about insecurity, confidence and empowerment related to body image. TRU women stripped down and bared it all on the page as they told their stories and posed for photos. Our current arts editor also wrote a piece on the contradictions of body image in Thailand in October, following her travels there earlier in the year. Wellness was a theme that showed up a number of times in the year, including in stories about a campaign for men’s health and one TRU student’s role in the creation of a mental health app called BoosterBuddy that saw some success.

The year 2015 was also the year TRU began its efforts to implement a sexual assault policy. Following our summer report of Jean Strong’s story about how her 2012 report of sexual assault was mishandled by TRU, the university launched its efforts to implement a sexual assault policy. The taskforce created to craft the policy held its inaugural meeting on Sep. 21, but Strong wasn’t happy with how things had been progressing last time we checked in with her. It’s a story we’ll continue to report on as the policy develops.

Other summer news included a full-scale test of TRU’s emergency alerts system, which included response teams from fire, police and ambulance and simulated an “active shooter” on campus. This system was put to a real-world test later in November, when a bomb threat was received at the Tournament Capital Centre and parts of campus were evacuated and cordoned off. Also over the summer, the university’s digital art and design program became the victim of low enrollment and was effectively ended for the time being.

In sports, we’ve seen a big turnaround by the WolfPack women’s volleyball team, along with plenty of action from the men, too. We looked at WolfPack players past and did some catching up, we looked at the possible return of TRU’s defunct hockey program (that never panned out), and at the number of female coaches in B.C. intercollegiate sports. But it’s not just the WolfPack that caught our eye this year. Our very own Quidditch match was played on the Old Main campus commons in March and we looked at a TRU student wrestler of some notoriety in October. We even looked at the creation of some sports law courses here at TRU back in February.

Overall, 2015 has been a very interesting year, and it’s full of stories we’ll continue to watch in the second half of the semester and the first half of the year. To everyone, happy new year!