Subunit Spotlight: Quebec Student Subunit
If there was a decent metaphor connecting boxing and AFS Student Subunits, the Quebec Student Subunit would be among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the game today. Perhaps, a better metaphor would high relate growth rates and theoretical maximum length parameters to the Subunit — which includes students from across Quebec with McGill and Concordia Universities in Montreal constituting the majority of members — but who comes to a blog post to be reminded of population dynamics. Point is, the Subunit, formed in 2018, provided their members with awesome opportunities before everything went virtual and have continued to host wonderful events for not only Quebec students, but often for Atlantic International Chapter or AFS as a whole.
In the mystical pre-COVID times, the subunit met regularly and often hosted guest speakers, such as Dr. Pedro Peres-Neto from Concordia University and the tandem of Dr. Steve Sutton and Charles Cusson from the Atlantic Salmon Federation. When not hosting guest speakers, students within the subunit would often talk about their research or experiences in the field. In one such talk, former subunit president Maddy Murray talked about her experiences during a summer internship at Seafood Watch. The Subunit also met up with students from across Canada’s southern border and held an ice-fishing trip at Lake Memphremagog with members of the University of New Hampshire Student Subunit.
Like many of us have experienced with our own subunits, the Quebec Subunit had to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 and find a way to still have energizing meetings. As Quebec Subunit President Brian Gallagher put it, “… we want to get our student body as involved and excited about fish and fisheries as possible …” but this objective has traveled far beyond the members of the Quebec Subunit as they often invite students from across AFS to join them. Last July, as part of an Atlantic International Chapter series, the Subunit hosted a conference involving talks from graduate students and a keynote presentation by Dr. Olivier Morrissette from the Quebec Ministry of Forestry, Wildlife and Parks. Then, in November, they hosted a virtual career panel, featuring speakers tuned in from British Columbia, Virginia and Hawaii, which was advertised far and wide. “One of the upsides of having everything be virtual is that we can invite speakers and listeners from basically anywhere … so it’s been nice to be able to learn how to take advantage of that as a subunit”, said Brian, choosing to focus on the benefits of virtual meetings instead of the negatives.
Their latest large event was enjoyed by the entirety of AFS when they hosted New York Times bestselling author Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, American Catch: The Fight for our Local Seafood, and The Omega Principle: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet., for the March 2021 AFS Webinar. To watch a recording of the webinar, titled, “The Omega Principle: Seafood and the quest for long life and a healthier planet”, visit: https://fisheries.org/2021/03/webinar-recording-the-omega-principle-seafood-and-the-quest-for-long-life-and-a-healthier-planet/.
Brian made sure to mention that without the members of the executive team that none of these events would be possible, so shout-out to Shannon Clarke (Graduate Representative), Gabrielle Nessel (Secretary), Daniel Chechile (Treasurer and Undergraduate Representative), Tim Law and Raina Fan (Social Media Officers). Back to the introduction metaphor, it takes a whole gym to train for a boxing title or a large enough sample size to determine growth – like I said, I’m not great with metaphors. Either way, the Quebec Student Subunit is sharing the glory — or the surplus biomass production(?) — with students from across AFS. Make sure to keep an eye out for whatever wonderful event the Quebec Student Subunit plans next.