Laurier’s Criminology Student Association (CSA) recently hosted its fourth Annual Criminology Conference. It was once again successful in attracting a large number of attendees, and was an enjoyable event for all. The Conference was significantly successful in giving students the opportunity to present their research findings and showcase criminological expertise at Laurier. Opening ceremonies began on March 4 and presentations were held on March 5 in SCJ, which started off with a presentation about International Women’s Day by faculty member, Professor P. O’Reilly. Attendees were given newly branded swag bags and shirts, and were also provided with breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner throughout the day.

CSA Vice-President, Irene Elatrash touched on what the conference had to offer. “The Conference is a way for students to present their research and something they’re proud of. It makes students aware of what their peers are working on and since Criminology is the largest population program on campus,it’s something students can bond over.” The conference featured a variety of presentations about the inequalities of Aboriginal Peoples, the stigmatization of mental illnesses, drugs and the controversial issues of prostitution and criminal harassment in the workplace. It offered students a chance to learn about a range of issues affecting their world. “I think the conference helps students educate others about important issues happening in the world which they can understand and relate to more, once they hear their peer’s thoughts and ideas,” said Fitesa Osdautaj, an attendee at the event. Students also listened to keynote speaker, Jennifer Lucking, an advocate for Human Trafficking Victims who shared her knowledge on the sex trade.

During the course of the conference, presenters were judged by faculty members who selected three winners and were awarded monetary prizes, ranging from $250 to $1000. “The awards come out of the $15 fee that Criminology students pay each year, which pays for everything in the swag bags, shirts and food for the day. We want to give students their money’s worth of what they are paying for,” explained Irene. It was evident that the event gave back to students who contributed to the CSA, and rewarded them for their hard work throughout the years.

The conference attracted a great number of attendees who were there to support students and take advantage of the opportunity to learn about valuable topics, as well as interact with members of their program. The crowd of students and faculty members who attended displayed the importance of allowing students to share and be recognized for their work hard work. Students were given the opportunity to be taught by peers who were dedicated to sharing their knowledge.”The most memorable part of the event was the way students presented themselves. I didn’t see them as my peers but almost as professors, and it was interesting to see how educated they were. I think they did really well,” said Osdautaj. The CSA are looking forward to holding their next conference next year, and hope for another successful outcome.

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