Diving into the Francophonie, at School and in Life!

"Thanks to Campus Saint-Jean, French is no longer solely a language for study, but rather a language for life." - Adam Brown

Emilie Pelletier - 25 August 2016

Having an active student life is possible. Just ask Adam Brown, a Bilingual BCom student (major in Business Economics and Law) at Campus Saint-Jean (CSJ). Vice President Operations and Finances of the AUFSJ, this young French immersion graduate from Calgary is also a member of Chorale Saint-Jean and sits on the CSJ Recruitment Committee. Adam Brown's main goal: to encourage more youth to pursue their post-secondary studies at CSJ.

"I really enjoyed going to an immersion school, but studying at CSJ, that is the true immersion experience," says Adam Brown, a Calgary native. Although some 250 students graduated from the French immersion program offered at William Aberhart High School, only three of them, including Adam, came to Edmonton to study in French.

"I know that leaving Calgary to go to university in Edmonton is a big step. That's why we need to encourage people to get involved in student life, in the life of the Francophone community. You get to meet new people," he explains.

According to Adam, the singular nature of his university stems from the fact that it gathers "all Francophonies" under one roof. Franco-Albertans, people from immersion, immigrants, all represent "a wide range of ways of being Francophone or Francophile". The different linguistic accents have also captured the interest of Adam. "I had no idea there was such a great linguistic diversity, more than one way of speaking, interacting. . . Even the tones can be different," says the young student, who got used to all of these accents while working at the CSJ reception desk from last May until the return to school, on August 31st.

A Rich, Full Student Life

Adam's involvement facilitated his integration upon his arrival in Edmonton. Elected as First Year Vice President on the Association des Universitaires de la Faculté Saint-Jean (AUFSJ), the young man ran and was elected as Vice President Operations and Finances the following year. Among other tasks, he is responsible for the preparation and management of the AUSFJ budget for the upcoming year. "I am responsible for presenting the budget to the executive as well as paying invoices and issuing reimbursements. I also helped with the creation of our new website," the student explains.

However, Adam's major reason as to why he is so committed to be a part of AUFSJ is his desire to encourage students to get involved in their community. "Last year, I learned many new skills that allowed me to push my capabilities, and I'm more than happy to pass that knowledge onto our new students," he says.

The idea of working in French is another good motivation for Adam. "I decided to work as the CSJ reception desk over this summer because I didn't want to lose my French. Working in a business, for example, would have meant that I should have spoken English the whole time," the student mentions.

Adam is also helping the CSJ recruitment team. He wants to offer his time to actively promote post-secondary education in French with students from his old high school.

By his actions, Adam Brown became, in his own way, an ambassador of linguistic duality that exists today at Campus Saint-Jean. It comes as no surprise that CSJ Dean Dr. Pierre-Yves Mocquais asked Adam to speak at the 2nd "Souper Showcase du CSJ" held last March. Entirely in English, this event helped to further inform key stakeholders on the Francophone university campus. Some 80 people, including leaders from the University, several MPs, MLAs and Ministers from both levels of government, attended this event.

"I used this opportunity to emphasize the key role that CSJ plays here in Edmonton and elsewhere in the province, and the efforts needed to increase awareness within the French immersion community. Bilingualism in Western Canada is so important, even for me, an English speaker from Calgary who learned French at school. Thanks to Campus Saint-Jean, French is no longer solely a language for study, but rather a language for life," Adam says.

When "C-D-E" becomes "Do-Re-Mi"!

Music has always been a large part of the life of this young man. He started playing piano when he was 6. In Grade 6, he learned to play guitar, and the following year he became a bassoonist. In Grade 8, he played jazz bass and switched to jazz drums in Grade 10. Finally, in Grade 11, Adam started singing. Former President of the student music council at his high school, Adam says he was privileged to have studied in a high school with "one of the best music programs in Alberta".

Upon arrival at the CSJ, Adam did not have his music instruments in his luggage because he wanted to focus more on his studies. However, he decided to join Chorale Saint-Jean as it gave him an opportunity to continue music while having some time left for other aspects of his life. "It's one rehearsal a week, and it's a very lively group. In addition, I can to learn to read music in French and practice the language," he admits.

This incredible student got accepted into the 2016 Alberta Youth Choir, the province's honour choir for singers ages 16-22.

Politics at the Heart of Learning
In addition to being actively involved in the student life of his university campus, Adam is also the Vice President Policy for Progressive Conservative Youth of Alberta. His responsibility is to develop policies and bring fresh ideas. He also chairs the PCYA Social Media Committee. "As a youth representative, I try to make comments, bring ideas, anything that can improve our connections with people," he explains.

Adam's grandfather, Douglas Cherry, was a member of the Legislative Assembly between 1986 and 1993. Mr. Cherry passed down the values advocated today by the young student. "I'm fiscally conservative and socially progressive. That is to say, I believe in freedom and personal financial responsibility, but at the same time, I support changes such as those made to environmental care," the student says.

Adam developed a passion for economy and environment. "Many people say it's either-or, but I think they go together, and one affects the other. My main goal is to securing a strong economy and a sustainable environment for future generations," adds the young man so steeped in politics.

Thanks to Francophonie Jeunesse de l'Alberta, Adam attended his first Parlement jeunesse pancandien (Canadian-Wide Youth Parliament) in the Senate Chamber of the Parliament of Canada. Next year, he will be the Leader of the Opposition during the Parlement jeunesse de l'Alberta (Alberta Youth Parliament). "I'm happy to have lived these experiences related to politics. I really look forward to the next PJA," Adam says.

After graduating, Adam Brown has already some options, such as doing a Master in Political Science or going into law. "To promote commitment, we need incentives and encouragement. If I can help people discover democracy, how to find their own way, so I'll know I've done my job," Adam Brown said, in conclusion.