Articles Student Profiles

CMU a safe space for conversations about faith

Ayla Manning initially wasn’t sure she’d want to study at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). But attending CMU on a Campus Visit Day helped change her mind.

“I interacted with the professors who would be teaching me, which hadn’t happened at any other schools,” she says. “It was a sign of how the relationships between students and staff would go.”

Ayla Manning
Ayla Manning, 2nd year student at CMU

Although she had intended to come for only one year, Manning has since decided to pursue her full degree at CMU. A second year Communications & Media major, Manning learned about CMU through Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, which she attended for grades 10-12.

Manning, who doesn’t come form a Mennonite background and is an atheist, says CMU is a great place to “talk about faith, religion, beliefs, and why people think and live the way they do.”

She says she hasn’t felt pressured to “think one way or act one way.” Being surrounded by people who live their lives in a way that mirrors what they think about has encouraged Manning to think about her own perspectives and beliefs.

“Being in a religious environment hasn’t caused me to become religious, but to think about the way I live my life and why I live my life in this way,” she says.

For those who wonder about attending CMU and are not from a Mennonite or Christian background, Manning encourages a visit to “see people in their everyday school lives, because that’s pretty much how it’s going to be.”

Having an open mind and being prepared for others to have different beliefs is also important, she says. “Based on my experience, you’ll never feel pressure, shame, or being left out.”

As one of CMU’s commuter assistants, Manning helps make life easier for students who commute to CMU. Organizing monthly events and being available to answer questions or provide some assistance during times of crisis are some of the services commuter assistants provide. Manning is also a member of Committee Council, which includes representatives from all areas of life at CMU.

While she hadn’t anticipated studying at CMU, Manning expresses appreciation for the atmosphere and people on campus. “People are really nice and make an effort to reach out,” she says.

By Ellen Paulley, Writer & Social Media Coordinator

Alumni Profiles Articles

Storytelling experience in the classroom equips student for work in radio

As a reporter for CHVN 95.1 radio, Matthew Veith is doing what he loves—storytelling.

Veith is responsible for seeking out local news stories, conducting interviews, writing pieces for CHVN’s website, and reporting live. Through the stories he tells at CHVN, Veith says he has seen how God is working in many different places and ways.

“So many spaces we might have expected can be redeemed by God to do incredible stuff,” he says. “God can do more than we can conceivably ask or imagine.”

Using stories to invite listeners or readers to be a part of an event or opportunity is one aspect Veith enjoys about his job.

“It’s very easy to dismiss something if it’s simply being presented to you as fact,” he says. “When something is presented to you in the form of a person, as a unique story, it’s so incredible to experience that.”

Matthew Veith (CMU '13)
Matthew Veith (CMU ’13)

Veith graduated with a BA in Communications & Media from Canadian Mennonite University in 2013. He says his interest in graphic design and photography made a communications degree a logical choice.

“The degree is relatively open ended, but still gave me a lot of instruction broadly in terms of communication and media,” he says.

During the course Media Workshop, Veith gained hands on experience in radio production. Along with fellow classmate Amy Davey, Veith hosted a radio program called Let’s Talk as part of a class assignment.

“It introduced me to how incredibly rewarding, interesting, surprising, and humbling it would be to say ‘I’m here to listen to what you have to tell me,’” he says.

Veith says CMU equipped him with the skills in how to work in radio and that having a BA makes a radio host an interesting interviewer. Having a degree provides the interviewer with a deeper understanding of the larger context within which radio programs operate, according to Veith.

“Doing a university degree gives you a sense of the greater reality of what radio is doing—the idea that media figures into the way that communities sustain themselves, the way public opinions are formed, the way that politics unfold,” he says.”

In all his communications work—Veith also works as a freelance graphic designer—Veith says he is regularly reminded of the importance of storytelling.

“There is nothing more true about communications than the need to keep telling stories,” he says. “I see myself as a storyteller, bringing ideas to people, helping people see things that they might not have seen.

Note: As of early December, Veith has been lending his voice as the talk show host to the morning and afternoon drive shows due to staff transitions at CHVN. He aims to return to the news department in the near future.

Ellen Paulley is the Writer & Social Media Coordinator at Canadian Mennonite University


Alumni Profiles – Christy Anderson (CMU ’11)

Christy Anderson graduated in 2011 with a 4-year Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Communications and Media from CMU.

Anderson, whose heritage is half First Nations, completed her practicum during the summer of 2011 at the Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN) under the Executive Director of APTN West, Naomi Clarke.

Anderson views her opportunity to work under Clarke as an incredible experience to pursue her passion for broadcast journalism and to learn more about the Aboriginal community.

“I’m excited to immerse myself in the Aboriginal community and to get the work experience that’s geared towards my interests and my degree.”

Anderson feels well prepared by her practicum work and by the support she has received from her program advisor and instructor at CMU, David Balzer, for the next steps in her life.

“My experience at CMU has empowered me. I feel like I can make a difference in the world,” Anderson says.

According to Balzer, “The chance to work with a national broadcaster provided an exceptional opportunity, and they clearly saw current capacity and potential for the future in her during the process,” he says.

Following her practicum, Christy enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Manitoba in the Native Studies Department.