Join our club, eh?

By Joshua Johnson

Students will be given a unique opportunity to explore Can- adian culture this semester, as the Canadian Club prepares to open a new chapter at the University of Calgary.

The internationally respected organization, which has been dedicated to the promotion of Canadian identity and unity for 117 years, is coming to campus to raise participation among young intellectuals, which has been lacking recently. The project will be funded with a $100 donation from the Canadian Club of Calgary, and will be championed by the club’s vice-president, Marlene LaMontagne.

Currently majoring in history, LaMontagne is completing her second degree at the U of C, and knows how tight a student’s budget can be. Although she’d like to see more students involved with the Canadian Club of Calgary, which meets monthly at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel for luncheon forums, LaMontagne recognizes the costs for the average undergraduate are simply too high. So she is bringing the club to the students with the "Canadian Club on Campus," which will debut at Clubs Week, starting Jan.19. Accessibility will be a major focus, with yearly memberships priced at a dollar apiece.

"The idea is to allow students to be part of national organization at minimal costs, and to benefit from any events taking place," said LaMontagne, who feels the club is a perfect opportunity for "people to learn about the country they live in."

The club will maintain close ties to Canadian Club of Calgary, but will be run entirely by students at the university.

It is exactly what the U of C needs, says third-year Political Science major Shoaib Rasheed, who has agreed to act as the Director of the Canadian Club on Campus. Although he applauds the university’s diverse smorgasbord of student programs, Rasheed feels something is missing. He believes many clubs tend to be homogeneous in nature, and only cater to a specific set of interests or beliefs.

"Hopefully the Canadian Club will be reflective of Canada as a whole," said Rasheed. "It doesn’t matter what your race or ethnicity is, or what your political beliefs are. This is something for all Canadians."

With such an array of ideas under its banner, the Canadian Club on Campus wants to represent the mosaic culture enjoyed throughout the country. Although it is too early to say for sure what members can look forward to, LaMontagne said events will be of a social nature, and may include trips to places like the Big Rock Brewery. Efforts will also be made to reach into the academic community for guest speakers on relevant national issues.

The Women’s Canadian Club of Calgary is expected to approach Mount Royal College this winter with a proposal for a similar project. Canadian Clubs exist throughout the nation and abroad, including chapters at Harvard, Stanford and Lake Chapala, Mexico.

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