SU has reservations for co-curricular transcripts

By Heather Moulton

Are co-curricular transcripts a good idea? On the one hand, a transcript of your volunteer work during university career sounds like a good idea, however, people have differing opinions about the program.

“This is essentially a recognition of students for their involvement at the University of Calgary,” said Students’ Union Vice-President Academic Laura Schultz. “[It’s] great that the U of C wants to recognize students who volunteer and participate in extra curricular activities.”

“I don’t disagree with the concept,” Students’ Academic Assembly Engineering Representative Patrick Boyle commented. “But the implementation is really ill thought out.”

Currently, a phased-in model is being suggested, to start at the end of this school year, which would recognize students for their participation in three out of the six student involvement categories. The three categories would be Dinos Athletics, Students’ Union and clubs, and Students’ Services.

“[The program] breaks activities into very narrow categories,” said Boyle. “The first year of the program would only acknowledge those who volunteer within those categories.”

“We may wait until we have all six categories secured and implement it only then,” said U of C Associate Vice-President Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson. “Implementing the three categories was suggested only because that is where the majority of student involvement falls.”

There is also concern about the potential nature of volunteering. Some think that students will volunteer only to have it on a transcript.

“Volunteering opportunities shouldn’t be competitive,” said Schultz. “[Volunteering] should be out of their own good will.”

In addition, the phased-in program wouldn’t immediately recognize students’ volunteer work off campus.

“What is the difference between volunteering with the Campus Food Bank and the Interfaith Food Bank?” asked Schultz. “The most important thing to U of C is contributing to the community, on campus or off.”

“We definitely want to recognize both on- and off-campus volunteering, but it’s just how to get that authentic information,” said Dr. Patterson.

Another concern with the program is that it would encourage students to compete for volunteer opportunities.

“In the academic environment, the competitiveness within the top three per cent is way too high,” said Boyle. “There’s a risk that bringing in co-curricular transcripts will bring that same attitude to volunteer work.”

Currently, the SU likes the idea, but feels that the program needs some serious revision to make it successful.

“We need many minds to make this work,” said Dr. Patterson. “When we do it and how we do it is up in the air.”

This program was the winner of the President’s Challenge in 2003 and was presented by students Sarah Wilson and Alyson Kenward.

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