By Вen Li
After too many years of waiting, countless false starts, and more hours meetings than anyone would care to count, CJSW and the Students’ Union have finally reached an operating agreement. To most students, such a legal milestone may not appear to mean much. Even CJSW Station Manager Chad Saunders admits that 33 pages of legalese isn’t particularly sexy, but existing as a separate legal entity from the SU, and moving into new digs at the top of Mac Hall makes a world of difference for students and the community. Congratulations are certainly in order to the current and former CJSW members for finally realizing their goal.
When the saga began on Feb. 25, 1994, few thought that more than a decade of hard work would be required to get CJSW out of their dilapidated 1970s hole in the bottom of Mac Hall. Squabbles over ownership of assets, where and how CJSW could operate, and delays Mac Hall expansion always conspired to keep their goal slightly out of reach. But after 11 years of effort, CJSW has finally pulled it off.
Today, they can announce to their membership that an agreement is all but signed, a certainty Saunders expects to be realized by next week. “After all that, it’s humbling to know it’s done,” Saunders laments, after spending five years on the project. Fifteen years volunteering at CJSW have taught Saunders about persistence among other lessons unlearnable in university classrooms. Patience, tact, and diplomatic skills all helped him overcome in March the final negotiating hurdle that had dogged CJSW and the SU for years.
After 35 years serving students on this campus, the 50-year-old radio club deserves room to grow. Both U of C students and Calgarians will benefit from the operating agreement and the relocation it allows. Improved and enlarged facilities are just the first step in CJSW’s anticipated growth in the next few years. Growth beyond its current over-capacity space, says Saunders, is necessary to serve the hundreds of students who enhance their university experiences every year by volunteering at CJSW, and also to serve those students and Calgarians who listen to it.
“CJSW is the perfect model for outreach to the community,” according to Saunders. He sees CJSW as a vital part of the university’s goal to become more integral to the community through its quarter-million listeners with around the clock programming in a dozen languages
The big question now is how CJSW proceeds from here. Their move into their new space is a comparatively small journey, but an uncharted one owing to the organization’s overwhelming dedication to simply getting an agreement. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.