Challenge cancelled, students take initiative

By Simon Jackson

The name has changed but the game remains the same.

The competition formerly known as the University of Calgary President’s Challenge has become the Student Initiative. The annual event asks students to submit ideas for improvements to the university and is now being run by the Students’ Union. The revamped format is largely the work of SU Academic Commissioner Shannon O’Connor.

“After the competition last year, the university announced that they would no longer be running it as they believe other programs–such as the quality money given to the SU–give students a sufficient voice on what changes they wanted to see around campus,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor, herself a former President’s Challenge winner, and other members of the SU believe in the importance of the initiative.

“We disagreed with the idea that the quality money could replace this opportunity for student feedback,” said SU Vice-President Academic Paige Forsyth. “We have continued the challenge as the Student Initiative. We hope that the university will continue to support it.”

Special Advisor to the President on Student Life Sheila O’Brien said she was interested in the project, but didn’t pledge financial support for the initiative.

“The only way we can be sure we are on the right track is to hear from our students,” said O’Brien. “That’s why we support the Student Initiative–it’s our direct avenue to good ideas, many of which are quick and easy to implement.”

Forsyth was unsure what support the SU would receive for the project.

“We hope the university will carry out the proposals as has happened in the past but we don’t have any guarantees,” she said. “The competition previously offered its winner free tuition for a year. We are looking to the university to continue to fund the prize.”

Entries must be submitted to the SU by Tue., Feb. 28..

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