Usually, elected Students' Union officials take six separate group retreats, to plan the upcoming year. This year, they'll be houseboating in British Columbia from Sept. 28–30, 2002 at the cost of $6,500.
"At first we thought we should do a social activity during the summer," said SU Vice-President Irene Enyedy. "It came about that we should all go together and compile all the other retreats. It takes a lot of students' time. We amalgamated them and do one big weekend where it's fun but we'll also get lots of work done.
"Last year they went camping and not much work was done because of the surroundings. And this is a way people can come together."
Initially, there was some opposition to the trip, and according to Enyedy, it came a month after the $1,000 deposit was paid in late June.
"People were starting to second-guess [the trip] in the last week of July-a whole month after I planned it and people started a ruckus," said Enyedy. "I gave enough warning if there were any issues we needed to deal with."
SU VP Operations and Finance Robbie White was initially opposed because he didn't see the benefit of the trip.
"We've done a lot of planning," said White. "One of the problems with having separate retreats is taking two weekends from commissioners. Bringing it down to one weekend is a good thing. We also have time to get away in our separate commissions. All the planning we've done has made it worthwhile."
Enyedy considered that some students might not understand why the SU is going on a houseboating trip but explained some major benefits besides the conference and planning for the upcoming year.
"It's a incredible benefit towards our organization for everybody to go versus half," said Enyedy. "You don't get the entire group involved and that causes a lot of problem in Students' Legislative Council or in communications among people. So this is an initial 'let's work through this,' what we're focusing on, SLC goals, individual goals."
In the past, the Students' Legislative Council, Students' Academic Assembly and the four commissions had separate retreats.
su Vice-President External Nick Vuckovic brought up the trip to Sicamous and Enyedy organized it. The trip will be a mini-conference with sessions like time management and leadership. As well, commissions will meet separately with their VPs. There will be no drinking on the two boats when they are not docked as part of the contract the su signed with Waterways Houseboat Vacations.