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Executive houseboating

Students Union retreats in style

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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.

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Comments

Could this not have been done with less expense, ie maybe Banff or even Lake Louise somewhere. It sounds like just a big excuse for the SU to put on a party for themselves and label it as productive work! Not likely, I believe they should get away, take time to plan, but to what expense is the question of the hour?

This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Doesn't our student union fight for lower tuition for everybody? Didn't I see a few members of them on the news last night pleading for donations to the foodbank?

I consider part of my tuition the Student Union Fee, and I see little being done. I am sure this money could either be left in our pockets, or given to the foodbank rather than used to pay for a house boating trip.

The argument was made that last year on a camping trip not a lot of work was done. How can they possibly think more will get done on a houseboat?

Shame on the student union. I really do wonder why I pay that fee every semester.