How would you like to go away on a house-boating weekend with a bunch of your buddies and get all of your uninvited classmates to pay for it? Sounds like a good idea to me--and the Students' Union thinks so, too. On Sat., Sept. 28, your valiant student representatives will gather at the SU office in the MacEwan Student Centre to embark on their three-day house-boating retreat in Sicamous, B.C.
The estimated cost: $6,500.
The trip is the result of months of hard work by SU Vice-President Events, Irene Enyedy, whose other accomplishments I have difficulty recalling. It will consist of nine-and-a-half hours of sessions, workshops and round tables as well as a variety of games and social time. The timetable calls for one activity euphemistically named "Group Venture."
Not many years ago, the SU retreat consisted of building a playground for the university day care centre. How about a return to costless retreats with useful outcomes and genuine teamwork? Don't worry, "there [are] definitely options for us to continue," according to Enyedy. How reassuring. This year's retreat is a "pilot project," according to SU President Matt Stambaugh (acclaimed), who also believes that "it's not a retreat as much as a conference."
Who does he think he's fooling?
Of course, the expense doesn't stop at the estimated $6,500. To date, 31 commissioners and Student Academic Assembly reps have confirmed attendance--shame on them--and you can bet that those commissioners will bill for their hours in their monthly reports. Even if they just bill the SU for their nine-and-a-half work-ing hours, the trip will mean at least an additional $1,104 in honoraria costs. In total, this jaunt could cost students $7,500. That is the equivalent of the annual Students' Union general fees for 113 students and would pay for 18 half courses.
So, who's to blame for all of this? Enyedy? Stambaugh? Partly. If commissioners had wanted to, they could have stopped this folly months ago. Some tried, notably Gavin Preston and Lauren Batiuk, but most of the lemmings have voted with their VPs and not with their heads, yet again.