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Students’ Union launches clubs program for first-year students

By Fabian Mayer, July 30 2015 —

From the firearms association to the anime club, the University of Calgary’s clubs system has organizations dedicated to a wide variety of interests, hobbies and causes. The Students’ Union is trying to strengthen this system by introducing a junior executive training program.

The program aims to ensure clubs can survive after their founding executives graduate. SU vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan said the SU is always looking for ways to bolster clubs.

“One of the things that I saw that we could improve was the longevity of clubs and the transition between executive teams,” McGowan said.

The SU plans to contact clubs this summer and encourage them to set up junior executive positions. According to McGowan, about 30 U of C clubs already have executive positions available for first-year students.

“It’s really important that younger students are engaging in that process earlier, it’s to the benefit of the clubs and the first-year students too,” McGowan said.

McGowan hopes these junior executives will learn the skills needed to take over the club when current executives move on.

“There are a lot of things that are important to clubs which are very complex. It’s almost like running a small business,” McGowan said.

In addition, the SU will also offer workshops for junior executives throughout the year.

McGowan said these workshops will provide training to junior executives so they can eventually take over the club.

Christina Lo is the vice-president finance of the badminton club. She hadn’t heard of the program, but thinks it could be valuable.

“Just having people who know they can be in these positions and ready to help out when we leave, I think that’s really important,” Lo said.

According to Lo, there have been several badminton clubs in the past, though none survived for very long. The current badminton club was only started last year.

Lo said most of the clubs’ executives are in their third year. She worries the club will not be able to continue after they graduate.

“I don’t know if our president has any plans on how he’s going to recruit people to continue it,” Lo said.

Lo would like to see the badminton club continue operating after she graduates.

“With all the work that we put into it, I think it’s really important that it doesn’t go to waste,” Lo said.

There are over 300 clubs currently active at the U of C. The SU will provide signs to clubs that offer junior executive positions during clubs week and will also promote the program during Orientation Week.

McGowan said approximately 20,000 U of C students are involved in clubs in some capacity.

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