Rollercoaster student government

Rollercoaster student government
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By Scott Barber

The 2011-12 academic year was a rollercoaster ride for the outgoing CCSAI board. The ride peaked early, with the grand opening of the Athletic and Wellness Centre (AWC) at Progress Campus, and hit a low point last week with the health and dental plan referendum debacle.

“It was a good year overall, we got a lot done, but there were a few disappointments as well,” Karan Warraich, CCSAI president, said.

Student governance is a tricky business, particularly at Centennial, where the student body is so diverse. Apathy is another issue, as demonstrated by the incredibly low voter-turnout in the health and dental plan referendum earlier this month.

“It was frustrating because students had been asking for a better health and dental plan since I’ve been here,” Warraich said. “But when it came to the referendum day, students didn’t want to vote.”

Salman Ali, vice president for Ashtonbee Campus, said that while the referendum was a failure, the board gained a lot of knowledge from the experience.

“We learned a lot,” he said. “I think we have a better understanding of what the students are looking for in terms of a health and dental plan, so hopefully we can still make it happen in the future.”

The board remains positive about what it achieved this year.

“The biggest thing we accomplished this year was the AWC,” Warraich said. “It’s a great facility that has a lot of intramural sports, and even hosted an all-star game this year.”

Warraich attributes the success of Centennial’s men’s basketball team this season to the new facility.

“Not surprisingly, after opening the new facility, our basketball team topped the region this year,” he said. “Last year they were at the bottom, so that’s the benefit of having our own facility where they can practise and also get home crowds.”

According the Warraich, the AWC is a prime example of what student government can accomplish.

“This was a project that we started back in 2007, after the students voted for a new athletic centre in a referendum,” he said. “So I always remind students, this was built by all of you; we did not receive funding from the school.”

Getting students to the polls on school election days is a major challenge. The AWC should be a stunning reminder of what can be accomplished when students work together.

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