Who wants to be a university president?

By Dean Hetherington

Terry White, love him or hate him, is an important man at the University of Calgary. Now the Student Ambassadors Program is offering a contest for students to step into the president’s shoes, if only for a day.

"Actually I started this with the Student Ambassadors four years ago," said White. "Every year, the ambassadors choose a charity for the contest."

This year the Student Ambassadors chose Students For Literacy. From Jan. 10-31, students can buy raffle tickets from the Student Ambassadors for 50 cents each. The student who wins will be given a limited portion of White’s busy schedule.

"Apparently they [the winner] gets half a day with the president," said Students’ Union President Rob South. "What they do is more or less to their choosing."

The time spent is usually split between the winner learning some aspects of White’s job, and White getting to know a little about the winner’s life.

"They share their views with me," said White. "In spending a day with someone, you get to know a little about their lives. A lot of the students have very good ideas for the university."

The money earned from the contest is given to the SFL to further their goals.

"The function of Students For Literacy is to encourage literacy in our society," said South. "It works on two levels; one, it encourages early childhood literacy through Dr. Seuss in the Park. Second, it helps bring in adults who require improvement on their literary skills."

The SFL program not only helps people read, but also maintains an ongoing relationship between the university and the community. The program combines volunteer experience with the notion of giving back to Calgary.

"It benefits the students by giving them an excellent opportunity to build up some skills in terms of teaching others," said South. "On a broader scale it reflects very well on the university in the community. The more the community feels a part of the university, the better the university we are."

Despite the positive tone of the contest, some students don’t think the prize is very enticing.

"I don’t think that this is something that students are interested in," said fourth-year English student Craig Boyko. "Maybe if the students could pie the president, then it would be different."

Some felt that the prize would not lure enough students to raise a suitable amount of funds for the SFL.

"I don’t think it’s going to go over well," said first-year General Studies student Susanne Sharp.

Aside from being president, students can win various prizes ranging from Theatre Calgary tickets to Cheesecake Café gift certificates. Students interested in buying tickets can find the Student Ambassadors in Social Sciences and MacEwan Hall between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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