After partnering with Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser for 13 years, ASUS has ended its relationship with the cystic fibrosis charity Shinerama.
Not only has the program has been a hallmark of ASUS’ Orientation Week, but 2017 also marks the 50th year since the larger Queen’s community has supported Shinerama. According to Olivia Montgomery, Associate of National Events for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the University raised almost $1.4 million in charitable donations for the organization over this period.
Montgomery told The Journal via email that this money has gone towards vital research and has shaped the lives of many in the Kingston community. “CF Canada is excited and hopeful to work with the various faculties to continue the Shinerama tradition on and off campus,” she wrote.
According to a Facebook post made to the ASUS page on Nov. 23, ASUS will be starting a new partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS).
In an email to The Journal, 2018 Head Gael Sam Maclennan said the decision to make a change in charity wasn’t easy. The restructuring of the faculty’s 2018 orientation in coherence with the introduction of a new Fall Reading Week presents an opportunity for positive change. As a result, Maclennan proposed the possibility of a new charity partnership.
First, he discussed this potentiality with both previous ASUS Chairs and other stakeholders. Following this, he also mentioned it to Community, Awareness, Respect, and Engagement (CARE) Orientation Chair applicants — though at this point, the decision wasn’t final.
After hiring his orientation chairs, “the new team sat down and discussed partnering with a new charity,” Maclennan wrote. “We assessed the feasibility of this change to ensure the quality of the programming we offer to first year students is in no way reduced by this decision.”
“We decided that a partnership with a new charity, particularly the Canadian Cancer Society, would be an incredible new opportunity for us to incorporate fundraising into our Orientation Week and give back to the Kingston community,” Maclennan continued.
2018 CARE Chair Gretha Conrads discussed ASUS orientation’s new charitable path with The Journal via email. An important factor in the decision to choose CCS was due to their “local and national opportunities,” she wrote.
“A large part of the CARE mandate is community outreach, and this is something that I am particularly passionate about. CCS has many programs that focus on local outreach,” Conrads added.
Doug Kane, Senior Manager of the Kingston Chapter of CCS, told The Journal via email that CCS Kingston is “excited to partner with ASUS.”
“Cancer is a devastating disease that one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with in their lifetime and over 80,000 will die this year alone,” he stated. “Through the exceptional fundraising and awareness activities led by ASUS in Kingston, the Canadian Cancer Society will be able to continue to fund the best and most promising cancer research in Canada.”
Though Maclennan emphasized the response to this decision has been largely positive, there are some in the community who expressed their discontent.
Sarah Greco, a former 2015 CARE committee member and Shinerama campaign advisor, said she was “disheartened” to hear about the decision.
“Shinerama is something that has really shaped my Queen’s experience, and it has been incredible to see the Queen’s campaign continue to thrive year after year since getting involved,” Greco said.
“While I am really happy to see funds going to another very worthy cause, it is bittersweet to see the end of such a great partnership,” she added.
Maclennan acknowledged that the decision isn’t supported by everyone and further stated ASUS would be “very happy to support any students that are interested and willing to continue a Shinerama fundraising campaign at Queen’s.” He said interested individuals are encouraged to contact him.
“We are so grateful to have been a part of the amazing progress that Shinerama has made in improving the lives of people living with Cystic Fibrosis, and we look forward to watching them continue to make strides in improving care for people with CF,” he wrote.
Conrads echoed this sentiment. “We do not believe this is the end of a relationship between Queen’s and Shinerama, but rather an opportunity for Shinerama to exist in a different capacity on campus.”
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