AMS ‘fun’ courses

People who want to try something different than their regular courses now have some new and interesting options. Starting this year, the Alma Mater Society is running Q-College, a program designed to run non-academic courses in a range of activities. Massage therapy, mixology, web design and American Sign Language are the courses the AMS is planning to offer for the 2000-2001 year, with more courses to be added over time. All courses are taught by qualified Queen’s students, except the American Sign Language which is being taught by an outside agency in order to allow participants to receive valid certification.

Projected prices were reduced by half when the Accessibility Task Force made a $3000 grant towards the initiative. Massage therapy, mixology and web design will range in price from $20 to $40, and the American Sign Language course will cost $75.

Last spring, the AMS executive received much positive feedback towards running interest-based courses during their campaign. Q-college is a component of the changes the executive is hoping to make within the AMS. Diversification of services and a hope of increasing the relevance of the AMS to the student body are two of the facets of Q-college that represent goals of the AMS.

Campus Activities Commissioner Ryan Hum feels optimistic that many students will look into Q-College.

“Because the courses are wide-ranging and provide desired skills, any student with free time would be interested,” he said.

Increased employment opportunities for students is cited as a goal for Q-College. Government regulations require all bartenders and waitresses to have Smart Serve, a training course in alcohol service safety. Mixology courses would offer this and allow students an edge when applying for jobs in bars and restaurants. Web design and sign language skills may also help students when searching for jobs, while massage therapy is most likely to remain a recreational skill.

A constant obstacle for Queen’s student government is not only to provide great activities but to motivate the students to get involved.

Students have had mixed reactions about the new courses. Some questioned the utility of the initiative since the courses, with the exception of the sign language course, are not certified.

Sarah McIlveen, ArtSci ’01 is one of them.

“I can see them being good for résumé building and interesting skills to learn, but if you can get officially certified then why would you take them at Queen’s?” Catherine Sloan, ArtSci ’01, thought most of the topics were well chosen.

“I think it’s a pretty good idea. Whether it works depends on the quality of the instructors and the atmosphere of the classes”.

Each course is expected to run for approximately 30 hours, spread across nine weeks. Registration for the Q-College courses begins September 25.

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