Winter Games come home

Queen’s Student Alumni Association hosts video conference with alumni on Olympics planning committee

Queen’s Student Alumni Association President Colin McLeod says this was QSAA’s first videoconferencing event.
Queen’s Student Alumni Association President Colin McLeod says this was QSAA’s first videoconferencing event.

Queen’s alumni who are working on the Olympic and Paralympic planning committee appeared at a video conference on Nov. 17 to talk to students preparing for Vancouver’s Winter Games in 2010.

Videoconferencing provides

real time video and voice communication between multiple computers.

The event, hosted by the Queen’s Student Alumni Association (QSAA), featured seven speakers.

Paul Shore, Sci ’90 and marketing and business development manager for Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies, said he wanted to get involved with the Olympics planning committee when Vancouver bid for the games in 2002.

Shore talked about the financial situation in Whistler, saying he thinks continuing to pay for upkeep of resources after the Olympics will depend on the city’s resourcefulness.

“What you have to do is look for other ways to derive income ... here in Whistler that means tourism,” he said, adding that one initiative they’ve been considering is a tourist attraction to take a bobsled ride with a professional athlete since the track would otherwise get little use.

Don Ford, Comm ’97 and revenue finance director, said the venue construction budget for the Olympics, which is paid for with provincial and federal funds, is $580 million and the operating budget is $1.7 billion.

Jennifer Scott, ArtSci ’91 and Sport and Own the Podium co-ordinator, is working on a $110-million initiative to improve Canada’s medalling prospects.

“When Vancouver won the bid, it was absolutely imperative that we’re not just hosting a party for other countries to win,” she said, adding that Canada’s medal count has been climbing throughout the last few Olympics.

Some students who attended the event, like Virginia Lee, ArtSci ’10, are going to get involved with the Games.

Lee said she signed up to be a volunteer for Olympic events.

“I decided to apply because I wanted to represent Vancouver and Canada as a hospitable country and serve the people around me,” she said.

QSAA President Colin McLeod, ArtSci ’09, said he thinks the Olympics are an opportunity for Canadians to unite, although he said there’s been some controversy surrounding it.

Controversies have included the approximately $130 million over-budget Olympic Village, the appropriation of the Inukshuk for the Olympic logo and the use of Aboriginal ceded land for Olympic construction projects.

McLeod said he made a pledge with the Royal Bank of Canada and it was entered into a draw to carry the Olympic torch as it passes through the country.

The contest required participants to make a non-financial pledge to create a better Canada. There were more than 2,350 torch carrier positions available in this contest.

“I logged on to the RBC website and made a pledge to make the University a more inclusive space,” he said, adding that he’ll be carrying the torch for 300 metres on Dec. 15 when it arrives in Kingston.

McLeod said events such as the video conference help to show students there are many unique job possibilities after graduation and that networking can play an important role in finding them.

This was the first time QSAA hosted a video conference event, he said.

The session was interactive and participants could ask questions through Twitter, MSN Messenger, text message or Facebook.

“The technology is there but it’s not utilized,” McLeod said, adding that he thinks the $3-per-minute cost of the hour and a half call was worthwhile.

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