PhysEd students fundraise to save course

An outdoor education course requires $20,000 of fundraising in order to remain an option

Steve Gillies, PheKin ‘13, says the loss of the PACT 338 course would be detrimental to the ways in which Physical Education and Kinesiology students interact with each other.
Steve Gillies, PheKin ‘13, says the loss of the PACT 338 course would be detrimental to the ways in which Physical Education and Kinesiology students interact with each other.

Physical Education (PHE) students held a Camp Day fundraiser on Nov. 25 in an attempt to save a half-credit course.

PACT 338, nicknamed Camp School, lost full funding two years ago due to University budget cuts.

The course takes PHE students on a weeklong trip during Frosh Week to Camp Oconto.

In 2009, a Save the Camp committee raised the $20,000 necessary to keep the program in operation for two years. Now, the committee will need another $20,000 to ensure the course runs until at least 2013.

Steve Gillies, co-chair of the committee, said the committee sold T-shirts, baked goods and homemade bookmarks, raising approximately $400 at the Nov. 25 event.

“We set up a bunch of banners, played music, just tried to raise awareness about what Camp School was and why we’re trying to save it,” Gillies, PheKin ’13, said.

Gillies couldn’t provide an estimate of how much more needs to be raised.

“A lot. There’s $20,000… that we need to keep it going for the next two years,” he said.

The program, once funded by the department, has PHE students participate in two days of basic camping training, learning skills like how to set up tarps and start campfires.

Gillies said the loss in funding is similar to other course cuts, like the most recent admissions suspension to the Fine Arts program.

“They figured that it’d be an easy one to just cut and save some money and no one would really notice,” he said. “But it’s a big part for the students that do get to take it.”

The last five days of the trip includes a canoe trip, during which students travel in boats 20 kilometres for a day.

At the end of the trip, each student must complete a test and an essay based on their experience.

Alumni have been financially supportive of the fundraising committee, Gillies said, adding that the outdoor education course is a highlight for many alumni.

“We had a couple [of alumni] go by on Friday and they were kind of shocked that it was no longer [being funded] and they gave us some pretty big donations.”

The loss of PACT 338 could result in losing the connection with Camp Oconto, Gillies said. The loss would impact both Kinesiology and Physical Education students.

“Because they’re both kind of there, [Camp Oconto] knows that we … will be coming back every year,” he said. “Once we lose that, then it would be on campus.”

Cancelling the camp would negatively affect how Physical Education and Kinesiology students bond, Gillies said.

“It’s something that the students are passionate about,” he said. “We feel that strongly about it and we’re going to … make sure that future generations can keep having the same experience.”

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