ORT donation builds bridge

This year’s on-campus concert earned $5,000 during Frosh Week 2011. The

money was donated to Kingston General Hospital with an intended focus on youth mental health.

Orientation Round Table (ORT) is responsible for co-ordinating Frosh Week. The organization should be commended for giving back to the Kingston community while also retaining a Queen’s focus.

Queen’s tends to be insular, often to students’ disadvantage. It’s important that students make a point of building relationships with community groups. Kingston should be a priority alongside Queen’s.

Mental health is an ongoing concern on our campus, and it’s laudable that ORT’s donation managed to support mental health and wellbeing for Kingston as a whole.

The budget surplus came from over-estimating the cost of the Frosh Week concert — this was the first time since 2008 that it was held on campus. Hosting the concert on campus eliminates costs like transportation and venue fees. From 2008 to 2010, the concert has been held off campus at the K-Rock Centre or Fort Henry. Moving the Frosh Week concert back to campus is a win for ORT and Queen’s students.

The change in venue this year was made possible by a city council decision, exempting the concert from noise bylaws.

KGH was instrumental in city council’s decision. The hospital wrote a statement of support for ORT, condoning the concert.

As one of the places inconvenienced most severely by the concert, it was exceptional of KGH to support it. Giving money back to the hospital’s mental health program works as a gesture from ORT to those who’ve helped them.

Events like Homecoming and Frosh Week impose on the Kingston community, and the noise can be disruptive.

Fostering a healthy working relationship with the city will encourage community members to tolerate our events.

While the donation should be commended, it’s important to raise questions for the consideration of next year’s ORT. The donation may have had a different effect if given to Health, Counseling and Disabilities Services or the Peer Support Centre, both of which could use more resources.

But the money given to KGH’s psychiatry program will still help Queen’s students.

ORT has found a balance and other student groups need to take notice.

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