Volume 94, Issue 4

Friday, June 9, 2000


All's quiet on the Windsor front

Coroner releases rave report

USC to branch out with for-profit arm

Police stand-off ends in tragedy

Walking to find a cure for diabetes

Prelude to an election

Protestors clash with the pepper spray

A world without the Hart House

Corroded Disorder

USC to branch out with for-profit arm

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Corporate power will be helping to fight future battles for the students of Western.

Student leaders from colleges and universities across Canada met at Memorial University in Newfoundland between May 31 and June 3 for their annual Supercon conference. Gregory Harlow, VP-operations and finance for the University of Alberta said a key highlight of the conference was a presentation by Campus Advantage, a company owned by various student bodies.

Dave Brebner, the University Students' Council's VP-finance and a board member of Campus Advantage, said the company is a natural evolution of the Canadian Campus Business Consortium, a non-profit, student-based organization which was created in order to increase the buying and lobbying power of student bodies. Brebner explained the creation of Campus Advantage, a profit-based corporation, was the next logical step.

Harlow, who also sits on the company's board of directors, said the company did a remarkable job of canvassing at the conference. "This company is equipped to deal with corporate Canada on behalf of Canadian students."

Brebner stressed that as a profit-based corporation, Campus Advantage is more dynamic and flexible. "Campus Advantage can accept commissions from organizations, something the CCBC could not legally do. The money would be divided among the share-holding student associations," Brebner explained.

Adam Bretholz, student council President for the University of Toronto, said he was personally wary of Campus Advantage. "It has nothing to do with a trust factor. I just don't want to quickly jump into something like this. There seems to be nothing novel being offered and there's also the question of legality."

"Students put a lot of money into their student councils," Bretholz said. "Do many feel they're getting that worth back? I think people would rather get a reduction in product costs then have extra [commission] money going to their councils. I would rather see a student pay a dollar less for a text-book then have money go to us that a student might never directly benefit from."

Brebner said Campus Advantage would be beneficial to students. "Money will go to the student associations, which in turn can be put towards benefiting students according to each school's particular mandate," he said. He explained the dividends of profit are split according to shares. He added an institution can own one share for every thousand students.

Shannon Willis, VP-administration and finance at the University of Waterloo's Student's Council, said Waterloo supports Campus Advantage in sentiment, but is not officially a part of the company at this point. "We're a new executive, this is a great new idea, but were being cautious," she explained.

Bretholz said he too is concerned with the corporate concept. "The student body doesn't have to come over to the corporate mentality. Financial kick-backs may work in the business world but they may not be right for student politics."

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