The snow must go on
Uncapped Rail Jam lays tracks at CapU for the sixth time
Greta Kooy // Campus Life Editor
Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, the sixth annual Uncapped Rail Jam still happened. The winter showcase, which took place on Feb. 1, featured skiing and snowboarding entertainment in the Cedar Courtyard, accompanied by a live DJ, prizes and a beer garden.
“I think it went phenomenally well. It exceeded our expectations,” said Yats Palat, the Capilano Students’ Union‘s (CSU) vice president student life. This was Palat’s first year spearheading the event. “The biggest thing for me was that it needed to be a social event.”
Capilano University’s commuter-style campus makes it difficult to facilitate student engagement. Many students have a long way to travel before and after classes, which discourages them from staying on campus longer than necessary – especially when it’s cold and raining. For this particular reason, Palat, alongside the Outdoor Recreation Department, students from the Outdoor Recreation Management program and several CSU volunteers, worked to build a more engaging event that encouraged students to participate and stay behind.
Anticipating poor weather, Palat and the other coordinators set up several tents, accompanied by space heaters. Despite concerns over promoting a drinking culture raised by Accessibility Justice Coordinator Andrew Dillman, there was indeed a beer garden. “I said, ‘we’re going to bring in a beer garden’,” said Palat, “Why a beer garden? Because a beer garden is a good avenue to bring people together to hang out, and not just drink but get into a space where, like at CAPtivate, you have a lot of people spending time together.” Due to the rain, students cramped together under tents near the DJ’s booth, certainly giving them the opportunity to hang out and engage with one another.
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Palat suggests that throughout the day there was a turnout of approximately 500 or more students gauging from event footage and the consumption of foods and drinks, although it is hard to tell. Funding for the event came from the recreation budget and cost the CSU upwards of $5,000. This figure was less than their anticipated $6,700 estimate, and far less than the $20,000 that was spent on the CAPtivate event that took place in September of last year.
The activity portion of Uncapped Rail Jam, the skiing and snowboarding, was “a major expense” said Palat. “The whole skiing section, renting the U-Haul, getting insurance, all that stuff.”
Although much of the physical labour to set up the event was done by the Outdoor Recreation Department, Palat emphasized his great appreciation for the many CSU volunteers, namely Elena Tsvetkova, David Meneghel, Mohammad Aldossary, Karim Moodad and Feras Bingursain and the other non-CSU volunteers.
Each year, the CSU partners with a local charity for Uncapped Rail Jam, and the CSU’s choice this year was North Vancouver-based Warming the Homeless. Clothing donations were requested by the CSU, but very little turned up. “I think we could work better on promoting [the charities] and having someone in charge of that. If we do it, we want it done properly,” said Palat. “We did not prepare well enough.”
Elena Tsvetkova, a volunteer with the CSU Events and Outreach Committee, agreed. “I don’t think it was promoted enough, we didn’t get a lot of donations,” she said. Tsvetkova added that other than a lack of donations “the event was terrific.”
For future Uncapped Rail Jam events, Palat hopes to continue putting more emphasis on social engagement amongst students, while also paying greater attention to social responsibilities like charity work.