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SU Elections 2023 Q&A: Campus Recreation and Enhancement Fund Plebiscite

The Students' Union 2023 election is giving students the opportunity to decide on the continuation of the Campus Recreation Enhancement Fund (CREF).

The Students’ Union 2023 election is giving students enrolled of the University of Alberta of the opportunity to decide on the continuation of the Campus Recreation Enhancement Fund (CREF). If the plebiscite passes, the CREF will continue to fund $290,000 yearly for recreation activities, facilities, and equipment for the next five years.

The proposed fee is $4.70 per semester, with yearly increases to match the Canadian Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation according to variation of prices of consumer goods. Augustana students are exempt from this fee.

Representing the CREF is Krystle Johner, the current Fitness and Lifestyle Centre Supervisor at Campus and Community Recreation.

The following interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What is this plebiscite trying to accomplish?

Krystle Johner: We are trying to ensure that the continuation of the Campus Recreation Enhancement Fund is available to the students at the U of A for the next five years. I believe the application is open every year. So on an annual basis, there’s about $290,000 available for all students to apply for different recreation enhancement fund opportunities.

For students who don’t know, what is CREF?

Johner: It is a fund that increases financial sources for recreation opportunities on campus. It can feed into services like clubs, sports programs, intramural programs, the actual recreation facilities — so the Aquatic Center, the Fitness Center, the Wilson Climbing Center — as well as any other space on campus for recreation, such as Varsity Field or the residence facilities.

If this plebiscite passes, how much will students be paying and how was that cost determined?

Johner: If the public plebiscite passes, I believe it’s a $4.70 fee per semester for each student.

Will all students be paying this fee?

Johner: All in-person, online, and off-campus students will be included. Augustana students are exempt from the fee. So basically, if you attend the main U of A campus, then the fee will be assessed.

Why do you think students should care about the work being done by the CREF?

Johner: I think students should care because the recreation services programs and facilities on campus help support all aspects of wellness for students. So if we think about the broad implications of physical activity on mental health, physical health, social health — there’s so many reasons why having great programs and opportunities for students can really increase the experience here at the U of A.

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Amanda Sparks

Amanda Sparks was the 2022-23 Staff Reporter for The Gateway. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English. When she has time, you can usually find her under a pile of blankets crying over fictional characters, baking, hiking, or spending time with her cat.

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