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As I read Joy’s article a big grin spread across my face. As the previous-AUSU President who coined that phrase (that subsequently made email rounds), I was pleased to hear Joy’s side of the story. I had actually written an article for submission in last week’s Voice in which I discussed that changeover meeting (among other things), but I decided at the end that it was too personal and consigned the article to the garbage bin – instead sharing Ralph’s latest adventure. But I wanted to add to Joy’s comments. When we discovered after the election that Joy was going to be in China for a while, it gave rise to some consternation and a realization that we would have to really test the notion of “distance university.” As Joy mentions, it not only involved finding reasonable teleconference rates, we also faced the challenge of several time zones.
I must say, I was impressed by Joy’s willingness to participate in that meeting – to begin an “all-day” session at midnight and stay up all night (when you have two small children) shows a great deal of dedication and a keen interest in wanting to help fellow students. It was quite the meeting – we had Joy from China on one pod phone, three councillors from Ontario & four from Southern Alberta on another pod phone, and five of us crammed into the Edmonton office! One councillor switched phones from cell to land line several times during the day as she drove around taking care of family matters simultaneously. We arranged to keep watching Joy on email too, in case her connection was interrupted. It was a real test of communication at a distance – proving that no matter where you live, you can contribute to AUSU Council. It was also a very successful start to the new council term!