Editorial—Where There’s Smoke

Just a few minutes ago, on Friday, May 31, 2019, Athabasca University posted an announcement about having to move convocation.  Because of the wildfire situation at High Level, Alberta, the Athabasca Multiplex, where AU traditionally holds convocation, could be pressed into service as an emergency station for residents in the area.  While this might not happen, AU has decided to move Convocation down to the city of Red Deer in central Alberta, rather than risk having to cancel convocation, or, worse, having to deal with evacuating a few hundred graduands from a wildfire.

This is obviously going to cause trouble for those who booked hotel space in the town of Athabasca, and for these people, AU has reserved a block of rooms at the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel.  You can find more information on AU’s news Hub.

For those who booked their stay in Edmonton, the fuss should be minimal as AU has indicated that Convocation will be happening at the same time, and the busses will still be leaving Edmonton at the same time as before, just now they’ll have a different destination.

This isn’t ideal, obviously, but no matter how much disruption this causes, I can’t fault the university for the decision.  I’m down in Calgary and the air is an orange haze (which happens to be headache inducing, as it turns out), so I can only imagine how bad it is much closer to the sources.  AUSU’s own Services Coordinator, Donette Kingyens has noted that it was dark enough at noon today for the streetlights to be on.

While it may have cleared out in a week, there’s no guarantees, and it’s entirely possible that things may be even worse, so the change in venue strikes me as simply prudent.  That said, I’m exceptionally interested in hearing stories from those who attend convocation this year, whether you had to go as far as adjusting hotels and flights or simply got to check out Convocation in the Red Deer venue.  Let me know at voice@voicemagazine.org, and if you think you have it in you to write a full article about the experience (minimum 450 words or so) please do, these are definitely the types of experiences the Voice Magazine seeks to share.

Meanwhile, student and podcaster Katrina Griffiths is the subject of our feature interview this week in the Minds We Meet, the Struggling Student Rants returns with some tips on how to make road trips (such as to Red Deer, perhaps?) a little less expensive, but filled with all the flavors and fun of normal, the Porkpie Hat examines the price demanded by human resources, and the Fly on the Wall continues his look at why AU’s convocation ceremonies, in particular, is so important to the student experience at Athabasca University.

Of course, in addition to that, we still have news, events, scholarships, advice, and more.

So if you’re like me, and trying to stay inside and out of the smoke as much as possible, you could do worse than flipping through this issue, and enjoying the read!