Extended campus flu clinic to go ahead

By Scott Strasser, October 6 2015 —

Though the Student’s Union recently voted against a funding increase for an on-campus flu clinic, the event will still be longer than its originally planned three days.

The flu clinic, organized by University of Calgary graduate Andrew Stewart along with the U of C’s Staff Wellness department and the SU Wellness Centre, will run from Oct. 26 – Nov. 6. The first eight days will occur in MacHall’s north courtyard, and the last two will take place at Foothills campus.

Stewart successfully applied for a Quality Money grant of $7,350 last year. His goal was to create a three-day clinic that would immunize around 300 students.

The university’s Staff Wellness department contacted Stewart after his initial application, saying his prediction for the clinic’s volume was too low. They recommended he apply for more funding to cover the costs of a longer clinic that could vaccinate more students.

“Because [Staff Wellness] have experience running mass clinics, their numbers indicated our initial predictions were a little low. That’s why we moved towards a ten-day model,” Stewart said. “We wouldn’t have been serving the student population as effectively. It would be almost a waste of resources to only offer a [three-day] clinic.”

Stewart submitted a partnership application to the SU to cover the costs of having the clinic in MacHall for five extra days.

The SU denied the partnership application, recommending Stewart apply for further funding through a Quality Money change-in-scope proposal.

Stewart applied for a further $6,880. The SU narrowly voted down the new proposal at Students’ Legislative Council on Sept. 15.

Although the SU denied the funding increase, the original $7,350 will still help fund the clinic.

“After the change in scope was rejected, we went back to the SU and they agreed to cover the base cost of three days in MacHall approved in the original application. So in the end we had a shortfall of five days of space rental,” Stewart said.

Stewart partnered with Staff Wellness and the SU Wellness Centre to account for the shortfall.

“To be able to provide this service to students, it was almost impossible without cooperating with student and Staff Wellness,” Stewart said.

In order to make up the lack of extra funding, those involved with the project had to re-examine their budget.

“We drew nursing resources from the student health services clinic and assigned those resources to the immunization initiative and reduced the cost of having to hire extra nurses,” said senior director of student wellness Debbie Bruckner.

The flu clinic will be open to students, staff and faculty members. Stewart predicted the clinic will have a capacity of 3,100 people. Last year, staff wellness vaccinated roughly 1,700 employees.

“The collaboration will benefit students more,” Bruckner said.  “The combined clinic actually serves to support students more than sectioning it off.”

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