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These participants are camping out to draw attention to the provincial election.
the Gauntlet

Campus Big Brother a true reality show

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Now students have their own Campus Big Brother, thanks to the University of Calgary Students' Union's Political Action Week.

Three student contestants will stay in the "What SUp Space," located in the MacEwan Student Centre, for three straight days without the ability to leave, except for classes, showers, and to use the bathroom.

Each contestant will represent an important election issue concerning students: affordable housing, tuition, and environment. The contestants are charged with raising awareness about their cause.

The students can then vote for the cause they consider most important, while the participants stress the importance of voting.

SU vice-president external Mike Selnes explained Campus Big Brother is to both entertain and educate the people about the provincial election and affordable housing.

"We wanted to do something fun to raise awareness on campus about the provincial election, and get them thinking about voting," said Selnes. "Second, we want to continue raise public awareness about the need for more affordable student housing, and what better way than to have three students live in a tiny space on campus for three straight days?"

Selnes noted the Campus Big Brother is similar to the Big Brother television series in that the students have to live in a cramped room for three days before they can leave--with people watching them.

"Three meals a day will be provided for the three contestants, along with water, snacks, beds, a couch, a television with a Playstation, and a computer," said Selnes. "The three students brought in their books, homework and music to cope with living in the small box. They are making a sacrifice on behalf of students who are struggling to find a place to live."

Students will be compensated for their sacrifices by a $200 affordability subsidy for their rent.

Fifth-year development studies student Mike Nyberg is taking a drastic stand for environment because of his concerns about the student body's general apathetic attitude especially regarding environmental wellbeing.

"For too long, we have seen the environment as a 'separate issue,' but the environment is connected with every aspect of our life," said Nyberg. "In Alberta, if we sacrifice the environment for the sake of economic growth, our whole societal structure will fail."

Third-year geomatics engineering student Dan Grover's personal experiences with tuition led to him advocating lower tuition fees.

"As an engineering student, my workload does not allow me to work during the school year, so every year of school just gets me further into debt," said Grover. "It's not right that people should have to graduate and immediately start working to pay off their student loans."

Second-year social sciences student Tory Wiwchar explained his experience as a Residence Students' Association representative is why he decided to take a stand on affordable housing.

"Being in RSA makes you realize how hard it is actually to find a place to live," said Wiwchar. "Housing is something everyone needs and we need to think of new solutions to make it financially easier."

Despite meeting each other for the first time on Tue. the three roommates feel positive about their stay.

"So far, my roommates seem pretty cool, I just hope they can put up with my habit of sleeping nude!" said Wiwchar. "Just kidding, I'll wear clothes."

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