The University of Calgary now has its own European Union on campus.
On Sept.10, the European Council was sanctioned by the Students’ Union, forming a new union of European clubs to promote their academic, social and cultural work on campus.
“It’s just a collaboration of all European clubs to try to put on events for the university campus,” said Polish European Council representative and Polish Students’ Club co-president Edyta Maciejowsk. “Since we are all smaller clubs, it’s a good opportunity to meet other people from other cultural clubs.”
According to European Council communications executive and British Club president Kirsten McGowan, the council consists of executives from the U of C’s European clubs.
“Anyone can join a European club and become an executive to then join the European Council,” McGowan said.
The European Council includes executives from the Azerbaijani Students’ Association, Romanian Students’ Association, Polish Students’ Club, Ukrainian Students’ Society, Club Français, British Club and the Russian Speaking Student Association.
For clubs to join the European Council, they must represent either the ethnicity or language of a nation that is geographically, politically or ideologically part of Europe. A European club must have at least one representative in the European Council in order for that club to be able to vote on decisions.
The European Council hopes to increase their campus presence through events organized between member clubs. European clubs collaborated last year to host a soccer tournament called the Euro-Cup.
“There were always soccer tournaments between the clubs but it was never organized. So we thought of making an organization that came together to plan the tournament, but then we thought why not make it for something more than that?” said European Council co-ordinator and Romanian Students’ Club executive Mihai Robu. “Like bringing all of these different cultures together to learn about each other and work together and compete in some cases.”
Robu said that events hosted by the European Council are open to anyone.
“Generally, if there’s an interest to participate in the events then we’re up for any club joining if they can connect themselves to some European tie of some sort,” McGowan said. “Then it’s not like we’re going to discriminate against them. The more clubs that join, the stronger we’ll essentially be and the more people will be coming to our events.”
The European Council will make decisions democratically with each club casting one vote through their executives in the European Council. Executives from each club share power equally and have a chance to delegate and share information.
The European Council intends to include more European clubs in the future.
Robu said she hopes other ethnic groups make their own councils, making it possible for the European Council and other council clubs to discuss and collaborate with each other.
“Maybe in the future, certain clubs will come together. We have 300 clubs now so it would be nice to have groups of clubs to collaborate for larger events instead of smaller clubs hosting smaller events that have little attendance,” McGowan said.