The country with the largest international population at Penn is re-establishing its mark on campus.
The Canadian Club, which has been an official club at Penn for the past several years, was de-recognized at the beginning of this year because the executive board members did not attend Student Activities Council meetings last year. Upon learning that the club had lost its funding, current club co-heads Wharton sophomores Nayyir Ismail and Christopher Motz took the initiative to obtain re-recognition to promote an understanding of Canadian culture on campus.
Among all countries outside of the United States, Canada has the largest international student presence on campus. Motz said that while Canada is very close to home, subtle differences in American and Canadian culture still exist.
“A lot of people see Canadians as America’s top hat, but everyone loves Canadians,” Ismail said. Like in the United States and other countries, in order to understand the Canadian lifestyle, “you have to experience it; you have to be surrounded by Canadians,” Ismail added.
The Canadian Club has a social and a professional aspect through which its ideals are embodied. On the one hand, the club seeks to provide a family for Canadians at Penn, given that living in a different country is part of the transition to college. However, the club also seeks to educate people who are interested in learning about Canada.
In fact, this was one of the driving forces in applying for re-recognition from SAC. Ismail and Motz set up a meeting with the SAC Executive Board and explained the purpose behind rejuvenating the Canadian Club. The SAC Executive Board chose not to grant recognition.
“When they applied [for re-recognition], they only had two members and we didn’t recommend them for that reason,” SAC Communications Director and College junior Tahir Bell said.
Keeping the goals of the Canadian Club as the No. 1 priority, Ismail and Motz decided to push past this setback. They appealed the decision of the SAC Executive Board. At the next SAC GBM, Ismail and Motz were successful in convincing the SAC General Body that the Canadian Club had legitimate objectives and were voted in unanimously.
In addition to funding, a major perk of being recognized by SAC is that, “you can take part in the Activities Fair, which is arguably the best way for a club to market itself,” Motz said.
After a semester in which the Canadian Club obtained SAC recognition and established a comprehensive Executive Board, the co-heads are beginning to organize social and professional events for all students next semester. For example, an alumnus of the Canadian Club has recently become a high official in the Canadian liberal party. Ismail and Motz are connecting with him to organize an event at Penn in which Penn students can learn more about Canadian politics and government.Comments powered by Disqus
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