Volume 9, Number 1 August 10, 2001

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Faculty Club hosts North American University clubs

Renowned chef George Wagner, of Malaspina College in Nanaimo, B.C., gave a session on sugar-working and sugar blowing, like blowing glass, to create beautiful table centrepieces like this fish.

Photo courtesy of Donna Cram, U of S Faculty Club

In true Saskatchewan style, people from across the University and around Saskatoon pitched in to help Faculty Club Manager Donna Cram host an international conference that showed off the city and the club to visitors from across North America.

Cram says that after two years of planning, the July 15-18 annual conference of the Association of Faculty Clubs International went off without a hitch.

"It went fabulously – I’m already getting cards from all over".

The Association has 105 member clubs. The two-pronged annual conference has one professional development stream for University and Faculty Club managers and another stream for club chefs.

This year, 36 managers and 10 chefs attended, along with a few companions and children.

Cram says the conferences include a mix of personal and professional development, aimed at helping managers and chefs keep their clubs vital and successful in the competitive restaurant, banquet and club marketplace.

This year was no exception – Cram had pursued the theme: "Expect the Unexpected", and she thinks she surprised her guests with the variety on the program.

"I was so thrilled at the support from everyone at the U of S," Cram says, "from the President to the Club’s Board of Directors and members, to our suppliers."

Linda McCann, of the Organizational and Employee Development office, prepared a strategic planning seminar for the Association’s executive while they were still planning the conference.

Commerce Associate Professor Brooke Dobni led a conference session on relationship marketing.

U of S President Peter MacKinnon brought greetings to the University at the opening reception.

Grant Wood, of the Extension Division, gave an entertaining introduction to Saskatchewan at the opening.

Ray Dulos, General Manager of the Faculty Club’s sister club, Boffins at Innovation Place, "did a beautiful job" of hosting one event.

Former Faculty Club chef Peter Phillip, who now has his own company, Bison Food Services, catered another social event.

U of S Facilities Management staff went out of their way to do touch-up painting and electrical repairs to the Faculty Club just prior to the conference, so it was in tip-top shape.

Staff and First Nations dancers at Wanuskewin Heritage Park did an excellent job leading a "Life as a Balancing Act" session.

The Willows hosted the chef’s competition – in which each chef used a variety of indigenous Saskatchewan foods like elk, bison, saskatoon berries, wild boar, lentils, and Prairie produce to prepare a meal.

That special chef’s program included a special treat – renowned chef George Wagner, of Malaspina College in Nanaimo, B.C., flew in to demonstrate sugar-working, in which he blows sugar, like glassblowing, to create stunning table centrepieces.

Besides the fun, Cram says there were a number of excellent roundtable sessions on particular aspects of Faculty Club management, like newsletter production, special events planning, member recruitment, and long-term maintenance and capital planning.

She said the Saskatoon conference also gave all the visitors a chance to see three clubs – the Faculty Club, Boffins, and the Willows – in action.

Cram says the organization also voted to change its name at this conference, becoming the "Association of College and University Clubs". Next year’s conference is in Louisville, Kentucky.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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