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Onward Debates: Workshops Worthwhile

In my article last week which announced the newly established Canning Workshops, I expressed my views on their purpose. While I still have no doubt that these arose largely from University pressure, I believed that vital information could be absorbed by attentive participants, and that a review of basic safety tips never does one wrong. After attending the very first workshop Monday afternoon, I was not surprised to find my opinion realized.

My workshop was led by Donor & Alumni Relations Overall Anuj Upadhyay and Supply Logistics Overall Pat Howley. The two quickly moved through a simple powerpoint slideshow that detailed THON Canning safety regulations and tips, and driving safety laws and tips. They also informed students that if anyone felt that were being pressured to can, or felt uncomfortable at any time while canning, he or she is never being forced to fundraise, and that they could call the THON office (800-392-THON).

The presentation took about 10 or 15 minutes, and then students met up with one of the various captains in the back of the White Building gymnasium to register their attendance at one of the workshops on THON’s THINK. Then students received a blue wristband with THON on it, that they must wear through the upcoming Canning Weekend #3. This second half of the workshop took another 5-10 minutes.

The workshop required just a minimal time commitment from students and distributed solid information to them. It’s not a big deal.

However, I am left with a few lingering questions after today’s session. First, it doesn’t seem like there is a very solid process of enforcing workshop attendance. I don’t think these paper wristbands have tracking devices in them, and they aren’t visually overwhelming, so I’m not exactly sure what the point of forcing students to wear them is. Hopefully next time around, if THON plans to keep these workshops in the future (I’m sure they will), they will have a better management system in place.

Another announcement made at the workshops was that THON is working on scheduling buses to major canning destinations (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, etc.), so not as many people need have to drive to their varying destinations. This seems like a great idea, but once these buses get to wherever they are going, how do the students get to their individual hosting residences? For the few that drive out, are they going to have to drive bus-goers to and from the bus stations, which will most likely include several trips? I’m sure once THON gets the system up and running, the solutions will come about, but it’s not a solution yet.

Lastly, I want to look at where THON goes from here to continue to increase canning safety. These workshops reissued the basic rules of canning and driving safety, but is that enough? Is this a matter of common sense, or are other actions, such as all canners wearing bright orange vests (just one idea out of many), necessary?

What do you think?

For the other side of the debate check out Devon Edwards’ post here.

About the Author

Ryan Kristobak

Hailing from Lebanon, PA, I am a senior majoring in print journalism. Things I enjoy include lovesacs, denim, mullets, Fight Milk, Jonny Moseley, and "hang in there" kitten posters. Things that bother me include "fun" sized candy bars (not fun), fish, shoobies, wet door knobs, baby leashes, and Jake Lloyd.

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