By: Drew MacEachern

Image courtesy of Drew MacEachern
Image courtesy of Drew MacEachern

Finding new ways to encourage active student participation is always a struggle for student societies and programs. For many, the pub crawl has become the go-to activities for societies to default to when they want to encourage old students to participate and new students to join. However, the pub crawl is not without its drawbacks. The University is saturated with pub crawls and, as a recent incident involving the Business Society shows, the university administration is not always the most supportive of them. Furthermore, pub crawls can be a difficult draw to attract some international students who come from cultures where drinking is taboo. For all these reasons, the UPEI Buddy Program has decided to innovate by creating the very first App (Appetizer) Crawl, which is happening tomorrow (Nov. 5th).

The Buddy Program is run through the UPEI Student Union, with assistance from the International Relations Office (IRO). The Buddy Program focuses on pairing incoming international and exchange students with Canadian or returning international students, in order to help build a support network for them, as well as promoting an exposure to Island life. The Coordinator of the Program not only helps match the participants but also plans events for the Program throughout the year, from apple picking excursions to curling, to help encourage. This year’s coordinator, Teresa Tu, a fifth year Business student, decided that instead of doing a pub crawl, she would take the same concept and apply it to trying out different appetizers from restaurants around town. Thus, the first App Crawl was born.

Tu contacted restaurants around downtown Charlottetown and arranged for special deals of their appetizers. After hearing back from 10 of them, Tu created a schedule with time allotted to visit each of the 10 participating restaurants. These are, in order, Prince Edward Restaurant, Old Triangle, Mr. Sushi, Mavor’s, The Union Wok, Old Dublin, the Gahan House, Piatto’s, the Factory, and Hunters’. Instead of shirts, Tu also decided to try something different by creating scarves. She reached out to local company Stay Golden Apparel to create the red scarves embroidered with the name of the Buddy Program.

The App Crawl is open to all students, not only those who are involved in the Buddy Program. However, there is a limit of 60 students for this event (with about 10 spots still open as of the publication of this article). The price to purchase a scarf and participate in the event is $15, which is reduced to $12 if you are a member of the Buddy Program. Interestingly, the event is also open to students from Holland College. There has been talk of establishing a similar program to the Buddy Program at Holland College.

The event begins at 3:30 tomorrow. Whether this becomes a re-occuring style of event at UPEI remains to be seen, but at the very least, it is an innovative method to engage students in Island life.