SA retreats from high costs at NIU

By Megan Knowles

High costs for food and a room at the Holmes Student Center pushed the Student Association staff to hold a retreat off-campus last week.

SA President Preston Came and his staff held a retreat last Friday to help put the group in the proper mindset for the semester. The retreat was held at the Concord Inn in Rochelle, contrary to usual NIU practices of holding retreats at NIU-owned facilities.

Came said the SA saved money by holding the retreat off-campus. “It was cheaper to get food and a meeting room at the Concord than for just the food at the Holmes Student Center Heritage Room.”

“It troubles me that we saved money by going off-campus and purchasing food and drinks,” said NIU Student Regent James Mertes.

“The coffee, the rolls and the very light lunch that were all provided there was much less expensive than that which is provided by NIU,” Mertes added.

“We saved money by going away from NIU. I think our university could do better than that for us,” Mertes said.

The problem has been presented to the university repeatedly and they have failed to reduce prices, Mertes said.

Although he did not have precise figures available, Came said University Programming and Activities Director Micki Emmett made the arrangements.

Came said the retreat was also held off-campus so members could get away from the NIU environment and “just be themselves.”

Another reason we went there was the proximity, he said. Members who needed to attend late registration were still close to NIU, Came said.

Role clarification, team building and goal setting was discussed at the retreat, Came said.

“Second semester people slow down a little more because they have elections coming up and people are thinking who is running for what offices a little bit more than they are worried about doing their own job,” Came said.

Came said he wanted people to get psyched up to ensure that there would be no drop off from one semester to another.

Overall, Came said, “I think it went well.”

Mertes said that he thought the retreat was helpful. The setting promoted the cohesiveness with which the staff operates, Mertes said.

Came said that a few people could not show up, but he would provide them with a review of the retreat.