The 54th National Ukrainian Canadian Students’ Union (SUSK) Congress convened in Hamilton, Ontario on May 10, 2012. The four-day conference, hosted by the local McMaster Ukrainian Students’ Association, concluded with tangible proposals that delegates will use to evolve Ukrainian Student Organizations nationwide. “The 54th National SUSK Congress served as an opportunity for students to network with other students from across the country as well as develop leadership skills necessary to execute their role as future leaders in the hromada” said Immediate Past President Olena Kit. “Many new ideas, opinions, and criticisms were brought forward. The delegates immersed themselves in full debate and devoted themselves to exploring, learning, and sharing their knowledge. It became evident that there are many areas in which SUSK can improve its focus and steps taken at this year’s Congress will help forge a new path for Ukrainian students in Canada,” concluded Kit.
Over thirty representatives from twelve Canadian post-secondary institutions attended the National Congress, along with community observers. The professional seminars featured: Orysia Sushko who addressed the reality of human trafficking; Taras Zalusky who expressed the role of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and its relationship with SUSK; Zenon Potichny, Alex Ochrym, Markian Silecky, Michael Zienchuck and Dr. George Foty who proposed a Canada Ukraine Chamber of Commerce (CUCC) Youth Initiative; Dr. Walter Zaryckyj who described the Ukrainian Diaspora as a force multiplier in Ukraine’s quest for mature national statehood; and Paul Grod, Eugene Roman, and Renata Roman who revealed linked business success with community involvement in the hromada as concepts reliant on each other.
The Annual SUSK Banquet and Zabava was held at the historic Liuna Station where guests enjoyed a gourmet meal, a performance by Kalyna Dance Ensemble, a Keynote Address from the Honourable William J. Festeryga Q.C., and entertainment of lively polka tunes by Zirka! SUSK extends the warmest appreciation to the local Ukrainian community for their tremendous support.
This year’s Congress also featured a “Meet & Greet” Networking Night, a blue and yellow themed pub-crawl, a private tour of Rosewood Winery Estates in Beamsville, Ontario that included a tasting, and sessions on personal finance.
Marta Cybulsky, a McGill University student was delighted with her experience:
“Returning to my fifth SUSK Congress, it was a pleasure to see so many new faces. SUSK has definitely been doing a great job at mobilizing and connecting Ukrainian youth across Canada. This year’s congress stood out in particular, as the speakers were extremely enthusiastic and stimulated many discussions amongst the delegates.”
The 54th National SUSK Congress culminated with a strategic planning seminar facilitated by Yvan Baker, who asked delegates to: determine the issues SUSK’s faces; prioritize them; solve one of these issues in groups; and identify the most realistic solutions. “This exercise served to be invaluable. I found the experience rewarding as the process could be applied to any organization,” said Pavel Waszczur a delegate from McMaster University.
Incoming President Danylo Korbabicz from the University of Ottawa, who had previously served in this capacity for the 2010-2011 term, looks forward to the continued growth of SUSK and helping shape the future direction of the large and important Ukrainian Community in Canada:
“I am humbled to lead SUSK once again in this crucial time of its renaissance. Our community faces immediate challenges in Canada but is also concerned by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. It is important that more of our youth take an active leadership role in both arenas as conventional resolutions to various challenges are becoming less and less effective,” said Korbabicz. “That being said, I would like to commend those who have committed themselves to SUSK this past executive term as well as those incoming members. Without them, SUSK would languish and an important community voice would not be heard. I would especially like to thank outgoing President Olena Kit for her personal sacrifice, commitment, and many years of service to SUSK. I know her contribution is highly valued by the community at large,” concluded Korbabicz.