The Western Inter-University Geological Conference, also known as WIUGC, was a fantastic opportunity for students to explore Western Canada, connect with fellow geology enthusiasts, and exchange ideas. But let's be honest, it wasn't all serious business!
WIUGC offered some unique activities to keep things lively. Ever heard of cabbage bowling? Yeah, that was a thing. Picture students rolling heads of cabbage down a makeshift lane, aiming for the beer bottle pins.
And then there were the bun fights. No, not actual fights with bread rolls, but rather a playful competition where students would try to launch buns into designated targets. It was all about precision and a good sense of humor.
But wait, it gets even more interesting. Air duct escapades were a highlight of one conference. One student navigated through the ventilation system of the conference venue, like some kind of geology-themed maze.
And of course, we can't forget the beer boat races, where the Ore Gangue always participated, even if it meant drinking other provincial beers!
But it wasn't all just fun and games. WIUGC also provided valuable networking opportunities and a chance for students to showcase their geological knowledge. And as a memento of their adventures, students would bring back souvenirs from their travels to decorate the Ore Gangue lounge, creating a vibrant and eclectic space.
So, while WIUGC was a platform for geological learning and collaboration, it also knew how to inject some humor and excitement into the mix. After all, who said geology couldn't be a little bit quirky and a whole lot of fun?
From the 85th Concentrates:
The Western Inter-University Geological Conference, WIUGC, frequently referred to as the ‘weegee’ was the creation of students at the University of Saskatchewan. First held in Saskatoon in 1965, the concept of the conference saw mention several years earlier, in the 1961-1962 edition of The Concentrates. Thanks go to the Ore Gangue of that year for the suggestion that has proven to be one of the most enduring, entertaining, and unique events in the Ore Gangue’s history.
“ We have noticed the beneficial results on students from talks noted by people in the field of geology. We also noticed student’s surprise and interest upon hearing Dr. McKenzie’s intimate account of people we only know as authors of imposing text books. From this we concluded that something should be done on the student level to improve communication with other geological institutions. Specifically, we are thinking of contact between our own Ore Gangue and the Geological Societies of our closet neighbours, the Universities of Alberta and Manitoba. We feel that much would be gained in broadening the scope of the students and increasing the number of their acquaintances in the field of geology. By visiting these departments students could see different ideas in organization, course, text books and interests. The excursions to the Universities could be set up in the form of an “exchange weekend. This could include a tour of the geology department, several formal talks by professors and students, sports competition and social gathering such as a meal and a dance. We hope the new executive will contact the geological Societies of these Universities to get their opinion is such an interchange.“
The first annual WIUGC in ’65 was summarized in the 1964-65 President’s message with the following quote:
“ In February, the largest single project the Ore Gangue has probably ever undertaken was successfully concluded. This project, the First Western Inter-University Geological
Conference, was initiated in November 1964, and was held on February 13, 1965. The
central theme, “The Future of Geology”, was very well received by both the speakers and the audience. The conference was organized entirely by the members of the Ore Gangue. Students from Manitoba, Montana, and Alberta attended and supported the conferences.”
Subsequent conventions were held at various Western Canadian Universities. The Department has always been supportive of the event, and the student body has always been appreciative of that support, frequently demonstrating that appreciation in the form of the many souvenirs that ultimately decorated the lounge.