Robyn Ham spent a recent weekend cheering on her sister Jana Ham and 55 other Hill JDC West business students from the University of Regina as they competed online in the Jeux du Commerce West annual invitational business competition.
“It was the best virtual event I have seen yet,” said Robyn Ham, who was only a spectator this year after three years competing as a member of the Hill JDC West team.
JDC West competitions are organized by a committee in Winnipeg. The committee spent countless hours creating a virtual platform to best replicate an in-person experience.
The committee created a JDC app and used “Zoom” and “Attendify” to allow over 600 students from 12 universities across Western Canada to connect and compete in their own homes from Jan. 14-17.
Additionally JDC hosted a virtual interactive games night for all the competitors, an online store to allow students to “swag swap” items amongst each other and a virtual gala on the last night of competition to celebrate the results.
“They brought in these new aspects to the competition that I’m sure will live on after the world goes back to in person gatherings,” said Jana Ham.
“The theme of the competition was called ‘Age of Innovation’ and the organizers definitely lived up to that.”
Jana Ham has competed for Hill for the past four years. First in Calgary, then Burnaby, B.C., last year in Regina and then this year in her own home.
Despite the difference in venue Hill had a lot of success at this year’s event. Volunteering and fundraising for charity is a large component of the competition. For Charity Hours earned, Hill received first place recording over 1,100 volunteer hours. Hill also received second place in the Charity Dollars component raising over $16,000. The team’s No. 1 charity partner is Hope’s Home in Regina, a non-profit organization which provides childcare for children with complex medical needs.
In addition to the charity aspect, Hill also competed in academic, social and debate categories.
Hill’s academic team members participated in case competitions of different disciplines. They were given a case and had three hours to create a presentation to be scored by judges. Hill placed first in the “Finance” discipline and first in the “Entrepreneurship” discipline.
The social team competed in challenges each day which involved memory, trivia, riddle and puzzles. The debate team competed in a tournament which discussed current events and they placed third overall. The attending universities also get judged in their participation efforts and Hill was proud to place third.
“It was definitely more challenging to showcase school spirit virtually and we missed the energy,” said Emma Ulmer Co-Captain of Hill JDC West. That being said, we were impressed with how engaged everyone was despite being by themselves.”
Hill also competed in a fun “Skit Video” component receiving another first place finish.
“Every school created a video to be scored by guest judges,” said Ulmer. “The theme was TV shows so we chose Glee. We had to produce a four minute video within strict parameters, only one person could be shot at a time. The skit can be found on our Instagram page as an IGTV.”
Now that the competition is over, Hill is going through a recruitment period to find new captains for next year’s competition which happens every year.
“I’m not sure what will happen for next year’s competition, but either way, we are confident it will still be a great experience,” said Ulmer.