A national business student roundtable that was headed for the University of Northern B.C. is struggling to find a backup venue just days ahead of its event, organizers say.
The UNBC Faculty Association gave a mandatory 72-hour strike notice early Monday morning, in advance of more negotiations scheduled at the end of this week.
"There's a lot of unknowns, so now trying to scrambling only days ahead of time to accommodate for 250 students coming from across Canada is kind of frustrating," said Mike Jurkovic, who is a UNBC alumnus and chair of the roundtable scheduled Thursday to Saturday.
Jurkovic said UNBC administration has said as an event sponsor, it would likely help cover the cost of a new venue if it came to that, but if faculty isn't on the picket line Saturday, the Canadian Association of Business Students event could continue as planned.
He also spoke with conference services about what a strike could mean.
"If faculty go on strike that means the other campus unions go on strike. That means no food services," he said, adding he's hoping bringing up food on their own could be an option.
In the meantime, he's been phoning venues all day trying to find alternative options, including the Ramada, the Civic Centre, the school district or the College of New Caledonia.
Regardless of whether negotiations lead to a strike, Jurkovic needs to have a plan in place by Wednesday at the latest - which is only the first of three days of talks scheduled between the two bargaining teams. As of Monday afternoon, he was waiting to hear back from the faculty association and noted much is speculative at this point.
Jurkovic has been planning the roundtable for almost a year after UNBC's Commerce Student Society won the bid in April. The annual event gathers representatives from 30 universities to share strategies and ideas.
"It really promotes national collaboration," said Jurkovic of the roundtable, which he's attended twice. "It opens your eyes, you're not just in the UNBC bubble, or even B.C. bubble. When you have these discussions, you realize that your school isn't the only one having particular issues and at the same time it's a great networking opportunity."
Even if he can find a replacement venue, he said part of the point was to showcase the campus.
"It really puts a damper on it. Not to put it too bluntly but Prince George, especially downtown, has a lot to improve on but I feel like the university is a real point of pride."
Jurkovic said it is especially frustrating given the long hours that went into planning the event.
"I have people from across Canada that have been helping with this event and when we're right down to the wire, the eleventh hour, a huge curve ball thrown at us, it feels like we're kind of caught in the crossfire."