The Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia launched DISorientation 2012 this week and through a series of different events, organizers aim to reach out and inform new and returning students.
It is QPIRG’s mandate to raise awareness about social justice issues, and the concentrated effort of DISorientation 2012 is to expose students and the community to a different side of campus life by organizing free workshops, tours, a panel discussion and a block party.
“It’s a period of time when students, as well as community members are looking to get involved, for a nurturing environment where they can be curious, where they can learn more,” said Jaggi Singh, QPIRG’s working groups and programming co-ordinator. “It’s important because there’s more to being part of this campus life than what goes on in the classroom.”
A “Radical Walking Tour of Concordia” is set for Wednesday to highlight past social conflicts at Concordia, such as the 1969 Sir George Williams Computer Centre riot, a student occupation fuelled by allegations of academic racism, or the student unrest that ensued following the scheduled visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2002.
“We will talk about the different contributions that have been made to ensure an accessible campus, to ensure a campus that is engaged and politicized – about a lot of Concordia’s history that is often hidden,” explained Singh.
Following the walking tour, QPIRG along with different student associations will host “The Quebec Student General Strike … WTF?!” a discussion where students will be able to learn more about the recent student strike and to discuss the future of the movement.
Singh said that there is a need for space to talk about the student strike and future mobilization, in a way that is accessible to individuals that didn’t experience it.
Thursday’s “Red Square Block Party” will host a variety of groups, and the People’s Potato will serve food. Singh explained that the event is a celebration, a gathering and a reclamation of space all at once.
“Concordia’s at the heart of gentrification in downtown Montreal and either the administration is going to accelerate the gentrification and turn what could be accessible gathering spaces into spaces where you have to spend money,” he said. “Or we can try to assert that these spaces should be where people, regardless of their background, people with modest means and income, can gather and hang out.”
For more DISorientation events, check out www.qpirgconcordia.org