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New CSU welcomes semester with open doors

by Laura Marchand September 16, 2014 0 comment

Discuss efforts and plans, particularly with respect to Loyola campus

On Sept. 10 the Concordia Student Union (CSU) held an informal meet-and-greet in the CSU Lounge of the Hall building to introduce its executives to the student population and give an opportunity for everyone to meet with the team and find out their plans for the upcoming school year. All the CSU executives were in attendance.

Officially, the CSU plans won’t be approved until Sept. 17. However, the CSU was able to discuss several with The Concordian, including the long-term Loyola Greenhouse project.

“There’s also a lot of momentum about food systems on campus, and we should try to take advantage of the opportunity that we have,” said Benjamin Prunty, CSU President. “The [Loyola Greenhouse] would be a really clear and dramatic improvement on [Concordia’s food system].”

The research on the feasibility of a greenhouse at Loyola was done years ago, Prunty said. The structure would likely be larger compared to the existing Concordia Greenhouse currently located on top of the Hall building, but would take years to complete.

Another continuing project for the CSU is the co-operative café, The Hive, with it’s Loyola sister co-op, The Buzz. The Hive, located in the Hall building mezzanine, officially opened for business in late August while The Buzz is expected to open by the end of September.

“In the first year of operation, there might be some changes,” said Jessica Cabana, VP Sustainability. “But all the coffee [is] fair trade, and we try to go for organic coffee…We also compost: all the coffee cups are compostable, the stir sticks as well. We try to be conscientious of where the food comes from, and where it goes when you’re done with it.”

Terry Wilkings, VP Academic and Advocacy, intends for there to be changes behind the scenes as well.

“This year at the university, the senate will be producing a new document which will be replacing the Academic Plan and the Strategic Framework,” Wilkings said, referring to the two documents outlining Concordia’s  vision on bettering its standing as an institute of university learning. “It’s going to be a merger of these two documents which guide the university’s academic mission. [We’re] ensuring that students have meaningful input in [its] creation.”

Wilkings added that this was just one of the many ways the CSU was trying to increase student input within the university.

“[My] primary goal […] is to strengthen student representation on academic bodies,” explained Wilkings. “We’re doing that through the Student Congress, which is an experiment in academic governance.”

Wilkins said additional details on the Student Congress will be available at a later time.

Another priority was simply to increase the visibility of the CSU and student services, especially outside of the downtown campus, explained Gabriel Velasco, VP Loyola.

“The CSU has offices at Loyola, and those offices are planned to move to the CC building, which is a better location, it’s much more visible and there’s more student traffic,” said Velasco. “We want to make sure that… there’s enough promotion so students know where the new CSU offices are located, and the services that we offer.”

Velasco was referring, in part, to such services as the Housing and Job Bank (HoJo), which help users know their rights and duties under Quebec’s housing laws and find affordable living arrangements, the Legal Information Clinic (LIC) offering legal advice and referral services to students, and the Advocacy Centre, specializing in addressing student grievances and maintaining their rights in matters of perceived discrimination.

“Those services, in the past, have been very hard to find at Loyola,” continued Velasco. “So we’re working…so that every day, there will be one service at Loyola. We’ll be doing that this entire semester.”

Updates on CSU events, projects and services are available on the CSU web site, csu.qc.ca, or on their Facebook page. Their downtown offices are located at H-711, and are open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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