Dear Graham Carr,
It has been almost two months since you’ve been appointed Concordia’s newest president. In the statement released on the Concordia website on Jan. 16, you expressed your excitement about building off of this “great momentum we’ve created in the last several years.”
While this sounds great, it is also a little bit brief.
We at The Concordian would like to make a few suggestions regarding what needs to be addressed at our wonderful school:
Sustainability: While there have been some improvements, we can’t help but notice a lack of awareness when it comes to sustainability on campus. Some people remain unaware of sustainability groups, like CUCCR (Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse), and compost bins are scarce—-the CJ Building at Loyola only has one. We reported back in October that half of what the university sends to landfills could be composted, according to student groups. Becoming completely zero-waste isn’t going to happen overnight, but providing a clear plan will give the Concordia community an opportunity to track the university’s progress.
Transit: Yes, the university already had a conference concerning the shuttle bus, and we are pressing the matter again. While efficient, the shuttle bus can be unreliable at times. Universities across Canada include a transit pass as part of their tuition. Why not Concordia? As an institution with a large contingent of students reliant on public transit, it’s clear that the demand is there. This would also serve as an incentive for students who drive to campus to start using public transit instead.
Food: Concordia’s five-year agreement with Aramark comes to an end in May this year. For years, students have pushed for more independent and student-run food providers. Aramark’s reputation is also less than stellar. So let’s be realistic, feeding hundreds of students at both residences and the thousands across both campuses is extremely difficult and requires a large workforce. But what the university can do is commit to signing shorter contracts with large corporations, and begin transitioning towards independent and student-run groups becoming the main food providers on campus. It’s not an issue that can be solved immediately, but this is the type of legacy move that only benefits the Concordia community.
Online Opt-Out Consultations: It should come as no surprise that we at The Concordian are against online opt-outs for fee-levy groups. When opt-outs are done in person, Concordia’s groups, from gender advocacy groups (The Centre for Gender Advocacy) to food services (People’s Potato, The Hive), to student media (CJLO, The Link, The Concordian) have a chance to educate students about the services they offer. Following the recent vote to move to online op-outs, all that we ask is to be included in meaningful discussions about the implementation of this system. Will the website include a list of services offered by each group? Will it properly inform people of the role the groups play on campus, and how they can get involved? Or will it simply have a list of services to opt out of?
As our president, these are some of the issues that we ask you to consider as you plan what to tackle here on campus for the duration of your tenure at Concordia.
Feature photo by Alex Hutchins