The Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia (QPIRG-Concordia) is asking for a fee increase for the first time is six years in the upcoming Concordia Student Union (CSU) elections.
“We have student members from all the different faculties who attend our workshops or use out resources,” said Marcie Gibson, one of the coordinators of QPIRG-Concordia. “We’re looking to equalize the fees.”
QPIRG is a volunteer-driven, non-profit student organization working on social justice and environmental issues. When QPIRG-Concordia was founded in 1981, students weren’t amalgamated under the CSU. As a result, the fees paid by students varied according to their faculty. This trend it still exists for QPIRG-Concordia fees, where students in Arts and Science pay the most while those in faculties of John Molson school of business don’t pay anything.
QPIRG-Concordia is asking for a fee levy from $0.30 per credit (currently paid by arts & science, fine arts, independent, and in part by ENCS students) to $0.35 per credit, to be made applicable to all CSU members.
Gibson said since QPIRG-Concordia is open to all students and community members, the fees should be spread out evenly amongst faculties.
QPIRG tries to make links between students and the greater Montreal community. It gives an opportunity for students to get to know the Montreal community and become involved in community struggles,” Gibson said.
At Concordia, QPIRG has organized the Cinema Politica series for the past few years, it re-instated the educational workshops Tools for Change, it is part of the Sustainable Concordia project, and it holds at least one community lecture per year, which brought speaker Faith Nolan. It also offers a library resource centre with informative literature and videos that would be hard to find elsewhere.
QPIRG-Concordia has also been operating under a fixed fee since 1998. Aside from fundraisers and some community memberships, the fee levy is the organization’s main source of revenue. “In order for us to grow as an organization, we need [our revenue] to grow as well,” said Gibson.
QPIRG-Concordia has also experienced an increase in their expense since they moved into a new location with wheelchair-accessible space.
The organization used to operated from the same space as LE Frigo Vert but was forced to move because of lack of heating, constant flooding and mold contamination.
“As a result [of the move], our demand has skyrocketed,” said Gibson. More people are using the space and the resources and asking for funding or sponsorship.
“We would like to be able to grow to accommodate the need that’s there,” said Gibson.