While many see New Year’s as another opportunity to go drinking or dancing, QPIRG Concordia has taken a different approach to ringing in 2011. This week is the group’s “New Year’s Revolution,” five events over four days ranging from a “Radical Walking Tour” of Concordia’s SGW campus to a panel discussing the University’s history of social justice battles. The events are designed to inform students about past and current social and environmental issues in and around Concordia.
“QPIRG takes a lot of time and effort to give an opportunity for curious or involved people to see what’s out there and make activism accessible,” says Jaggi Singh, Working Groups and Programming Coordinator for QPIRG.
Today, the walking tour will take people to select areas on campus which have been sites of significance to social and environmental justice issues. One of these is the Concordia archives, where tour-goers will be able to learn about the “computer centre incident’ of 1969, during which hundreds of students occupied the University’s computer centre in protest of the administration’s handling of accusations of racism.
A main theme of the tour is the management of space on campus. “Areas like the mezzanine are important,” says Singh. “Students need a space where they have some level of control, and an opportunity for spontaneity. We can’t let these turn into spaces geared to consumers.” The tour will also focus on food politics, with stops at Frigo Vert and the People’s Potato.
QPIRG will also be hosting a panel Wednesday entitled “The Real History of Concordia.” The panelists presenting are David Bernans, a longtime Concordia activist and author, former CSU president Sabine Friesinger, as well as Montreal historian David Austin. They will be discussing Concordia’s history of activism and students’ different struggles for their vision of the university.