Red Square Block Party showcases alternative student associations

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan
Graphic by Jennifer Kwan

Students gathered at Concordia University’s downtown campus on Thursday for the Quebec Public Interest Research Group’s Red Square Block Party as part of the week long DISorientation.

The party focused little on the student strike movement with the exception of a table for Concordia’s Mob Squad. The Mob Squad was there to inform students on the Parti Québécois’ recent decision to repeal the tuition fee increase, as well as planned future marches and initiatives. Most of the event showcased student associations that Concordia students may not know about.

The purpose of the event was to reclaim public space. The gathering focused on the lack of student space at the university’s downtown campus after the development of a long sought-after student centre from the Concordia Student Union was put on hold last year.

“Throughout the years [conventional orientation events have] become more and more axed on, the single-minded focus on partying and drinking rather than a true introduction into what post-secondary education is,” said Christina Xydous, QPIRG’s administrative co-ordinator. “Groups that you’re seeing here have come together to offer an alternative view and perhaps a broader approach to the school experience for Concordia students.”

Booths lined the stretch of sidewalk on De Maisonneuve Blvd. between Guy St. and Mackay St. offering information about a variety of student groups. Organizations such as Le Frigo Vert, Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore, the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, Concordia Animal Rights Association, and Cinema Politica spent the afternoon handing out pamphlets in an an effort to engage passing students.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to get to know other community groups at Concordia and to share information and also to talk to a lot of people that walk by and are interested,” said Emma Pietrangelo, a volunteer with the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy.

The People’s Potato also took part in the “Red Square Block Party” serving a free lunch.

“I think that these things should happen more often because they definitely do show what’s going on at Concordia and show what Concordia is all about,” said Pietrangelo. “It’s not just big tall buildings. We’re a lot about organizations and people participating.”

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