disORIENTATION is one of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group’s (QPIRG) core projects aimed at students and community members eager to learn about social justice issues and how to get involved. This year’s events take place Sept. 23-30.
“The mandate of QPIRG is to be a link between campus and community on social justice issues, on issues relating to fighting exploitation and oppression,” said Jaggi Singh, QPIRG Working Groups and Programming Coordinator at Concordia. “Disorientation is a way for students to get acquainted with that.”
Over the week, students can attend a variety of free workshops, panels, trips around the city and other events.
“disORIENTATION goes beyond the idea of students simply being consumers and see people as residents of this campus that can be engaged in social justice organizing,” said Singh.
The 10 events available include the well-known walking tour on campus, the block party on Guy and de Maisonneuve, the transportation bike tour, Solidarity Not Charity, and the Mad Hatter Tea Party.
disORIENTATION is working with Cinema Politica and the Center for Gender Advocacy. A new addition to the program is “A Safer Concordia Consent Workshop,” a sexual assault awareness workshop to explore the meaning of consent. The workshop will be held Sept. 30 at 2 p.m.
Also newly incorporated to the program is the screening of the documentary Bidder 70 on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. It tells the story of a college student who outbid industry giants and purchased 22,000 acres of land that had been already appointed in 2008 by the Bush Administration for the energy and mining industries. The film won awards in 20 film festivals, including Best American Film at Traverse City Film Festival in 2012.
QPIRG started in Concordia as a club back in 1981 and became separate from the Student Union in 1989 while disORIENTATION began in 2003. Among other issues, it concentrates on grassroots activism and acts as a platform for anyone with the spirit of making a difference within the community.
“I strongly believe that, as a student, one of the best ways to make a positive impact in the planet is by taking action locally,” says second-year geography student, Elizabeth Murphy, “which makes disORIENTATION such a great starting point.”
What’s the difference between disORIENTATION and the Concordia Student Union (CSU) Orientation?
Singh explains that disORIENTATION is complementary. “We are focused more on social justice issues which is why we specifically scheduled it after the CSU orientation. People don’t have to choose between them, they can go to both,” he said.
Moreover, QPIRG doesn’t claim to be a university orientation, as made evident in their project’s name.
“It’s for everyone, for people who want to get engaged with social justice issues,” said Singh. “It’s a way of telling people that things are a lot more complex than the administration and corporate sponsors want you to think it is.”
For more details and for the full schedule go to qpirgconcordia.org/disorientation.