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Enactus Concordia supports the EcoYouth project

For the second year in a row as part of the EcoYouth project, members of Concordia’s student organization Enactus, are working to make a difference by providing children with the knowledge and skills to grow and cook their own food.

Press photo

EcoYouth is a project started by William Atsaidis, a third year Marketing student at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. The aim of EcoYouth is to provide elementary school children with the opportunity to learn how to garden and the importance of eating right. Currently the group operates out of the Concordia greenhouse where they supply the children with the knowledge and skills to care for the plants.

The project works in partnership with Innovation Youth, a local youth center. Children from the youth center come three times a week to the Concordia greenhouse located on the 13th floor of the Hall building, to fulfill their commitment to an Urban Agriculture program. The students aged 9-10, work hand in hand with volunteers to learn about the basics of gardening and nutrition. In addition to gardening, the students learn to cook with what they grow. The proceeds of their cooking goes to supply a homeless center at the St. James drop in center.

Over the past year the organization has taught over 30 adolescent volunteers how to maintain and run an outdoor garden. Throughout their work they have managed to enrich the curriculum of the youth center. Additionally they have provided the youths with the tools to encourage self-development for sustainable food.

According to Jenna Smith, the director of Innovation Youth, the program has provided the organization with access to green space, something difficult to find in the downtown core.

“We’ve diagnosed a need that’s been there for years and now were actually doing something about it.”

This year EcoYouth is looking to expand their presence in the community. The organization currently relies solely on its one location at Concordia’s greenhouse at the Sir George William campus. However, they envision creating a second location with their own greenhouse. According the Atsaidis, the organization is seeking to expand their operations outside of the downtown core. The group is seeking to find a new youth center to partner with in order to expand operations. Currently Enactus Concordia is responsible for providing the funding and resources for the project. Due to the success of the current program they believe that it will be possible to create a second location by the end of the year.

Enactus is an international student run non-profit organization with 1,600 chapters at different universities around the world. The organization strives to create community-oriented projects designed to emphasize environmental and social responsibility. This past year, Enactus Concordia won the Forces Avenir, “Le project par excellence au Quebec” award for 2013.

For information on ways to help, please contact William Atsaidis at watsaidis@enactusconcordia.com.

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Second annual Santa Supply Chain

On Thursday Nov. 21st, Concordia’s Decision Science Student Association (DSSA) will host the Santa Supply Chain, the proceeds of which will go to help benefit the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Society of Montreal and Montreal Community Cares.

Made up of 13 members, the organization prides itself on bringing together students from various fields to create opportunities to use the practical and theoretical aspects from their disciplines. Press Photo

For the second year in a row, John Molson School of Business (JMSB) students from the faculties of Business Technology Management and Business Operations Management will be getting together to collect donations for the less fortunate.

The DSSA will be holding the event in the lobby of the MB building at the Sir George Williams Campus. Accepting donations of toys, canned goods and personal hygiene products, the donated items will be packaged by Concordia students into boxes and decorated for the holiday season. Last year, the students were able to collect 318 boxes. This year they hope to increase their total to 500 boxes.

At the event, 15 students will be volunteering to collect donations and wrap boxes. The students will also be providing information about the event, selling raffle tickets and making cards. Each box will contain roughly five items for the holidays. A typical box might include, a key chain, puzzle, stuffed animal, a toothbrush and some canned food. There will also be members of the Montreal Alouettes and the Concordia Stingers helping to wrap boxes.
The DSSA is one of the youngest associations at Concordia’s JMSB. DSSA’s Director of Corporate Relations, Alexandra English, told The Concordian “It’s about inspiring future young leaders by emphasizing the importance and integrative nature of Business Technology Management and Supply Chain Operations Management.”

One of the supporters and benefactors of this event is Professor Brent Pearce whose foundation, the Brent Pearce Foundation, makes it their mission to help put a smile on the faces of less fortunate children on Christmas. The foundation’s proceeds, some of which will come from the Santa Supply Chain, go to  the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Society of Montreal. The foundation hopes to help underprivileged families in the Verdun and Pointe Saint-Charles area. Many of the proceeds will be going to single parent households who otherwise would not be able to put gifts under their trees.

Professor Pearce has been teaching at Concordia’s JMSB for close to 35 years. During his tenure he has taught many courses, including Product Innovation and Strategy as well as Direct Response Marketing. Throughout his career he has been a maverick in the healthcare and consumer goods industry.

If you or anyone you know would like to help, stop by the MB lobby on Nov. 21 between 10:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and bring a toy, canned good or personal hygiene product for the Christmas boxes. For further questions feel free to contact the DSSA at corporaterelations@dssajmsb.ca.

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“So close to a deal…so close the deal!” chant Concordia union workers

On Sept. 3, part-time faculty and staff took to the streets to protest Concordia’s refusal to renew contracts with its staff. Members from 14 different unions joined together to make a statement to returning students and the administration at Concordia. Many part-time employees are tired of years of insecurity, due to a lack of contracts and feel that the university is not being reasonable in its offers.

More than 150 employees, from their respective unions, took to the streets during their lunch break to emphasize the need for the university to settle the ongoing dispute over the contracts. The banners and shouting were all part of an effort to send a message that it’s up to the university. The “ball is in their court,” so to speak, a message repeatedly echoed throughout the negotiating. Several of the 14 unions have been working for years without contracts.

In particular, one union, represented by a local branch of the SGW United Steel Workers, has been working without a contract for five years. Despite tireless negotiations, neither side is willing to come to an agreement.

One member of the unions negotiation team, David Douglas, stated that they haven’t made much progress in the years of negotiation.

For Douglas, former council member of Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, the blame can be placed on the current administration. Many members of the union feel that the university isn’t pulling its weight in terms of negotiations. The union states that they are seeking modest concessions to account for the increased cost of living and renewal of their contract. However, faced with budget cuts and reduced funding, the university doesn’t want to budge.

The announcement for the planned demonstration outside Concordia included an invitation for students or anyone wishing to join. Though on Tuesday, there did not appear to be any students who had accepted this invitation. It was not so long ago that it was the students who could be seen outside Concordia’s downtown campus yelling and waving signs. Ironically, the 2012 student demonstrations could be partly to blame for the unions woes.

Following the Parti Quebecois victory in the 2012 provincial election, Pauline Marois fulfilled her campaign promise and froze tuition. The freeze blocked the Liberals’ plan to raise tuition by $325 per year. However, the PQ’s budget eliminated the annual increase in university funding provided by the province, a major source of funding for Concordia. This cost-cutting measure meant universities would have to seek other sources of financing or risk losing cash in the long run.

The union says that they will continue to strike until the university compromises and they come to an agreement. For the 14 unions, it has been a long and hard struggle without contracts these past years. Unfortunately, due to the tight budgets and the administrations tough stance, it may be even longer. For many members of Concordia’s part-time staff “so close to a deal…so close the deal” may actually be a lot further than they would like.

 

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