CASA participates in 5 Days for the Homeless

Concordia students raise funds for Montreal homeless shelters

A group of executives from the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA) and a group of JMSB students braved the March 14 snowstorm by sleeping outside hoping to raise awareness of the homeless people living in Montreal who face these winter conditions every year.

As part of the annual 5 Days for the Homeless campaign, participants slept on the corner of De Maisonneuve Boulevard and Mackay street in sleeping bags during the winter storm that dumped more than 35 cm of snow on the downtown region. The students relied solely on the generosity of the downtown community between March 12 and 17, using the money they raised on the streets for food.

“We feel that five days out of our lifetime is not very much,” said Émilie Leduc, the executive vice-president of CASA, who slept outside all five nights for the cause. “We bring the bare necessities such as a backpack, an extra layer of clothes, a water bottle—no money and no phone,” Leduc added. “We live off of donations and from the generosity of the community.”

This winter marked Concordia’s 9th edition of 5 Days for the Homeless.

Since 2008, the Concordia group has helped raise more than $300,000 for local homeless charities.

This year, the team raised $11,1262.80 for the Dans la Rue and Chez Doris homeless centres, which cater to the Montreal downtown community, said LeDuc. Chez Doris is a day centre for women in need, which provides meals and basic services, LeDuc explained. “Chez Doris has a number of volunteers and services which help get these women back on their feet,” she said.

Dans la Rue, which was founded by Father Emmett Johns, or “Pops,” in 1988, caters to homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 25 in the greater Montreal area.

“It was very eye-opening,” said Evan Pitchie, the CASA JMSB president.

“We have the option of going home when things get tough, but not everyone has that same opportunity,” Pitchie added.

Photo by Ana Hernandez

During the storm, between 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., Pitchie said the team helped individuals who were stuck in their cars. “It was good exercise to keep us warm, and helped us raise even more donations for the shelters.”

“A lot of people assume that sleeping outside in the cold is the hard part, but what is most difficult for many people living on the street is the lack of social and human interaction,” Leduc explained. “They are often at the mercy of strangers and rely on our generosity—they are often ignored or avoided by people crossing the street to distance themselves.”

The 5 Days for the Homeless campaign was first introduced by the University of Alberta’s School of Business in 2005, and has since been undertaken by other universities across Canada, Leduc said. She added that Josh Redler, a CASA executive, was the one who brought the campaign to Concordia nine years ago.

This year, the 5 Days for the Homeless opening ceremony was hosted at McGill University—the two schools take turns each year hosting the event’s opening ceremony. This year’s event was organized by Émilie LeDuc, Mackenzie Murray and Nour Hanna, all CASA JMSB executives, along with 13 other JMSB CASA executives.

“The issue of homelessness in youth is very important to us,” said Murray. “We want to address this problem and raise awareness and funds to help those who are facing this reality.”

The most popular programs at Dans la Rue are their education and employment services, said Michelle LeDonne, a development adviser at Dans la Rue. “We offer several different employment opportunities for youth in Montreal, such as an alternative high school on-site and funds for students attending CEGEP.”

“Dans la Rue has an RV van which goes out five days a week to provide individuals living on the street a warm spot, a meal and offer them assistance on mental health, healthcare or information about our day centres,” LeDonne explained.

The van visited the Concordia group during the storm on last Tuesday, offering the students food and shelter, Leduc said.

“We are touched to have this partnership with Concordia and their motivation for the cause,” LeDonne said.

For anyone who would like to donate clothing, food or money to the cause can visit their website.

Student Life

Vintage sale gives new lease on life to old clothes

CASA Cares supports community of senior citizens

Girls sporting oxford lace-ups and guys wearing tweed blazers browsed racks of woolen coats and displays of sequined shoes. For a moment, I thought the ultra-contemporary EV building atrium had been transported to the ‘50s.

Just kidding—I knew that the hip students combing through second-hand pants and jackets were only looking to score the next unique addition to their wardrobes, at the third annual Vintage Couture Sale held by CASA Cares, the Commerce and Administration Student Association’s (CASA) not-for-profit wing, and the John Molson Sustainable Business Group.

The selection of vintage and used clothing at the sale included both high and mid-range pieces. Highlights from designer brands were a grey checked two-piece suit from Salvatore Ferragamo, strappy Manolo Blahnik sandals, and a ruffled Marc by Marc Jacobs dress. Prices were more than reasonable, with the Ferragamo suit going for $20 and pairs of pants priced at $5. Towards the end of the day, shoppers could fill a bag with as many items as they could fit in it for $40, and individual items went for $2. The shopping was guilt-free not just because of the low prices, however, but because the proceeds went to a worthy cause.

The Vintage Couture Sale benefitted the New Hope Senior Citizens’ Centre. Harpal Dasord, CASA Cares’ director of fashion sponsorship, said that the student group tries “to benefit various different organizations.” This year, the volunteer association had already hosted a terrasse party in support of ONEXONE’s First Nations School Breakfast Program and a fashion show to benefit the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and will also hold a gala to raise money for Movember on Nov. 21. The vintage clothing sale helped CASA Cares to target different age groups, accordint to Dasord.

All of the clothes in the sale were donated by members of New Hope Senior Citizens’ Centre, “ladies who don’t wear [the clothes] anymore,” CASA Cares’ first-year representative Frédérique Morrissette explained. “That’s why we get really high brands like Prada or Dolce and Gabbana.”

New Hope is a day centre that promotes civic involvement, and provides social activities and meal plans to senior citizens in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Its mission statement is “to provide a friendly environment where seniors can thrive through a variety of social and community-based services and activities.” It seems fitting that the members’ clothes should be given new life, by matching them with new owners who will prolong their wear. The sale aligns well with the aims of an organization that brings, well, new hope to a demographic of the population that often struggles with isolation.

Morrissette said the student group would like to add even more high-end clothing in the coming iterations of the annual event. Her advice to those who missed this year’s shopping opportunity? “Come early to get the best stuff because it’s going really fast!”

The Vintage Couture Sale was held in the EV Building’s atrium, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14. CASA Cares will be hosting other events in the coming months, and the Vintage Couture Sale will return next year. For more information on the New Hope Senior Citizen Centre, visit


Gill says petition to impeach her is ‘rife with misinformation’

“WHEREAS president Lex Gill orchestrated the illegal dismissal of the Chief Electoral Officer;
WHEREAS in an interview to the Link, president Lex Gill publicly attacked the competency of the ASFA executives of the last 3 years;WHEREAS under Lex Gill’s presidency, there was a record number of councillor resignations”
And the list goes on.
Concordia Student Union president Lex Gill addressed, at last Wednesday’s CSU council meeting, the long list of “whereas” clauses on the recently-launched website,
The website was made public on Wednesday, the same day former CSU councillor Tomer Shavit, Arts and Science Federation of Associations president Alex Gordon (ASFA), and Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA) president Marianna Luciano announced their intent to release a petition that could lead to Gill’s impeachment.
Gill said that the clauses were “rife with conjecture, misinformation, logical fallacies, defamatory statements and straightforward lies…I stand by my team’s work, dedication, leadership and courage, and implore him not to drag the rest of them into his personal problem with me.”
Gill suggested that Shavit wait until March 1, at which time the new CSU bylaws would allow him to collect signatures for a petition that could trigger a general assembly to remove her from office. The current bylaws would require a petition to impeach the entire executive. She even added that if a petition was made and validated according to the rules, she would be happy to call the general meeting, book the room, and move the motion herself. “That is, after all, how democracy works,” she added.
Shavit responded that he would continue with the petition regardless and that he believed that waiting until March would be “counterproductive,” whereas if it is done now, it would be easier for someone else to replace Gill “and to pick up the pieces.”
The creators of the website cite alleged inappropriate behaviour on Gill’s part, a lack of transparency and professionalism, and the “illegal” firing of CSU CEO Bram Goldstein, as their central complaints.
“Lex Gill’s behaviour brought controversy and shame to the CSU,” reads a section of the website.
Website co-founder Shavit said that “discontent with Lex Gill has been going on for a while.”
He said that the website, which contains a number of documents critical of Gill’s actions and those of her executive, was created so information would be accessible. There is also an interactive component in the form of a Facebook page. “Students need to feel like they are being informed,” he said.
As Wednesday’s CSU council meeting heated up, many members of the executive stepped forward to defend Gill, including VP external Chad Walcott, and CSU councillor and student governor Cameron Monagle.
“She [Gill] is doing an excellent job…we do not need controversy and petty insults, we need a stable student body and we need to deal with serious matters,” said Walcott.
Cameron Monagle called Shavit’s allegations unproductive. “We have bigger fish to fry right now,” he said. Monagle proposed a motion that expressed the council’s support for Gill, which was passed unanimously.More updates to come.

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