Concordia’s Ski & Snowboard Club is ready for their upcoming season

The club doesn’t have to ask icely if you want to come skiing.

With ski hills already open, Concordia’s Ski & Snowboard Club (CSSC) is ready for another exciting winter season of hitting the slopes.

Kicking off their 2023-24 season on Nov. 30 with a Reggie’s bar night, CSSC will be going on their first ski trip on Dec. 3 to Mont-Tremblant.

The club has about 2,000 members and welcomes all levels of skills, from beginner to advanced. Day trips, weekenders, and bar nights are some of the ways to socialize with peers in the club.

CSSC also boasts major sponsorships from the likes of RedBull and Burton, among other smaller apparel sponsors from Montreal. Members have access to discounts up to 25 per cent at Burton on a wide variety of gear.

For CSSC president Ajay Weinstein, giving more to members is his main goal for acquiring sponsorships. “Skiing is a ridiculously expensive sport,” he said but the club’s main goal is to make the sport a little more accessible.

The CSSC works with brands, mountains, and resorts to make it possible for students to participate at a lower cost. Day trips with bus and lift tickets cost between $80 to $100, and weekenders around $350—with everything such as lodging included. Trips can vary between 100 to 160 skiers, who leave from SGW campus at 6 a.m. to get first tracks. 

Weinstein also suggested students check out Poubelle de Ski on Saint Laurent for cheap seasonal ski rentals. It comes out to around $200 for a whole season, with skis and boots. 

The club’s skill inclusivity is the one thing that Weinstein is “most proud of.”  With about half of the participants just starting out in skiing and snowboarding, CSSC has been excelling in getting people into these sports.

If there is one trip that you shouldn’t miss out on, according to Weinstien, it’s the Jay Peak weekender. Three days of skiing and partying, plus a whole rented-out water park, in Jay Peak at the end of the season is sure to be remarkable..

The CSSC also has an active Discord channel for members to share information, connect,make friends and even carpool in case of if they missed the bus to a venue. If you were looking for updates they post most of their news through their Instagram for members to follow trip ticket drops and news about what is going on in the club. 

With 13 ski trips planned for their 2023-24 season, the CSSC has their hands full. With 11 day trips and 2 weekend trips, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Check out their website for trip calendars, and to get tickets for upcoming trips. 

Community Student Life

Let the good times roll

How one student’s initiative is bringing the Concordia community together

Among the many clubs to choose from at Concordia, there is one that takes communal building up a notch.

The Concordian spoke with Asma Kattan, a human relations major and founder of the roller skating club, about how she got the idea to form it.

“I am the founder of the roller skating club, I’ve curated it and put all my heart into it. [I wanted] the community to have a place where people can get together to share one hobby and interest and gather to rollerskate,” Kattan explained.

When Kattan was looking for a club to join at Concordia, there was nothing that was remotely close to what she was looking for. 

She made a call to the CSU and got all the information she needed to start her own club at Concordia. Kattan was told that she had to write up a cover letter, a constitution, and petitions.

“We needed around 50 petitions and we exceeded that amount. It was so fulfilling. There is so much big interest for our club now and it is getting bigger and bigger,” Kattan said.

For Kattan, the main goal of the club has always been to unite people and allow them to truly learn from each other.

Roller skating is a great way to improve your overall fitness level because it is essentially a full body workout.

The CSU roller skating club is extremely active on their social media. Their Instagram handle is @rollerskatingclubmtl. On their feed, they have posted many photos and videos from their events that were held in August before school started.

The Concordian was curious to know what the club’s future plans are, going into winter. 

“We usually in the summer head to open tennis courts. In the winter, which is about eight months in Canada, we have it in private indoor safe-gated venues,” Kattan explained.

Kattan has planned four big roller skating events for the winter months. 

For newcomers who want to join the club, Kattan reassured The Concordian that there are full safety measures put in place.

“Precautions are important. We have first of all a tutor that makes sure what level each person is at. So if you’re a beginner, we definitely recommend wearing the protections for roller skating. Most of the people that are members have their own equipment. They’ve been around,” Kattan said.

The club makes all participants sign a waiver of the terms and conditions that outline that the participants are solely responsible for their own safety and security.

If you’re looking for free food, music and lots of good times, look no further. Sign up for the club using this link!

How to make friends (because you probably forgot)

No, I don’t mean Twitter mutuals

The pandemic has caused a notable shrinkage in most people’s social circles. And if you’re like me, with honestly not that many friends to start out with, post-lockdown Friday nights often consist of you and your one roommate sitting across from each other playing the “do we make the effort to go out or do we just drink wine and just talk to each other” game. I love my roommate, but something’s gotta give.

In theory, with school back in session, there’s no excuse to stay in this lonesome routine. Throughout the past year and a half, we’ve told ourselves that the reason our friend groups were diminishing was because of social distancing rules, discomfort attending large parties, people graduating and moving on while still online, etc. Surely it’s just COVID. I’m not the problem, right?

Well, that’s a question for your therapist to answer. In the meantime, how do you make up for those friends who have been lost to the sands of time these past COVID years?

To make friends this back-to-school season, you have to really want it. This means not waiting for people to come to you, because you’ll be waiting forever. So, actually go up to the interesting person in your class and strike up conversation. Is there someone with cool laptop stickers? How about the person with Spotify open on their computer, showing pretty good taste? Maybe it’s just the person with the least contrived response to your class’ Foucault reading? Talk to them!

You already have some shared interests with those you’re in class with, whether it’s pondering the intersections of queerness and spirituality in the religious studies department, or the shared interest of getting a job after graduation while in a JMSB lecture. Surely there’s something bringing you together, so go grab a coffee at The Hive and find out.

Thinking outside the classroom, you can try joining activities that can help you to foster friendships. I made the mistake of not joining any collaborative clubs until January of 2020, so pending another global crisis, don’t be like me. There are plenty of clubs, classes, and activities on campus and off that could help you build that sad little social net you so desperately desire.

Off campus, there are many art classes around town that you can drop in on for fairly cheap, and what’s better than staring at a naked model to really bring you together with your peers? Exercise classes are also great for building relationships through shared trauma.

On campus, there are plenty of clubs for different interests and identities. For example, there are groups for students of different nationalities and ethnicities, such as the Concordia Syrian Students’ Association, Hillel Concordia, Haitian Students at Concordia, and many more. If you’re into art, try Collective 4891 or Concordia’ART. For the adventurers, there’s the Concordia Outdoors Club. If you’re a massive egotist who wants to subject others to your silly little ideas, try student journalism!

Attending these clubs and events is a great start, and you’re sure to find at least a few people you click with. But, the crux of all of this is to make sure you’re fostering these acquaintances into real friendships. There’s nothing worse than a casual friendship that you know could be made into something deeper, but neither of you are willing to put in the time or effort. We all need to collectively swallow our pride and make the first step, because if social isolation taught us anything, it’s that an Instagram mutual does not necessarily a true friend make.


Feature graphic by James Fay

Concordia Student Union News

CSU Club Fair Attracts Hundreds

Throughout Welcome Week, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) worked to engage new and returning students. The Union’s Facebook page listed nine events ranging from a sustainability mixer to a student-parent BBQ.

Last Wednesday’s club fair was one of CSU’s more popular events. Hundreds of people marked themselves as “interested” or “going” on the union’s Facebook page. The CSU and four faculty associations work with more than 100 on-campus groups. More than a dozen of them, like the Concordia Game Club to Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, reached out to new and returning students at the fair to make introductions.

Concordia’s CJLO blasted music throughout the Hall Building’s mezzanine as students wandered between displays. First-year student Sienna Thompains said she enjoyed Welcome Week and the club fair.

“I didn’t really know anybody because I’m from the States, but I’m having a great time getting to know people,” said Thompains.

Chris Iannotti, an executive at the Concordia Game Club, said that many first-years and a few graduate students expressed interest in the group. According to Iannotti, finding information about student groups is difficult online but the Club Fair’s physical presence helps overcome technological barriers.

“Right now, the state of Concordia’s website for club finding is a bit messy, but here you’re able to sign up and join all the facebook groups,” said Iannotti.

Iannotti’s Concordia Game Club is not new to Concordia. Founded more than three decades ago, Iannotti said he has no complaints about CSU’s involvement in the on-campus groups.

“We all get a fair budget, and when we need something they [CSU] help us,” said Iannotti.

At another stand, Tess Walker managed the Concordia chapter of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Walker, the co-founder of the Concordia chapter that opened this year, said the goal is to promote harm-reduction on campus, but she was disappointed the group did not have a presence during frosh week.

“It’s the year when people start experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and we are hoping to have more resources to hand out,” said Walker. “CSU has been helpful. Especially last year, people helped set up the club. We’ll see how it goes this year.”

Welcome Week is coming to an end, but Club Fair (part II) is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hall Building’s mezzanine on Wednesday, September 11.


Photos by Britanny Clarke


Concordia Dance Club celebrates its first successful year

The Concordia Dance Club (CDC) is hosting their last two surprise dance workshops on April 10 and 11, concluding their first year at the university.

The club welcomes everyone who likes to dance. Ranging from experienced dancers to the dancing-in-front-of-the-mirror-in-my-room training, the members have no judgements. “The whole goal is to give people, students, a space to express themselves and let go of any stress they have,” said Yasamin Fawzi, the vice president of external affairs of the club.

The principle is simple, every session is a new dance style with a different teacher. The executive members are often choreographers as they are all experienced dancers. Moreover, other workshops are given by established choreographers.

Most students who attend workshops are interested in, or familiar with, the featured style, but they are always welcome to try new genres of dance.

A ballet dance workshop was led by Anna Krupa on March 20. Photo courtesy of the Concordia Dance Club.

Since the fall semester, various styles were presented: hip hop, high heels, Latin dance, freestyle, ballet, contemporary, afro dance, funk and much more.

On Sept. 20, 2018, the CDC held its first session. Prior to that, there were no dance clubs at the university.

Chelsea Foster, an exchange student from Jamaica, has been attending the dance workshops since day one. “I’m still in shock that it’s the first year because everything is so well organized,” said Foster. “The people here are nice, the executive team is very friendly, inviting. It’s been so good so far,” she said.

It all started when the executive team members were in CEGEP. Andrea Montes, the president of the CDC, created a dance club at John Abbott College, where the executive team met. When they started studying at Concordia, the group looked for a dance club to join,“but when we came here, there wasn’t a dance club,” said Fawzi. They decided to take the matter into their own hands and start one.

“We had a lot of ups and downs, but even with all that we had an amazing year,” said Montes. “We worked really hard every time for every workshop.”

The club’s success is partially due to the fact that it is free to join and accessible for Concordia students, and the club plans to keep it that way.

So far, the club has been hosting recreational workshops and plans to make future events more accessible. “People in the dance community can meet people in our dance community,” said Fawzi. Weekly workshops will be held alongside these new events, but with different teachers and new dance styles.

The CDC is planning an event to celebrate the end of their first year in May.

“I am really proud of all the work that we’ve done and [in] future years, I know it will be even better,” said Montez.

For more information, visit @concordiadanceclub on Instagram and Facebook.


Vote yes to support clubs, advocacy services

How students can improve the funding for CSU programs without paying more

From Nov. 27 to 29, Concordia undergraduate students will vote in their union’s by-election.

On the ballot, there will be a referendum question to reallocate Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) fees. Students will be asked if they agree to reduce the amount of fees they pay for a renovation fund and increase fees for student clubs, advocacy services and general operations by the same amount. As the CSU finance coordinator, I believe students should vote yes, because it will protect valuable student services without raising fees.

The CSU offers a wide range of services, campaigns for student rights and hosts fun events. It creates jobs for students and provides support for student-led projects and clubs. All of this is funded by six per-credit fees from students. Currently, for each credit, students pay $2.11 for general CSU operations, $0.24 for the advocacy services, $0.24 for the Off-Campus Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO), $0.17 for the Legal Information Clinic, $0.20 for clubs and $0.74 for the “Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency (SSAELC) Fund.”

All of this money is given to the CSU, however, it can only be used for its designated purpose. Money collected for HOJO, for example, can’t be used for orientation week events. This means that when the CSU council approves the budget, it’s actually approving five separate budgets.

In previous years, the CSU ran surpluses in a few departments, specifically for clubs and the advocacy services. As a non-profit organization, we’re not supposed to do that, so the executives ran referendums to reduce the fees. The advocacy services fee was reduced in 2015, and the fee for clubs was reduced in 2017. However, almost immediately after these referendums passed, demand for the services increased. More students were going to the Advocacy Centre, forming clubs and increasing club activity, but the CSU now had less money for those resources than before.

This has placed these departments in a structural deficit. Advocacy services are projected to run a deficit of roughly $30,000 this year, and clubs is $70,000 in the red. These deficits have been absorbed by CSU cash reserves from previous surpluses, but that can’t go on forever. This year, we have to choose between raising revenue or reducing student services.

Don’t panic. Despite these challenges, the CSU is in a good financial position overall. Its net value increased this year to over $13 million. However, much of that money is in the SSAELC Fund and, because fees have restricted use, the money has to stay there.

What is the SSAELC Fund? It’s a large reserve of funds that can be used to build or renovate student spaces, support student associations that vote to go on strike, and pay legal settlements if the union gets sued. The fund has roughly $10 million in it, and is invested in stock portfolios that help it grow from year to year. It was recently used to fund projects like the Woodnote Housing Cooperative and the CSU daycare—and even after those big projects, the fund is still growing strong.

The CSU has plenty of resources, but they’re not being allocated in the best way possible. To fix that, we’re proposing to reduce the fee levy for the SSAELC Fund by $0.36, while also implementing a fee increase of $0.06 for advocacy services, $0.10 for clubs and $0.20 for general operations. All the budgets will balance out, and students won’t have to pay anything more.

The SSAELC Fund will still grow by approximately $250,000 per year after this reform. By collecting a bit less for the renovations fund, which already has $10 million in it, we can increase funding for the many clubs that enrich student life and give us extracurricular experience. We will be able to maintain the advocacy services that protect student rights, and invest more in services, bursaries, programming and campaigns. All of this will be possible without students having to pay even one extra cent.

On the other hand, if this referendum fails to pass, we’ll be required to reduce funding for clubs and advocacy services. No student will benefit from that. The proposed new fee structure is a simple, responsible and effective way to manage our union’s finances. To support student clubs and the important services students depend on, without having to pay more, please vote “yes” on Nov. 27, 28 or 29.

Archive graphic by Ana Bilokin

Student Life

Dancing our way to safety with PLURI

Nightclubs are beginning to address the sexual harassment marginalized groups experience

Suppose you want to have a fun night out with a group of friends, but you’re not a cisgender, heterosexual male. Of course, bartenders are usually apt to thwarting suspicious behaviour, and venues often have bouncers or security for when dodgy situations escalate. Nonetheless, for marginalized groups—namely the LGBTQ+ community, women of colour (WoC) and cisgender women—a night out typically entails a mixture of catcalling, verbal harassment, non-consensual physical interactions, and, in too many cases, sexual assault.

In 2017, just under 30,000 sexual assault cases in Canada were reported to the police, according to a StatsCan report released in July. Of those cases, almost 4,000 were deemed unfounded, meaning “police determined that no crime had taken place,” reads the same report. The Conseil des Montréalaises released an opinion paper titled “Montreal, a Festive City for all Women: Security of Trans Women and Girls at Outdoor Events in Montreal.” It cites studies indicating that, in 2011, 47 per cent of women felt twice as nervous as men walking through their neighbourhoods at night, and 45 per cent of women avoid certain areas at night. These, and many other reports, cannot even begin to quantify the degree of sexualized violence marginalized communities experience and the number of unreported sexual assault cases.

Christopher Roberts, a Concordia student who enjoys Montreal’s nightlife, said they spent a lot of time at Bar Datcha, a popular cocktail nightclub on Avenue Laurier W., one block west of St-Laurent Blvd., one of Montreal’s popular nightlife strips. Datcha is a nightclub that recently partnered with PLURI, a non-profit organization aiming to reduce harassment on dance floors. Through integrated safety monitors visible by the yellow ‘Party Support’ label on their backs, or staff shirts from respective venues, PLURI volunteers are trying to make dance floors more enjoyable for everyone by intervening in harassment situations before they escalate.

PLURI, which stands for Peace Love Unity Respect Initiative, was co-founded by Éliane Thivierge and Celeste Pimm, alongside a small team of other volunteers, in August 2016. The non-profit offers a range of workshops for event organizers, bar staff, and aspiring volunteers that provide “training on how to recognize harassment, how certain systemic oppressions interact with party spaces and bystander intervention,” according to an interview with PLURI.

Party Support volunteers have been present at music festivals such as MUTEK, POP Montreal, Red Bull Music Festival, and Slut Island. PLURI explained that Party Support volunteers are the “middle [ground] between the event patron and security… They are points of contact that are more accessible and less intimidating than security.”

Bar Datcha, a popular cocktail nightclub on Avenue Laurier W., one block west of St-Laurent Blvd., one of Montreal’s popular nightlife strips. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Patrick Gregoire has been the manager of Datcha for the past four years. He said the venue has been working with PLURI’s dance floor safety monitors for over six months, despite only announcing their partnership just over a month ago. Gregoire explained that, at first, the Party Support volunteers were inconspicuous, and didn’t wear any labels that indicated their position. “But we felt that their work is best when people see someone on the dance floor with authority that isn’t security,” said Gregoire.

Roberts explained two instances, both occurring the same night at Datcha, which involved their friends experiencing sexual harassment to the point where bar staff and security intervened. “The wrong people found [their] way to [some] queer people […] and one was grabbing people, including my friend,” said Roberts. “I found a bartender to let them know the situation and, immediately, a bouncer kicked the guy out.” Roberts said the second incident involved a cis male harassing two of their queer friends and, when the situation escalated, Roberts “made eye contact with a bouncer who immediately dissolved the situation.”

Carla, a bartender at Datcha, said she’s very happy about the bar’s collaboration with PLURI. “It’s a plus having that extra team around,” she said. “And the fact that they’re all women—I love.”

Chris, another bartender at Datcha, said he’s been fortunate enough to “work [at] places where [they’ve] always had someone to deal with those issues.” Carla added that the Party Support volunteers try to educate people and deconstruct instances of harassment. “At the end of the night, the girls all sit down with security and the bouncers and go over what happened that night,” said Carla. “It’s really cool.”

Gregoire, as well as PLURI, emphasized the benefit of having initiatives like Party Support. “Before, these things wouldn’t get flagged until it was a problem,” said Gregoire. “[Volunteers] often end up checking in with people who are being harassed before they decide to reach out for help,” explained PLURI. The non-profit organization added that most patrons facing harassment will accept the support offered instead of tolerating these behaviours or removing themselves from the space.

Concordia journalism student and techno music enthusiast Erika Morris said that an initiative like PLURI “makes [her] feel better about these places recognizing an issue and trying to do something about it.” Security has been helpful at times by keeping their eyes on men who harass her, explained Morris. “Sure, it made me feel a bit safer that night, but the next time I went out, I had just as many chances of being harassed again,” she said. Marginalized communities—particularly queer folk—who experience harassment in public spaces, thus creating the need for these programs, “just reflects a higher societal problem,” added Morris.

“I think it’s cool that these people who are volunteers stay sober to try and help people,” said Morris. Roberts agreed that they feel PLURI and the Party Support initiative is an important step towards helping marginalized communities feel safe when they go out at night. “But in the end,” said Roberts, “there’s an overwash of sorrow that reminds our communities that we are being pushed into corners of spaces […]. [We] need more help than ever just to feel comfortable being with each other and ourselves for a night.”

Feature image by Alex Hutchins.


Campaigning for Concordia to divest from dirty industries

Divest Concordia, a coalition of students and community members formed this past winter, is working to have Concordia invest sustainably and responsibly. The hope is that Concordia will be the first Canadian university to divest from fossil fuel industries.

Divest Concordia, a coalition of students and community members formed this past winter, is working to have Concordia invest sustainably and responsibly. Photo by Keith Race.

“[Concordia] has the knowledge and expertise to do this. It’s a matter of having the will to do it,” said Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, organizer of the Divest Concordia information sessions held on Sept. 10 and 14.

The organization’s goal is for Concordia to divest completely from fossil fuel industries in three years time, with the first step being to freeze its investments with such companies. Garoufalis-Auger announced four reasons why it’s important to divest from dirty forms of energy: climate change, pollution, the geopolitics of oil and the fact that the oil industry undermines democracy.

At the moment, Concordia has an endowment fund, which Divest Concordia compares to a savings account, of about $100 million for investment. As it states in the Responsible Endowment Coalition’s Student Handbook, most schools care about growing their money as much as possible, even if this includes sending funds to “international projects that are environmentally or socially irresponsible.”

“We have about $11.7 million in fossil fuel industries. There’s about $9.1 million that’s invested in oil and gas and there’s about $2.6 million invested in pipelines,” said Garoufalis-Auger. Divest Concordia is currently submitting access to information requests to find out what specific companies the school is investing in.

The Board of Governors is responsible for deciding whether the university will abandon investing in fossil fuel industries. Divest Concordia is currently organizing a presentation in hopes the BOG will see the necessity to invest in renewable energies.

The organization wants the university to adopt a binding social and environmental responsibility policy, formulated by a committee with student representation, so that reinvesting in fossil fuels at a later date won’t be a possibility. They also want Concordia to make a public statement endorsing the divestment campaign and to encourage other universities to do the same.

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) support this campaign.

Six campuses across North America have already divested. McGill and the University of Toronto are among some Canadian universities that already have divestment campaigns.

“If we can be the first in Canada to divest, that’d be nice,” said Garoufalis-Auger.

He further explained that companies specializing in renewable forms of energy will be coming to Quebec, seeing as the government is looking to buy wind turbines and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois wants Quebec to invest in the electrification of public transport.

“Quebec has a lot of investment management firms that are signed on to [sustainable] principles and it’d be nice to see Concordia do the same,” said Garoufalis-Auger.

Divest Concordia is in the process of creating an advisory board. They currently have a worker specializing in social finance from the School of Community and Public Affairs.

Students are encouraged to get involved by spreading the word about divestment, sending a letter, and attending Divest Concordia’s weekly meetings on Fridays at 2 p.m.  at the GSA House, 2030 Mackay.


That other kind of club

Under the Concordia Student Union’s umbrella, more than 50 clubs and associations are given license to create subcommunities for students, cultivating a more rewarding, and certainly a more fun, university experience. Many of these clubs focus on the arts so be on the lookout for these booths during the Clubs Fair on Sept. 12.
Concordia Music Club: You need not be part of the music department to get tuned in this year. Take part in their organized jam sessions, open mics and other forms of musical endeavours with fellow student musicians.

Concordia Starcraft Community: Let’s get rid of the gamer stereotype, shall we? This club is front and centre when it comes to promoting the university’s and Montreal’s e-sport culture, so get ready for competition and real-time strategy.

Journalists for Human Rights: Use your pen for good this year as a member of JHR, and promote social awareness. Write articles and editorials addressing local and international issues and give voice to those who have none.

Uberculture Concordia: Ever leafed through Adbusters and appreciated their in-your-face stance? Uberculture Concordia is your local answer to the magazine and to the movement. Get involved in campaigns, guerilla theatrics and promote independent art and media.

Concordia Mechanicals: Thespians, gather round. Write, produce or perform with the Mechanicals and bring your collective creations to life on stage.
Otaku Anime of Concordia University: Whether you know what an otaku is or not, this group welcomes all. Attend their free bi-weekly anime film screenings, browse through their extensive Manga collection and take part in Otakuthon and Anime North.

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