The CSU is trying to bridge the gap between art students and the rest of the University

By proposing events such as Art Swaps, the CSU proposes to serve as a ground for the exchange of supplies among students and the general Concordia community

On Sept. 29, the Art Swap series held its first event in the courtyard of the VA building at Concordia’s downtown campus. 

“We figured that having this event in the courtyard would create the sort of traffic that this event would like to cater to,” said Sean Levis, sustainability coordinator for the CSU and co-organizer of this event. 

Thanks to a collaboration with Zero Waste Concordia, Art Hives, the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA), and Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), the CSU was able to make this event possible. 

Art Hives staff and volunteers preparing their stand – Esther Morand/The Concordian

The CSU decided to organize a four-part swap series building off of the Queer and Kids Clothing Swaps that happen every year during the anti-consumerism week. 

The Art Swap is a space “where students are encouraged to either take the art materials that are viable to them or leave any art materials that they don’t use,” Levy noted. 

These events raise awareness around the idea of exchanging, rather than spending.

“The purpose of this event is to get students on campus, exchange different materials and promote a culture of sustainability, discouraging the commercialization of specific products, encouraging gifting and trading,” Levis said. 

Glitter containers – Esther Morand /The Concordian

“The whole point is to avoid buying new things and encourage this cycle of reusing and recycling and overall bring more sustainability on campus,” added Julianna Smith, external affairs and mobilization coordinator for the CSU. 

“There’s been this culture of individualism with the pandemic. This is a community effort to get people to connect, have fun, and promote sustainability on campus,” noted Smith. “On top of that, a lot of these events are trying to involve students to allow them to share common ideas and feel like they belong to a space.”

People painting and crafting at the Art Hives table – Esther Morand/The Concordian

Other spaces like the Art Nook offer students the possibility to make art and use available materials. 

“It’s always open, it’s a free space, where people leave and take supplies, it is an ongoing art supply swapping space,” added Smith. 

The Art Nook is located just behind the CSU offices on the 7th floor of the Hall Building. 

Three other swaps will occur throughout the year. At the beginning of November, there will be a book swap that will feature events such as “dates with books,” where book covers will be covered in brown paper with only short descriptions to accompany them for people to pick up. 

“It’s the idea of not judging a book by its cover,” Levis said. “It’s the idea of the de-commercialization of certain products.” 

There will also be a seed swap in April with the Greenhouse, where planting workshops will occur. 

Lastly, there will be a Black hair-care products swap in February. The workshops will be for people to be able to make their own hair-care products. 

“We are creating specific themes for these events. It’s an effort to reinvigorate student life at the same time,” Levy added. 


The demand for sports cards is at an all-time high

Sports cards rise in popularity amidst the pandemic

Collecting sports cards is an old hobby that has seen an unprecedented surge in popularity over the last year. As a result, the  trading, buying, and selling of sports cards has never been hotter.

In January, American entrepreneur and Indianapolis-native Rob Gough bought a rare 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card for a record-setting US $5.2 million. Meanwhile, a limited edition LeBron James basketball card sold for a little over $1.8 million last July.

Trevor Ingram, owner of Sports Card Check-Swing in Brossard, said demand for cards started reaching all-time heights last year.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, I think people were looking for new hobbies to pass the time from home and get their minds off the virus,” Ingram said. “Collecting cards just so happens to lend itself well to confinement and social distancing.”

The most common and affordable method of collecting sports cards is to buy individual packs, in which consumers can expect to get several cards from the base set with a slight chance of pulling exclusive cards called inserts. Cards from the base set are common and guaranteed in every pack whereas inserts are unique cards that are randomly inserted into packs, which makes them considerably harder to acquire.

“Autographed, jersey memorabilia, and rookie inserts are generally worth the most, but it depends on the sport and particular set.” Ingram said.

Retail and hobby boxes offer packs in greater bulk with better odds of pulling a set’s valuable inserts. The former is widely distributed and sold at most retail outlets, while the latter is an alternative that gives avid collectors a certain number of guaranteed hits at a higher cost.

Cards can also be acquired on an individual basis. Nowadays, a desirable card is a point and click away for card gatherers, thanks in large part to the internet, social media, and e-commerce platforms like eBay.

According to Ingram, a fervent card collector himself, the most dedicated people in the hobby will do a little bit of everything. For Ingram, that means generating a personal collection of untouchable cards, which allows him to regularly open packs for the sheer joy and excitement, while simultaneously turning a profit whenever appropriate.

“As a kid, I was addicted to the mystery that comes with opening a fresh box of cards,” Ingram said. “Even though there are better ways to spend money in the hobby with the lopsided pack odds nowadays, the thrill and excitement of opening packs isn’t there when you are buying cards secondhand.”

With the hobby’s resurgence in recent times, Ingram said his valuable sports stock sells out in a matter of hours. He added that due to limited supply and absurd demand, prices for card packs across every major sport have risen by a large margin.

“Now, some boxes are selling for up to five times their original price, and those numbers will keep climbing so long as people are willing to spend,” Ingram said. “Unfortunately, average people who are interested in collecting but don’t want to spend an entire paycheck on cards are being priced out.”

Despite the growing costs of collecting sports cards, Ingram said there are ways to stay engaged without breaking the bank amidst the card market boom.

While most card investors set their sights on the exclusive mint-condition cards, many will bundle their non-graded cards for sale at a modest price. This remains a viable option for those who are looking to open packs with their children or just indulge in the mystery themselves.

“Getting a card professionally graded is costly and usually takes a few months with shipping,” Ingram explained. “Grading significantly boosts the value of cards, but most of the time it’s simply not worth the struggle unless the card is worthwhile.”

Sports Card Check-Swing never put products on reserve for clients in the past — according to Ingram, no one ever asked, and the need was never there.

Today, Ingram said he gets calls daily from clients asking him to put aside products for them; often months ahead of scheduled release dates. He added that if not for an imposed limit on the number of pre-orders he can accept, the local card shop would have nothing to sell on the days of release.

“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, and this is undoubtedly the biggest sports card boom I’ve ever witnessed,” Ingram said. “Yet, I think the industry is years away from actually reaching its peak.”


Photo by Liam Sharp

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