A Look at the Levies

Every year, when Concordia Student Union elections rolls around, there’s another group asking for student money, and these groups are starting to pile up.

Students are now paying into 23 groups if they’re arts and science, engineering or independent students; 25 groups if they’re in the John Molson School of Business; and 26 groups if they’re in fine arts.

Here’s some information on these groups so you have a better idea of where your money’s going.

MEDIA


Cinema Politica – $0.07/credit
For almost a decade, these folks have been delivering free independent political films to Concordia. Funded by undergraduates and graduates alike, the group hosts weekly screenings that have included docs on porn actress Lara Roxx and Russia’s push against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

CJLO – $0.34/credit
Concordia’s award-winning radio station features acts such as the Death Metal Disco Show to ConU news from yours truly. Station manager Stephanie Saretsky says, “As always [the student fee levy] goes toward keeping our airwaves as advertising-free as possible.”
It also goes towards an accessible recording space for budding ConU musicians, and their uphill battle to switch from nostalgic AM to high-tech FM.

The Concordian – $0.19/credit
Founded in 1983, The Concordian is the other independent student newspaper at Concordia. Tucked away on the Loyola campus in Montreal’s west end, the paper is one of three student newspapers still a part of the Quebec branch of the Canadian University Press.
The Concordian has a distribution of about 8,000 around both campuses of the university.

CUTV – $0.34/credit
Earlier this year, our campus TV station crawled to a halt following disputes between staff and the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation, the organization that oversees their governance.

Their fee levy funds were frozen by the university at the request of the CSBC, but have since been dispensed to the group, says Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota.

The group gained notoriety during the Quebec student protests over tuition hikes with their live feed and well-known “backpack cam.”
They cater to students and the community, and hold workshops on things from camera techniques to using software like Adobe Final Cut Pro.

The Link – $0.19/credit
Created from the merging of both The Georgian and Loyola News—two of Concordia’s previous newspapers— The Link has been bringing you campus and student-relevant Montreal news since 1980.

In the past few years, The Link has expanded its online and multimedia coverage. With a recently launched radio show on CJLO and some exciting interactive things happening on thelinknewspaper.ca, we’re constantly coming up with new ways to deliver the news you need.

Also, The Link took home four John H. McDonald Journalism Awards at this year’s Canadian University Press conference in Toronto, more than any other student newspaper.

Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore – $0.09/credit
A recipient of the fee levy for almost two years now, program outreach coordinator Larissa Dutil says the next plans for the co-op are web-based. They are hoping to adopt a system that provides real-time info to customers on the books they have in stock, said Dutil.

The fee levy, she says, ensures the store has a guaranteed flow of revenue, which in turn ensures they can continue to be a resource for consignment, used books and indie lit. They’ve seen a clear increase in use of the service since getting the levy, which is further helped by the professors that order texts for their classes directly from the Co-op.

L’Organe – $0.06/credit
This monthly French-language arts magazine has been dormant since its editorial staff made a mass exodus after its last edition in April 2011. There is currently a movement of a few students trying to revive it.

SPACES


R.O. Willis Computer Lab – $1.00/credit
CASA ONLY
Open year-round, Monday to Friday, the R.O. Willis Computer Lab is exclusive to CASA students, and features such delicacies as Microsoft Office Suite, laserjet printers (on a fee-per-use basis) and some scanners.
Lab technicians are around to help you out, so that’s good.

John Russell Harper Memorial Reading and Reference Room – $0.50/credit
FASA ONLY
Located on the second floor of the EV Building, FASA’s John Russell Harper Memorial Reading and Reference Room features all articles on reserve from fine arts instructors; it’s also a cool study and reading space. As well, it has a student-run website that showcases student work called Portfolio.X

VAV Gallery – $0.60/credit
FASA ONLY
The VAV Gallery seeks to support student artists while running a democratic space for Concordia students. It offers an exhibition space and a resource centre for students looking to take their art outside of the classroom.

ADVOCACY


Concordia Student Union – $1.85/credit
Concordia’s undergraduate student union, the CSU was founded in 1979 following the amalgamation of the student associations at Sir George Williams University and Loyola College. Originally named the Concordia University Student Association Inc., CUSA became the CSU in 1994.

The CSU is also one of the two largest members of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, a provincial university student lobby group, tied with the Université du Québec à Montréal’s for largest.

Advocacy Centre – $0.30/credit
The advocacy centre is a place for undergrads to deal with problems both in the university and off-campus. Under the CSU, they provide mediation and/or a listening ear for undergrads.

2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy – $0.29/credit
The 2110 Centre offers services free to Concordia students dealing with safer sex, trans health and peer support and advocacy. This year’s campaigns include the Damit! project and the Sexual Assault Centre Campaign.

Queer Concordia – $0.02/credit
Queer Concordia brands itself as a the “campus resource centre for queer, lesbian, gay, trans*, two-spirited, bisexual, asexual, intersex, questioning, and allies.” They provide products for safer-sex and a library filled with queer lit.

QPIRG – $0.31/credit
Concordia’s branch of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group. Administrative and volunteer coordinator Christina Xydous dubs the organization a “social justice centre on campus.” The group uses their space at 1500 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. to hold skillshares, discussions and workshops. Their Study in Action program works to mix activism with what you learn in class.

SNACKS


People’s Potato Collective – $0.37/credit
It may seem like a free lunch, but students actually contribute to the collective that provides the student body with weekday vegan lunches, soup-kitchen style. They hold a variety of workshops for those who aren’t kitchen-inclined, including ones on fermentation and pie-making.

Le Frigo Vert – $0.33/credit
An alternative to supermarkets, Frigo offers healthy and environmentally conscious food items, including organic and locally grown items. The food collective prices their products with only a slight markup from their own costs, allowing for substantial discounts for students.

In 2012, students granted the collective an $0.08 increase in their levy. They are exploring options for a new store space, using a surplus of nearly $43,000 from last year to set up a building fund.

SUSTAINABILITY


Sustainability Action Fund – $0.25/credit
In operation for six years, the fund has contributed to 161 projects and acts as an “incubator for new projects and ideas on campus,” said Jeffrey Riley, CEO of the fund.

“If we believe sustainability and climate change are our generation’s most pressing issues then we need to find immediate solutions for them.”

With financial support of the Concordia Greenhouse for over five years, and the backing of three Engineers Without Borders speaker events, among others, the group is now hunting to collect a fee levy from graduate students.

Sustainable Concordia – $0.05 /credit
What do you throw out? One of Sustainable Concordia’s initiatives is dissecting what exactly goes into the university’s trash, with the aim of eventually making Concordia a waste-free campus.

Also, this working group brings together students, faculty, staff and administrators to tackle environmental projects at the university.
Recently, some of Sustainable Concordia’s members have started to support divestment, asking the university to stop investing its endowment fund in fossil fuel companies.

FESTIVALS


Art Matters festival – $0.08/credit
$0.30/credit for FASA
A yearly showcase of Concordia multimedia art intended to expose fine arts students to the world of vernissages after graduation. Year after year, this event is the largest student-run festival of its kind in North America.

SERVICES


Career Management Services – $2.90/credit
CASA ONLY
The John Molson School of Business Career Management Services works to build relationships between students and industry professionals. They hold events where alumni, students and professionals can network, to effectively achieve professional success.

Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program – $0.35/credit
The program sends 40 students to Gulu, a poverty-ridden community in Uganda, to participate in projects for social development. CVAP engages the student body through annual events that not only showcase our participants’ artistic projects—including film and photography exhibitions—but also inform the public on issues specific to Gulu, Uganda and Africa as a whole, said executive director Daniel Lavigueur.

PROJECTS


FASA projects & clubs – $0.80/credit
FASA ONLY
A fund for fine arts projects, FASA gave over $30,000 to the fund this year, said FASA VP Finance Vincent Vezzer.

These grants exist to help students financially with their projects and aid in their professional development, he said. As well as providing funding to individuals and small groups, this levy also goes to support the VAV Gallery and the John Russell Harper Memorial Reading and Reference Room.

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