Concordia University’s Used Book Fair Raises Record $31,831

Proceeds Aim to Fund Student Scholarships

Concordia’s used book sale has amassed over $40, 000 in the last two years.  Photo Courtesy Concordia University’s Advancement and Alumni Relations

In the last 21 years, Concordia University’s annual used book fair has raised over $200,000 for student scholarships and financial aid.

Between Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, customers browsed through thousands of second-hand books in the atrium of the EV building. Organized by Concordia’s Alumni, the books were donated throughout the year by students, faculty, and even outside of the university’s community.

This year, the book fair raised a record $3, 831, beating last years record of $24, 269. According to Luke Quin, head organizer of the event, proceeds from the book fair goes towards student scholarships, athletic financial awards, and the Multi-Faith and Spirituality Centre’s Student Emergency and Food Fund.

The books varied from cookbooks to course textbooks, and sold for as little as $3. Approximately 100 volunteers helped run the event; 80 of them were current students at Concordia.

“The book fair gives a large part of the community a chance to participate in that support, be it through donations, volunteer work, or event promotion,” said Dominique Martin, a Concordia student who volunteered at the fair for the first time this year.

“We really want people to find treasures and just come in, browsing through used books,” said Quin. “More often than not, people find things they didn’t know they wanted. It’s amazing to see that young people still really love this.”

Last year, the book fair gave $5000 to the Student Emergency and Food Fund, said Quin. Students can have confidential conversations on their financial circumstances at the Multi-Faith and Spirituality Centre, and the Student Emergency and Food Fund provides them with vouchers to grocery stores, such as Provigo and Maxi.

The fair appeals to students not only for the causes, but for the books as well.

“It’s great to buy books that people don’t want anymore,” said Julia Giammaria, a CEGEP student from Champlain College. “It’s cheaper than going to a book store, and they’ll be used instead of dusting on a bookshelf.”

According to Concordia’s Alumni, the book fair surpassed their record by raising $16,414 in 2016. Last year, they beat the record again by raising $24,269. This year, Quin hopes to make history again and would love to raise more than $30,000.

“It’s so important for educational institutions to find as many ways as possible to support their students,” Martin said.

“Money that we put in isn’t touched, but the interest it generates provides the award. So there’s always an endowment to provide those scholarships. We’re thinking of the future,” said Quin.

Since 2016, Quin said the book fair has also given scholarships to Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team for athletic financial awards. The players help set up and tear down the fair, which Quin and his team are grateful for. “They would help regardless if there was an award or not,” he said.

“[The awards are] given to students who are really strapped for cash, to put it bluntly,” said Quin. “The need exists among international students, particularly Iranians. Their currency is not as strong as ours, and it’s very expensive for their families at home to send them money.”

Quin calls the book fair a social entrepreneurship. “We’re selling things, but it’s socially driven because all of that money is going to charity,” he said. “The products we’re selling are used. We’re finding new homes for something that might otherwise end up in recycling.”

Books can be donated year-round on both of Concordia’s campuses. A large number of books should be boxed and labeled “Concordia Used Book Fair” at the Richard Renaud Science Complex on the Loyola campus, at the Henry F. Hall Building on the Sir George Williams campus, or the Multi-Faith and Spirituality Centre. Smaller donations are also accepted in a book bin located in the Hall building mezzanine.