A tribute to Jazz

Photo by Fabienne Richard

Walking the halls of Concordia, it won’t take long to see something inspiring. A glimpse of hope in a hopeless world thriving off 24-hour news channels littered with stories of the worst that humanity has to offer.

Whether it is walking by the People’s Potato, where students and alumni feed each other, or walking by the CSU or faculty association offices to see students providing services to others for little to no compensation, there is hope if you take the time to see it.

If one takes the time to actually reflect on the good that is out there, perhaps we will be less jaded.

Concordia is filled with great stories: some told and also some never spoken of, some happening on campus, and some in our extended community. What we may not see, however, is that extracurricular work performed by students and alumni comes at a price. Whether it’s lower grades, less time with friends and family, or putting oneself in danger, they show up day in and day out to provide services to Concordians and family, local or abroad. For the people who are dedicated to making tomorrow brighter, I want to say thank you on behalf of a dear member of the Concordia community who is no longer with us.

Two weeks ago, Jasminder Virdee, 29, known as Jazz by her friends and fellow volunteers at the Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program, was killed instantly by a drunk driver while on leave from her post at the United Nations in Haiti.

Jazz was a member of the maiden CVAP volunteer group sent to Uganda in February 2007.

She was an enthusiastic volunteer, a natural leader, with a palpable passion for life. While with CVAP, she went above and beyond all expectations and left everyone she met with great memories and a legacy of dedication to her greatest passion, humanitarian and development work.

Following her volunteer experience in Uganda, Jazz travelled the world, lending her time to causes in Africa and Asia, and received a graduate degree from the London School of Economics.

Jazz helped in the reconstructing of earthquake-stricken Haiti, where she worked with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

She was a glimmer of hope that still shines bright and an example of the many unsung Concordian heroes.
She will be greatly missed by the CVAP staff, volunteers and fellow alumni who knew her and were inspired by her.

—Peter Schiefke,
CVAP Chairperson

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 08, published October 5, 2010.