CSU Orientation Headlined by Modest Mouse

A banner for the Concordia Student Union’s annual orientation event outside the Hall-Building on the downtown campus.  Photo Josh Fischlin

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) has cut the costs of its orientation event featuring two concerts at discounted prices, according to its VP Student Life John Talbot.

The slogan of this year’s orientation is “Take Action,” and the theme is to promote student involvement in university campus-life.

“Take action in the Concordia community, take action with Concordia clubs,” Talbot said. “[People] should come and ‘activate’ themselves in the Concordia community.”

There are two concerts on the events list that people are encouraged to attend: Modest Mouse on Sept. 8, and a “Final Concert” featuring a number of artists on Sept. 25.

The Modest Mouse show was planned in collaboration with radio station CJLO and Blue Skies Turns Black, a local concert promoter. It isn’t Concordia-specific, still students will receive a discounted price of $20 per ticket.

The Final Concert is exclusively for Concordia students. The featured artists are MSTRKRFT, Saxsyndrum, UN and Dead Horse Beats, and it’ll take place at the Société des Arts Technologique on St. Laurent.

In the past, the shows have taken place at outdoor venues, which incurred rather hefty production costs on the CSU. Ticket prices have historically been much more expensive as a result, Talbot says. The use of alternative venues, which began last year, has cut costs significantly, the VP Student Life continues.

“Last year, the VP Student Life, Charles Bourassa, had the final concert at the Corona Theatre. [So] it cost him substantially less than previous years, because they have everything there already,” Talbot said.

Logistical fees are handled by the venues, so expenses from this year’s Final Concert come from hiring a production manager, paying the artists and renting a venue.

The CSU is paying 25 per cent of what they paid two years ago for the entire show, and tickets are nearly 50 per cent cheaper than they’ve been in the past, according to Talbot.

Two years ago, the concert was held at Parc Jean-Drapeau, and cost more money than this year’s entire orientation budget, Talbot says.

“It’s because we’re doing it different,” he said. “We’re really taking a different approach.”

The two shows combined make up about 30 per cent of this year’s budget, says internal Orientation coordinator Jeremy Blinkhorn. They are the only events that students must pay to attend.

Food, drink, alcohol permits, mandatory security, space rentals, artist fees and miscellaneous supplies make up the other 70 percent of expenses, he adds.

A number of Concordia community organizations—such as The Hivé Cafe Coops on each campus—contributed to the realization of the different events, although funding from the Concordia Orientation Initiative was cut by 50 per cent, Blinkhorn says.

In 2013, the CSU spent $274,431 on orientation, straying $119,431 from their $155,000 pledge, according to a budget released by former VP Student Life Charles Bourassa.

In comparison, this year’s budget is just over $133,000, and revenues are expected to be around $5,500, with total expenditures projected at just over $127,000, according to the budget found in the CSU office.

External corporations had a hand in sponsoring previous orientations, but the CSU has decided to take a different route this year.

“We tried to locally source things and buy ethically, Talbot said.

One of the contributors is Petite-Mains, an organization that prioritizes hiring migrant, non-English speaking women for easier integration into Quebec society.

“Our team had a no corporate sponsorship vision,” Talbot added. “[There is] more of a focus on community.” They rejected a sponsorship offer from TD Bank with this vision in mind.

UPDATE: Numbers about the CSU’s orientation in 2013 were updated after a new budget was given to The Link post-publication. The story was using previous numbers from a story published in 2013.