CSU to Fund Bursary Supporting Indigenous Student Parents

$28,546.88 to Be Allocated for Four-Year Pilot Bursary

Photo Brian Lapuz

The Concordia Student Union council agreed to allocate $6,851.25 a year—or $28,546.88 in total—to an Indigenous student parent bursary pilot project.

The bursary pilot, presented by Irmak Bahar and Orenda Konwawennotion Boucher-Curotte, will fully subsidize three spots at the CSU’s daycare to Indigenous student parents over four years. After the pilot, the union can revisit the plan to add more spots—something internal coordinator Marin Algattus advocated for.

“The [Aboriginal Student Resource Centre] flagged to the CSU that cost is, unsurprisingly, a barrier for Indigenous students who need daycare services,” said Bahar. “I started working on this project last winter, and developed an outline based on conversations with the CSU daycare manager and last year’s executive team.”

The ASRC estimates that there are about 20 Indigenous undergraduate student parents enrolled at the university, and the recipients of the bursary would be selected at random from those who apply.

The project will be taken on for four years as this is the average time children spend in daycare.

Though most councillors voiced their approval, a few were skeptical of the bursary’s approach, mainly with its lottery system. Syed Salman asked for the vote to be taken by secret ballot.

The money used will come from the student endowment fund, and finance coordinator Désirée Blizzard helped present a concrete proposal to the Finance Committee in the summer.

Blizzard said the student endowment fund—money donated by various philanthropists for student initiatives—has a lot of money, and is easy to access through the Dean of Students.

“It’s what the money is meant for,” she said, adding that she believes it’s a good use for the money. Blizzard stressed that it’s great to do land acknowledgment but concrete actions like this are important.

And, because “it’s not CSU money per se, it won’t affect operational budget,” she explained.

“I’m really excited to have the project approved and think that it is wonderful to see the CSU take a more holistic approach to Indigenous issues,” said Bahar.