Sustainability: A “Unicorn of Hope”

ConU President Given “Trojan Horse of Austerity” Award: Awkwardity Ensues

Left, Michael Finck with the “Trojan Horse of Austerity.” Right, Concordia President Alan Shepard next to his impromptu award. Photo Lily Schwarzbaum.

The tables were turned at the annual Sustainability Champions Award Gala when a nominee took advantage of his moment in the spotlight to present a “Trojan Horse of Austerity” to Concordia President Alan Shepard.

Although President Shepard was supposed to be the one distributing awards, Sustainability Champion nominee Michael Finck decided to switch things up by giving the suited administrator a trophy of his own.

“I wanted to make a point about the economic policies playing out across the province,” the Sustainable Concordia VP told The Link. “I said that it was a trojan horse of austerity, but that he could turn it into a noble steed […] by joining the anti-austerity movement.”

“I challenged him, but I also invited him.” Finck also expressed regret he hadn’t referred to the horse’s potential transformation as a “unicorn of hope.”

The president’s response?

“At first he told me that I should keep it, and then I was like, ‘no you should keep it,’ and he was like ‘I’ll keep it on my desk, and kind of smiled,” Finck said.

“It was an awkward moment for both of us, I’m sure.”

Shepard wasn’t the only one surprised by the impromptu award: one of Finck’s nominators, Sustainable Concordia VP Engagement Priyanka Pandey, wasn’t in on the plan either.

“I know Michael is very involved [in the anti-austerity movement], he’s extremely energetic and has a tendency to surprise you,” Pandey said. “It didn’t seem shocking to me, it seemed like something that he would do.”

CSU VP Academic Terry Wilkings, who stopped by the award ceremony on his way to a meeting where Fine Arts students would vote on striking against austerity, echoed Pandey’s sentiment.

“People shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that this took place, given that throughout the year students and non-students have been advocating for a more public stance to be taken against [austerity],” he said.

At press time, Concordia administrators could not be reached for comment.