Sustainable Concordia Grows With Fee Levy Funds

General Meeting Highlights Upcoming Initiatives

Sustainable Concordia, which organizes the annual Sustainable Food Fair (pictured above), has some extra funds thanks to a fee levy increase last academic year. Photo Erin Sparks

With triple the funding it had last year, Sustainable Concordia held a general meeting in the Molson Building Tuesday Sept. 24 and voted to approve a new budget of over $112,000 for the coming academic year.

This significant budget increase is the result of the recent fee levy increase in March from 5 to 15 cents per credit for undergraduates, explained environmental coordinator Faisal Shennib. Over $107,000 of Sustainability Concordia’s budget comes from undergraduate student fees.

Shennib told those in attendance that roughly $30,000 of the enlarged budget will fund the salaries of newly-hired project support staff: a web and design coordinator, an engagement coordinator and an external coordinator. The additional funds also cover increased hours for the office coordinator.

“I am very excited about my new position at Sustainable Concordia,” Arrien Weeks, the new web and design coordinator, told The Link. “I have worked on and off for Sustainable Concordia since 2007, sometimes paid and sometimes on a voluntary basis. I am glad to have a position that encompasses all of the work I have done for SC in the past: graphic, web and print design.”

About $10,000 has also been allocated for the Emerging and Working Group Development Fund, which Shennib says is meant to support new causes within the realm of environmental sustainability, such as Divest Concordia.

Sustainability coordinator Chantal Forgues spoke of the success of the Concordia Greenhouse, a project that was formerly funded by the organization but that “graduated” to become its own fee-levy group last year.

Looking ahead, external coordinator Gabriela Polanco spoke of a “new vision” that included a push for a university sustainability policy and the launch of the Concordia Campus Sustainability Assessment, based on a list of over 60 recommendations presented to the administration to reduce the university’s ecological footprint.

Among the organization’s upcoming events, added Weeks, is the Future of Food public consultation—an open discussion on Concordia’s food services ahead of the awarding of a new contract in May 2015. This will be held Tuesday, Oct 1 at 1:30 pm in H-767.

In addition to the budget, the members in attendance at the meeting voted in favour of a constitutional amendment regarding a new electronic voting policy, as well as electing four new people to the Board of Directors: Robyn Rees, Supriya Shalvi, Naomi Large, and Tarran Maharaj.

Approximately thirty people were at the meeting—just enough to meet the quorum required for voting to take place.