What Went Wrong With the CSU’s Orientation Concert Plans

In May of 2011, the victorious A Better Concordia slate took over the Concordia Student Union throne.

With the passing of the torch came the binders of instructions on how to go about being Concordia’s new student union.

Executives from last year’s Your Concordia slate shared the responsibility of training their successors to make the $150,000 Orientation happen—something that comes with the territory of an elected council.

To help with the transition, a post-mortem report detailing a monthly breakdown of tasks to be completed is given to the successors. It states who to contact, when to have certain things done by, and the process for many tasks that are a part of Orientation.

The documents are only detailed suggestions, and what to do with them is up to the executives, but since the beginning of their term, the CSU has been plagued with varying ideas of how closely they should follow in the path of their predecessors.


Starting in mid-April, former CSU VP Student Life Laura Glover started training current VP Student Life Alexis Suzuki on the Orientation process that was to be followed though the summer.

The incoming and outgoing CSU disagree over what help was given, and what was received.

“There were actually some [executives] who wished that more training had been provided, more comprehensive training,” said CSU President Schubert Laforest. “But I think that also speaks to a different dynamic between incoming and outgoing.”

Most notable were the differing opinions between this and last year’s executives in charge of Orientation planning.

“Alexis and I did training together, and then I made it clear that I would be available to assist with anything throughout the summer,” says Glover. “I mean, perhaps they did reach out for help, but not necessarily from me.”

Suzuki stated in her June executive report that Glover provided her with only basic training, but Glover maintains that she did all in her ability.

“I think that I can certainly say that I did my best to provide all of the tools and resources that I thought would be needed and useful for [Suzuki], and I did make myself available if she felt that they weren’t effective,” said Glover.

“It’s going to be put in the Orientation post-mortem report when it comes to really emphasizing the fact that securing an Orientation lineup as soon as possible with the adequate paperwork should be a real priority.”
— Concordia Student Union President Schubert Laforest


Last year, the CSU enlisted the help of CJLO’s volunteer DJ team to take care of the soundtrack to many Orientation events.

“Last year, Laura Glover came into Loyola and she and I coordinated the schedule and let us know what kind of music they wanted,” said CJLO Station Manager Stephanie Saretsky. “This year, we heard from them about a week or two before Orientation activities—it was super last-minute.”

Because they are mostly student volunteer-run—as well as situated at Loyola—CJLO asks for two to three weeks’ notice in order to secure free DJs and sound equipment.

Due to new sound restrictions in Quartier Concordia, this year’s CSU ran into issues that hadn’t been problems during previous Orientations. In 2011, the CSU received a noise complaint during one of the activities on the Reggie’s terrace.

As a consequence, the CSU had to apply for a special sound permit from the city before any sound systems were to be set up.

“We worked really hard to set DJs up and we went on the Wednesday to set up security and they didn’t have a sound permit,” said Saretsky. “They went and got it, but the security analyst said that because it was the day of, they wouldn’t allow it.”

Last year, CJLO offered their services to about eight Orientation events. This year, they weren’t involved in any.

“I mean, I met with them once in person, but other than that we haven’t been in touch at all,” said Saretsky. “This year, we haven’t heard much from the executives in terms of helping out.”

CSU vs. the Music

Music coordination is not the only area where CSU executives have stayed relatively quiet.

The lack of Orientation line-up when the rest of the Orientation schedule was announced confused students while the CSU scrambled for the answer to a missing headliner.

Although they expressed confidence in their secured bands, contacts were not signed until early September, and the lineup was not printed on any of the original Orientation flyers.

“It was due to the nature of the music industry,” said Schubert Laforest. “We had quite a few different headliners dropping on us last minute—I think we went through four—so that was unfortunate.

“It’s going to be put in the Orientation post-mortem report when it comes to really emphasizing the fact that securing an Orientation lineup as soon as possible with the adequate paperwork should be a real priority.”

The post-mortem compiled by the 2011-12 CSU recommended that the contracts be signed in early august, and that communication between promoters start in July.

“In the audit from 2010’s Orientation, the CSU was criticized because they would bring a big name international artist, and then you have to pay the appropriate taxes,” said Laforest.

Laforest stated that one of the reasons for booking all relatively unknown Canadian acts was to promote homegrown talent, although American electro musician Steve Aoki was originally in negotiations to headline.