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I ♥ QPIRG!

We share below the testimonials about QPIRG Concordia by the student and community members of QPIRG Concordia as well as our various allies on the Concordia campus and in the community.

“There’s a kind of magic that happens at QPIRG Concordia. I’ve witnessed awe-inspiring presentations where people have shared their experiences and struggles — trusting that it was a space where being vulnerable, honest and real would be supported. I’ve witnessed political organizing meetings full of laughter and positive energy. I’ve seen and experienced many kind interactions between strangers… though it’s hard for people to remain strangers for very long once they’re both at QPIRG Concordia. Even more, I’ve met outstanding people with whom I have built loving, supportive and rewarding friendships. In our diverse struggles for social justice, I constantly find myself united with QPIRG C members along the principles of respect, solidarity, and radical support.” – Tessa Vikander, former QPIRG Concordia board member and working group member (2011).

“As a recent BA graduate from Concordia University who has since moved away to pursue a graduate degree, I would like to express my support for QPIRG Concordia. My involvement in different working groups, the board of directors, as well as other QPIRG projects has been a rewarding and enriching experience. Moving away to a new town that has nothing like it has been a great shock, and I sincerely miss the hub of activity that is QPIRG.  QPIRG presents so many opportunities to learn new things, express your ideas and opinions, and make wonderful friends along the way. The array of groups and activities for students and community members to participate in is staggering. It is an excellent resource for undergraduate and graduate students to connect with their community and truly make a difference. QPIRG has made, and continues to make, an invaluable mark at Concordia University, and in the city of Montreal!” – Sarah Kizuk, Graduate Student in Philosophy at Memorial University of Newfoundland (2011).

“QPIRG Concordia is constant source of inspiration and support for our work at the Concordia Greenhouse.  We are a new collective dedicated to non-heirarchical consensus-based decision-making and the promotion of urban agriculture and community spaces.  At QPIRG, through talking to staff, making use of the alternative library collection, attending presentations, workshops and trainings we find resources to help us with this work that are simply unavailable elsewhere.  The knowledge and know-how that this institution holds in terms of grassroots organizing, community participation, consensus-based decision making and the like, makes it one of the most treasured resources in our community.” – Concordia Greenhouse Collective (2011)

“Open Door Books is part of an informal network of books to prisoners programs throughout North America. We at ODB believe that prisons and the (in)justice system act as 
institutions of social control and oppression, and seek to support and
 work in solidarity with imprisoned communities. We attempt to provide access to information to those on the inside by sending books and resource materials and responding to research requests. Open Door Books has been a working group of QPIRG Concordia for many years and has found QPIRG’s support to be absolutely indispensable to the work that we do. The budget that we receive from QPIRG allows us to ship countless boxes of books to prisoners throughout Quebec and Ontario, to produce popular education materials for distribution to students and community members on the outside, and to put on workshops, film screenings and panel discussions both on and off campus. QPIRG also provides us with a space to keep our ever-growing library and to meet on a weekly basis, without which we would not be able to function. QPIRG Concordia, like its ally QPIRG McGill, is a forum for information-sharing, discussion and action that Open Door Books is proud to be a part of and to support. Thank you QPIRG!” – Open Door Books (2011).

“We have been a working group of this amazing and active PIRG since 2007 and have treasured and celebrated the varied support we receive. Through QPIRG Concordia we coordinate a direct letter-writing program for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender-variant, queer, two-spirit & inter-sexed inmates in Canada and the US by linking these communities with people who identify similarly who are outside of prison. Our project also coordinates a resource library of harm reduction practices (safer sex, safer drug use, clean needle care, safer tattooing, etc), HIV and Hepatitis-C prevention, and resources on how to address homophobia and transphobia, among much more. Since our inception we have received constant support from QPIRG Concordia. Not only do we use their space to house our resource library and mail, we are also financed through their working group budget. Working together with our PIRG we have also co-hosted several events including: “Criminalizing Risk: Panel and Discussion on the Criminalization of HIV Transmission”, a film screening and discussion of “Criminal Queers”, as part of QPIRG-Concordia’s “Keeping it Reel” subversive cinema series, and “Beyond Prisons: Supporting Work Within and Against Prisons”, just to name a few. QPIRG Concordia has helped us fulfill our mandate of linking marginalized imprisoned communities with those on the outside so as to foster solidarity-based relationships of support and friendship, helping break down walls of isolation queers and trans people experience in and out of prison. QPIRG Concordia is an absolutely vital organization that encourages students and members of the broader Montreal community alike to engage in social and environmental justice. The Prisoner Correspondence Project would definitely not exist without the support we receive from QPIRG, nor could many other invaluable projects and social justice groups. We ♥ QPIRG Concordia !!!” – The Prisoner Correspondence Project (2011)

“The People’s Potato is a vegan soup kitchen at Concordia University that has been in existence since 1999. We are a fee-levy group that strives to fight student poverty by serving by-donation lunches to approximately 400 students and community members on a daily basis. We also cater events for groups that fall within our social and environmental justice mandate, with an emphasis on grassroots organizing. The People’s Potato initially evolved out of The Concordia Food Collective, which was a working group of QPIRG-Concordia. It was with a QPIRG working group budget and with the support of QPIRG staff and volunteers that the Potato was able to get off the ground and develop into the organization it is today. Since that time, the People’s Potato has regularly provided food for QPIRG events such as the annual Study in Action conference, and QPIRG has continued to support us by publicizing our events and services to their membership. The Potato also frequently benefits from research projects performed by students through CURE (The Community-University Research Exchange), a program initiated by QPIRG and the Study in Action coordinating committee. QPIRG-Concordia is an amazing resource linking campus and community life and supporting grassroots activism and social change throughout Montreal. We at the People’s Potato feel it is essential to show our support for such an invaluable and indispensable organization.” – The People’s Potato (2011).

“I have been affiliated with QPIRG Concordia as a working group member for the past few years and I have seen how it impacts the Concordia community. First of all, it opens up people’s minds and gets them involved in a plethora of issues that affect many people who are pushed aside by the mainstream societal norms. Our current democratic, capitalist way of thinking creates the concept of the ‘other’, which allows the exploit of those with less power. This is where QPIRG Concordia comes in to stand up for those people and to provide an alternative to a system that has many faults. I believe that the dedication of the working groups, the staff and the board at QPIRG Concordia is unparalleled at Concordia and that it is a necessary part of the community.” – Michael Heinermann, Undergrad, Geography, Planning and Environment, TAPthirst (a QPIRG working group) member (2011).

“As a community supporter of QPIRG Concordia and a member of groups that use its space, I’ve had the privilege of working directly with others committed to the work of this very special group.  At Concordia, as at McGill, QPIRG is constant in its vigilance to ensure diverse voices are heard and welcomed. By sustaining spaces in the public domain for popular education, for vigorous discussions, for collaborating on ideas and issues that affect us all, QPIRG encourages solidarity and broadens our understanding of oppression. QPIRG gives us all access to counter arguments, arguments too often drowned out by mainstream media and established groups This is a special resource for us all, and I sincerely hope QPIRG will thrive and continue to encourage and to contribute to the debates and discussions that enrich us all now and in years to come.” – Abby Lippman,  Professor Emerita at McGill and community supporter (2011)

“I am a new professor at Concordia this year, and I have greatly appreciated the opportunities that QPIRG provides for students, faculty, and the broader Montreal community. The Community-University Research Exchange (CURE) has allowed many of my students to apply course concepts while building lasting partnerships in the community and QPIRG’s countless speakers and events enrich the campus community as a whole. QPIRG is an invaluable resource for encouraging campus and community members alike to question, think, act, and engage.” – Professor Julie M. Norman, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science (2010).

“As an undergrad and now a graduate student, I have seen many student groups come and go at Concordia, however, QPIRG has stayed strong since 1981. Supported by undergrads, grads, community members and a dedicated staff, QPIRG provides an important space and resources for people that struggle for a better World. With movie screenings, workshops, the Community-University Research Exchange and most recently the Study in Action Conference, QPIRG has introduced me to issues that are too often ignored in the classroom. As Concordia tries to reinvent itself as a business friendly university, organizations like QPIRG need our support more than ever.” – Yuseph Adam Katiya, Graduate Student, Geography, Planning and Environment, QPIRG Board Member and Planners Network Organizer (2010).

“QPIRG has a long history of activism on issues of importance to all of us such as the environment and social justice. It provides an important bridge between the university and the many communities that make up Montreal.” – Professor Steven High, Canada Research Chair in Public History at Concordia (2010).

“In my ten years at Concordia as an employee, an undergraduate and a graduate student, QPIRG has been one of the most active campus organizations and has always contributed greatly to Concordia’s vibrant activist community. QPIRG’s relentless work providing workshops, events, 101s, conferences, screenings, fundraisers, and services, is evidence of how beneficial such an organization has been to Concordia students. More importantly, QPIRG has built bridges between Concordia’s local social justice movement and broader movements within Montreal, Canada, and abroad, allowing Concordia’s activism to transcend the boundaries of our community alone and effect social change in both local and translocal contexts. Support for QPIRG is support for social justice.” – Kristy Heeren, Graduate Student, Sociology, and Coordinator of the Concordia University Student Parents Centre (2010).

“The best thing about QPIRG is that it is not merely a talk-shop. The people involved directly with QPIRG and people who use QPIRG as a resource not only do crucial research and bring otherwise hidden issues to light, but provide the means and connections to act on them, and have a palpable, positive effect on the university and wider communities.” – Robert Sonin, Philosophy graduate student and current GSA President (2010).

“I arrived a few months ago to study at Concordia from Chile, and one my first good impressions of university life was students’ organizations and the way they developed interesting initiatives connected with the University, Quebec and the rest of the World. I recently discovered QPIRG Concordia which is actively organizing workshops and different initiatives relevant to social and environmental issues. Without a doubt, an organization like this one must be supported by the whole community if we share the understanding of the University as a place where another world can be built.” – Raul Chacon, sociologist, currently completing M.A. in Educational Studies (2010).

“Concordia University, its students and faculty, are blessed with the active presence of QPIRG. The fact that there are students actively marrying studies with connections to social movements and activism was actually one of the reasons that played a role in my first coming to Concordia. Since then, I have witnessed the critical public events organized by QPIRG, had students with an active interest in its working groups, and saw great interest in its Study in Action conferences. This is the kind of work that a public university should be featuring as the high point of its achievements.” – Dr. Maximilian C. Forte, Associate Prof., Sociology and Anthropology (2010).

“QPIRG-Concordia is an invaluble resource for Concordia students, faculty and community members, in terms of the space it provides for alternative voices, the initiatives it supports, and the network of students, activists and researchers that it creates. One of QPIRG’s most exciting groups is CURE, a project linking student research to community issues. This innovative program is a unique way to provide students with the resources they need to link their university education to real-world concerns, simultaneously enriching their university education and cultivating values of community involvement. And this is just one of the many groups that has flourished in the QPIRG-Concordia milieu!” – Louise Birdsell Bauer, Graduate Student, Sociology, and former Coordinator of the Sustainability Action Fund (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is an under-appreciated but crucial model resource for students, faculty and the community at large. It provides services and opportunities that no other organization, on or off-campus, can duplicate, and helps bridge the sometimes unfathomable gap between theoretical course work and practical day-to-day, on-site or on the job community experiences. On a practical level, it actively links students and faculty with key, off campus groups and individuals who lives are dedicated to making Montreal a more liveable city, and thus, contributes to enhancing a mutual understanding by the academy of the importance of diverse work in the field, and by community organizers of the invaluable contributions students and faculty can make to existing practice. QPIRG Concordia enriches the experiences of everyone on campus, helps broaden public dialogue, and demonstrates that the university can play a critically supportive role, contributing to a more socially engaged and informed citizenship.” – Norman Nawrocki, Part-time Faculty Member, School of Community and Public Affairs (2010).

“As a doctoral candidate at Concordia, I would like to voice my support for QPIRG Concordia. QPIRG plays an important role in the life of the university, forging a crucial link between our institution and the many cultural, socio-economic and political communities of which Montreal is comprised and that bring such vitality to the city. For graduate students, many of whom conduct research about, for, and within these communities, QPIRG offers many resources that help us to pursue and advance our research goals as well as to participate in numerous grassroots activist endeavours that enable us to make a positive contribution to society and to help raise awareness about and alleviate some of the pressures that burden the oppressed. In many ways, QPIRG functions as a research partner to graduate students, putting people first above all else. Indeed, QPIRG’s presence at Concordia has only served to enhance its image as a university of, for, and about the people.” – Alan Wong, Doctoral Candidate – Special Individualized Program (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is an important campus organization which promotes debate and active involvement on important issues of the day. Be it supporting immigrant communities or standing up for our civil liberties – QPIRG’s contribution is critical.” – Sameer Zuberi, past Muslim Student Association Concordia member and graduate student (2010).

“As a third-year MFA student, I find QPIRG Concordia to be a valuable resource on campus. For the past two years I have regularly accessed QPIRG as a member and supporter of several working groups that run through the space. I find their workshops, film screenings, and guest speakers captivating and an essential part to my education. Most notably, QPIRG’s Study in Action conference offers a broad variety of skills and viewpoints that are indispensable for community-based advocacy.” – Nahed Mansour, graduate student in Fine Arts at Concordia (2010).

“I came in contact with QPIRG by chance, the knowledge this group provided me was very essential to my contribution to the society around me. The orientation they hold in the beginning of the term is simply beautiful. It is important for everyone living in Quebec to be part of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group. It is an important link to arising issues concerning the core of Montreal. As part of your curriculum you can gain credits by doing something that touches your core. QPIRG is as diverse as Montreal, a great free zone to learn respect, and connect to people.” – Ali Ahmed, MSC Quality System Engineering and BComm graduate in Supply Chain Operations Management, JMSB (2010).

“Through QPIRG Concordia, students have an excellent opportunity to apply their education in real life situations. It also provides a great opportunity for students to get involved with the community and make a difference, particularly through the CURE (Community-University Research Exchange) program. It is an untapped resource that every student should make use of during the course of their studies. QPIRG is instrumental in raising awareness among students with regards to social and environmental issues – through the various working groups, it helps students form a well-rounded, well-informed opinion.” – Rushdia Mehreen, Masters Student – Geography, Planning and Environment (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is an indispensable component of academic and campus life at Concordia. QPIRG offers an adjunct educational experience to all students—including graduate—on a diverse range of topics, issues and interests. In particular QPIRG’s Study in Action Conference presents an incredibly rich opportunity for students to leverage their intellectual pursuits and research interests into action – the kind of praxis that is too often absent on universities in Canada. As a former graduate student at Concordia I can attest to QPIRG’s contribution to both academic and cultural life on campus.” – Ezra Winton, former graduate student at Concordia University and founder of Cinema Politica (2010).

“I cannot think of a single local source that provides such a rich array of thought-provoking information as QPIRG-Concordia. The organization is a remarkable and perhaps necessary forum for intelligent community engagement in these deeply troubled times.” – Matthew Brett, columnist for The Link and Political Science graduate student (2010).

“QPIRG is a great organization for maintaining a connection between Concordia and the many unique communities that make up Montreal. As a researcher, I believe that public interest organizations such as QPIRG can help graduate students become more aware of the communities they will serve and of the issues that affect those communities in order to strengthen their capacity to be socially and environmentally responsible with their business and research practices as they make their way through the business world.” – Professor Terri R. Lituchy, Associate Professor, Management at the JMSB (2010).

“QPIRG is an organization that is all about knowledge. It believes that knowledge matters, and works to help facilitate innovative ways of understanding the world. The point of a graduate education, of course, is to produce new knowledge. And QPIRG is one campus resource with a long and dedicated commitment to such an objective. So if you’re committed to knowledge, make a commitment to QPIRG.” – Professeure Viviane Namaste, Professeure agrégée, Chaire de recherche sur le VIH/Sida et sur la santé sexuelle, Institut Simone de Beauvoir (2010).

“As a former resource library work study student at QPIRG, I have seen first-hand the openness of QPIRG towards new students, and encouraging diverse community members to link their research with the community. I’m glad QPIRG exists on campus.” – Tala Navab, former Concordia Civil Engineering graduate student and QPIRG employee (2010).

“As a professor and researcher in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, I value organizations such as QPIRG Concordia for the awareness they raise around numerous causes and issues. Engineers frequently play an important role in such areas as: sustainable development and environmental research; the invention of new and clean technologies that can lead to, for example, energy efficient vehicles; and the rebuilding of structures such as bridges in war-torn countries. Thus, there is certainly a great deal of overlap between the humanitarian concerns of QPIRG and Concordia’s engineers. I myself volunteered for QPIRG as a young student, and I encourage current graduate students to do the same.” – Professor Nadia Bhuiyan, Engineering and Computer Science Department (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia embodies a dedication to critical inquiry, alternative research and action, as well as care for the communities that comprise the complex network of our social existence, a tenet central to the mandate of Public Interest Research Groups in North America. Through its numerous activities and events, QPIRG promotes and inspires interdisciplinarity, bridges academic and community work, and most importantly builds awareness of social justice and human rights issues. QPIRG’s Study In Action Conference and the Community-University Research Exchange are only a few of the projects that exemplify their commitment to alternative research and education, one that is rarely found in the mainstream of Canadian academic culture. And not only that. QPIRG is an essential resource to any and all graduate students who have alternative research ideas and find there is a lack of institutional support for their implementation.” – Svetla Turnin, Executive Director Cinema Politica, GSA Director for the Faculty of Arts and Science, Senate representative, and graduate student in Media Studies (2010).

“I finished my BFA and my MA at Concordia, and during that time QPIRG was an invaluable source bringing the students together with the greater Montreal community and issues that are critical to our time. Its independence, critical perspective, links to community activism and ability to involve students in learning beyond the classroom, all make it a fundamental asset to the vibrancy of Concordia.” – Shannon Walsh, former Concordia BFA and MA student (2010).

“As a campus-based community organization, QPIRG provides Concordia students with the ideal structure for contributing to social justice efforts. The annual ‘Study in Action’ conference and the ‘CURE’ project are perfect examples of how QPIRG facilitates scholarship that is meaningfully engaged with the world outside of classrooms.” – Professor Gada Mahrouse, PhD, Simone de Beauvoir Institute (2010).

“One thing I cannot emphasize enough is QPIRG-C’s tag line, ‘Your Campus-Community Link’. QPIRG supports not only community projects and campus projects but brings the two together in an important and meaningful way. Through my involvement with QPIRG, as a space-user (the library is excellent!), a working group member, a member of the board of directors, and a student on campus I have found lots of support and inspiration from QPIRG and the work that is done there. Linking community work to my research and my research to community work is very important to me, and with projects like Study in Action and CURE, QPIRG makes that so much more available.” – Keetha Mercer, MA Student Sociology and QPIRG Board Member (2010).

“QPIRG’s mission statement is to foster ties between students and Montreal community organizations in order to strengthen the spirit of social and environmental justice, promote research, and emphasize the link between the two. Students are able to engage in meaningful academic work that can benefit their community, campus life, and their career. QPIRG is the link between campus and community activism and provides students with the opportunity of putting their important political research into practice. Students, community organizers and activists mutually benefit by presenting their organizing, work and research related to social and ecological justice.” – Ricky Kelly Shepard, recent graduate of the Community Economic Development Graduate Diploma Program at Concordia (2010).

“The vitality of a university can be gaged by the meaningful relations that are maintained with surrounding communities. QPIRG helps strengthen those vital links.” – Professor Liz Miller, Communication Studies (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is a very important organization not only for the community where we live but also for the environment as a whole. It is with the help of such organizations students and other people can support their social issues and raise awareness of some crucial environmental factors among the others. I truly believe that the effort and time commitment of QPIRG Concordia indirectly contributes to the lives and social well-being of all students, as well as the broader Quebec community.” – Bulat Sharifzyanov, Former VP Sponsorship of Finance and Investment Students’ Association (FISA) and grad student at JMSB (2010).

“A vital element of the Concordia experience, the work of QPIRG helps to open spaces for alternative worlds in Montreal and beyond.” – Professor Kevin Gould, Geography – Planning and Environment (2010).

“I am a doctoral student at Concordia University. Having a group like QPIRG in university is very valuable for the student body in many ways. It provides a way for students to get involved in the wider social world and make crucial links between what they learn at school and the ways that they can contribute this knowledge as well as find relevance for it in actual experience. I have known many QPIRG members over the years and have always been impressed by their social commitment and their tireless efforts at forging links between education, research, community and activism.” – Sarwat Viqar, Ph. D. Student, Special Individualized Program (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is a fantastic resource for students, faculty and others in the Concordia community and beyond who want a better world. Through its many activities and roles, QPIRG not only helps to engage the campus community in crucial local and global struggles for social and ecological justice, but offers a unique space for critical ideas, education, knowledge production, reflection and action, complementing – and sometimes challenging – the more formal kinds of learning which take place in school. QPIRG was a vital part of my graduate student experience at Concordia!” – Dr. Aziz Choudry, Ph.D. (Concordia), Assistant Professor, Dept. of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is a crucial site for student organizing, for building bridges between campus and community, and for critical knowledge production in and about the university. In a time of corporatized education, QPIRG’s Study in Action Conference, Community-University Research Exchange and Alternative Libraries Database, numerous working groups and programming enable and demonstrate Concordia students’ ongoing commitment to engaged and autonomous learning and to research that is critical, self-reflexive and that meaningfully contributes to the lives of Concordia students, the Montreal community, as well as to broader struggles for social justice.” – Professor Trish Salah, Part-time Faculty Member – Simone de Beauvoir Institute (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is an important organization which provides graduate students with a variety of unique opportunities and services including; student advocacy, research programs, organizing space, resource libraries, and presentation venues. QPIRG Concordia links graduate students with a variety of interesting research opportunities in the Montreal community. Many graduate students strive conduct research to improve the socio-political conditions of their communities. QPIRG provides a bridge between academic research and the community to facilitate this type of research.” – Erik Chevrier, VP External GSA, Activist and Masters Student in the Special Individualized Program (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia is one of the most important ways that students can connect with social movements and the wider Montreal community.” – Professor Eric Shragge, Principal, School of Community and Public Affairs at Concordia (2010).

“QPIRG Concordia empowers communities through its working groups [...] QPIRG’s CURE project, which pairs community groups in need of researchers with students willing to do research for academic credit, is enormously beneficial to grad students. When I first started coming to QPIRG in 1997, Sustainable Concordia, Frigo Vert and Santropol Roulant were still working groups of QPIRG Concordia. Now they are major players in the larger Montreal community. QPIRG Concordia provides a safe space in which projects can develop and grow. So we all can.” – Bettina Grassmann, M.A. in English – Creative Writing Option and former QPIRG employee (2010).

“QPIRG links students to contemporary struggles in the world today – through conferences such as ‘Study-in-Action’, lecture and film screenings, they offer a critical lens on social, political and economic crises and expose students to alternative visions that are not always broached in a traditional classroom setting. They are an invaluable resource to the lives of students, not to mention concerned citizens more generally.” – Professor Norma Rantisi, Geography – Planning and the Environment (2010).

“If you want to get involved with a group who organizes volunteers, students and community members to work around local and international social justice struggles, meet QPIRG Concordia. I’ve witnessed hard work and very creative projects come from this centre. I definitely feel that their contribution to academic life is super important, even necessary, simply because of their presence in the community. I appreciate their efforts in making research in University circles useful to grassroot community circles. And if you don’t wish to necessarily get involved, but you want to find a place to hang out, meet nice people and read real good books, I’d still recommend QPIRG.” – Melanie Hughes, recent graduate of the Community Economic Development Graduate Diploma Program at Concordia (2010).