Commentary | Letters

Learning beyond the classroom

Dear Editors,

Universities are often criticized as an ivory tower, an exclusive institution that is not only separate from, but that looks down upon the rest of the community around them. But, there are groups on campuses who actively work to build stronger links with those outside the walls of the university. QPIRG-McGill and CKUT Radio are two such groups.

Through projects like the Community University Research Exchange (CURE), the Study in Action conference, and their support of a wide range of working groups QPIRG-McGill creates tangible, informative and important links between students and their neighbours across Montreal. The Montreal Media Co-op is pleased to be one of those working groups, and to have participated in both CURE and SIA in the past.

Our links with CKUT are just as strong. Many of our members have had a chance to work with both organizations, we often share content and promote each others coverage of community issues important to a wide range of Montrealers, students included. The Montreal Media Co-op and CKUT recently collaborated on a live, two hour broadcast from the opening of Occupy Montreal, the only community news outlets to provide such extensive, on the ground coverage.

Out work with both QPIRG and CKUT has brought us closer to students in Montreal and helped us in our mission to create accessible, community journalism that reports on stories important to all Montrealers.

As a group, we have decided to endorse QPIRG-McGill & CKUT in their upcoming referendum questions that will ensure they remain vibrant and active examples of how students, faculty and Montreal community members can work together. We hope McGill undergraduates share in our support and vote yes for QPIRG-McGill & CKUT from November. 4 to 10.

The Montreal Media Co-op

QPIRG-McGill Working Group

 

QPIRG is integral to a green Montreal

To McGill students and community members,

Greening McGill, a long standing working group of QPIRG McGill, would like to emphasize that that QPIRG is a platform for justice and equality. Our society is set up in a way that makes social change difficult. QPIRG is a place for anyone to make a stand for their rights, even without the deceit of financial powers or funding for a large team of lawyers. Groups like QPIRG are vital for defending freedom within our community. Greening McGill has been able to start movements to make campus car-free, has played a key role in developing recycling processes, provides information and events to reduce energy consumption, the group is able to continue these efforts thanks to the support of QPIRG through McGill students. Social and environmental change cannot happen without the action of individuals. An attack on QPIRG’s existence is an attack on the existence of its workings groups, the people given voices by these groups, and every community member. Through QPIRG, everyone is afforded the opportunity to express their concerns within supportive groups. These working groups include: Dignidad Migrante, B. Refuge, KANATA, Radical Reference, and many others. As an undergraduate student at McGill University, you can protect your voice by voting yes for the QPIRG Referendum November 4 to 11.

Greening McGill

QPIRG-McGill Working Group

 

Keep CKUT alive

At McGill, there aren’t many opportunities for students to learn journalism. The Daily is one place that fills this void. CKUT is another. But, as a former Daily editor and a current magazine editor, I can safely say that CKUT is cool in ways that the Daily is not. Being a print journalist makes you kind of nerdy, whereas being a radio DJ makes you attractive. Playing vinyl records makes you attractive. Talking in a low, soothing baritone to thousands of listeners makes you attractive. Listening to noise music or community news or free jazz makes you slightly less attractive, but doing these things is important to your development as a well-rounded Montrealer. Also, you’re not going to land that internship at This American Life and become Ira Glass’s favourite protege unless you’ve worked at CKUT. If you doubt CKUT’s worth, ask yourself whether a university is still a university without a campus radio station.

Drew Nelles

B.A. 2009

Former Daily Coordinating Editor

 

QPIRG helps maintain Organic Campus

The Organic Campus is a group of volunteers who run a co-op with a farmer and baker couple named Berhanu and Werke. We volunteer our time to provide healthy and affordable food to students, as well as promote greater farmer-consumer relationships, and help make ends meet for the farming family.

Anyone who has visited Farm True Ecostere (which we run work-trips to on occasion) is sure to be amazed at the incredible amount of food that Berhanu is able to cultivate from a very small plot (I’d say roughly two lower fields, plus orchards) – all completely free of chemical fertilizers, and utilizing extremely little added fertilizer at all. Looking forward at the food, fertilizer, and water shortages in the world’s future, it’s very clear that Berhanu is doing many things right with his farm – and yet the free market fails to reward him for his days after days of hard work, dawn to dusk.

Being an organic farmer is not an easy job, and our group provides an extremely important stream of income to this family’s life. We’re happy to do this work for the connection it develops and the lessons we can learn from Berhanu and Werke, but they shouldn’t have to depend (to the degree they do) on it. Farmers, particularly those who reject the industrial mass-production ‘modern’ model of agriculture, have no support in our society; they are kept constantly hanging by a harvest.

We are busy selling bread, and don’t have the time to advocate for a fairer world. QPIRG is a organization dedicated to giving voice to this trouble, and highlight the hypocrisy in the food system. For the short term, we will support this farmer, but in the long term, we need support, and right now so does QPIRG

We hope you’ll vote.

Organic Campus

McGill Student Group

 

Queer McGill endorses QPIRG, CKUT yes campaigns

On behalf of Queer McGill, we, the 2011-2012 Executive Committee, are writing to extend our unwavering support to QPIRG and CKUT during this referendum period and endorse the organizations’ respective yes campaigns. Both QPIRG and CKUT are vital to queers and to campus life, and we urge all undergraduates to vote yes on keeping them alive and strong.

QPIRG has been and remains a forceful voice for queer students at McGill. We remember its early support for the Safe Space campaign and recognize its past and ongoing work in producing a guide to queer issues for instructors and a handbook for queer refugees, hosting the University’s first conference on transgender issues, and supporting qteam, a radical queer collective, as a working group. But our endorsement extends beyond QPIRG’s support for queer empowerment. QPIRG shares our broader anti-oppressive mandate and is active in a wide range of social and environmental issues that queers care about, through supporting projects from sustainable urban gardening to KANATA, McGill’s only Indigenous Studies journal. In the struggle against all forms of oppression, Queer McGill and QPIRG are important allies.

Since the 1960s, CKUT-FM has been a part of our campus and our community. CKUT receives no corporate funding, enabling it to put the voices of students and marginalized communities at the forefront of its programming. Valuing alternative voices, CKUT is a haven for queers on the airwaves. Check out the shows QueerCorps, Venus, Dykes on Mics, and Lesbo-sons, among others, to know what we’re talking about. CKUT is an invaluable resource for queers and all McGill students, and Queer McGill supports it wholeheartedly.

Sincerely,

The Queer McGill Executive Committee

McGill Student Group


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