News  Fireside Café takes the win at the SSMU Sustainability Case Competition

Project slated to open in September 2013

The Fireside Café will be the next student-run cafe at McGill, as voted on by students and panel judges at SSMU’s Sustainability Case Competition last Wednesday.

Six teams presented their proposals in the SSMU Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but it was the eco-friendly cafe project that emphasized a homey design and international menu that came out on top.

The team will receive a $4,000 prize for their design, and their business plan will be adopted by SSMU’s sustainability working group, which hopes to open the cafe in September 2013. Although the cafe’s location has yet to be announced, a number of teams speculated that it might take over the space on the first floor of SSMU that is now occupied by La Prep.

According to the SSMU Sustainability website, the members of the teams – all of whom were McGill students – have been working on the project since November, when they were chosen from a pool of applicants for the competition.

The groups then had access to a team of mentors from McGill and the wider community, including experts in organizational behaviour, sustainability and corporate responsibility, architecture and design, and community engagement. These mentors gave recommendations to the teams and made up the panel of judges.

Additional prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 were given out to second-and third-place candidates respectively, Growing Grounds and Thatched Roof Cafe.

The event was attended by approximately seven hundred students. U1 Arts and Science student Inna Tarabukhina, one of the event’s organizers, called it a “success,” and “a great opportunity for students to get engaged and to have a real say about what goes on on campus.”

SSMU VP Finance Shyam Patel, who has been involved with the project since last summer, also said the event went very well. When asked whether SSMU was ready to take on a management role in food services, Patel admitted that “it’s going to take a lot of work,” but that they had “taken the right preliminary steps.”

Patel was unsure about the project’s future in the hands of next year’s executive, but said that he would “do [his] damn best to make sure it’s carried forward.”