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By Karen Herland
For the first time, Concordia’s administration hosted an information session and tour for Quebec Liberal politicians representing the West of Montreal.
On Jan. 25, MNAs (including two Cabinet Ministers) representing the island of Montreal west of St. Laurent boulevard visited both campuses to learn about Concordia, in general, the recently opened JMSB building downtown and plans for Parc Concordia – a major expansion and enhancement of Concordia’s athletic and recreation facilities on the Loyola Campus.
“One of the principal objectives of our government relations action plan is to improve the visibility of Concordia with our political leaders and decision-makers. We felt that bringing MNAs and Ministers on campus was an important initiative in this regard” said Bram Freedman, VP External Relations and Secretary-General whose office organized the event.
The afternoon began in the MB Building with an overview of Concordia’s achievements presented by President Judith Woodsworth.
In attendance were MNAs Lawrence Bergman, Margeurite Blais, Minister Responsible for Seniors, Jacques Chagnon, whose riding includes the Sir George Williams Campus, Henri-François Gautrin, Geoffrey Kelley, Gerry Sklavounos, along with Patrick Gilles from the Office of the Minister of Culture, Communications and Status of Women, Christine St. Pierre.
The visit included a welcome from Faculty Dean Sanjay Sharma and an overview of the JMSB Faculty by Karim Boulos, Executive Director of External Affairs for the JMSB. Also present were Provost David Graham, VP Services Michael Di Grappa and Freedman, as well as Associate VP Government Relations Russell Copeman, and Kevin Dobie, Coordinator, government relations.
The entire group then boarded a shuttle bus to the Loyola Campus, “we wanted them to see what running a two campus university really means,” said Copeman.
Once there, they were joined by Justice Minister Kathleen Weil, whose riding includes that campus. The politicians received a tour of the new Stinger Dome with Katie Sheahan, Director of Recreation and Athletics.
Afterwards, they learned about the plans for the proposed Parc Concordia recreation facilities which would include permanent locker rooms and stands for the athletic fields, renovation of the hockey arena, construction of a triple gym and a pool as well as a new conditioning facility for Loyola similar to Sir George’s Le Gym.
This project has been in the works for some time and funding requests have been submitted to the government.
“We were very satisfied with the way the visit went. The politicians were engaged and interested in learning more about Concordia and about higher education, in general. They seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to visit and to have an exchange with us” said Freedman.