Monday, October 04, 2010

Time to save the Architecture Cafe at McGill University. Again.

McGill's Administration has once again closed the Architecture Cafe, but this time during the summer, hoping that students would notice or wouldn't care about it when they come back to the campus in September.

Well, that was a mistake, because even I, who isn't a student, has noticed, and I am taking action about this.

First, here is an amazing blog post about the story and about what has been written on it, and everything you can do about it, by Worldgnat on the Arch Cafe.

Second, I wrote this piece bellow and published it at a few places.

Third, I vow not to donate anymore money to McGill University until the Architecture Cafe is re-opened and returned to be a student-run organization.

Fourth, I will write some more articles on McGill University's betrayal of it's mission towards students because of this closure (links to come).

Here is what I have been posting for now:

Kids, this is crazy and something needs to be done. I am myself a McGill alumn: when I was at McGill all the cafs used to be independent and ran by different bodies. The AUS had its caf, the EUS had its caf (with one of the best poutines in town). We had the hot dog vendor (that's right, there was a hot dog stand on campus at McGill).

Then it all started going, slowly; we lost all our cafs, then we lost the hot dog stand, there was the whole Pepsi exclusivity deal. It's our fault, we were too soft and we let it all happen in front of our eyes.

When I was doing my masters, almost not getting funded, the Arch Cafe was the only place on campus (or around) I could afford. A zatar for 1.25$, a coffee for 25 or 50 cents if you had a cup (no joke). The coffee was fair-trade Santropol. And there was samosas, Jamaican patties, all kinds of other products from small local producers. It was run by students, there was always art on the walls and the old piano that someone would play from time to time.

The other option, Aramark, is hell. I've been working for 6 years, and 5 of those are at companies that have Aramark as their cafeteria provider. Kids, Aramark is huge, it will follow you your whole life. Make sure that at least at university you have the option to eat local, fair-trade, student-run food.

Students learn valuable skills running a caf; other students eat better and for less at student-ran cafeterias.

And what's the point of higher education, new knowledge, and mental empowerment, combined to body well-being, gym going and activities, if you don't have choice in your food, a healthy choice? Food is what keeps our body alive, don't just settle for anything.

PS: I will not donate anymore money to McGill until the Arch Cafe is reopened.

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