WHAT IS THE
SUSTAINABILITY ACTION FUND?

The Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) is a student run fee levy group at Concordia University. The organization collects approximately $400,000 of revenues a year from undergraduate (50-cent-per-credit) and graduate ($1.25 per term) fee levies.

The majority of funding goes to support projects to develop sustainable infrastructure, urban agriculture, community-building, and education surrounding environmental and community issues, with the long-term goal of inspiring and developing a culture of sustainability at Concordia University.

OUR MISSION

To build an inclusive culture of sustainability at Concordia University by enabling, supporting, and financing projects that tackle interconnected environmental, social, and economic issues.

GOVERNANCE

The Sustainability Action Fund is governed by a board of 10 directors, who are elected by various student groups and organizations whose members pay into the fund. They meet monthly to ensure that SAF is on pace to meet its objectives, and to make any necessary course corrections in pursuit of these objectives.

The day-to-day operations of the fund are managed by the Executive Director, who is SAF’s only full-time, permanent employee. The Executive Director is responsible for realizing the objectives set out by the board, and managing our staff of volunteers and interns. The Executive Director is the primary contact person for all outside parties who are interested in the Fund and its activities.

Our by-laws govern both the day-to-day and long-term operations of the fund. SAF hosts an annual general meeting once a year in the Fall. To give you an idea our organization runs, we invite you to read our Constitution and Reports.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2022-2023

Asif Ali – Special Projects Committee

Graduate Student

Erik Huang – SPC & Finance Committees

Concordia Community Member

Elizabeth Malitastinic – Marketing Committee

Faculty of Fine Arts Representative

Georgette Pascual – Human Resources Committee

ASFA Representative

Angelica Antonakopoulos- Human Resources Committee

Concordia Undergraduate Student at Large

Paige Keleher- Marketing & Special Projects Committee

Sustainable Concordia Representative

Maria Chitoroaga- Human Resources Committee

Concordia Student Union Executive

Mitchell McLarnon – Special Projects Committee

Concordia Faculty

Cassandra Lamontagne- Special Projects Committee

Concordia Staff

Mohammad (Haman) Jamali – Special Projects Committee

Student at Large

OUR TEAM

Ayan Yusuf Karshe

Executive Director

She is an Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppressive Educator and Life Coach, specializing in bottom-up Conflict Resolution. She is a passionate observer of how theoretical discourse lags behind the expertise of lived experience. She couches her Anti-Racism education in an Anti-Oppressive framework; with the knowledge that at any point, any individual can do harm. She has a BA in Anthropology and is (slowly) working on her MA in Educational Studies. She adores music, art, film/TV and travel.

Katherine Parthimos

Communications Coordinator

Katherine has completed a BFA in Studio Arts at Concordia University. In her final year of study she was elected as Outreach and Communications coordinator at FASA. Since then she has continued engaging with Concordia students and alumni through the creation of Somewhere Gallery. In her free time Katherine loves travelling and being creative through various mediums such as painting and drawing.

Duha Elmardi

Project Coordinator

Duha has a BSc in Environmental Studies and Disaster Management with a major in Nonprofit Management from Khartoum, Sudan and she is also a Concordia Graduate of Community Economic Development (CED). She is a community organizer, a member of various organizations and enjoys reading, traveling and listening to podcasts.

Iqbal Hussain

Finance Coordinator

Iqbal received his MBA from NSU, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and is currently pursuing his CPA designation. He is fascinated by projects that showcase effective sustainability. He loves cooking, composing poetry in বাংলা (Bangla), playing live music, sports & exercise, listening to audiobooks & podcasts, and visual & performing arts.

REPORTS

OUR HISTORY

Timeline

The Less Talk, More Action Conference is held at Concordia University

The 1% Campaign takes place at the Less Talk, More Action Youth Summit. At this event, Dr. David Suzuki and former United States Vice-President Mr. Al Gore encouraged a crowd of over 2000 Concordia students to vote ‘yes’ on a referendum question to transform Concordia into one of the most sustainable campuses in Canada.

The Sustainability Action Fund is born

Concordia students vote. The Sustainability Action Fund is born.

The R4 Compost project is funded

Among SAF’s first significant achievements was supporting the R4 campus-wide compost program. The project was a first in Quebec, and became a model emulated in universities across the province.

The first Sustainable Business Conference is funded

Now known as Business Beyond Tomorrow Conference, this project is an annual event hosted by the John Molson Sustainable Business Group (JSG) that brings together the Montreal student community, corporate leaders, and sustainable leaders to discuss social, economic and ecological sustainability.

The CSU hosts Wangari Maathai

Thanks to SAF funding, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) organizes a talk by environmental crusader and Nobel Peace prize winner, Waangari Maathai.

City Farm School is born

In the spring of 2011, the Concordia Greenhouse Project came together and created the City Farm School. In its inaugural year, the school consisted of a 5 day training school followed with optional internship placement either at the university or in the community. Since then, the City Farm School has grown to offer 8 month long internships in urban agriculture on Loyola Campus and in the neighboring  community.

SAF and Concordia University partner to evaluate sustainability in the school’s curriculum

The Sustainable Curriculum Project was a 3-year initiative jointly funded by the Concordia Academic Plan 2012-2016 and the Sustainability Action Fund. The Sustainable Curriculum team successfully quantified the sustainability content in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Fine Arts, Engineering, and the John Molson School of Business. The identification of such courses will provide a roadmap to incorporate more sustainability-related issues in the university’s curriculum.

The SAE Supermileage Project receives funding

The Concordia SAE Supermileage Racing team is a student-run organization with the goal of building a fuel-efficient vehicle. In 2012, thanks to SAF funding, The Concordia SAE Supermileage team participated in the SAE Supermileage Collegiate Design Competition hosted by Eaton Corporation held in Marshall, Michigan.

Concordia students start a beer brewing cooperative

The MontreALE Brewer’s Cooperative, now known as Les Brasseurs Illuminés, is funded.  The purpose of this project is to provide a source of sustainable high quality locally produced beer, while educating Concordia students in all aspects of its production and consumption.

The Hive Solidarity Co-Op is funded

SAF funds The Hive Cafe Solidarity Co-Operative, a student-run cafe, whose main mission is to fill the food-void at Loyola campus and Downtown campus by providing inexpensive, healthy, locally-sourced and organic food to students.

SAF celebrates its 10th year anniversary

SAF prepares & hosts a variety of events and activities in celebration of its 10th year of existence.

First Year of Sustainability Research Awards

The Sustainability Research Awards are a scholarship to award students for taking on topics of sustainability-related to Concordia in their school work or research. The Faculty of Arts and Science partners with the SAF to award students $1500 or $800 for their research.

Living Labs Partnership with Office of Community Engagement and Bâtiment 7

A 2-year partnership between the SAF, the Office of Community Engagement at Concordia University and Batiment 7 in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighborhood is created to support student leadership in community-based sustainability projects at Bâtiment 7.

Development of 2020-2024 Strategic Directions

As the 2017-2020 Strategic Directions expire, the SAF team imagined possibilities for the next four years and created new strategic directions for the organization. Four key directions were chosen.

Sustainability Action Plans released by Concordia University

The SAF worked alongside many other stakeholders to help develop Concordia University’s Sustainability Action Plan. In 2020 the plan was released and includes a long-term vision as well as five-year plans around our five stream topics: Food, Waste, Climate, Research, and Curriculum.

SRA Partnership expands to include the Faculty of Fine Arts

The Faculty of Fine Arts commits to contributing to fund the Sustainability Research Awards and becomes a partner.

SRA Partnership expands to include the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science

The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science commits to contributing funds to the Sustainability Research Awards and becomes a partner along with the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Faculty of Fine Arts and the SAF.

Sustainability Living Lab Funding Program in partnership with Concordia University

A matching funding partnership was created with Concordia University’s Office of Sustainability to fund student, staff and/or faculty projects that work towards goals and targets outlined by the university’s Sustainability Action Plan.

Concordia Student Union contributes to the Sustainability Living Lab Funding Program

The CSU joins the partnership between Concordia University and the SAF to fund student, staff and/or faculty projects working towards the goals and targets outlined in the Sustainability Action Plan, bringing the total funds available to $130,000 for Sustainability Action Plan related projects!

15 Year Anniversary Celebratory Community Fund
15 Year Anniversary Celebratory Community Fund

For the 15 Year Anniversary, SAF gives back to their community for 15 years of support. The SAF offered 5 microgrants of $1500 to students taking on Community initiatives outside of the Concordia community. This was done in an effort to support students doing community work that are otherwise ineligible for SAF funding.

Fee Levy Increase

In November of 2022 the Sustainability Action Fund campaigned to increase the Undergraduate fee levy from $0.25 to $0.50 per credit. The membership voted in favour for this increase which now allows SAF to run with an almost doubled budget. Thus broadening the funding opportunities for students dealing with Sustainability projects at Concordia University in a time of high demand.

OPTING OUT

The SAF is sensitive to the fact that not all students are able to contribute financially to support our activities, and for this reason we offer an in-person opt out option to all undergraduate and graduate students at Concordia.

Please stay tuned for Summer 2024 semester  opt-outs.

Concordia Community

If you have other questions or concerns about the opt-out process please email communityconcordia@gmail.com.

What can your fee-levy group do you? For more information on fee levies at Concordia University, visit concordiacommunity.org.

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