The creation of a student run café at Concordia’s Loyola campus has long been on the drafting table. In 2010, Alexander Oster, then VP Sustainability at the Concordia Student Union (CSU), directed his formidable energy towards its realization, and invited me to integrate it into the Concordia Food Systems Project. That summer, 5 interns from the Anthropology and Business departments took a first stab at a triple bottom line business plan for the café. I picked this up and in the winter of 2011, 60 students in Concordia’s department of Design and Computation Arts undertook the creation of diverse aspects of the café, from the logo to the lighting to the plants and countertops. Simultaneously I further developed the business plan, completing a financial analysis and engaging stakeholders throughout the university. In partnership with Melissa Fuller, 2011-2012 VP Loyola for the CSU, I fundraised $74,000 from university funding bodies towards the café, and secured the commitment of the university to cover the costs of electrically rewiring the building to support the increased loads required by the café.
Unforunately, mismanagement of CUSAcorp, the CSU’s for-profit wing, lack of support of the CSU’s general manager, and domination of the anti-tuition hike movement in the spring of 2012 resulted in stalling of the café. The work done still stands and a new CSU executive has committed to opening the café in line with the original vision. I continue to advise and support the project, and hope it sees the light of day – because Loyola still needs a great student run café.