Though the days are getting warmer, March nights in Montreal are pretty
chilly. For a dozen Concordia students, March 21 was especially cold.
As a mound of wet snow was dumped on the city, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity
brothers spent the night sleeping on the concrete next to Concordias
Henry F. Hall Building. The annual ritual, which goes back 11 years, is
known as Teke in a Box.
They spent 36 hours, in shifts, on the corner of Mackay and de Maisonneuve,
raising more than $5,700 from passersby for Dans La Rue, Father Emmett
Johns well-known charity.
Its an organization that helps homeless youth in Montreal
by giving them food at night in a Winnebago, Teke member Paolo Thérien
explained. Theres a centre for them by day where they can
get health care, some education, see a psychiatrist or some people to
talk to. They also have a bunker where some can go sleep at night.
Dans La Rues bunker holds about 20 kids. Thats somewhat larger
than the shanty Thérien and his brothers erected early Wednesday
morning. The contraption, made out of wooden crates, cardboard and a heap
of blue tarp, held up during the freak March storm.
It was fairly well-insulated with the cardboard and the tarp,
said Dylan Flanagan, who camped out for the third year in a row. The
snow on the roof actually helped out a bit, kept it insulated.
At 25, Thérien is completing his fourth and final year of Concordia
at the end of the term, hell take home a diploma recognizing his
degree in International Political Science. Thérien knows that he
is fortunate enough to have a wall on which he can hang his diploma. In
the past, hes spent time at Dans La Rues shelter for street
Ive been to the centre, and Ive seen where the money
goes, he said. For that reason, Thérien keeps coming back,
this year for the fourth time, to help raise much-needed cash for Dans
Thérien joined the 102-year-old fraternity when he came to Concordia
four years ago. A native of Le Guardeur, a small town near Repentigny,
Thérien didnt know too many people in Montreal, and almost
none at Concordia.
Tau Kappa Epsilon is known for providing a welcoming atmosphere to Concordia
students, and for distancing itself from the wild parties and elitism
associated with most fraternities, especially those in the United States.
Thérien found a real brotherhood. We have parties, mixers
with sorority girls, and all that, he said, but theres
a great level of maturity here.
That maturity is best shown by a group of warmly dressed 20-something
guys, sleeping on the hard pavement of downtown Montreal. Thérien
knows no better way to spend a late-winter night.
Theres a real sense of pride here, and its a lot of