Michael Nimchuk and Cristelle Basmaji are on a mission.
They are this years student representatives on the Concordia Centraide
committee, and theyre competing against other Montreal universities
in the umbrella agencys annual fundraising campaign, which starts
tomorrow and runs until mid-December.
Last year, we planned it in a week, Nimchuk said. The president
of the Engineering and Computer Science Students Association (ECA) organized
a loonie line that raised $1,800, more than any similar activity in the
Montreal compaign. This year, we are hoping that we can do even
His enthusiasm is matched by that of Cristelle Basmaji, president of the
business students (CASA). Like Nimchuk, she has been involved since she
arrived at Concordia three years ago.
Basmaji first joined the CASA Cares Foundation, which organizes activities
to raise funds for charities like Centraide, Les Oeuvres du Cardinal Léger,
and the Cure for Breast Cancer Foundation. Last year, she organized the
first CASA fashion show, and brought in $6,000, half of which was donated
All the money from our events this year will go to Centraide,
Centraide raised over $37 million last year, but despite all the goodwill,
campaign president Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire said, Our goal
has been going up from year to year. We know there are sufficient funds
in the community to be used for the agency, but you have to convince them
to give it.
Centraide funds 324 charities and projects on the Island of Montreal,
and helps over half a million people in many ways, from after-school programs
and womens shelters to citizens advocacy and community groups.
The agency has about 65 000 volunteers. Thibodeau-DeGuire said, We
could do nothing without them. They are the essence of the organization,
For Basmaji and Nimchuk, volunteering is second nature. Basmaji learned
the volunteering habit at home, and continued the tradition in university.
Its very rewarding to do something to help other people,
Nimchuk agreed. I try to do as much as I can to interest other students
in taking part. I think its great that we can add that much more
to the Concordia community as students.
Thibodeau-DeGuire said that Centraide is vital because of the links it
builds between Montreal communities. Without it, smaller charities would
have to spend between 50 and 70 per cent of their donations on fundraising
campaigns. The agency is a symbol of social cohesion, of solidarity,
The students are trying to bring this cohesion to the campus. Basmaji
is planning another fashion show, and will continue with initiatives like
barbecues, food and clothing drives.
Nimchuk is hoping for an even more successful loonie line this year
McGill has just held theirs, and raised $2,555 and he might plan
another fundraiser in the spring among the engineering students.
A former engineer herself, no one understands the need for cohesion better
than Thibodeau-DeGuire. I used to build concrete bridges,
she joked. Now, I build bridges between people.
Join Concordias Centraide committee at the March of 1,000 Umbrellas
at lunchtime tomorrow, at the corner of Ste. Catherine and McGill College
Sts.. For more information, call Hélène Cossette, at 848-4883.
You should receive your Centraide form in the mail on Oct. 4. The first
raffle for prizes only donors are eligible will be on Oct.