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A year of stabilization and growth

Photo: Nathan Dumlao for Unsplash

For Sabrina Lavoie, Concordia’s executive director of Budget Planning and Business Development, 2022-23 marked a welcome return to normalcy following the major challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past year saw stabilization and growth in several important areas.

In summer 2022, the global enthusiasm for travel brought tourists back to Montreal in droves - a boon for the university’s hotelling initiative at the Grey Nun’s Residence. This resulted in a record $1.3 million in revenue. Lavoie points out that extra revenue like this is critical for the self-funded department. She hopes the stream will continue to grow, especially with the possibility of future summer hotelling in residences on Loyola Campus.

Residence Life and Food Services

Residence Life was also back in full swing during the fall and winter terms. Apart from one closed Grey Nun’s Residence wing, the residences were at full capacity for the first time since the pandemic started in early 2020. The team welcomed students from around the world with extensive programming and services.

Residence Life staff continued to prioritize focusing on health and wellness. They worked with Concordia Support Services and the broader Montreal community organizations to host sexual-health and mental-health events. Health Services, the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, the Student Success Centre and Counselling and Psychological Services were some of the many resource centres that students in residence visited throughout the year.

Concordia’s Food Services also celebrated the September launch of the Stingers Roast - which originates from an inspiring women’s co-op in Colombia. More than 3,500 pounds of coffee was distributed in residences and Aramark retail outlets and through catering services last year. Hospitality Concordia is also working with retail outlets on campus to offer bags of coffee beans for sale to the community to further boost the visibility of this innovated initiative. 

Business Services

Business Services at Concordia also had a busy year. The Business Services team members continue to see the positive impact of having centralized printing and copying services through Concordia Print Services, a revenue stream that Lavoie believes will increase over time. In 2022-23, they launched a new print-management solution and purchased new equipment for the Print Store to reduce production time.

They also took over the management of several areas previously under Hospitality Concordia, including locker rentals, ATMs, campus advertising and parking — including the newly renovated Faubourg Building lot. Other parking-related activity included launching a new payment system at Loyola Campus and developing a web ad plan to drive more traffic to the lots on Sir George Williams Campus. 

Conference Services

The university’s spaces and event planning services were back in full demand as the Concordia community returned to campus at close to pre-pandemic rates. More and more, it became a priority for people to meet in person while maintaining a hybrid digital element to accommodate everybody’s needs. 

Readjusting to the new normal — given the pressures on supply chains, staffing and the demand to host postponed as well as new events — posed challenges for Conference Services. Nevertheless, the team successfully delivered a record number of events on campus during the fall 2022 term alone.

Lavoie says her staff continued to offer training on how to run hybrid events, which is still an important offering for Conference Services even while increasingly more clients opt for strictly virtual or in-person events. 

Creative partnerships

Finally, Budget Planning and Business Development continued to work to expand the number of residence beds it offers. In addition to the current agreement with the downtown Montreal YWCA which started in 2021, the team pursued successful collaborations with EVO Montreal and Mildoré student residence providers as well. In total, they were able to add about 250 residence beds, Lavoie shares. 

“It was a year of external partnerships and increased capacity for Concordia.”

Budget Planning and Business Development’s remains committed to finding ways to offer students the best possible on-campus experience and providing staff and other community members services that fully meet their needs.

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