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Four from Fine Arts honoured at Concordia Engagement Awards Night

April 27, 2018
By Fine Arts staff

Sustainability champs, staff saints, and heath and safety advocates: four people from Concordia's Faculty of Fine Arts were recognized for their outstanding efforts over the last year. Meet the staff, faculty and alumni who were recognized by the Concordia community for their community service April 12 at the Concordia Engagement Awards Night.

Kathleen McAleese

The Lina Lipscombe Staff Award

Kathleen McAleese is known for having “the patience and temperament of a saint.” She began her career at Concordia in the Department of Building, Civil & Environmental Engineering in 1999 and joined the Department of Design and Computation Arts in September 2008 as the Department Assistant.

In her role, Kathy fulfills, with v ersatility and deftness, numerous tasks. Her colleagues in the department depend heavily on Kathy’s administrative expertise and knowledge. Kathy’s greatest strength is her relationship with students: she is reassuring, builds confidence, conveys empathy, and makes students feel that she is on their side. A recent graduate noted Kathy’s “commitment to creating an efficient, safe and caring environment where students and faculty
members can excel at their tasks,” which is “evident in the way she infuses her work with genuine interest and concern for those she serves.” It is this kind of personal connection between Kathy and students that compelled them to nominate her for the award.

Rhona Richman Kenneally

Sustainability Champion Award

As professor, department chair, curriculum writer, scholar and person, Rhona has inspired students, and faculty to expand the discourse around design, meaning making and the futures of design.

Design as an ethos, practice, and profession integrates sustainability/ecology/ecosophy across design thinking/practice/design studies and embeds key issues of community responsibility, collaboration, and socio/economic/cultural elements into the discipline and situates design as an engagement between human and nonhuman agents, at many scales—people, the built and natural environments.

As an educator, Rhona guides her students in the best possible way as there is a fluidity and openness in which students acquire both critical and relational knowledge. This results in the strength of the student thinking/reflection concerning human/flora/fauna interactions within the built environment. Her research focuses on the socio/cultural environments of food/spaces of the home, exemplified through multiple conferences and publications.

Design students Maude Fontaine-Brossard and Pamela Livernois wrote, ‘Rhona has had such an impact on our comprehension of sustainable design and has helped to form hundreds of other sustainable human beings, therefore she is, and will continue to be, a sustainable champion’.

Arrien Weeks

Sustainability Champion Award

Arrien has been contributing to sustainability at Concordia for 15 years through encouraging fun and inspiring sustainability projects on campus, such as sustainable ecologically-minded cooking, recycling, education and more. He uses effective graphic design, social media and student trends to get students, community members and staff excited and engaged.

Most recently, Arrien joined the Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) as a sustainable builder to transform a basement storage cage into a community depot space that was built with 90% reused materials. Arrien is now an integral part of the day to day work and future development at CUCCR as the Depot Coordinator. Arrien’s current Masters research in Art Education is focused on the development of the Fine Arts sustainability curriculum. Through in-person interviews and sustained practice research he will be creating a practical guide of experiences, observations and recommendations for more ethical alternatives to physical materials used on campus.

Jules Beauchamp-Desbiens

Safety Award

A recent graduate from Concordia University in Design, Jules Beauchamp-Desbiens is currently working both as a Digital-Fabrication Lab Technician and as a freelance industrial designer.

Jules' attention to detail and care for health and safety was exemplary during the construction of the Solar Decathlon house at Loyola Campus in 2017. During the construction of the Solar-Decathlon house, Jules actively promoted safety on the site, by both leading by example and being an advocate to his colleagues. His was equally committed on ensuring the safety of the site for the many visitors. During the 6-month construction period, there were no injuries.

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