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National recognition for Concordia projects: 6 Prix d’Excellence

University earns most prizes, ever, from Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education in competition against universities and colleges across Canada
May 27, 2021
By Ursula Leonowicz, BA 97

"Concordia's six CCAE wins reflect the awesome teamwork of colleagues from across Advancement, University Communications Services (UCS) and other university sectors during the pandemic," says Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, BA 97, director of Advancement Communications.

The Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) awarded Concordia’s University Advancement six Prix d’Excellence — a record for the university at the annual celebration that recognizes top achievements in overall institutional advancement each spring.

The university received one gold, three silver and two bronze awards at the virtual event that took place from May 17 to 20.

Concordia was fêted in various categories: Best Alumni Initiative; Best Printed Brochure, Newsletter or Flyer; Best Development Event; Best Fundraising Materials; Best Special Event; and Best Community Outreach Initiative.

"Concordia's six CCAE wins reflect the awesome teamwork of colleagues from across Advancement, University Communications Services (UCS) and other university sectors during the pandemic," says Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, BA 97, director of Advancement Communications.

"As a team leader, I take great pride that so many colleagues raised the bar in winning our biggest showing of awards, ever, in this national competition. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed and continues to contribute to our momentum."

Top honours

University Advancement received a gold Prix d’Excellence for Best Alumni Initiative for CU at Home, a weekly webinar and programming series launched to help Concordians stay engaged, active and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CU at Home, which is still ongoing with a vast catalogue of offerings online, kicked off in March 2020 and includes family activities, workshops, exercise programs, talks and more.

Silver awards

Momentum, Concordia’s annual newsletter for loyal donors, won a silver Prix d’Excellence for Best Printed Brochure, Newsletter or Flyer. The bilingual publication highlights the stories of Concordia’s generous community of donors, as well as the student recipients of their support.

The winning issue was edited by Marta Samuel, GrDip 10, proofread by Ian Harrison, BComm 01, with Ginette Leduc as researcher. Writers included Richard Burnett, BA 88, Ursula Leonowicz, BA 97, and Donna Varrica, BA 81, while the publication’s graphic design and photography was led by Trevor Browne.

Concordia’s Virtual Shuffle 31 earned a second silver for Best Development Event. The annual walkathon — held from September 18 to 25, 2020 — was reimagined in the age of COVID-19, showcasing the university community’s resilience in difficult times.

The first virtual Shuffle invited participants to walk where they wanted, when they wanted, between September 18 and 25. It raised an impressive $140,964 — by far Advancement’s best cost-per-dollar-raised walkathon for student scholarships, bursaries and services.

Shuffle 31’s core workgroup included Alexandra Louridas, BA 15, Christine Dy and Brad Skog from Annual Giving; communications lead Joseph Leger, BA 15, multimedia producers Trevor Browne and Stephen Pan; event coordinator Allison Waldman, BEng 10, GrDip 12; and social media managers Melodie Le Siege, BA 10, and Christine Dy.

A third silver Prix d’Excellence was awarded to Concordia in the Best Fundraising Materials category. The winning submission, Canada’s Next-Gen Hub of Interdisciplinarity brochure, offers a unifying narrative that captures the vast scope of Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science. The 28-page booklet is used to engage donors, alumni and friends.

“This year’s edition showcases over 20 researchers that reflect the faculty’s diversity from a cross-section of fields, equitably representing BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women,” says Luke Quin, BA 07, who served as the project’s editor, lead writer and researcher. Stephen Pan led in design.

Bronze awards

Concordia’s virtual opening of the university’s $63.1-million Applied Science Hub received a bronze Prix d’Excellence in the Best Special Event category.

Directed by Desjardins, the event was attended by 274 guests and included messages from the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec. As a hybrid of live and pre-recorded materials, the event marked the first time that Concordia opened a new building through a virtual launch.

The event’s success was a result of teamwork among colleagues across seven sectors, including Communications, Events, Office of Translation, Government Relations, Facilities Management, Research and the Office of the President. The core team included lead writer Harrison and event manager Shanna Parisien, BA 04. Michael Gannon, BA 15, produced all videos.

Concordia was additionally awarded a bronze Prix d’Excellence for Best Community Outreach Initiative for CU Cares.

A collaboration between the LIVE Centre and University Advancement, CU Cares recruits volunteer support for elderly alumni and more than 12 Montreal outreach organizations.

Over 400 students, faculty, staff, donors and friends of the university answered the call to volunteer since launching in April 2020.

The main CU Cares staff include Katie Broad from the Live Centre, Alana Mota, BComm 16, Anais Emmanuelle Loriston, BA 17, GrDip 19, Christopher Walker, Shanna Parisien and Allison Waldman from Alumni Relations and Janine Lavallée from communications.

“Concordia is deeply rooted in community,” says Leisha LeCouvie, senior director of Alumni Relations, whose team manages the program. “We knew there were people struggling through the pandemic and that there were people who wanted to help. This was our opportunity to bring them together.”

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