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Volunteer-powered fundraiser earns record $34,001 for students

2023 Concordia EPIC Used Book Fair supported by students, faculty, staff, retirees and alumni
April 6, 2023
By Ursula Leonowicz, BA 97

Members of the Men’s Rugby Team stand in front of rows of cardboard boxes filled with books Members of the Concordia Stingers Men’s Rugby Team helped set up and tear down the fair. From left to right: Elliot Quimbrot, Calvin Mazloum, Cam Pouw, Alex McNicholl, Keyon Cyrus, Breandan Mackenzie, Cameron Harte, Luca Favasoli.

Bibliophiles found a booklover’s delight at the 2023 Concordia EPIC Used Book Fair, held on March 28 and 29 in the Atrium of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex.

Supporters purchased a record number of books, approximately 9,000, and raised $34,001 in student support — a record for the charity event. Over the last 22 years, the Concordia EPIC Used Book Fair has raised more than $275,000 for students.

“We’re thankful to everyone who returned to support our cause and fill their bag with books,” says volunteer co-leader of the event Luke Quin, BA 07, senior communications advisor, University Advancement.

“Supporters also made $2-donations to enter the fair and many even added extra donations. The generosity of our community was inspiring.”

Two customers look at books Satisfied customers were easy to find at the 2023 Concordia EPIC Used Book Fair.

The Concordia EPIC Used Book Fair had been on hiatus since its 2019 edition due to the pandemic. Since January 2023, dozens of student volunteers, as well as 15 retirees and members of the Concordia Pensioners' Association, came together for weekly sorting sessions. Books were donated by professors, retirees, alumni and students.

“It is thanks to the Office of the VP, Services and Sustainability, which provided a new accessible a venue to store and sort the books, that we could tackle the sheer volume of donations,” says the event’s second volunteer co-leader, Jeanne Bisson, assistant to the president, Office of the President.  

“We are especially grateful to the Distribution Services team that transported palettes of books in and out of storage for making this logistically-challenging undertaking possible.”

Of the funds raised, $5,000 will go towards the Student Emergency and Food Fund, which provides financial support, in the form of grocery store gift cards, to students experiencing food insecurity. Remaining funds will go to student scholarships, including a scholarship for a student athlete.

Some 16 players from the Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team helped set up and tear down the fair while more than 60 other students, alumni and retirees volunteered for the two-day event.

The book fair would not be possible without the help of dozens of volunteers. From left to right: Mary Chamorro, TESL student, Juliana Rueda, BA 21, Luke Quin, BA 07, event co-leader, Antoniya Encheva, TESL student, Jeanne Bisson, event co-leader, and Denise Karelis.

Student volunteers were recruited through the International Students Office and the Office of Sustainability. Many of them added their experience to their Co-curricular Record that includes volunteer positions on campus, student leader roles and student-led initiatives.

Additional logistical support was provided by University Advancement and the Office of the President.

“We wholeheartedly thank everyone involved,” says Quin and Bisson.

Members of the Concordia community may continue to donate new and used books year round at the loading docks of either the Henry F. Hall Bldg. or Richard J. Renaud Science Complex, as well as in the large pink book bin in the Henry F. Hall Bldg. Mezzanine.

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