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Issues, events, & breaking news from ICES & Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
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Why is the University of British Columbia now taking bag donations from Whole Foods supermarket, effectively robbing from the poor to give to the rich? Yes, UBC, which boasts a $2b annual budget has been taking bag donations from Whole Foods for the past two months.
During this time, UBC has been shamelessly battling it out with the Westside Food Collaborative for donations (i.e., bring your shopping bags and Whole Foods donates 10 cents per bag saved). It adds up to thousands of dollars for the needy non-profits and now, UBC.
Yes, you heard it right. In addition to battling it out with the University of Toronto and McGill University for the large Development funds, UBC is competing with the likes of co-ops, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House for kids, and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Apparently, UBC has no shame in insisting that it meets the Whole Foods Community Chest program criteria for bag donations. Whole Foods gives to
non-profit organizations in our local community … those organizations that most closely align with Whole Foods market’s core … hunger relief and organic farming/sustainable food resources.
In this case, and it’s not the first time for UBC, it’s the noted Botanical Garden taking the donations. The Botanical Garden is sitting flush on unceded Musqueam Territory and on the border of the ultra-rich Point Grey area of Vancouver and University Endowment Lands, and in the heart of UBC Properties Trust, which oversaw another $2b in real estate development over the past 10 years.
winning the ear of the senior administration, noteably the support of comptroller Ian Burgess and vice-president of finance Pierre Ouillet and through him members of the executive committee.
So there you go, a seat at the table of a $2b operating budget and still ‘want your bag donations’ from Whole Foods. Is this greed or just finesse?
Give back the money UBC! Redirect the donations back to the needy non-profits, many of which have little to no budget to speak of.