Plenty of companies were on Gould Street to advertise to students and hand out free stuff. Neato!

Photo: Jess Tsang

A majestic invasion of brands

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By Mohamed Omar

What a wedding it was on Gould Street.

Not an actual wedding, although that would be romantic.

No, it was a marriage of public and private, of the corporate and the academic.

During the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) Week of Welcome, students were bombarded for four days with free stuff and promotional materials from all kinds of companies. Women working for Red Rain – Red Bull’s shorter and less popular younger brother – gave out their product happily to passersby. Muscular bros wearing green TD Canada shirts stood in front of a truck and asked students to play games for a chance to win gifts. Salad King – a silver sponsor of the RSU’s event – was handing out food like a loaded philanthropist on steroids.

It was beautiful, and all companies had to do was pay the Ryerson Students’ Union for a space on the street – I know this because we were asked to pay $250 for table space. Students got free stuff from companies, which had to pay to do that! The RSU should be commended for this – and I say this sincerely. The union pulled one hell of a week with the help of corporate partners like Shark Club, a sports bar, and CIBC.

That’s a marriage to fight for. Think of what the union can do if they did this kind of stuff all year long. Think of the campus events we’d have if the union wasn’t holding emergency meetings to vote on boycotting Israel, but holding consultations with students on which artists they want to perform at next year’s Parade and Picnic.

There’s nothing wrong with advocating for lower tuition fees while scoring free swag from rich corporations. Let’s hope that concept sticks around.


  1. Great point Mohammed, the RSU needs to continue to work for students and not worry about dumb crap.

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