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Feb. 20, 2003, Gazette

No laughing matter

Adam Cormier
Photo by Adam Riggio
Adam Cormier is a business student with a social conscience.

Did you hear the one about the business student who started a society for corporate responsibility? Adam Cormier has performed his own comedy routine at open mike nights around the city and even braved the discerning crowd at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club in Ottawa. But it’s definitely not all play and no work for Mr. Cormier. Despite a penchant for stand-up comedy, he wants people to know that his commitment to building a better world is no laughing matter.

Set to graduate in May with a joint B.Comm. (co-op)/BA (English) degree, Mr. Cormier’s semester is shaping up to be his busiest one yet. In January, he attended a Youth Environmental Network Capacity Building Retreat in Ontario. He’s a member of Responsible Consumers of Newfoundland and he is part of the group that planned a protest at City Hall as part of St. John’s Campaign Against the War.

Last fall he started a business society called People Before Profits. The group’s mandate was to provide alternative information to business students and other interested participants about ethics, morals, and social responsibility. Recently, Mr. Cormier dissolved People Before Profits and joined forces with a student society at Dalhousie University known as Society for Corporate, Environmental and Social Responsibility (CESR).

CESR serves as a forum for dialogue and action and embraces issues including sustainable development, social justice, peace, ethics, and good governance. With only one meeting under his belt, Mr. Cormier is pleased with the level of interest in the group so far. “CESR is open to anyone interested in social responsibility and we currently have a mix of business, philosophy and environmental science students.” Mr. Cormier is planning a number of activities to promote the society and to promote change.

He is exploring the idea of offering an alternative graduation ceremony to students in May. In addition to the official university convocation, Mr. Cormier is interested in organizing a ceremony where graduates pledge their commitment to social responsibility and society. “It’s not a cult thing and people who pledge don’t have to go live in the woods or anything,” he said. “The ceremony would involve pledging a commitment to caring about people and society.” Similar ceremonies have been conducted at other campuses across the country.

After he graduates officially, Mr. Cormier plans to spend the summer traveling across the country and meeting with other like-minded people. “Eventually I want to return to Newfoundland and Labrador and set up my own business.”

“Money is a tool,” he said. “I have no interest in accumulating any more money than I truly need. Businesses have the ability to do a lot of good in society and I want to own a business that is committed to the environment.”