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Updated: Oct 11, 2022

The Rochdollar was a fake currency which was given away as party novelties and used inside the college. They were convincing imitations of the Canadian one-dollar bill produced by Couch House Press, with a few humorous changes made; the Grain Elevator in the background of the legal dollar was replaced with an image of the College building. The idea for the bills stems from Stan Bevington, the founder of Coach House Press, whose grandfather had been involved in the social currency movement in Alberta during the Great Depression. The Alberta social credit proposal had been initiated to support the United Farmer’s Union, and eventually led to the formation and election of the Social Credit Party (Socred). In 1937, prosperity certificates, or “funny money” were given to Alberta residents. The Socred party was re-elected in 1944, and under Ernest Manning’s leadership, they greatly weakened workers’ protections, enhanced conditions for oil investors and moved away from social credit theories except for issuing prosperity certificates in 1957 and 1958 with funds from oil royalties.

Rochdale Degree’s were fake degree certificates that were both comical social commentary and a fund-raising device. They were available between 1970-75 and could be purchased by anyone for $25 (B.A), $50 (M.A.) or $100 (Ph.D). They involved a complicated printing process which made them difficult to replicate and also showcased the skill and playful spirit of Coach House Press. Persons purchasing a degree had to fill in a requisite application form which included some information and a simple “skill-testing” question. One version of the application form stated: “A Rochdale Degree, like the college experience itself, is whatever you make of it. People understand who they are better than any institution can.”

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