Sustainability Week seeks student relevance

This year’s organizers aim to increase participation by changing date of five-day campaign

Colin Robinson, AMS commissioner of environment and sustainability
Colin Robinson, AMS commissioner of environment and sustainability
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With Sustainability Week set to launch on Queen’s campus on Sept. 30, organizers want students to know that environmentalism is much more relevant than they think.

The initiative is a joint effort between the AMS, SGPS, Queen’s Sustainability Office and various other clubs and committees on campus to bring attention to sustainability efforts on campus and demonstrate its impact on students’ lives.

“This is a growing trend,” Colin Robinson, AMS commissioner of the environment and sustainability, said.

“Large institutions are increasingly aware of the impact of sustainability on performance and how it factors into their decisions.” Originally known as GreenFest, organizers decided to change the name and time of the event to reach out to more students, Robinson added.

“This is not just for people who are interested in the environment,” Robinson said.

“We felt that the name GreenFest was too [focused] and we wanted to open it up to all students.”

He said that awareness of sustainability brings more than just environmental benefits; it also has social and economic effects as simple as saving on electricity bills, for example.

Throughout the week, different events will be hosted by multiple clubs and committees to showcase the many dimensions of sustainability. Events will run until Oct. 4.

Planning for Sustainability Week began in the spring of last year. The majority of the $500 budget was donated, and has been used to fund speakers and advertising for the events.

On Wednesday in Goodes Hall, a presentation titled Investing in Our Future, will focus on building a portfolio of ethical investments. The talk will be hosted by Queen’s School of Business professor Steven Moore, and David Hahn of the Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-op.

Wednesday will also see the Earth Centre holding a clothing swap, while a documentary on food security will be screened on Thursday.

All campus organizations involved in Sustainability Week will be present at a sustainability information fair on Friday, Oct. 4.

Robinson said he hopes that this initiative will drive home the relevance of sustainability, as students often don’t think it impacts them.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do this year is also to show students the role that sustainability will play in their careers, no matter what they’re majoring in,” he said.

Robinson added that organizers have reached out to include interdisciplinary organizations such as Enactus, Queen’s Oxfam, the Commerce and Engineering Environmental Conference (CEEC), QBACC and the Tea Room, to reach out to students in various faculties.

“The thing I’m most excited to see is a coordination of all these organizations,” Robinson said. “They’re all pursuing sustainability, coming together in one place under one unanimous initiative.”

For a full list of activities, see www.queensu.ca/sustainability/events/sustainweek.html.

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