Sustainability Week seeks more students

Despite a lower-than-expected turnout, organizers say the week-long initiative was successful

Sustainability week engaging students on campus.
Sustainability week engaging students on campus.

Despite a strong message, organizers of this year’s Sustainability Week said they would have liked to see a stronger turn out.

Sustainability Week, which took place on campus last week, marked its second year. Out of the 11 events organized as part of the campaign, some saw low participation rates.

Organizers, who advertised the events through Facebook and speaking to students in class, said turn-out could have been higher, though the event was generally successful given its second year.

“Obviously any event you organize can probably have more people,” Colin Robinson, AMS commissioner of environment and sustainability, said.

Approximately 20 people attended the screening of the documentary in the Ellis Hall auditorium on Thursday night.

“[It] was a huge venue and ... [the screening] was on the Thursday night, [when] there’s lots of night class ... it probably wasn’t as well-promoted as some of the other [events],” Robinson said.

Sustainability Week, which started out this year, replaced GreenFest, which took place last March.

Last year’s GreenFest included around 20 events while Sustainability Week cut down the number to 11, taking place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

Holding the event earlier in the school year this year had both positive and negative effects on participation, Robinson said.

“You trade off a little bit of planning and promotion time in order to have it now [in the fall],” Robinson said. “[We are] focusing on quality of events rather than quantity.”

Despite this, Robinson said the discussion Investing in Our Future on Wednesday night in Goodes Hall, as well as the Sustainable Careers Workshop held on Saturday in Stauffer Library, each saw around 40-50 people attend.

“[Investing in Our Future] was really well-attended ... it had a balanced discussion ... it wasn’t just an environmental rally,” he said.

Sustainability Week was an experiment in event planning, Robinson said, as a lot of events were hosted over a small time frame.

“While it does allow you to have a real blitz of momentum and get all these groups coordinating together ... [it will] dilute your audience if you are having so many events so close together,” he said.

Despite some of the events seeing low turnouts, Robinson said the week was a success overall.

“I think the main take away ... [is that] we would like to have all of our events ... full. But that’s never going to happen [when the event is only two years old],” he said.

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