Third annual Sustainability Week looks to make sustainability personal

Events include a debate on the oil industry and a documentary screening about the impact of waste on the planet

Leah Kelley, the AMS commissioner of the environment and sustainability.
Leah Kelley, the AMS commissioner of the environment and sustainability.
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The third annual Sustainability Week kicked off on campus on Monday and will play host to 14 events by the week’s end.

A total of 20 groups from campus and the community are involved with the events, including Queen’s Backing Action Against Climate Change (QBACC), Enactus, STRIVE, the Earth Centre, Greenovations, the ASUS Committee for the Environment (ACE), Green for Life and UCycle.

Events include a debate on the oil industry hosted by QBACC, a recycled clothing accessory workshop hosted by Enactus and a documentary about the impact of waste on the planet hosted by STRIVE.

The Queen’s Sustainability Office, the SGPS Sustainability Office and the AMS Commission for the Environment and Sustainability will facilitate coordination of the events.

Leah Kelley, the AMS commissioner of the environment and sustainability, said the week aims to showcase the breadth of sustainability and how it’s integrated into industry and personal actions.

“So realizing that sustainability is not just about planting trees — it’s about promotion of local food, it’s about active transportation, it’s about renewable energy, it’s about proper waste diversion as well as protecting our local environment,” Kelley, ArtSci ’16, said.

Kelley said she’s most excited about the amount of club interest that has been shown in Sustainability Week.

“Sustainability Week really is about creating a unified movement of sustainable initiatives on campus. So, it’s about showing that we’re all sort of fighting for the same thing,” she said.

According to Aaron Ball, Queen’s sustainability manager, the week has been consistent year-to-year, including the continued use of daily themes.

This year’s themes include Energy & Climate, Waste Diversion, Food & Water, Alternative Transportation and Sustainability Education.

New this year are off-site tours of the Wolfe Island Wind Farm and the Queen’s Biological Station, a biological research facility that allows biology students and researchers to do hands-on research.

All events, with the exception of the off-site tours and the ACE Garden Party at the Grad Club, are free of charge.

Ball said the aim is to get “as many people as we can” to the events. A banner for Sustainability Week has been placed outside of Stauffer Library, and the Sustainability Office website, the Queen’s University homepage and social media are also being used to spread the word.

“It’s really about attracting our staff and students and faculty to these events, so we want to make sure that they are of interest and fun for people,” he said.

“So if we have less turnout, then we remodel the activity or move on to something different.”

Highlights of Sustainability Week, Ball said, include the off-site tours, a sustainability career workshop and the Alternative Transportation Hub, which took place on Monday, showcased different means of transportation and gave students an opportunity to test drive electric vehicles.

As for next year, Ball said he’d like to see more involvement from the “research and academic side of things at the university in terms of sustainability”.

“We’re capturing a lot of the student clubs and groups and the interest and the administration but there’s sort of a whole other side — in some extents as important, if not more important — in terms of the research,” he said.

“I think highlighting that aspect would be really great for next year.”

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