Dalhousie launches new sustainability effort

University hopes sustainability teams will involve entire campus community

Students board a bus outside of the student union building. Photo: Mauricio Planchart

Dalhousie University established a new environmental program this past week called "sustainability teams" among staff and faculty, on residence floors and within student organizations.

The voluntary "teams" will participate in educational and participatory activities focused around waste, transportation, energy, water, food and biodiversity issues.

The Office of Sustainability says it will recognize outstanding efforts throughout the year.

"I really hope to engage the population around this topic. We want a reduction in water, reduction in energy, reduction in paper. We want to see more people using public transportation," says Rochelle Owen, Director of Sustainability.

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A student unlocks their bike. Photo: Mauricio Planchart

She says Dalhousie University spends $6 million on water and energy consumption. She believes this kind of program will help reduce the amount of money the university spends on those utilities and it's also good for the environment.

"We want to have people form informal teams in the Dalhousie community and we need the participation of all university staff to make a positive impact in the community," she says.

"We provide training and manuals for the activities that they can do and basically a social learning opportunity for people to learn more about sustainability, have fun and meet other people at the workplace,'' she adds.

Linda Bedwell is one of the leaders of the Killam Library sustainability team, which has already formed.

"Workplace sustainability allows me to feel more in control of energy reduction, especially in Killam Library," she says. "I can apply this knowledge in my daily life and in my home, too," she says.

"With little things such as using public transportation and reducing paper usage in our printers and reducing the use of the water, we are allowing for a better future of the world," she adds.

J. Ettiene Ortiz Medina, a King's student,says, "I think there are a lot of students who want to commit to this kind of program. People are becoming aware that it's our time to act and being part of the solution."



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