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WUSA Sustainability Project: Reflections on Spring 2021
This month, I’m wrapping up my tenure as WUSA’s first Sustainability Commissioner. In the past few weeks, I’ve reflected a lot on how far the WUSA Sustainability Project (WSP) has come, and what we’ve been able to accomplish as a service.
My focus this spring term was internal. The WUSA Council just passed a sustainability policy update I drafted, which replaces the old 2016 version. It now contains bolder commitments to continual improvement within WUSA, collaboration with student groups, and climate justice. As well, with the creation of our internal sustainable purchasing guide, WUSA staff and volunteers will be equipped with the tools they need to consider sustainability in their purchasing decisions. I’ve also supported the University’s actions towards combating the climate emergency, their carbon neutral investment policy, and plans for massive building retrofits across campus to reduce our energy use.
UW Campus Compost has been hard at work on their beautiful community garden, which you can visit near Columbia Lake, north of campus. Their volunteer-run plot grows organic produce for WUSA Food Support, addressing issues of sustainable agriculture and food insecurity.
The team behind the WUSA Thrift Store have also been preparing behind the scenes for a soft launch in the fall term! Stay in the loop by following the WSP socials or check out the store on the ground floor of SLC, across from the CIBC.
But of course, there’s still so much to be done. In the coming terms, I hope that WSP will play an active role in integrating climate knowledge into curricula, introducing incoming students to sustainability initiatives through orientation, and fostering student-led projects to improve sustainability on campus.
As we begin to return to life on campus, I hope that we will think about how we can improve the ways we’ve always done things to be more gentle on ourselves and the Earth. We have the chance now to redesign WUSA and campus in a thoughtful way.
While I’m signing off this term, I encourage you to start or continue dialing in! Right now the situation in the world seems dire, but I hope you also feel the undeniable momentum towards change. I highly encourage you to plug into the many conversations happening right now that seek to envision a better future. Whether it be familiarizing yourself with the Truth and Reconciliation’s 94 calls to action, perusing the IPCC’s landmark climate report, researching your local candidates ahead of the September 20 federal election, checking out 350.org’s latest “Canada is Still On Fire” campaign, or getting excited about upcoming global climate strikes, there’s so much to learn and look forward to this fall.
Until next time, stay curious and stay engaged!
Check out more of my writing:
January: An Open Letter