Welcome to Spring! An Open Letter from the WSP Sustainability Commissioner
Welcome to Spring term, Warriors! For some of you, this may be your first term in a long time stepping foot on campus. For others, it may be your first term on campus ever. Whatever the case, I hope you are off to a great start of the term and enjoying all the beautiful weather that Waterloo has given us the past few weeks.
It is crazy that this is my third and final term as the WUSA Sustainability Commissioner. Time has really flown by. If you have not heard about the WUSA Sustainability Project (WSP) before, I recommend reading my Winter term recap posts to see what is included in my portfolio. To summarize, as the Sustainability Commissioner I am your go-to resource for all things sustainability on campus. Do you want to start a sustainability project on campus? Join an existing group, but don’t know what fits your interests? Raise awareness around a specific sustainability issue you have noticed on campus? Recruit a presenter for a sustainability-related event? If you said yes to any of these, I am the person to connect with!
Spring is my favourite term of the year at Waterloo. Not only is it a great time for studying outdoors in the Arts Quad (hooray, outdoor wifi!) and relaxing on the Grad House patio, it also opens up opportunities for sustainability on campus! Here are a few of the opportunities available to you this term that can help you live more sustainably:
- The Bike Centre in SLC is open for rentals, and repairs;
- The WUSA Thrift Store in SLC is finally open, offering gently-used, stylish clothing;
- The Bike Cage is available to rent a secure bike storage spot for your campus commutes;
- The Sustainability Office just released their first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) report, illustrating the impact the university is making relevant to these global goals;
- Laurel Trail, which runs through campus, is perfect for a relaxing stroll to Uptown in under 30 minutes;
- Or you can hop on the LRT ION (transit pass included in your student fees) to get there in 5 minutes;
- The campus pollinator gardens are blooming and beautiful;
- And so much more!
As for WSP, we have a few things in the works this term that I am excited to share with you. For one, our Student Sustainability Committee is looking to create a ‘careers in sustainability’ resource, highlighting the diverse career paths that alumni in every Faculty have followed that relate to sustainability. The goal of this resource is to demonstrate that sustainability is important to everyone, regardless of career field, and that you don’t need a degree in a sustainability program to make a positive impact in the world.
Additionally, with the warm weather it is a perfect time to film the virtual sustainability tour! This resource will showcase all of the amazing sustainability resources on campus that you can use as a student. They include the resources I listed earlier, plus many others that you may not be aware of. This will be especially beneficial for the incoming first-years in September, who can have the video as part of their orientation, or for anyone looking to review all the services that our campus has to offer.
Furthermore, with the warm weather and easing of COVID-19 restrictions comes more opportunities for in-person events. Until this point, WSP has operated virtually since its inception in January 2021. This term, we have our first in-person event planned! While the details are still to be ironed out, it will be around the topic of eco-anxiety and be hosted in partnership with a few other campus stakeholders. Last term, I had the opportunity to co-host a sustainability workshop during the Orientation Team onboarding. I hope to support similar programming this term, and provide Orientation Leaders in every Faculty with the tools and resources to support sustainability in their activities.
Lastly, using the data gathered from our Student Sustainability Survey, I hope to do some strategic planning for the next academic year. While someone else will be carrying the WSP torch starting in September, understanding these survey results and the key sustainability issues that our student body cares about will help the next Commissioner set their own priorities for their term. Students from every Faculty completed this survey, giving us a robust understanding of the needs and interests of the whole study body. That said, if you did not get the chance to complete the survey but want to raise a particular issue to me, please feel free to reach out via email!
Make sure to follow along with WSP this term by following our Instagram @wusasustainability, where we post two or more times a week about exciting campus and global sustainability topics. If you have any questions or concerns about campus sustainability, or want to book a chat with me, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you ever see me wandering around on campus, don’t be afraid to say hi! I would love to hear from you and understand your sustainability concerns, so I can advocate for change across our institution.
All the best this term, Warriors!