Can you believe that the fall 2021 term is already ending? It is bittersweet for me: on one hand, I had such an amazing time as your Sustainability Commissioner, meeting wonderful people that are passionate about sustainability on campus, and contributing to diverse projects to enhance sustainability within student life and campus operations. On the other hand, I only have one more term left of my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo – I will savour the next four months!
While the majority of our activities at WUSA Sustainability Project (WSP) remained virtual throughout the fall term, so much happened that I want to share with you. I also want to highlight some of the exciting events and projects that will be taking place in the Winter term. Revisiting the goals I set out under WSP’s three pillars back in September, let’s look at what the WUSA Sustainability Project got up to this term!
At the beginning of the term, I established a goal to find a way to synergize cross-campus sustainability efforts, and centralize sustainability as a core value in all Faculties. This goal is well on its way to being achieved because of the Student Sustainability Committee, which is piloting in winter 2022. The Committee will be composed of undergraduate students from across the campus community, who will work together to address common sustainability concerns that exist at the university level, as well as work independently with their respective student societies to integrate sustainability considerations into society-run programming. As the fall term wraps up, recruitment for the Committee is also wrapping up, and our team is forming! We will showcase all of our Committee members on our social media at the start of the winter term, so you can find out who your go-to sustainability person will be within your Faculty.
We rebranded our social media (shout out to Emily, our Marketing Executive, for doing an amazing job this term!). We also started several weekly campaigns to showcase sustainability news and information in a clear, accessible way. These include Did You Know Tuesdays and Friday Features. Some of the things we showcased were campus initiatives like Campus Compost, the 2021 Sustainability Report, and global events like the release of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and COP26. I had the opportunity to participate in various virtual events and campaigns, as well, from Instagram takeovers for WUSA to presenting at the annual Eco Summit and more.
WSP has also been heavily promoting the Clothing Store, which is set to open at the start of the winter term. I cannot wait for this exciting initiative to open. It truly sets the University of Waterloo as a leader in sustainability innovation because we are one of the only (actually, the only one to my knowledge) university campuses with a student-run thrift store.
With more things happening on campus next term, I hope to feature more of our on-campus sustainability infrastructure. I plan on making a virtual sustainability tour of campus, where I will show you all of the exciting things that exist on campus that you can access to live a more sustainable lifestyle. We also plan to showcase this infrastructure and other sustainability initiatives more regularly on our social media. Keep an eye on our stories in the Winter term, where we will likely post fun facts, tips for accessing certain resources on campus, and more.
I provided feedback for several campus projects, helping stakeholders on campus conduct more sustainable purchasing practices. I am also supporting the planning process for Orientation Week 2022, to determine how we can incorporate sustainability into swap procurement, training opportunities for leaders, and programming for first-year students. The Student Sustainability Council will provide a way for students within each Faculty to get sustainability advice in an accessible way, as well.
All in all, I had an amazing time in my first term as your Sustainability Commissioner. I look forward to the winter term ahead of us, and all the exciting opportunities that will come with it. This will be the first term where the Commissioner position will exist in a mainly in-person format since the position only started this past year. That means I have a lot of creativity and flexibility moving forward, paving the way for on-campus sustainability endeavors.
If you have any questions about the initiatives I have mentioned, need support on your own initiative, or just want to chat about all things sustainability, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great winter break, and I hope to see you on campus in January!