Sustainable Concordia (SC), founded in 2002 by Geneva Guerin and Melissa Garcia Lamarca is an organization that assesses and enhances sustainability practices at Concordia University. This not-for-profit organization now has a core operation group of 4-5 people, 3-5 project coordinators, 10 people comprising a board of directors, and an estimated 50 volunteers per year. In the year of its founding, SC conducted an assessment of sustainability at Concordia, which identified areas that could use improvement. Since then, they have organized various projects such as: reducing waste through an on-site composting program, setting up a secure bike parking facility at the downtown campus, supporting urban agriculture programs, and helping make departmental offices more sustainable. SC also spreads general awareness about sustainability issues through workshops and public outreach.
How can people be more eco-conscious, in general?
“Taking the ecofootprint test at www.myfootprint.org and trying to get your score lower,” said SC member Faisal Shennib. “Your individual actions are just one part of the equation. Possibly more important is how you contribute to collective actions -holding the government accountable for environmental protection, participating in city consultations and asking them for sustainable changes, and organizing your office/workplace or home to be more sustainable.”
Last year, SC held their first “What’s Your Eco-Footprint?” challenge. They set up laptops in the atrium of the downtown library and helped walk people through an online program that calculated how many planets would be needed if everyone on the planet lived like them. Then they asked people to commit to one or a few changes they could make to reduce their impact most effectively.
Receipts found in trash – Waste Audit
This past March, SC had their annual Waste Audit, where they sorted through samples of trash from around the university to get a breakdown of how much of what they are sending to landfills. See more photos here
The SC has also been collaborating with the CSU and Tapthirst to encourage the university to remove bottled water from vending machines. Upgrading the water fountains to have bottle fillers was another recent project.
“SC’s work is special for a few reasons. It is a point of constructive communication and collaboration on sustainability between the university’s administration and the community. It is a place where innovative projects can be started and eventually grow into larger, university-supported projects, like the compost and greenhouse projects,” said Faisal. “SC provides a lot of resources to upstarting projects -office space, computers, workshops, and probably most importantly, a knowledge of how to turn a project from an idea into a real project at the university. It’s an important asset to the community because of the subject-matter -sustainability is inherently important work, even if we are only playing a small role in a global movement.”
Want to be involved? Here’s how you can :
People can get involved by presenting themselves at SC’s offices located at 2090 Mackay, 2nd and 3rd floors. One may also register to hear about volunteering opportunities here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/
Other than volunteering, one may work in an internship position: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/internships/
There are also job opportunities, which may be accessed here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/coordinator-positions/
SC also has a board of directors where students, staff, faculty, ex-coordinators, etc can volunteer to guide the organization in the right direction. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Access SC’s official website here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca
Contact SC at (514) 848-2424 ext. 5829 or via email at email@example.com.
SC is having their annual general meeting Tuesday, April 30th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at their offices. You’ll have the chance to meet members, learn about SC’s projects, and eat some healthy sustainable food. More details will be announced on their facebook page.