UW sustainability group says lack of support is its biggest obstacle

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Courtesy Green Stamp Initiative

Article by:Ikkshita Vinaya 

Student clubs at UW can’t always afford reusable containers or other sustainable measures. Green Stamp Initiative (GSI) is attempting to improve the situation by  providing clubs with funds that enables them to practice sustainability. 

For any event to get funded, it would be judged on their rubric based on five categories. These include methods of transportation used, amount of waste generated, the kind of food served, and the way you the event is promoted. The idea is to change the way we conserve.

“It’s such a simple thing to do, to switch from printing flyers to on an online platform and you can get money from that.” emphasised Alyssa Mclaren, co-founder of GSI.

To ensure that sustainable actions actually took place pictures before and after the event are submitted and random audits are conducted. 

“Think about it, talk about it and act on it,” Hashem Abdi,  another co-founder of GSI said.

Abdi recalled when he went to a second year event and noticed that a lot of food and cutlery was wasted because people didn’t show up. 

At this point he thought to create something that would encourage people not to generate so much waste. 

Another reason that motivated him to start this initiative was his pride in attending a innovative university, but one that failed tolead when it comes to sustainability. 

GSI said their biggest obstacle as the lack of support from administration. 

They said that there was no defined path for any student to launch the initiative. It is the passion of the founders that drove them this far and made this project into reality.

 Lesley Johnston from the Fossil Free club had something similar to say. “I find it a bit frustrating that we are the ones leading in this regard and not the administration.”

There are initiatives like Waterloo Initiative on Sustainable Energy, but the efforts by these initiatives still do not match the targets set by the sustainability report. Johnston asks “ Why are we leading the administration and not the other way?”

Johnston also mentioned how UW is lacking on the climate timeline. She threw light on the fact that there is a gap between the ideas of students and authorities. 

 She said that it is rather unfortunate that sustainability is lip service at Waterloo.

“We’re proud of the work the University has been doing around climate change, which goes beyond its important contributions to research and scholarship,” Matthew Grant, Director of Communications for UW said.

“In addition to being the first institution to host the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and committing to use ESG principles as an important lens when making important investment decisions, we’re in the process of developing our first ever Climate and Energy Action Plan. The Action Plan, when completed, will outline what further actions we can take.”

    To submit a proposal for a sustainable event or more information, one can visit GSI’s facebook page. 

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