Residence students take up the green charge

- Melanie Tromp Hoover

A team of University of Victoria residence students are taking up the green charge on campus, asking their fellow residents to turn it off, take the bus and eat local foods through a variety of targeted social marketing campaigns.

Last October, 16 students from dormitory and cluster residences began meeting every Thursday with UVic Campus Sustainability Coordinator Sarah Webb, forming the first ever UVic Residence Sustainability Team. These students meet with a variety of guest speakers to glean the humbling facts about sustainability on campus and in the greater community, proactively attempting to turn this information into simple actions to be carried out over the next week.

“The team provides a chance for students living on campus to connect with other like-minded individuals,” says Webb, “and of course it helps to spread the word among the residence community about ways they can get involved to make change.”

A smaller committee of the sustainability team has been facilitating the group’s Turn It Off campaign, where students in cluster housing are given energy-saving tips and are encouraged to install energy efficient lightbulbs (e-lighting) and to pledge their committment to reduce energy use in their own unit. According to team member Candace Holt, all but one cluster unit has signed onto the campaign this winter.

Holt notes that the UVic Residence Sustainability Team is benefiting both the environment and the students involved.

“I think I got involved because I had felt frustrated with living in residence and not being able to compost or know where my food comes from or make decisions about how I’m affecting the environment,” says Jori Baum. “[The team] gives me an opportunity to have some input into my experience in res.”

Baum wrote a letter to thank Housing, Food and Conference Services for organizing a dinner comprised of local food entrees in the residence cafeteria. Participants in the dinner enjoyed the experience, and the team is encouraging more of these local dinners.

Members of the group also organized a transit appreciation initiative in January where many of the 175 Victoria city bus drivers were treated to muffins, granola bars and hearty thank-yous from the students.

“This was our pilot year,” says Webb. “We hope to continue the program next year through a more formal partnership with the Residence Life Office.”

The current group will continue its activities until the end of winter term, just before April examinations begin.

This article is reprinted with permission from “The Fountain,” UVic’s online parent newsletter, produced by the Student Transition Centre.


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Keywords: residence, students, green, charge

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