Mount Royal goes green
Mount Royal and the Students’ Association are making the effort to become more environmentally sustainable and threw two sustainability events on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 to raise student awareness of several initiatives.
Beginning on Sept. 22, the Sustainable Mount Royal club joined forces with the Student Club and the university’s sustainable committee to throw the Where to Find festival. The festival turned Mount Royal’s west gate into an eco-friendly party with live music, free food, and other environmentally friendly activities.
“We want to build a sustainable community, bring people together, raise awareness to the environmental initiatives that we do have on campus because a lot of times it is overwhelming for people to make that transition for themselves,” said Alana-Dawn Eirikson, coordinator for the Sustainability Centre.
Eirikson pointed out many initiatives that are available for students including the FreeCycle program, the EcoStore in partnership with Clean Calgary, and an Eco-Residence program for people living in Mount Royal’s residence. Eliese Watson, a volunteer with the Sustainability Centre, played an integral role in making the event a reality. She began putting the wheels in motion as far back as January.
“I thought it is kind of weak that our college doesn’t have a frosh event, as far as welcoming back students with live music and free food,” Watson said. “The focus for this event was a zero-waste event, obviously, and that is something that I would like to see the campus become is definitely more waste conscious, having composting and getting rid of Styrofoam and having a more conscientious infrastructure.”
Watson mentioned that both the U of C and SAIT are older buildings that have composting so it should not be a problem for Mount Royal to start a composting program. She has already developed a relationship with the waste management company, PDL, that manages the compost from the other post-secondary institutions in Calgary. PDL recycled all of the waste materials from the festival.
Watson said that the Sustainability Centre conducted a survey of more than 400 students, faculty members and board members and found that people would feel more comfortable if there was less waste on campus.
“You make a better environment for your students if you listen to what they say and you do make it a healthier environment,” Watson said, adding that the volunteer membership of the Sustainability Centre has grown from six to 26 this semester.
The next day the Sustainable Transportation division of Mount Royal’s Parking and Transportation Services hosted the Green Your Ride event to promote sustainable transportation.
The City of Calgary was promoting carpooling, Calgary Transit was promoting taking the bus and several bicycle vendors were displaying bikes.
“We wanted to let the staff and students know that there are a lot of different ways of getting to campus because I know it is easy to just hop in the car and get here but I am sure a lot of people know that we are short on parking. There is a very high demand for parking and we have lost a lot of space this year,” said Amy Thai, Sustainable Transportation coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services. Thai said she rides her bike to Mount Royal almost every day.