Sustainable MRU committee takes over Main Street
Protecting the environment one step at a time
By Robyn Welsh, Features Editor
October was sustainability month, and to show campus support, the Sustainable MRU committee set up tables along Main Street on Oct. 24 and 25. Attractions included a plant sale that sold out within a few hours, tables to drop off old batteries and electronics for recycling, clothing and book swaps.
The event was put on by the Sustainable MRU committee – a committee made up of students, faculty, and staff. They are also affiliated with the Association for Advanced Sustainability in Higher Education – a group that promotes the importance of participating in campus sustainability month to campuses across the country.
The Sustainable MRU committee helped bring new waste recycle bins to the campus with added signs for the proper use of these bins. As of Nov. 1, the city of Calgary is charging any institutions like schools or large offices for any paper that goes into the landfill. Because of this, the committee has been pushing harder for awareness of recycling on campus and the rules that go with it. For instance, if the paper becomes contaminated by any other substance, rules dictate that the bag must go to the landfill.
“We did a waste audit and that was the number one contaminated thing – paper going into garbage,” Priscilla Royan, member of the Sustainable MRU committee said.
In an effort to make events more environmentally friendly, the committee launched a Green Events initiative. Clubs and school based events can work with the committee to ensure that they are being as sustainable as possible. Small things like using reusable cutlery and dishes can make an event green. A full list of efforts to strive for can be found on their website.
In general, MRU has been doing a lot to be more sustainable. Last March the school participated in Earth Hour. Out of 14 Canadian schools participating, MRU came in at 11 – this was partially due to the lack of awareness and participation. This March, the sustainability committee hopes to achieve a higher ranking and increase the number of pledges from students, staff and faculty.
Additionally, the school has several Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings which aim to lower energy consumption. The Roderick Mah Center for Continuous Learning building was the first built on campus with LEED standards in mind. In order to qualify as a LEED building, the following must be considered: sustainable development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
To do your part, there are small ways you can be more sustainable. Try to bring reusable coffee mugs and water bottles to school rather than using a disposable one every day. And if you do use a disposable cup – make sure to recycle it properly in the mixed recycle bin. Even doing small things like using tupperware instead of plastic baggies when packing a lunch help tremendously.
We will be able to see the impact that our small actions have on our campus and the environment in January 2017 with a waste audit. As well, the impact of installing multi-sectioned recycling and landfill bins will become clear.
If you are interested in getting more involved, SAMRU’s Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) club is always looking for more student involvement.