You may want to consider using these ideas and building
on them to create an honours thesis, class project or seek funding to
expand them into an employment oppurtunity.
or Environmental Audits
several schools such as Mount Allison University and UVic have conducted
comprehensive audits of their schools in the areas of transportation,
energy consumption, water consumption, environmental health, solid waste,
hazardous waste, campus ecology, planning and development, curriculum,
investment, social character, purchasing and full cost assessment. For
more information on who to proceed with such an audit please see either
Mt. A or the UVSP.
Examine your institutions current policies on all issues related
to sustainability. (see above list of audits for examples of policies
that may exist.) Revamping the old policies or creating a new environmental
policy takes a large amount of careful thought, research and political
maneuvering. Policies will be available from most departmental websites
of your school. Both the Mt. A
and the UVSP websites
have examples of policies like this
Combining the auditing work and the policy work you can create
an environmental or sustainability management system. For an explanation
of this and other ISO 14000 issues please click here.
to clean your air
Many plants have been found to be natural filters of such harmful chemicals
as formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen. In one study done by The National
Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)spider plants were found to
remove 95 percent of the toxic substance from a sealed Plexiglas chamber
in 24 hours. Spider plants are cheap and easy to grow. A biology class
could determine the best mix of plants to have in an office (since some
plants remove specific toxins better than others.) and set up a greenhouse
to supply offices on campus with these plants.
Most biology, microbiology and biochemsitry labs have the necessary equipment
to do water quality analysis on both surface and tap water. Creating a
statistically viable method of sampling could allow your school to constantly
monitor its water and avoid such horrific events like the Walkerton scenario.
Convincing the chemistry department to purchase the necessary equipment
to do air quality analysis would be a sustainable method of self monitoring
air quality as well as giving students some practical experiences.
Deciphering the political structure and
hierarchy can be a useful tool for all activist groups on campus. This
map would allow people to see who makes what decisions. This would speed
up the process for creating change as you would not have to work your
way up the ranks. The same goes for knowing the political structure of
you Student Government.
have introduced the U-Pass which allows your student card to act as your
bus pass. The cost is covered in your tuition. In its first year at UVic
the U-Pass got 15% of student drivers to switch to the bus.
set up A committee to monitor and implement sustainability in the practices
of the Student Union and the Student Union Building (SUB). Some things
that have come out of Impacts Committees such as the one started at UBCin
the past year are fair trade coffee in their SUB and a green tax on all
disposable dishes in the SUB
Waste Free University
Implement a discount for all those that bring reusable containers to campus
wide food outlets.
The Food Coop
The UBC Food Coop started a demonstration garden on campus that highlighted
organic and sustainable food practices. The harvest from the garden is
sold (cheaply) to UBC students and will hopefully soon be sold to food
services. Similarily the Food Coop wanted reintroduce a working farm on
the UBC campus that integrates sustainable agriculture into the curriculum.
Some students who could not get approval from their school to create a
communtiy garden on campus felt they had to take matters into their own
hands. In the middle of the night they set up a campus garden and alerted
the media the next day that their school had created a campus garden to
feed the homeless. School officials were outraged but could not accept
the bad press to have the garden removed.
Campus Conference for your Iinstitution
Get the rest of your school involved in sustainable
practices. Host a conference for your school to bring students, staff,
faculty and administrators together to share ideas and best practices.
This is a good way to establish an open dialogue for change and in a perfect
world help deconstruct the "us" vs. "them" mentality.
The Sierra Youth Coalition
has hosted a national Sustainable Campuses Conference
for the past two years. Click on the links to find out more details.
Student group that looks into the source of all clothing that is sold
on campus and lobbying against those sources that potentially use sweatshop
maps and trail guides
Although your campus may seem void of nature
you would probably be surprised to find out just how many species of plant
and animal, both indigenous and foreign, exist on the grounds. Doing species
mapping will give you the data you need to create a campus ecology map
which can be used to create an informational trail guide. Having this
information on hand can be very useful for planning and development committees
to ensure that ecologically sensitive or endangered lands are not destroyed
by new development.
There have been many attempts to lower the number of single occupancy
vehicles on the road. This site contains
a well laid out plan to introduce or re-introduce ride sharing to your
institution. They plan to have an online ride matching system in place
which will simplify this often complex process. This
site will also give you all the information you need in order to initiate
this project on your campus.
This is not the same thing as ride sharing. You actually share a car with
several other people. This
site contains a very comprehensive
report and paper outlining the methodology for creating a car sharing
program. It also outlines some programs already in place and their successes
The Better Way.
To increase the amount of bike users on campus several projects can be
initiated to entice and reward bikers. Creating a safe and secure places
to lock up bikes in front of all buidlings. Ensuring that they are well
lit at night to deter thieves. Adding rain shelters to keep the bikes
dry. Easy access to showers and places to change for bike users. Ask local
bike stores to give 15% discounts for all students who show their student
card. Create an on campus bike mechanic shop and give tutorial sessions
to students on bike maitenance. Make sure bikers have a place to fill
up their tires on campus and that at least on store sells innertubes because
everyone gets flats from time to time. Create a bike lock up system where
by if students forget their lock or lose their key they can have their
bikes locked up by security for a small fee or even better, for free!
Creating and distributing road maps to the school with a variety of routes
outlined. Examples may be fastest, safest, least traffic and most scenic
routes. UBC has done some fantastic work in all of these areas check out
their bike co-op here.
Students and proffessors live off the stuff and recent audits have found
that although coffe cups weigh very little they can take up as much as
80% of the volume of some garbage. Reducing disposable coffee cup usage
is good for the environment as well as anyone who has to pay for garbage
pickup. Many schools have adopted a system of decreased prices for people
who bring in their own mug. Other schools have gone even further so as
to expect people to use their own mug and those that do not face an increase
in coffee price. Offering a selection of coffee mugs to purchase and an
increase in price to those who don't have their own mug is a great way
to offset the cost of purchasing fair trad and/or organic coffee which
can sometimes be more expensive.