Humber students are breathing a sigh of relief as spring emerges from the seemingly never-ending winter.
With the promise of new life, however, they are reminded that environmental struggles are far from over.
Earth Week at Humber’s North, Lakeshore and Orangeville campuses offers students and staff opportunities to participate in daily activities March 31 to April 4 and every other day of the year.
“I think we are doing a mix of things that we do every year…with things that are new and connect with the school,” said Lindsay Walker, sustainability manager at Humber.
Smart Commute returns to North campus today to promote its Carpool Zone database encouraging drivers and riders at Humber to carpool to school, Walker said.
“We’re going to have a tricycle track and tricycles in the concourse,” she said. “You can race to win and we’ll have prizes, probably TTC tokens as prizes and things like that.
“But also, while you’re there, there will be a big map of the GTA that you can figure out where your route is and see if you can make it better based on what you’re doing and sign up for Smart Commute if you do drive,” Walker said.
Derek Forgie from the Polaris Institute, which supports’ citizen-led social movements, presents a talk titled “Inside the Bottle,” at Humber tomorrow to halt the purchase of single-use water bottles on campus.
Walker suggested Forgie’s presentation would generate awareness for the new water bottle filling stations installed this winter, a joint investment from Humber Students’ Federation and the Office of Sustainability.
“HSF came to us and was interested in doing something around that, and we had always been interested in doing it,” said Walker.
“So we teamed up and did it together so split the cost and worked on the plan, what kinds we wanted and where we’re going to put them,” said Walker.
Activists against bottled water compete with marketing efforts from corporations such as Coca Cola and Nestle making it a “tough struggle” to change peoples’ perceptions and behaviour around bottled water, said Forgie.
“The first thing we have to do is make it socially unacceptable,” he said.
“We have to put it in the same category as drunk driving, it has to be universally agreed that it’s irresponsible, that it’s not something we have the luxury of doing anymore.”
Reusable water bottles will be distributed at the event, Walker said.
A carbon footprint workshop run by students from the International Development program will take place tomorrow, she added.
“You can go to the lab with them and they’ll walk you through figuring out what your impact is, personally,” she said.
The green team from the Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism department are selling homemade ice cream to raise money to repair damages to the Humber Arboretum caused by the ice storm in December.
Anushay Khan, coordinator of Student Leadership Programs for Student Success and Engagement, is helping Walker organize the campus clean up on Friday.
The union between Student Success and Engagement and the Office of Sustainability is essential to the development of leaders at Humber, Khan said.
“I think the more we get students involved, the more we get students aware, the more they will gain a better understanding of what sustainability really means and not only just understanding its definition, but really embodying it,” he explained.
Khan also said it’s about “developing unique lenses” that allow people to see critically.
“As an educational institute it is our duty, in some ways, to be revolutionists of sorts, and I think Earth Week, as a whole, allows us to be that voice in a conversation that is sometimes forgotten in the day to day work that we do.”