Spoiled Greens

This year’s Green Week, put on by Sustainability King’s, left a sour impression on some students. While some change was effected during the week, first-year student

(Photo: Sabina Wex)

They were supposed to get a kegger, but North Pole Bay got a pizza party instead. They didn’t mind; they happily ate the free pizza given to them by Sustainability King’s for their victory in Green Olympics.

The next day, the cardboard pizza boxes had been disposed into the garbage instead of the recycling.

“Green week is not putting a Bristol board, glitter scoreboard at the bottom of your bay trying to win a kegger, that’s not what creates environmental change,” Chapel Bay resident Matthew Apostolides said.

North Pole Bay had collected over 400 bottles for Green Week’s bottle drive. All of the money collected from returning the bottles was given to Friends of Gilda, an organization that provides cancer information to patients.

Sustainability King’s held their annual Green Week from Feb. 24 to Mar. 1. Bays and floors in Alex Hall competed in Green Olympics to discover which residence is the most environmentally conscious. Each bay or floor had a representative who asked the residents about their shower times, collected garbage bags from them for weighing purposes, and checked if lights were on in rooms when no one was home.

“I hope that, especially resident students, were made more aware of their habits,” Sustainability officer Brianna Aird said, “and about reducing waste, particularly food waste.”

One competition in Green Olympics was seeing how much waste the bays and Alex Hall wasted in Prince Hall. For two dinners of Green Week, a Sustainability executive would sit with two garbage bins—one for each residence—to weigh at the end of the night to discover which residence wastes more food.

(Photo: Sabina Wex)

Sustainability president Heather Brimicombe said the Sodexo staff was shocked by the large decrease of food waste during those two nights that Sustainability collected it.

Apostolides works for Sodexo 15 to 20 hours per week. He said the amount of food waste hasn’t changed since those two nights during Green Week.

“I’m just looking at this girl, sitting there on her iPhone with her nails freshly painted holding a disposable Tim Hortons cup wearing all new clothes,” Apostolides said. “I look at that, and I think, how are you supposed to take someone like that seriously when they’re saying, ‘Yeah, this is going to create change,’ when they’re embodying exactly what’s wrong?”

Green Week also consisted of a mini eco-fair with organizations like the Ecology Action Centre, a clothing swap, and talks by King’s professor Stephen Snobelen and Green Party Member of Parliament Bruce Hyer.

Aird and Brimicombe said that most of the Green Week events went well. But this is the first Green Week that they’ve held events other than just Green Olympics and the Dark n’ Dirty Challenge, a series of environmental prompts for day students.

“We were expanding horizons in the best way possible,” Brimicombe said. “Obviously trying new things out, there’s going to be some slip-ups here and there, and some things could have been done better.”

Brimicombe added that Sustainability is creating a list of things to improve on for next year. Aird said she wants to spread this year’s Green Week events throughout the year, except Green Olympics and Dark n’ Dirty. She added that she wants to host a conference in the first few weeks of school to teach students about environmental issues and to teach them how to take environmental action.

“The whole point of sustainability is not having something that just happens once and nobody really remembers,” Apostolides said, “it’s about creating long-lasting change.”

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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