As Sustainability Week loomed closer the SIB Laurier team was nervous yet excited – there was so much to plan! We wanted students to have the opportunity learn, discuss and network through a variety of valuable events centered around, of course, Sustainability in Business. Now that the week has come and passed, we wanted to share the events that took place.
Sustainability week was kicked off Sustainability in Business’ Winter Carnival. The event was held in the Club’s Office in Lazaridis Hall and held carnival games, free popcorn and free giveaways.
We gave out a variety of items to get the week going, from pens, to stickers, sustainable straws and much more. The event allowed students to take some time off of their busy days to eat, play, and get to know more about the events that were planned for the week. Students that came showed a lot of interest towards sustainable causes and were open enough to educate themselves in a comfortable and enjoyable environment. The overall turn out was very good and students seemed to enjoy themselves at the carnival!
Public VS Private Panel
After the busy and eventful carnival on Monday, it was time to take a seat in the Atrium and hear real-world stories of corporate sustainability from reputable speakers. Sustainability representatives from a range of companies were invited to speak to their organization’s practices. SIB and fellow interested students hear from local start-ups Provision Coalition, CED Co-op, and REEP Green Solutions, as well as fast-food icon McDonald’s.
After speeches from each speaker regarding their companies’ green initiatives, a question-period provided the chance for the audience to learn more about each initiative in detail. Following these questions, the floor was opened to students to ask their own questions. An intimate networking session followed during which SIB was able to learn even more about their panel members and their future goals.
With such a diverse panel, there was an incredible range of topics and issues discussed. Whether for-profit or not, on the world stage or in the Waterloo neighbourhood, all of these companies represented SIB’s passion for corporate sustainability. On behalf of Sustainability in Business and all who attended, we are truly thankful for these representatives for coming out on that cold March night. With their invigorating stories and perspectives, the panel surely inspired some future leaders in the crowd that night, and we cannot wait to see what they do for our sustainable future.
The third day of Sustainability Week was Waste Free Wednesday, where we challenged Laurier students to go waste free for the entire day. At our booth, we gave out a variety of items to encourage this behaviour, such as reusable straws, shampoo bars, water bottles and much more! The purpose of this event was to show people how easy and impactful it can be if they reduce their personal waste. The results were great as we had a wonderful turnout in Laz, which allowed us to inspire our peers and teach them more about SIB as a whole.
Waste Management Tour and Seven Shores Café
Our facility tour started with a walkthrough of Waterloo’s Waste Management facility in east Waterloo. We were led through our tour by Veronica Naas, the Communications & Promotions Coordinator for Waterloo Waste Management. She discussed the entire process of garbage collection and sorting, and showed us where each activity was carried out. We were astonished at just how much garbage was stored at this location. It was especially eye-opening to see what people think could be recycled. A wall was dedicated to some of the strange items that were thrown in recycling bins with items ranging from chainsaws to televisions.
Following the Waste Management tour, we had a quick visit at evolv1, a building famous for being Canada’s first zero-carbon building. This site hosts numerous organizations such as Ernst & Young and Sustainable Waterloo Region, even an office for Wilfrid Laurier University. Our guide showed us the building’s living wall, which is three stories tall and comprised of over 4500 plants. Other highlights consisted of the building’s solar wall, one of its sources for ventilation, and the geothermal well that helps power the building through an underground water source. Through its different processes, the building not only produces its own energy, but is able to send energy back onto Waterloo’s grid.
After our tour of evolv1, we had the opportunity to head over to the Seven Shores Community Café, which prides itself on being an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. We met with two of the current owners, who told us about their sustainable practices in terms of sourcing their food, hiring employees and protecting the environment. It was clear that the owners were very passionate about sustainability on several levels, as they were eager to answer the many questions we had for them, providing us with very thoughtful responses. Hearing about their story and what makes their café unique was very memorable and interesting. We were also lucky enough to have a catered meal afterwards, where we had the chance to try some of the organic food Seven Shores serves on a daily basis. The food was delicious, and the overall experience was very inspiring. Thank you Seven Shores for all you do to help make the Waterloo Region a better place!
SIB Projects Sustainable Pitch Competition
Sustainability week concluded with the launch of our new initiative, SIB Projects, through our first ever SIB Sustainable Pitch Competition. This event was centered around the idea of creating a sustainable initiative that could be implemented on Laurier’s campus. Six teams competed for the opportunity to win a cash prize and entry onto the SIB Projects team to put their plan into action in the coming year. These teams consisted of:
•Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine – a new way to implement Laurier’s zero waste containers
•nosely.io – an innovative device for fridges to track and reduce food waste
•Cradle Create – an opportunity for students to create art out of old materials
•Reuse or Lose – a campaign to increase proper disposal of waste on campus
•Hawk2O – phasing out single-use plastic bottles with reusable options
•Barista Sustainability – improving coffee distribution on campus with less waste
The judging panel consisting of various SIB Laurier executives and on-campus sustainability representatives deliberated over what idea would be put into fruition. After a lengthy discussion, the winners were: REDUCE, REUSE, REIMAGINE.
Congratulations to everyone involved, we are looking forward to working on implementing this idea in the coming year!
We thought Sustianabilty Week was an overall success, and want to thank those who came out to the events. We hope that you all got something valuable from this week. To view more photos, check out updates on our Facebook page!