MacEwan Stands Strong in Sustainability Movement

By Chris Penwell

MacEwan University last week held an event called Sustainamania, which sparked a strong sense of sustainability practices within the establishment.

Students spent a few minutes of their time at Griffin’s Landing to participate in pro-sustainability activities. On a table was a handful of activities. First was the Build a Mini Terrarium, which had students layer a terrarium together with sand, rocks, and a plant. Next, the DIY Face Scrubs were on offer. Made up from brown sugar, cocoa, and either olive or coconut oil, this scrub actually made students’ faces look brighter. This is far less expensive and wasteful than buying store-bought products. However, if that wasn’t your cup of tea, you would have been in luck because you could actually make one! Yep, a teabag with green or earl grey leaves with a multitude of ingredients like chocolate, other candies, or natural relaxing agents. The best thing about this event was the free swag that students were offered, and you know what a student’s favorite word is: free.

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Other than that, piles upon piles of phones, bags, laptops, desktops, and so many more items have been given away by students so they can be reused. One hardly used laptop bag looked as if it was straight off a store shelf and it was given away for free at the event; luckily I grabbed it!

The event was relatively small and there was nothing else of note present other than a raffle for Oilers tickets and an uninspired game of throwing plastic balls with sustainability focused objects into corresponding recycling boxes. It’s a start, however.

Sustainamania was organized by MacEwan University’s Office of Sustainability, who have as of March 2017, set up a 5-year sustainability plan. Some of the goals that are mentioned is a bigger focus on renewable energy and reducing electricity consumption. They also want to foster student mentorship, lower water consumption, develop a diversity coordinator position, and other goals.

“A lot changes in five years, therefore it is important that we revisit the plan regularly to ensure we’re on track and the plan remains relevant.” Kalen Pilkington, the director of the Office of Sustainability, said in a MacEwan University news release.

In addition to Sustainamania, the Office of Sustainability is hosting a free concert at Towers called MacJam on March 17th. Running on kinetic energy power through bikes, local DJ’s Freshlan & The Girl’s Club will be performing at the event. And as it’s St. Patrick’s Day, the beer offered will be green. You can sign up for the event here.

“The long-term goal is to improve the overall well-being – for individuals, communities, and ecosystems. Sustainability and innovation allow us to dream of what we can do together to create a better, equitable and resilient future,” Pilkington said.

(Featured Image: MacEwan University, SAMU, MacEwan Office of Sustainability)

Slideshow Photos: Heather Gunn

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