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Marianopolis College
5 juin 2014

Marianopolis College is a 2000 student private Anglophone college located in Westmount. We have a been a Cegep Vert College since 2008-2009 and have received the “Excellence” level certification since 2011-2012.

Several interesting environmentally minded initiatives took place at the College during the 2013-2014 school year. Perhaps most importantly, this year saw the birth of the Environmental Studies Certificate. The main objectives of the Certificate are to increase students’ awareness and knowledge of environmental issues ; enable students to create and participate in projects to promote community awareness of environmental issues and of the College’s environmental practices ; and allow students to create and participate in projects to promote responsible stewardship of the natural environment within the College and in the larger community. Approximately 15 students are actively enrolled in the certificate. The first recipients of the certificate, Olivia Gutherz and Emily Dias-Geoffroy, will be graduating in June.

Equally important this year was the launching of Green Up, an environmental bi-yearly newsletter. This initiative stemmed from the realization that many members of our College community lack an awareness of what is being done within our halls to improve our ecological footprint. We believe such a realization is crucial to developing an ecological consciousness (or “vibe”) on campus. The newsletter, produced by students under the guidance and supervision of Rachel Faust, informs students, faculty and staff of environmental activities, talks, and initiatives taking place at the College. It also offers them tips on how to act in an environmentally responsible way.

With the help of Etienne Lafortune from Environnement Jeunesse, students also launched a waste reduction campaign. A garbage bag autopsy was conducted to show the members of our community the amount of recyclable and compostable materials that are thrown out daily at the College. An information booth on the benefits of composting and recycling was also set up and a contest involving identifying reusable, compostable, recyclable and disposable materials was held. Free compost was distributed to those interested. A waste-free lunch contest was also organized, with prizes including cool tupperware and reusable mugs.

Efforts were specifically made to increase composting at the College. Two types of composting occur on campus. Residues from faculty and staff lunches are composted using vermicompost bins managed by Michèle Saumier and students under her supervision. Kitchen residues as well as residues from student lunches are composted by the city of Westmount. The city collects virtually all organic waste. This makes sorting much easier. In spite of this, many students fail to place their food waste in the compost bins. To increase composting on campus, “Compost here” signs were put up in the appropriate locations ; tracts were distributed in the cafeteria to sensitize students to the beneficial environmental impact of composting ; compost bins were painted in vibrant colors by students and were eventually replaced with larger bins to allow a greater volume of compostable materials. The challenge that awaits us if our efforts to increase composting at the College pan out is to ensure the timely collection of composted materials from the bins located throughout the College.

Several interesting talks and workshops were also held during the year. Two of the most popular were the sprouts, salads and herbs workshops, where students were taught how to grow their own sprouts and salads from seeds. The different greens are now growing in the secretariat and watered by students. The CACE felt that making the “salad bar” visible to faculty and staff in the secretariat would serve as a reminder that some foods can be grown relatively easily in one’s own home, balcony or yard, and as a modest incentive to eat locally.

Several sensitization activities were held during Earth Week. Since the theme of the Science Fair held during the same week was Water (to be honest, one of the CACE members organized the Fair and thus chose an Earth week friendly theme), we decided to run a water taste-testing session, where students, faculty and staff were asked to sample both bottled water and water taken from the school’s filtered water-fountains and to guess which was which. We were happy to discover that several people in fact preferred the taste of tap water ! Participants were informed of the various ecological harms caused by the production and disposal of plastic water bottles as a way of inciting them to purchase a reusable water bottle rather than purchasing bottled water. A similar taste-testing contest was held with organic and conventional carrots, along with explanations of the impacts of pesticides and fertilizers on animals, the soil, waterways and global warming. Another workshop was held to teach members of our community how to make one’s own environmentally-friendly cleaning products using water, vinegar and tea tree oil. Another booth taught students how to grow their own sprouts and featured a sprout identification contest. In addition to these events, several long-term projects are ongoing, such as the maintenance of the beautiful butterfly garden in the inner courtyard of our College and the raising of Monarch butterflies.

Last but not least, this year saw the launch of a new Environmental ethics course focused on water at the College. After two months of learning about water-related issues in the classroom, students had the opportunity to get hands‐on experience on ocean ecosystems and pollution by sailing, snorkeling and plastic collecting in the ocean in company of Lyne Morrisette, marine biologist and professor (and CACE member) Véronica Ponce. Students came back transformed by their experience on the boat. Two of them are in fact now planning on studying environmental science after they graduate in June. In short, this has been an active year from an environmental perspective at the College. We hope to keep the momentum going. Our goal is to continue to work toward the betterment of the environment both through diminishing our College’s ecological footprint and through increasing student, faculty and staff environmental awareness.

Pour consulter les éditions d’automne du bulletin Green up !

PDF - 6.8 Mo
Green up ! Fall 2013

Documents joints

Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse Environnement Jeunesse