Second annual Sustainability Fair aims to please and inspire

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Executive Chef Oliver De Volpi speaks to a student at the 2011 edition of the McGill Sustainability Fair. McGill Food and Dining Services will be at the 2012 edition to talk about their sustainability strategy and their latest initiatives to be more sustainable. / Photo: Radu Juster

By Jim Hynes

On Friday, Sept. 21, the Office of Sustainability will host the second McGill Sustainability Fair to provide the McGill community with information on sustainability initiatives on campus by students and the University administration and hopefully inspire its members to play an active role in them.

After several years as the Rethink McGill conference, presented in a more traditional format, last year organizers reinvented it as a as a country-fair style event. Trouble was, it took place in the early days of the MUNACA strike, so not as many people were able to take it in.

“But people seemed to like it, so we’re trying it again to see how it works under more normal circumstances,” says Kathleen Ng, Environmental Officer in the Office of Sustainability and one of the event’s principal organizers.

The Fair, which will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will once again be headquartered in several tents erected on Lower Campus. It gets underway with a tour of the campus Powerhouse and the Water is Life tour presented by Redpath Museum Science Outreach.

As of noon, a wide range of exhibitors will be on hand – everyone from Purchasing, who will be presenting their Mercury Thermometer Exchange Initiative, to McGill Food and Dining Services, who will be showcasing their Sustainable Strategic Plan and bringing along some munchies, including organic corn for their popcorn machine. The Green Biobanking Project will have displays addressing their sustainability in research initiatives, Reboot McGill (and their partners from GEEP) will be reprising their successful E-waste collection event held last spring, and the Macdonald Campus Farm will be bringing along a show calf.

At 1 p.m., things get a little more serious as members of McGill Vision 2020 discuss their Sustainability Plan.

“We’re inviting everyone out to come to that and share their ideas on how they want the campus to be more sustainable,” Ng says.

Participants will have a chance to win a weekend apple-picking adventure for four at the Gault Nature Reserve, which includes a stay at the Reserve’s secluded private cabin).

A Social Hour (cash only refreshments) at 3:45 will be followed by a showing of the 2009 documentary film H2Oil at 5 p.m.

“I hope that people learn more about what’s going on in terms of sustainability on campus, but also keep more excited and involved and engaged, instead of having just the usual suspects take part,” says Ng of the Fair. “By providing people with a fun and open venue to learn about all the cool things that everybody is doing, the hope is that they’ll also get the message should be that sustainability is everybody’s business, not just the Office of Sustainability’s.”

 For more information on the Sustainability Fair, including a comprehensive list of exhibitors and of the material that will be accepted for E-waste collection, go here

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