Vision 2020 at the Sustainability Fair

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Greetings to the v2020 blogosphere. My name is Martin KvK and I am the new sustainability manager at McGill.

Last Friday I attended my first public sustainability event here: the Sustainability Fair, featuring Vision 2020. In my opening talk, I highlighted that McGill has a lot to be proud of these days, including much on thesustainability front. QS thinks McGill is the best university in Canada (again). Travel & Leisure thinks McGill is one of the world’s most beautiful unis, the regional environmental council thinks we’re doing a great job at greening the campus – I could go on.

Unfortunately, this success is taking place against a backdrop of mostly bad news when it comes to global, national and regional trends in sustainability. Society recognizes and trusts McGill, but with recognition and trust comes the responsibility to dedicate ourselves to resolving society’s most pressing problems. McGill has to engage communities in the co-production of knowledge that is contextualized and relevant to real world problems at hand. McGill has to create learning experiences that prepare students for the complexity of the real world. McGill must incorporate sustainability into all aspects of our operations, to create a model of corporate citizenship for others to follow.

The time is ripe for Vision 2020 to be asking the big questions. What does sustainability mean for McGill and how can we move more quickly in that direction?

While the crowd in the Vision 2020 tent debated these questions, the various booths on the fair grounds were humming with activity as a number of enthusiastic sustainability champions had come from all around campus to connect, inspire and be inspired. Without a doubt, first prize for being a crowd magnet went to the crew from Mac Farm with their cute calf and animated talk on artificial insemination. Tough act to follow, but there was tons of exciting stuff there.

Next step: the Vision 2020 team is taking a step back, thinking about what people have been telling us over the past nine months, and articulating a bold and inspirational vision on sustainability for McGill.

So, stay tuned… .

-Martin Krayer von Krauss

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