Our work toward sustainability

The Might-E-Truck is soon to be Capilano’s new facilities vehicle. This small-scale dump truck is an all-electric vehicle that financially and mechanically outperforms combustion vehicles, though it only has a top speed of 40km/hr. The truck is just one part of Capilano’s many new initiatives towards a greener and more sustainable campus. Behind these changes is Cap’s Energy Manager, Susan Doig.

Lowering Capilano University’s carbon footprint is Doig’s main priority. In 2010, the B.C. government will bring the new Carbon Neutral tax into action, which means the more emissions we generate, the more money we pay the government.

Capilano’s goal is to reduce its carbon output by 15% by 2010, which according to Doig, is a big goal. “We want to reduce how much we have to pay,” continued Doig “but it’s also the right thing to do as a society.”

Also on Doig’s docket is a “pilot project with food regional diet based on the 100 mile diet but with a bit larger a distance.” She explains that Capilano is “one of [Aramark’s] leading schools.” We are getting the more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices at our school, such as fair trade coffee, as a testing ground of Aramaks future choices as a corporation. According to Mathew Harris, the Capilano Student Union’s Environmental Liaison, the issue of students’ choices of food “fell to deaf ears” in his dealings with Aramark. However, Matthew applauds Susan’s efforts and thinks that “someone in admin trying to make changes is good.”

Doig is always looking for student volunteers. She is currently looking for help to teach the community about recycling and composting. “We want to have people stand at the recycling bins to coach others where things go.” The school is working towards a zero waste initiative and having students helping other students learn at the recycling stations could be very effective.

Volunteering isn’t the only way to help out. We “want to open up dialogue [about sustainable practices],” says Doig, “the entire college community [should be] sharing in the conversation and students are a large part of our community… [so they] should come forward with any suggestions.” These issues need to be talked about and the more voices involved, the more ideas and solutions will be voiced.

“Anything in the direction of meaningful change on campus and not green-wash is a great change,” continues Matthew. “What [Doig] has done on a small scale is good.”

For next year, Doig is planning a scavenger hunt. This competition is aiming to “connect sustainability in the Olympics with sustainability at Capilano University.” Each team competing will have five people, and the winning team will receive five tickets to the men’s snowboard-cross qualifications/final. “We’re still developing what the hunt will look like,” says Doig, but some things too expect are “hunting for things, taking photographs and something skill-testing near the end.” This event will need volunteers and competing teams, so look for more information in the fall.

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com