No More WASTE-ed Time: Solidifying the Direction of Our Project

By Elias Platte Bermeo

This past Friday we had our third stakeholder meeting with Daisy, Addae and Pamela Lim, who works closely with Emma Sorrell of On Campus Housing. She was able to answer most of our questions about sustainability efforts on The Hill and gave us ideas for how to implement certain systems in Graduate Housing.As we discussed our plan to move forward with a community Needs Assessment, Daisy and

As we discussed our plan to move forward with a community Needs Assessment, Daisy and Addae brought to our attention that a number of surveys are actually going out to students in Grad Housing very shortly and we don’t want to over-survey the community, as it could negatively impact the quality of results. So, they suggested that we come up with an alternative method. We thought of going to various community events to ask residents a short series of informal questions in order to gauge their interest in certain programs or services and to incentivize the process by handing out “Sweets for Sustainability” to respondents. Our earliest opportunity will be with the Weyburn-Hilgard Residents Association on February 14th for a Valentine’s Day-themed gathering. The next step is to develop survey questions with the help of Yen Ling and Hannah of ResLife’s Assessment Unit. We’re all excited to have the chance to interact directly with grad students and collect information at the same time!

At this week’s team meeting we focused on cementing a direction for our project. We all feel the need to find the best way to create meaningful and long-lasting change in the Graduate Housing community, but don’t quite know the best way to do so. A big focus of this discussion was on the target and scale of our project. Is it best to pursue energy efficiency goals like motion-sensored lights that would have an impact no matter how much or little people care about sustainability, or is it more important to connect with graduate students and try to change their mindsets on sustainability through projects like a compost system in conjunction with community-building workshops and events? It was awesome to see everyone share ideas and show their true passion for sustainability!

Chris and Mark talked over our concerns with Austin and Mochi and concluded that the best plan is to move forward with a waste reduction project that might involve increasing recycling efforts and implementing a composting system. So, we finally have a direction for our project! We plan to build on research from a past Grad Housing team and incorporate tactics from our literature review sources to maximize community participation and minimize the community’s environmental impact.