This year, students from a variety of programs will participate in a project that will audit economic, social and ecologically related operations on campus and how they affect university and community living.
Aptly titled the “Sustainable Concordia Project”, Co-ordinators Melissa Lamarca-Garcia and Geneva Guerin created the project out of the desire to unite administration, faculty and students through a mutual concern of on-campus operations that have local and global impact.
“We are looking at how Concordia is a microcosm of the global community, and how our decisions [at Concordia] impact the ecology, economy and the society of our community,” Guerin said.
Individual student projects will research everything from energy efficiency to political life at school, and then provide suggestions for improvements.
Work for credit
Although some students are involved for the experience, some are also doing the project as a course assignment. Ryan Peters, a political science student at Concordia, is on the project team and is obtaining credit for his report, which deals with looking at program cuts at Concordia and how they indicate the schools’ public or corporate-sponsored direction.
Since becoming involved, he has observed how the “Sustainable Concordia Project” benefits students on all different levels. “It has given me more practical knowledge, which is something I’d really like to have before leaving university. I’ll even be using the information [from the research] in other courses” he said.
Pat Thornton , a professor of geography at Concordia, has agreed to allow students to work on the project for credit in her course, so that students like Peters can broaden their education.
She explained that the project was very relevant to the course material, and thought involvement in it would be an excellent way for students to get a real life view of how a sustainable environment affects society and the economy.
Raising Awareness on campus
Not all students are becoming involved for the credit, however. Frances Defeutis, a student volunteer working on a survey project, has decided to work to help raise public awareness about sustainability issues. “The idea is to figure out what people think of when they hear the term ‘sustainability’ and then gauge how comprehensive their understanding is,” he explained.
Rob Maguire, an advisor and researcher on the project, hopes students will become more aware of the issues and maybe even get involved. “If you have lots of students, all who have glanced at the documents, and believe there is a need for change [in sustainable practices at Concordia], this will determine the projects success,” he emphasized.
Students interested in participating in the Sustainable Concordia Project should contact Geneva Guerin at 848-7351 between 9-11 a.m. or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org