Sustainability gala highlights university’s pledge to eco-friendliness
Concordia University held the fifth annual Sustainability Champions Awards Gala last Thursday night to honour those who’ve ushered in a green-friendly university, city, and world.
The evening also featured an unexpected anti-austerity acceptance speech both ruing attending President Alan Sheppard’s track record on austerity and appealing to his deep commitment to Concordia in fighting it.
In total, 10 nominations were spread across staff, faculty, and students contributing to sustainability. Dr. Vendana Shiva, an environmental activist and anti- globalization scholar, attended and saluted the schools commitment to environmentalism and sustainability. She was there that evening to present as part of a Concordia Student Union (CSU) speaker series event entitled ‘Soil, not Oil.”
“This is not a movement isolated. The beauty about sustain- ability is [that] it cannot stand in isolation,” she said. “I love the fact that gardens are coming to the university, and I think the future Earth Hub helped being created here gives an opportunity for the desperately needed paradigm to live at peace with the Earth.”
Concordia beat out other contestants to be the local seat of the UN-sponsored Future Earth, which will coordinate and help with research in environmental issues and sustain- ability. It is one of five cities in the world that will head the project.
“It serves not only as a time to recognize 10 selected recipients of the Sustainability Champion Awards, but also provides a rare opportunity to really connect with a wide variety of people on campus,” said organizer Shona Watt.
Beware of governments bearing no gifts
Sustainability Concordia’s Mike Finck surprised everyone by counter nominating university President Alan Sheppard with an award of his own—a horse carved from wood—for continuing efforts by the school to serve as a ‘Trojan Horse’ in silently ushering in spending cuts rather than fighting them.
“You can turn this Trojan Horse into a noble steed,” he appealed to Sheppard after calling on the crowd to fight austerity.
“It’s important to challenge authority when they’re not working in the best interests of the community,” said Finck later, then added: “To challenge, and to invite [to working together].”
He said that given the president’s position it was unlikely to lead to open change, but that he was hopeful.
EDIT: In the original article, Dr. Venada Shiva was said to have won an award. In actuality she was not nominated and was just attending. The Concordian regrets the error.