Hot drinks and green talk on ConU’s sustainable future
Sustainable Concordia held an informal session last Wednesday, April 9, to launch a mobilization campaign towards drafting of a new and concise sustainability policy for the university.
Subject to negotiations and limiting realities, at its basic it will cover nearly all aspects of student life, from the food services and wages of student workers to a green emphasis on curriculums, space usage, and transportation.
The school is undergoing public consultation towards its Strategic Directions Initiative, which is looking for consensus and suggestions on how it should proceed in the years to come. Environmental friendliness is one such factor discussed.
“We’re bringing it back to students to renew interest,” explained Mike Finck, VP External of Sustainable Concordia, in explaining a process that’s taken several years to form the committees and get them active on the issue.
“It is unclear what it will actually look like at the end,” he said. “These are just ideas. We don’t have a hard line on the specific contents, just the consultation. This is more in line with Sustainable Concordia’s vision of multi-stakeholder participation.”
Finck said there is interest from both administration and student organizations, but the project is not entirely collaborative at this point and remains separate from the strategic directions initiatives. “I think that through no malicious intent whatsoever administrators have a tendency to think that because we have a sustainability analyst and they do good research it might not be as clear why we need community consultation. We take this as a very integral part of the process.
Finck is hoping the policy will cover the hundreds of projects already being implemented by the school on diverse topics like environmental safety, resource consumption, and research initiatives.
Once the draft of the policy is complete, a public consultation period will begin seeking input from all levels of the university—staff, faculty and student—and will take into account research performed on the sustainable policies of outside institutions. It is hoped this greater inclusion will increase participation and make sure the policy does not ‘fall by the wayside.’
“Concordia should have a policy regulating [sustainability] across departments. This is a fundamental foundation to sustainability, and it’s something we should be able to point to for legitimacy from the administration and the community when we advocate for other sustainable initiatives,” said Finck.