Two McGill undergraduate students received a total of $8,500 in funding for sustainability projects last week after applying for the funds at a sustainability conference in September.
Amélie Marsolais-Ricard and Jonathan Glencross were among 180 Canadian university students who attended Impact!: The Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership in Guelph, Ont. last September.
The conference aimed to bring together students who were passionate about the environment to collaborate with experts in developing innovative sustainable solutions for their campuses, communities and workplaces. David Suzuki, the noted Canadian environmentalist, and Peter Schiefke, the national manager of the Climate Change Project Canada, both participated in the event.
Marsolais-Ricard received a $5,000 grant for a project that involves using sustainable construction to build a green bicycle shelter at College Durocher in Saint-Lambert on the South Shore. Glencross was awarded $3,500 for Sustainable McGill, an independent student-run organization that proposes and supports green initiatives.
Glencross’s grant will help fund a community forum designed to provide students with a venue to discuss ideas for promoting sustainability on campus, which will be held in late January. McGill administrators will also participate in the forum, where the administration will seek to promote the Sustainability Project Fund, a joint effort by students and administrators to fund green projects.
Glencross hopes the forum will help students to realize that even small projects can move the university in a more sustainable direction, giving them a chance to converse and interact with each other. The forum will also include workshops, games, and free refreshments.
“We don’t want it just to be a place to go and listen like a traditional lecture,” said Glencross. “We want to encourage students to be creative.”
All the conference participants were eligible to apply for project funding. Glencross and Marsolais-Ricard were among the 12 students who received a total of $47,000 in funding.
Leonard Sharman, a coordinator of the recent conference, said he believes the event was a success. If the projects funded by the event are deemed worthwhile, he said, the Impact! conference may become a recurring event.
“Once [our evaluation is] done, we will make the decision about whether it will be an annual or biannual event or not,” Sharman said.
According to Sharman, the intention of the conference was to help students with passionate ideas regarding the environment and sustainable leadership, but who may not have the finances and networks to accomplish their initiatives.
“There was a set of amazing students at the conference,” he said. “I’m pretty sure we will continue it.”