This winter, McGill’s Office of Sustainability launched a year-long project, Vision 2020, to ensure sustainability on campus and to promote student participation and awareness in sustainable initiatives. The idea behind this project is that interactive planning and intra-community collaborations will make long-term sustainability more effective and feasible. The project also presents an opportunity to work towards a common goal and reform how the administration consults students.
“Consultation around sustainability issues has become increasingly strong in recent years on campus,” Maggie Knight, president of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), said. “Ideally this will provide an example of best practices in collectively shaping our campus. As with most projects, it could use some more people hours to get it to where it needs to be. However, there are several clever people working on this, so I have high hopes that it will produce strong results.”
The project will include an external consultant, Sustainability Solutions Group, offering its expertise in sustainability planning as well as a Vision 2020 Steering Committee which aims to draw a vast range of opinions and perspectives from McGill’s students, academic staff, operational staff, and administration.
Jim Nicell, McGill’s Associate Vice-Principal, will chair this Vision 2020 Steering Committee and jointly select members for this committee with SSMU Sustainability Coordinator and the Office of Sustainability.
“I feel this is an idea with real potential,” Daniel Perrett, U1 geography, said of Vision 2020’s creation. “We need to be forward thinking as we engage with today’s environmental issues, such as the lack of awareness for appropriate means for composting on campus. There are obvious concerns regarding the long-term fruition of the project, but I feel that with sufficient leadership and student engagement, future McGill students can feel as passionate as we do about these projects.”
This project will involve three stages. The first involves a situational analysis of McGill’s on-campus sustainability performance, the second aims to set goals and objectives for sustainability within a 10-year timeframe, and the third will implement the concrete action items of a five-year action plan.
As a part of the project’s effort to achieve an open, consultative, and interactive planning process, students will be able to easily access the planning process and offer their opinions through online social mediums such as Facebook and IdeaScale, a website for posting and rating suggestions. Some popular ideas emerging on IdeaScale include “Encourage Sustainable Procurement Practices” and “Collaborative Student Research.”
“This project matters for students because they are really getting a chance to share their opinions about what McGill will look like in the year 2020,” Sean Reginio, an intern at the Office of Sustainability, said.
Reginio added that members of the administration have proposed that, if successful, this initiative could become the new model for student consultation at McGill.
“With all the events this year that have caused disagreement and turmoil on campus, I feel that a shared vision towards the future is something important to discuss,” Reginio said. “More importantly, though, I believe that this shared vision is possible, very possible. I truly believe in this community. It’s really time to collaborate.”
/- The first Vision 2020 event is a community conversation that will be held this Friday, March 16 in the RVC dining hall at 2:00 p.m. To contribute your ideas to Vision 2020, visit http://mcgillvision2020.ideascale.com /