The Post-Graduate Students’ Society recently wrapped up its second-annual Green Month. The PGSS environmental committee spearheaded the series of events, which were held throughout the month of January.
“Green Month is a month that is dedicated to everything that is sustainable and focussed on environmental issues,” said Cynthia Nei, environment commissioner for the PGSS. She added that although this year’s Green Month was similar to last year’s, the event featured different speakers and new events.
While attendance was below last year’s level, co-organizer Chris Wrobel believed that the events were “more satisfactory for the audience compared to last year.”
“A lot of the presenters have involved the audience in their presentations. It has been more interactive,” Worbel said. He cited an intimate discussion on “Going Green at MacDonald Campus,” presented by Emily McGill, vice-president communications of the Macdonald Campus Students’ Society.
In addition, the nature photography contest had an excellent turnout. The winners received ecological products provided by local Montreal companies. The photos that didn’t win were entered into a silent auction, the proceeds of which were donated to Haiti relief projects.
“This year’s focus was on including more talks and presentations by students, specifically undergraduates,” said Wrobel. Jonathan Glencross, a member of the McGill Food Systems Project and co-founder of the McGill Sustainability Fund, offered a talk titled “Farm to Plate: Unpacking McGill’s Food Sourcing.” Glencross’s presentation was followed by a meal prepared by Happy Belly, made from locally grown products.
According to Wrobel, the events were well-received and stimulated conversation and new ideas. During the discussion at Macdonald campus, “we were shooting ideas off each other and among the crowd,” Wrobel said.
Such ideas included asking why the university falls behind in sustainability compared to Concordia, or why Macdonald campus is not being used to its fullest potential.
One suggestion Wrobel gave to improve McGill’s sustainability is to have younger professors on the Environmental Committee at McGill.
“They’re the ones with the fresh ideas, the more progressive, more open-minded [ideas],” he said.
Another event that received a strong turnout was a green-cleaning workshop. Students were able to learn how to make their own liquid laundry soap, all-purpose paste cleaner, and window and mirror cleaner.
According to Nei, about 15 people signed up for this workshop, which was equal to last year’s attendance. However, Wrobel pointed out that every event has its challenges.
“You always think you advertise enough,” Wrobel said. “We had some problems with maybe getting the word out. Next year we really have to find a way to get more grad students to come out. … [But] we did get a lot of undergrads, a lot of people [from] outside.”
Daniel Simeone, PGSS president, was satisfied with the event overall.
“A theme month on environmental issues can help to raise awareness in a broader way,” he said. “In my view, [Green Month] was a wonderful success. Lots of people have had fun and also had an opportunity to learn more about our environment.”