By: Tara Walker & Beau Frigault
The McMaster Residence Life Office engages with 3,619 McMaster students on a daily basis. Within each of McMaster’s 12 Residence Halls, there are highly motivated student leaders that drive our goals of encouraging growth, educating character and enhancing the university experience.
Beginning in 2011, the McMaster Residence Green Team (MRGT) has been promoting green education and sustainability driven programs for students living in residence.
This group, consisting primarily of McMaster residence students, is driven to educate their peers on sustainability issues and keys to living a sustainable lifestyle, in hopes of changing our local environmental impact. Kim Loi, a member of McMaster Residence Green Team stated, “I joined to have a positive impact on the environment by engaging students in residence.”
In the past year and a half the students have taken part in McMaster wide campaigns such as Sustainability Day on Oct. 18, 2012, as well as several other Residence based programs to encourage students in their communities to engage themselves and become more aware of sustainable concerns.
Among many other initiatives this year, the MRGT has offered a 2 week Docuseries entitled “Is it too late?” during the month of November for Residence students, showcasing The 11th Hour (2007), Food, Inc. (2008), Food Matters (2008), The Age of Stupid (2009) and Forks Over Knives (2011). These films highlight a variety of key issues including health concerns regarding the quality of food provided to the overall population and the challenges currently facing our environment. This series offered students an opportunity to engage themselves in the overarching issues of sustainability and think critically about how their individual actions can impact the greater community.
Student Warren Lyn attended Food Matters and stated, “The documentary was really informative and made me think twice about the food I’m eating and ways to eat healthier.” Reda Sangay also attended Food Matters and said, “The movie was an excellent example of the balance we, as students, need to obtain between what is right for us versus what is easy for us.”
In terms of the future of MRGT, the Residence Wide Energy Challenge will be starting January 2013, in partnership with the Sustainability Office and the Inter-Residence Council. For the month of January, residence students across campus will be doing their best to conserve energy in their residences through friendly competition to further educate students on sustainability and encourage them to make more socially, economically, and environmentally responsible choices.
To help keep sustainability alive on campus you can follow the few tips below and do your part for our environment.
- Buy local – Hamilton has a great Farmers market with local, home grown produce for students to purchase. They’re wallet friendly, too.
- Conserve Energy – Do your best to keep lights off when you don’t need them. Yes, it’s easier to study with music, a movie and your computer going, but do your best to keep energy usage down. Especially in your res room, you can conserve energy by regulating your thermostat and not cranking up the heat when you don’t need it, and turning off your overhead light if you’re able to use your lamp.
- Recycle – McMaster has great bins that help us do an amazing job sorting our recycling; make an honest effort to keep doing it. Every residence hall offers accessible spaces where you can sort your recycling and ensure your trash goes in right place.