U of M wants feedback on sustainability strategy

The University of Manitoba is set to hold a workshop about its sustainability strategy draft on Nov. 24 at the Fort Garry campus.

The university released a draft of a new sustainability strategy last month, which aims to improve sustainability on campus. In the plan, the U of M outlines a comprehensive strategy with a number of goals and actions geared towards campus operation, planning and community engagement.

In order to receive feedback on the draft of the sustainability strategy, the university is allowing both staff and students a chance to share their ideas and opinions on the draft. They are encouraged to participate in the many upcoming consultation opportunities the sustainable committee is coordinating.

The intention of the upcoming meeting is to engage the university community to review and enhance the draft sustainability strategy through a hands-on, facilitated workshop.

While one workshop already took place on Nov. 15, the attendance was not as high as expected, said Maire McDermott, sustainability coordinator at the University of Manitoba.

“The feedback we have gotten so far is good, but we want more” she said.
Participants are asked to review the strategy prior to the workshop and to come prepared with their ideas and insights, said McDermott.

“You don’t have to have thoughts about all the strategy. If you want to tell something about water, come and say something about water [ . . . ]. If people have an interest in food on campus, if they want to see local food, then they should come and tell us what they want to see,” she said. “If they have thoughts about the way the buildings should be built, they should come out and say how they think buildings should be built.”

For the workshop, McDermott said there will be five different tables: strategic planning and registration; food, waste and purchasing; water, energy and climate change; landscapes planning; and education and research.

“We prefer people who want to come to be registered as it is better for us to organize the workshop, but it is not compulsory,” said McDermott.

By organizing this workshop, the committee aims to make a sustainable strategy that matches up with all university members’ wishes, said McDermott.
McDermott said this not the university community’s own committee strategy but the U of M’s strategy, and so they need people to feel they are a part of it.

“We really need the university community to implement the strategy [ . . . ] and say it is how they want our university to operate, and we are giving an opportunity to do that,” she said.

Amanda Cairns, a first-year student in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management, said having a sustainability strategy on campus is beneficial.
“We are fortunate to have the ability to evaluate the environmental, socio-cultural and economic potential of our campus,” she said.

Clément Le Dû, a fourth-year engineering student, said he only recently heard about the workshops.

“I did not attend the first workshop as I was unaware there was one, but I will try to go to the next one because I want to be active in the U of M sustainability strategy and I think everybody should go.”

The feedback from the workshops will be put towards creating a final draft of the strategy, which should be finished by spring 2012.

The Nov. 24 sustainability committee workshop will be held in Marshall McLuhan Hall, 204 University Center from 8:45 a.m. to noon.