The University of Alberta’s fifth annual Sustainability Awareness Week began on Monday, with a kick-off event marking the start of discussions, presentations and workshops aimed at bringing sustainability-related issues to the attention of students.
Over 30 different groups and organizations are involved in this year’s SAW, which is taking place over a five-day period. Among them is Sustain SU, who hosted Oct. 30’s Sustainability 101 workshop, introducing the concept of sustainability and the variety of issues it encompasses.
Stefani Drozda, a senior volunteer for Sustain SU and co-facilitator for Sustainability 101, stressed the importance of having open communication about sustainability and its surrounding issues and concerns.
“(The workshop is) not meant to say, ‘This is what you have to do; this is your definition of sustainability.’ It’s a means for people to explore what it means to them, and feed off of other people’s ideas, and then in the end recognize that there are actions we can take to make the world a better place,” she said.
“Sustainability is a very diverse topic, and it touches a lot of aspects of your life. There are also a lot of things you can do to become more sustainable yourself, and just the hope that there are other people working towards similar goals.”
In an ongoing effort to educate the student body about sustainability, Sustain SU often holds Sustainability 101 sessions outside of SAW, which are available for booking by groups like student organizations, or even residence floors.
“Sustainability is a big issue nowadays,” Drozda said. “A lot of our problems that we’re facing in the world, whether it be poverty or food insecurity, or just environmental degradation — it all feeds back into sustainability. Thinking of our world as this system that we can make more sustainable is definitely an issue that students should be aware of and care about ... you do have to make small changes in your life, but it’s definitely not impossible.”
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