Sustainability Week Encourages KPU to go Green

By Lincoln Saugstad

KPU has been addressing sustainability issues by incorporating them into the building designs across all of the campuses. (Lincoln Saugstad)

The final week of October marked KPU’s annual Sustainability Week, intended to raise awareness of sustainability-related issues on and off campus. The four-day series saw a number of events featuring demonstrations from KPU students in science and horticulture, psychology, policy studies, and product design courses, amongst other on-campus organizations.

Let’s Be Compassionate, a student club that hopes to raise awareness of the animal agriculture industry, had a table at Sustainability Week’s “Food Waste Showcase” on Oct. 25. They were primarily collecting pledges to reduce animal consumption and providing topical information on the harm caused by the animal agriculture industry. The group hosts regular events on campus such as movie nights.

Richard Macmillan, one of the group’s cofounders, says that Let’s Be Compassionate has been getting good feedback for their work as of late. A total of 44 participants attended their screening of Cowspiracy in the Grassroots Cafe on Sept. 18, making it their most well-attended event to-date.

According to KPU administration, the university has been able to decrease natural gas and energy consumption by 14 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, despite seeing an increase in its total building surface area by 36 per cent from 1994 to 2015. the university also uses 50 per cent less energy than average post-secondary campuses across North America, and is proud of its sustainable building design, energy efficient lighting, and interval metering to control indoor temperatures and ventilation. These initiatives have earned it awards from BC Hydro’s yearly Power Smart competition, as well as LEED certification from the Canada Green Building Council.

Tanvir Singh, the President of the Kwantlen Student Association, is proud of the sustainable work that the KSA and the university have carried out over the years. One of the initiatives he is happiest with is the KSA’s implementation of different types of recycling bins around campus.

“When people are done eating, or they throw something away, they are going to be faced with sustainability right then and there and one of the things that we like is that it starts a conversation and kind of sets an idea in people’s heads,” he says.

Another project currently in the works is creating homes for solitary bees on campus. This would help support pollination and protect the already at-risk species.

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