Volunteers' efforts lessen environmental footprint
Across campus, faculty and staff help colleagues achieve sustainability
Since the early '80s, Katie Eliot has been actively promoting sound
environmental practices at work and at home.
She remembers the days when the city's recycling programs were in their early
stages during her work with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation
These days Eliot is a secretary at UBC's Peter Wall Institute for
Advanced Studies but she maintains an active interest in protecting the
environment with her role as a volunteer sustainability co-ordinator.
The co-ordinators help the university's Campus Sustainability
Office promote and implement a sustainable community at
"We really couldn't do it without our sustainability coordinators," says Sean
Pander, liaison officer for the Sustainability
"They are our eyes, ears and voices of sustainability within their departments
and faculties on campus," says Pander.
Some 100 volunteers help educate the almost 50,000 students, faculty and
staff at UBC in environmental responsibility.
To date, there are coordinators in about 80 departments and faculties. They
provide their colleagues with information about the environmental impacts of
their daily activities. They also help people identify environmentally-friendly
alternatives in the workplace.
The coordinators follow a framework for action provided by the Sustainability
Office that helps them focus and work step by step to reduce energy
use, waste and water use. Coordinators also work with colleagues to reduce the
number of single occupant vehicle trips to and from campus.
Every two months there is a topic that the coordinators help promote to their
colleagues. For December and January, the topic is waste reduction.
People are encouraged to examine the benefits of buying goods made from
recycled content and to look for ways to reduce the amount of paper they use
"It helps to have the focus on one specific issue at a time," says Eliot. "It
makes it easier to set goals and measure progress that way."
She says in the past two years that she has been a coordinator, colleagues
have told her that they have employed techniques learnt at UBC in their
"It makes me really happy to be part of a large organization that has committed
to reducing its environmental footprint," says Eliot.
For more information on becoming a sustainability volunteer visit
www.sustain.ubc.ca, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-822-3270.