UFV’s Green Team met last Thursday to discuss environmental sustainability at the university. Talking points included upcoming events, composting, recycling, and energy use at UFV, and ways of moving forward with different sustainability initiatives. There was also pizza.
Currently, the group is hosting “Sweater Week” at UFV, “a week-long celebration of cold weather and a reminder to bundle up and turn down your heat.” You can tweet photos of yourself in your themed sweater to @green_UFV, and you can also drop off sweaters for donation at the facilities office (B150 at the Abbotsford campus).
The team, chaired by biology instructor Pat Harrison, consists of environmentally conscious volunteers from the Faculty of Science, UFV Facilities, and Students for Environmental Advocacy (SEA), as well as other students and employees of UFV in general. It is just one component of UFV’s Centre for Sustainability, which exists to fill what it calls “a need in the Fraser Valley for a centrally located body for the efficient collection, storage, and analysis of environmental data.”
The Centre has existed as a committee for over 30 years, but the Green Team has only come into being in the last decade. Originally, the Green Team was an effort initiated by Prism Engineering with BC Hydro, but as “funding was cut by Hydro, [the Centre] has taken it over,” Harrison says. “We didn’t want the program to come to an end.”
When it comes to expansion of the Centre in general, Harrison says “progress is slow, but steady.”
“We’re trying to brand the Centre so that all efforts on campus that are sustainable are kind of going to that branding,” Harrison says. “So that if people say, ‘Oh, you want to do something sustainable? We’ll contact the Centre for Sustainability.’” According to Harrison, there were once three different websites dedicated to sustainability at UFV, but now they have been consolidated into one.
“Not so much for control,” he explains, “but so there isn’t all that overlap.”
The Centre also hosts a seminar series — greenSPEAK. This series represents the academic side of the Centre. “One of the great schisms in the centre has always been: are we research-oriented, or are we practical-oriented? And I thought we should be all things,” Harrison says.
The Green Team’s student members are mostly science majors. Alyssa Bougie, biology major and sustainability coordinator assistant at UFV, says there is “a pretty even mix between bio and geography [students]. Occasionally you get somebody in CIS or something like that.”
The Green Team meets once per semester, and is open to all students and employees of UFV.