Environmental awareness at UTM

In recent years, the importance of respecting, maintaining, and preserving the environment has been in the spotlight. Many companies and institutions are trying to become more eco-friendly, including UTM.

Our campus has been involved in several projects and campaigns that support the environmental cause. “Grow smart, grow green” is our official environmental motto, and many of us have invested a great deal of time and effort into raising environmental awareness in our campus community. Last March, Water Awareness Week was launched to raise awareness about water consumption and the privatization of water on campus. UTMSU worked with the UTM Green Team and the Ministry of Environment to launch a week of events and activities that focussed on what has been called the “world water crisis”. The week’s events included a public lecture by Dr. Harvey Shear on freshwater issues in Mexico, a documentary screening of “Flow: For the Love of Water” by Irena Salina, and a highly publicized Bottle-Free Day. March 10 of this year also marked a special occasion: vending machines were cleared of water bottles and food outlets kept from selling bottled water. Bottle-Free Day motivated our campus to become entirely bottle-free, so for those of us who haven’t noticed yet, there’s a reason the Meeting Place and the Instructional Centre (among other food outlets on campus) don’t sell water bottles.

Another important environmental campaign at UTM is the 20-minute Campus Cleanup. Last spring, Deep Saini, UTM’s vice president and principal, organized a “Spring Cleaning”. Saini and other members of the UTM community cleaned some areas on campus, spreading awareness of littering. With the environment at heart and a garbage bag in hand, Saini and the other volunteers spent a short yet meaningful amount of time picking up water bottles and plastic bags (among other sorts of litter, of course).

This initiative was another great way to help the environment.

The Green Team is another example that shows how dedicated UTM is to being eco-friendly. Operated by the Environmental Affairs Office, the Green Team is a group of students who make the environment number one on their to-do lists. Members of the Green Team contribute by making posters, raising awareness, and managing eco-friendly projects around the UTM campus. The collaboration not only motivates its own members to devote their time and effort to saving the environment, it also promotes the cause to other UTM students. After all, we’re more likely to join in on such initiatives if we see them in the words and actions of our friends.

It’s pretty clear that the UTM community is taking important steps towards making our campus more eco-friendly . In addition to water awareness and campus cleanups, other eco-friendly projects include seasonal tree-planting, nature walks, and hand dryers in place of paper towels (in the newer buildings, at least). Are all these means effective? Certainly. We should support all these projects because they help save the environment that we live in, and if we don’t help keep our environment clean, no one will. We now have water and litter covered, but what about all those cigarette stubs on the steps of South? We should consider finding a solution for that.

Also, it may be time for those paper towel dispensers to go from the washrooms in the old buildings!

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