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Term in Review Winter 2009 Highlights January 26th

STEP’s Sustainable Energy Career Symposium

February 6th

The Otesha Project at Wilfrid Laurier University

March 2nd

NLT’s Vermicomposting Workshop

March 4th

“How Green is UW” Discussion

March 14th

Erie Shores Wind Farm Tour

March 27th

Food Awareness Day

March 28th

Earth Hour event

Message from the Coordinators Winter 2009 was a period of growth and change for the University of Waterloo Sustainability Project (UWSP). Coming into the term, our goals were to improve organizational sustainability while continuing to channel student interest in sustainability issues into directed, meaningful action to raise awareness and create positive change on campus and in the community. With a total of eight active working groups, a brand new Board structure, and over 60 volunteers, UWSP certainly had one of its most successful and active terms to date. Some of the highlights include Active and Community Transportation’s (ACT) walkability assessment maps, the Naturalistic Landscaping Team’s (NLT) vermicomposter workshop, the Sustainability Technology Education Project’s (STEP) wind farm and steam generator tour, and UWSP’s Earth Hour event. Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, we shattered our own expectations and we can’t wait to carry this momentum forward! -- Danielle and Tania

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Promoting Sustainability on Campus History



The University of Waterloo Sustainability Project (UWSP) began as the Federation of Students’ (Feds) Environment Commission, which was formed in 1998 and consisted of students and staff interested in campus sustainability issues

UWSP is a Feds service that strives to increase the environmental awareness, leadership, and involvement of students in the community. Run by student volunteers from various disciplines, UWSP promotes sustainability on campus by providing a forum for discussion, opportunities for involvement, and resources and support for projects and activities.

UWSP is headed each term by two Coordinators who are appointed by the Feds Vice President Internal. The two Coordinators appoint an Executive Board consisting of 10 members who work towards maintaining the internal structure and improvement of the organization. The Executive Board also oversees the working groups, which are directed groups of students working on addressing more specific areas of sustainability.

In 2004, the Environment Commission was replaced with UWSP as a Feds service. Since, UWSP has maintained its presence in the campus community, with an annual budget, office space, and active volunteers.

Service Coordinators The Service Coordinators for UWSP for the Winter 2009 term were Danielle Woon and Tania Cheng. Danielle is a 4th year Environment and Resource Studies student who returned as Coordinator for a second term after a successful stint in Fall 2008. Her previous experience with UWSP includes leading the Waste Management working group and volunteering with the Otesha Project and NLT. In addition, she has been involved with the UW Food Bank, Trick or Eat, and WPIRG.

Tania is a 4th year Environment and Resource Studies student and firsttime Coordinator for UWSP. In Fall 2008, she sat on the Executive Board as the External Communications Director. She has been an active volunteer with Waste Management and NLT and founded the Otesha Project working group. She has also been involved with the Environment Students’ Society, WPIRG, and the UW Food Bank.


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Executive Board Members The Executive Board for the Winter 2009 term was chaired by the two service coordinators and consisted of the following members: Johnathan Agaton Tyler Bradt Emily Cho Stuart David Sarah English Ashlea Hegedus-Viola Lillian Tang Rob McIntosh Emily Thorne Lawrence Yeh

Selecting the Board


The 10-member Executive Board was appointed through an application process prior to the beginning of the Winter 2009 term. Board positions were opened to any UW student and were advertised through the UWSP mailing list. The Coordinators selected the Board members based on their responses to a series of questions and their résumés. The Winter 2009 Board consisted of seven returning members and three new members.

This term, a great deal of focus was placed on promoting UWSP and this was accomplished by the following means:       

UWSP business cards New website design and regularly updated content New UWSP bulletin board in the SLC Updated display board for the UWSP booth at events Klean Kanteens fundraiser Maintaining a presence at Clubs & Services Days Collaborating with other groups on campus

The UWSP office, located in the Student Life Centre, was redecorated this term for optimal accessibility. Resources that can be found in the office include books and videos, computer workstations, and storage space. New to the office is the 8’ x 4’ whiteboard, perfect for meeting agendas and notes.

Roles and Responsibilities The role of the Executive Board is to support working groups, maintain the UWSP office, spearhead UWSP events, and improve internal processes. Each Board member was responsible for the following:    

Office hours (minimum of 2 hours per week) Serve as the Board “liaison” for one working group Attend UWSP events Board projects as assigned


Procedures New procedures implemented this term:     

Open Board structure Board-Working Group liaisons Volunteer logbook UWSP Purchasing Guidelines Promotions checklist


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Working Groups Sustainable
 Leaders: Lawrence Yeh and Sylvia Przychodzki The Sustainable Technology Eduation Project (STEP) aims to demonstrate, educate, and promote the use of renewable energy technologies. Founded in 2002, STEP’s accomplishments include installing a photovoltaic solar array at Federation Hall. STEP started the term off with a bang with a Sustainable Energy Career Symposium held at Caesar Martini’s that included guest speakers and the opportunity to network with professionals in the renewable energy industry. In March, STEP hosted free tours of the Erie Shores wind farm and the Babcock and Wilcox steam generator facility, and facilitated workshops for high school students for the Waterloo Unlimited enrichment program. STEP also spent the term actively working on some long-term projects, which include installing solar thermal panels at the V1 residence, designing a human-powered bike generator, and planning for a sustainable fashion show in the fall.

 Leader: Tania Cheng The Otesha Project is a Canadian non-profit organization based in Ottawa that uses theatre to mobilize youth to create local and global change through their daily consumer choices. A University of Waterloo chapter of the Otesha Project was formed in 2007 and became a UWSP working group in Fall 2008.

The Otesha Project performed the hilarious and eye-opening Morning Choices Play three times this term – at a fundraiser at Wilfrid Laurier University for a volunteer’s trip to Africa, at UW’s Arts Week, and at Warrior Weekends for UWSP’s Earth Hour festivities. In addition, Otesha members facilitated theatre workshops for high school students for the Waterloo Unlimited enrichment program.


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 Leader: Emily Cho The Naturalistic Landscaping Team (NLT) is a group of dedicated student volunteers advocating sustainability by engaging in naturalization projects on campus and raising awareness through community education. Despite the seasonal conditions, NLT was active this term, focusing on educational and awareness projects. Preliminary planning began for the woodland garden and study space between the ENV and PAS buildings. In March, NLT offered a vermicomposter workshop that garnered an enormous amount of interest and packed the UWSP office. NLT also collaborated with Store Your Dorm to secure funds for future landscaping projects. In April, NLT wrapped up the term with a pancake brunch featuring local products and native fruits to celebrate National Wildlife Week, whose theme was “Native Plants” this year.

 Leader: Moumee Habib Better Practices began as a committee run by the Better Practices Director of the UWSP Board. With the restructuring of the Board, Better Practices became a brand new working group for the Winter 2009 term that worked to brainstorm, research, and implement newer, better, greener, and more sustainable practices at UW. Better Practices used the University of Waterloo’s D+ grade on the College Sustainability Report Card as a springboard for discussion at its first discussion forum, “How Green is UW?”

Better Practices is also in discussion with the Federation of Students and the Student Life Office to help “green” Feds and Orientation Week.


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Working Groups (cont’d) Waste
 Leaders: Amber Aspinall and Ashlea Hegedus-Viola

Waste Management works to increase awareness about issues related to waste on campus by targeting both behavioural habits and institutional practices. Past initiatives include an electronic waste recycling campaign, Lug-a-Mug campaign, and conducting waste audits for the Residence Reduction Challenge. This term, Waste Management encouraged the use of travel mugs by serving free hot beverages for students with a reusable mug. To raise awareness of the amount of waste generated on campus, Waste Management created a display using discarded paper coffee cups and a “waste wheel” for Food Awareness Day, a joint campaign by Waste Management, Sustainable Foods and WPIRG’s Food Not Bombs group. Waste Management continued to collaborate with the Litter Reduction Committee of the Student Life Office, and began working with management at Columbia Lake Village residences to help promote and improve current recycling practices. In the fall, Waste Management will be partnering with WUSC for the second annual Trash2Treasure garage sale for charity.

 Leader: Jenna Van Draanen

Green Roofs Over Waterloo (GROW) is a working group that is interested in sustainable buildings, green roofs, and student education about green buildings both inside and out. Past accomplishments include drafting a proposal for the UW administration for green roofs and bringing in guest speakers. Winter 2009 was a restructuring term for GROW. It was determined that in order to remain viable, GROW needs to expand its focus beyond green roofs, while avoiding overlaps with other groups. As such, the group was dissolved this term and there are plans for a revitalized group to be relaunched in the Fall term with a new mandate and perhaps a new name!


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 Leader: Sarah English Active and Community Transportation (ACT) was a new working group this term, created to promote healthy living through active forms of transportation including walking, biking, roller-skating, skateboarding, and non-motorized scooters. ACT began its term by naming their group and designing a new logo and promotional posters, which were put up across campus. Throughout the term, ACT volunteers conducted walkability studies on campus and synthesized their results in a report submitted to UW administration with recommendations to improve active transportation infrastructure and amenities. The 4’ x 3’ walkability maps were printed, thanks to funds provided by WESEF, and will be displayed in the Environment building. The maps were released during UWSP’s Earth Hour event, where ACT celebrated the occasion by giving out free cake. Additionally, ACT hosted a screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” in March and drafted a letter to Grand River Transit (GRT) and the Region of Waterloo to promote the use of Google Transit for GRT’s automated trip planning.

 Leader: Alice Bao Sustainable Foods was also a newly formed working group this term. Although small in numbers, the group certainly made its mark.

For Earth Hour, Sustainable Foods gave out free samples of local breads, dips, and jams to promote sustainable food.

Sustainable Foods collaborated with the Food Action Collective to work on improving the ENV coffeeshop in terms of its food products as well as to create a map of sustainable food options in the KW area. In March, Sustainable Foods teamed up with Waste Management and WPIRG’s Food Not Bombs to host Food Awareness Day in the SLC and to create an awareness display out of discarded paper coffee cups.


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Future Plans Many of UWSP’s working groups as well as the UWSP Board have already begun planning for future terms. STEP is planning a sustainable fashion show for the Fall term. Waste Management is working with WUSC to run the second annual Trash2Treasure charity garage sale in the fall. With the success of Earth Hour this year, it is sure to become an annual event. The UWSP Board plans on organizing a large-scale event each term, with an outdoor event in the coming Spring term and an Awards Gala in the Fall. Internally, UWSP aims to build upon recent initiatives to improve organizational sustainability by drafting new procedures and policies, turning the UWSP website into a resource, and making our office more accessible, welcoming, and resourceful. UWSP’s success this term is just a stepping stone for future terms which are bound to be both active and sustainable. Stay tuned for more UWSP projects, events, and initiatives!

Recommendations Winter 2009 was undoubtedly a successful term for UWSP, but it was not without its challenges. While some working groups flourished, others found difficulties retaining volunteers and generating turnout at events. Organizational Structure As UWSP has grown, so has the number of working groups. However, the current structure of isolated working groups risks diluting efforts to improve campus sustainability. Internal cohesiveness is vital to large-scale action. Improvements were made this term through the creation of Board-Working Group liaisons. Joint events between working groups, such as Food Awareness Day and Earth Hour, were also successful in bridging groups with common goals and overlapping interests. Procedures and Policies UWSP is a relatively young organization and therefore lacks developed procedures and policies to guide volunteers. UWSP’s mission statement needs to be updated and established procedures are needed for documentation, event planning, selection of executives, financing, creation of working groups, and office maintenance among other things.

Funding As a Feds service, UWSP is funded by student fees. Stable funding has historically been a challenge for UWSP, but this has improved over the past year. It is recommended that UWSP work more closely with Feds in creating annual budgets and to ensure that budget needs are met so as to streamline activity. Recruitment Despite our best efforts, UWSP unfortunately remains relatively unknown on campus. Directed efforts must be made in future terms to promote UWSP to the UW community to ensure that all students are given ample opportunity to benefit from the services we provide. Collaboration This past term, UWSP successfully collaborated with other groups on campus, such as Warrior Weekends, WPIRG, the Eco-Art Cooperative, and the Food Action Collective. These collaborations are vital to UWSP’s success and we hope to continue to build strong working relationships with other groups on campus and in the community. Working with Administration The potential for UWSP to promote and improve sustainability on campus and in the community is enormous. More work needs to be undertaken in developing and fostering a relationship between UWSP volunteers and UW staff and administration in improving current practices and taking steps toward a more sustainable campus.


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Acknowledgements The UW Sustainability Project (UWSP) is an entirely volunteer-run organization and thus relies on the hard work and dedication of all of its volunteers in order to flourish. Winter 2009 was a whirlwind of activity and positive action toward a more sustainable campus and community. None of this would be possible without the countless hours contributed by each of the active volunteers this term. Johnathan Agaton Amber Aspinall Alice Bao Tyler Bradt Emily Cho Jasmine Chung Brent Crowhurst Stuart David Veronica Diaz Sarah English Simon Fayard Jeremy Finkleman Kevin Friedrich Sevag Gharibian Si Meng Gu Moumee Habib David Halk David Harding Ashlea Hegedus-Viola Alex Hoegeveen Rutter Maggie Janik Sifan Jia Nandan Joshi Priya Kekre Gillian Labonte Ivan Lee Jason Lee Krystin Li Benny Lian Raphael Lotufo Seychelle M.P.

Janani Mahendran Valerie Manica Andrew Marston Katie McCarthy Rob McIntosh Nadia Mthombeni Kevin Pei Owen Poel Mathieu Poirier Benedicta Porter Sylvia Przychodzki Nicholas Rolfe Alyssa Roth Bianca Sayan Baily Schneider Kayla Siefried Erika Skafel Sam Sohn Ali Suleiman Lillian Tang Emily Thorne Elisa Tran Sylvia Tran Kristina Urquhart Jenna Van Draanen Todd Wieranga Jacky Wong Kevin Yeung Lawrence Yeh Peter Yu

In April, a Volunteer Appreciation event was held for all UWSP volunteers. Approximately 25 volunteers were in attendance to receive personalized certificates of recognition. The Coordinators ran an activity that recognized volunteers individually by sharing each volunteer’s contributions with the group. Working group leaders were on hand to recap their term and thank their volunteers. The event wrapped up with a slideshow of UWSP’s events and accomplishments of the term.


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Get Involved!    

Come to a general volunteer meeting held at the beginning of each term Volunteer at a UWSP event Join a working group or start your own Apply for the UWSP Board

For more information, visit our website at or send us an email at

Learn More! 

Visit our website

Join our mailing list Use the “subscribe” option on our website

Visit us at our office UW Student Life Centre, Room 3102

Winter 2009 Term in Review University of Waterloo Sustainability Project April, 2009 Waterloo, ON


UWSP Winter 2009 Term in Review  
UWSP Winter 2009 Term in Review  

Highlights of the University of Waterloo Sustainability Project in Winter 2009