Waterloo School of Pharmacy’s fifth annual Earth Day cleanup
For the last five years, staff and faculty at the Waterloo School of Pharmacy have been participating in the School's annual grounds clean-up. A lot of waste makes its way into local waterways and environmentally sensitive areas, causing pollution. The annual clean-up is an opportunity to help reduce those negative impacts on the environment.
This year 10 staff members and a student joined the effort, collecting more than 10 bags of waste from the Health Sciences Campus in downtown Kitchener.
The Green Office program was piloted by the University of Waterloo in 2016, with the School of Pharmacy joining in 2019. When asked what sustainability means to staff member and annual clean-up day organizer Sarah de Waal, administrative co-ordinator, co-op and CSL, she reflects that, “sustainability to me means being aware of my impact on the Earth. By minimizing my consumption of the finite resources available to us, I’m helping ensure there are enough resources for future generations.”
In 2022, the Pharmacy Green Team of volunteers became an official committee of the School. Their aim is to engage staff, students and faculty at the School and implement activities, initiatives and events that promote sustainability and improve sustainable practices in the School through the Green Office program.
Since inception, the School has made sustainability efforts that make a big impact including the undergraduate affairs team going paperless, partnering with WUSA thrift by becoming a donation drop off location where School members can drop off clothing items for the WUSA thrift store and introducing more vegetarian and vegan options for the Schools summer faculty and staff BBQ series. Coming in May is the annual plant exchange.
The Green Office program at the university has a scorecard for participating departments to keep track of their individual actions in different impact areas. The different impact areas include food waste, ground/spaces, transportation, energy, and more. Once the department has completed their scorecard, they are awarded a bronze, silver, gold and platinum level. As a whole, the School has achieved silver status and is aiming for gold this year.
“Educate yourself about sustainability, vote for candidates that make sustainability a priority on their platform and think of ways in your daily life that you can make small changes. Incorporating a vegetarian and plant-based diet, choosing active modes of transportation and reducing the consumption of personal goods are all ways you can make a difference,” says de Waal.