3 people stand around a booth. One is laughing, one is eating, and one is focused on the table.
Monday, April 29, 2024

Building sustainable habits in residence

Students have an incredibly important role to play in making the University of Waterloo a more sustainable campus. To support students in this journey, the Sustainability Office and Campus Housing launched the Green Residence program and since 2019, have been supporting students in building sustainability leadership skills, encouraging sustainable behaviours across the residence community, and providing meaningful feedback to the University on housing sustainability. Throughout the 2023-2024 academic year, our Green Residence Ambassadors gained valuable sustainability experience while helping their peers get students more involved in sustainability.

To kick off the fall term, our ambassadors held sustainability booths in residence cafeterias to share information about waste reduction and sustainable living in residence. Here, students could learn about our eco-mug and eco-container programs and other campus initiatives. In October, our ambassadors held a booth to show off the Sustainability Office’s waste sorting game to ensure as much campus waste is sorted properly as possible. Our ambassadors also ran a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) trivia night and a Life Cycle Assessment Thought Process booth. In November, they held an Eco-Friendly Destress Night featuring Fairtrade hot beverages, vegan milk alternatives, and plant-based snacks providing a place to relax while learning about the impact of our diets. Also in November, our ambassadors hosted a Sustainability Kahoot and a Reduce, ReGoose, Recycle origami night.

In the winter term, our ambassadors continued with their advocacy. In January, our ambassadors organized events around sustainable food, including a “Cocoa and Chill Night” with Fairtrade hot chocolate, mugs from the Free Store, and rented board games from the REV front desk. They also organized “Sustainable Snack Study Stations” featuring plant-based snacks, homemade cookies, and sustainable eating habit cards. In February, our ambassadors organized a Free Store Pop-up and an “Eco-scan Challenge” around the theme of waste. The “Eco-scan Challenge” was a scavenger hunt for QR codes around campus leading to questions about sustainable ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Those with the most correct answers won items like a reusable water bottle, a Fairtrade tote bag, and a reusable cutlery set. In March, ambassadors wrapped up the term with herb planting sessions leaving students with a beautiful plant, as well as, a sustainable food source.

By participating in the Green Residence program, our ambassadors have not only spread sustainable knowledge and thinking to their peers but gained valuable leadership, teamwork, and communication experience.

3 plants pots labeled parsley, lavender, and basil respectively.

The Sustainability Office is now accepting applications for Green Residence Coordinators for fall 2024. To learn more and apply, please visit the Green Residence webpage on the Sustainability Office website.

Thanks to our incredible ambassadors for another year of building a sustainable campus together.