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Sustainability initiatives in store for SSMU

Fourth year Management student Ari Jaffe has big plans for sustainability at McGill, and thanks to a diverse group of allies, it looks like something is actually going to happen. Last Wednesday, Jaffe presented recommendations about Council’s Green Projects to SSMU Council based on research conducted over the summer as the Society’s Green Building and Food researcher.

“There should be an integration of sustainability into student life,” said Jaffe.

Among the most pressing recommendations are renovations for the Shatner building, and an energy audit examining aspects like ventilation and lighting. SSMU wants to implement the Ledership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standard. LEED would work within existing infrastructure and implement sustainable elements, instead of calling for new construction.

SSMU Council is pursuing multiple sources of funding, including grants, to finance these projects. Jaffe’s research took a holistic approach to sustainability, focusing on how to connect to the needs of the average student.

In addition to a Green Service Point, which would inform students about SSMU projects and about how students can contribute to sustainability, SSMU hopes to make Shatner room 302 a sustainable hub for students, centred around the Midnight Kitchen, which already use the space for its daily by-donation vegan lunches.

Jaffe notes that McGill Food and Dining Services have proved a surprising ally in this effort, including the implementation of “Meat-Free Mondays” and ten Local Food Days a year in residences, as part of the McGill Food Systems Project.

“It was a really nice side of them to see,” said Jaffe.

Most important for students are the possible job opportunities within these projects. As a Management student, Jaffe understands the importance of selling sustainability to apathetic students.

“If you can put value in terms of sustainability, it’s appealing,” she explained. “Green has become logical and inclusive.”