CapU Works Promotes Sustainability on Campus

Student-led organization encouraged the CapU community to pick up a sustainable habit for 30 days

Christine Beyleveldt, Editor-in-Chief

CapU Works – a student-driven program that aims to promote sustainable practices at Capilano University – launched a 30-day challenge at the start of the Fall semester in the hope of inspiring students to pick up a sustainable habit. Midway through the challenge on Sept. 18, the team of students behind the organization encouraged members of the CapU community to bring reusable mugs to campus and enjoy a free cup of coffee. 

“It was mostly a little bit of what has been done in the past by Capilano students so we were wanting to follow suit and promote sustainable behaviours,” said Sustainability Engagement Facilitator Emilie Ralston. The 30-day challenge ran until Oct. 5, and it was “varied in extremities” according to Sustainability Organizer Emily Gaudette. Gaudette and Ralston are both new to the organization. CapU Works experienced a high turnover of student leaders this year. “The challenge was to encourage people to take up one manageable sustainability-related habit, something they could maintain for 30 days,” said Gaudette. “Some people started taking a reusable mug to school or a reusable water bottle, one person was crazy and wanted to go vegan for the month.” 

The program was responsible for the Greentainer project, which launched this past January. The Greentainer was a reusable container given out in the Birch cafeteria with four return depots originally, now eight, distributed across campus that organizers estimated would eliminate 12,000 disposable containers each year.  

Over 50 people turned up to the coffee mixer, which promoted the 30-day challenge. When CapU Works launched the challenge last month they received a lot of interest from students but little active participation. The coffee mixer was a midpoint to the challenge, although Gaudette and Ralston estimate that at least half of the students who came to their booth were new. “We want to make Sustainability Week a little bit more holistic, in the past it’s been very waste-focused. I’m trying to expand my horizons and create a more rounded approach to the reality of all the different facets of sustainability.” Members of the CapU community can expect to see a clothing swap later this year, as opposed to the traditional clothing drive CapU Works runs each year, and a winter market on Nov. 20 in the Birch Cafeteria where local vendors who practice sustainability will sell their wares.

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