Sunday, May 26, 2019

Camosun student gets involved in college Sustainability Plan

February 6, 2019 by Katy Weicker, staff writer

Camosun College launched its new Sustainability Plan last fall, and the college has since said that student leadership was vital to its success. Former Camosun College Student Society (CCSS) sustainability director Solomon Lindsay was one of the students involved in the plan; he says the opportunity presented itself when the college’s Sustainability department reached out to the CCSS for student involvement in creating the plan. Lindsay was very interested and became heavily involved in the sustainability council, a group of mostly instructors and staff from across the college who have an interest in sustainability. He also became involved in more specific Sustainability Plan meetings to find a consultant to bring in to actually create the plan, engage with students, and get all the proper feedback. Through this process, Lindsay was able to see student engagement infused throughout the plan.

“The Sustainability Plan is quite comprehensive and covers a lot of different areas,” says Lindsay. “It has all these broad categories and a lot of stuff it’s going to try and do to each of those categories, but in each of those, there is a student engagement and student involvement, and that’s definitely what I’m the most passionate about. I mean, their willingness to engage students was the whole reason I was able to be involved. And past projects and past institutions that have put the value on student engagement have allowed me to be engaged and involved and have given tons of value to my education, so I’m really passionate about trying to give that opportunity to other students as much as possible, because any time a student can get involved in something like this, there’s just a huge amount of value added to their education.”

Camosun College student Solomon Lindsay (photo by Adam Marsh/Nexus).

Lindsay says that his initial decision to join the CCSS to help promote sustainability on campus was an easy one.

“I’ve always had an interest in sustainability,” says Lindsay. “It was one of the main reasons I took my first program here at Camosun, which was the Electrical Computer Engineering Technology with a renewable energy focus. It was really the renewable energy that sparked my interest. And I’ve also had a history of being involved in extracurricular activities—like other volunteer groups and such—so it was natural to join the student society, and especially natural to join as the sustainability director. And it definitely ended up being a great choice. I was able to get involved in a lot of really cool stuff.”

In addition to being involved in the college’s Sustainability Plan, Lindsay was given the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh last year to attend the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education international conference. Lindsay says the five-day conference—which had speakers talking about topics ranging from sustainability on campus to living buildings—was an exceptional opportunity.

“It was really inspirational to be surrounded by that intense level of focus,” says Lindsay. 

While not every student can travel across North America to attend a conference, Lindsay says student involvement can be as simple as engraining sustainability into projects and curricula or doing things that could have a sustainable impact. 

“There’s also some campaigns within the Sustainability Plan,” he says, “or at least areas where students could start a project and simply have more support, because it’s literally written in this plan that they want to get students more involved.”

Lindsay says an example of this is the Student Innovation Challenge, which is designed to help engage students by having them create innovative project ideas. (See next issue for our full story on the Student Innovation Challenge.)

“That was a great opportunity,” he says, “to start one of these projects and align it with the sustainability goals.”

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