Academic Sustainability
Programs Office

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING:

Project Opportunities

Future Sustain 3S03, Sustain 4S06 students and Sustainability Student Interns/GUCEL, please view the list of projects below. These initiatives have been proposed by members of the McMaster and broader community who have offered their support for student-led, experiential learning related to sustainability. For more information, please email asp@mcmaster.ca.

Perceptions of extreme heat events and cooling centres in downtown Hamilton

  IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Perceptions of extreme heat events and cooling centres in downtown Hamilton

With increasing heat alerts, the City will be called on to continue creating more cooling centres, which range from offering water bottles by the Salvation Army to offering free swimming at public pools.[1] In addition to formal cooling centres provided by the City, there are also informal places and ways to cool down, such as going to the mall or parks with lots of shade. Hamilton residents living in older homes and apartment buildings have first-hand experience living in extreme heat during the summer, because their houses are built to retain heat and often don’t have air conditioning.[2]  The Beasley Neighbourhood Association (BNA) has been very engaged in discussing the issue of extreme heat and cooling centres in their neighbourhood, such as by advocating for more shade at Beasley Park and taking temperature readings of neighbourhood homes2.

 

The goal of this project is to understand BNA resident attitudes and perceptions towards extreme heat events, with a focus on assessing formal and informal cooling centres to inform future developments and enhancements.

Community Project Champion:

Matt Thompson, Resident and Beasley Neighbourhood Association member

 

 

 

Employee Leadership in Office Greening

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Employee Leadership in Office Greening

Engaging employees in office greening strategies is shown to improve the sustainability and success of greening initiatives[1], increase employee engagement[2], and foster staff leadership[3]. The City of Hamilton offices located in at 400 James St. N (Jackson Square) have implemented a number of green office initiatives, including water fountain retrofits to support refilling, composting in kitchens and washrooms, and energy upgrades, but they are interested in continuing their efforts. This project would include developing interview questions, interviewing staff members; transcribing, analyzing, and reporting on findings, including researched recommendations that align with staff perceptions. Ideally, one or more staff recommendations can be implemented within the course timeframe and students could conduct a follow-up focus group to understand staff perceptions of the changes made, as well as recommendations and next steps.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Peter Topalovic, Project and Program Manager, Sustainable Mobility, City of Hamilton

 

 

Greenway Multi-use Trail

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Greenway Multi-use Trail

“There are segments of existing multi-use trails in the vicinity of Cootes Paradise and this project has been identified to connect these various segments into one excellent high-quality multi-use (pedestrian and cycling) route around one of Hamilton’s jewels – Cootes Paradise.  One critical segment that has been identified as a first priority is a link from McMaster University/ Cootes Dr/ Dundas St, via the King St right-of-way and Olympic Dr, to the intersection of York Rd/ Valley Rd.” – CityLAB

 

One of the challenges and opportunities of creating the multi-use trail is that there are a number of stakeholders to consult with, which include conservation authorities, environmental groups, community members, private landowners, and more. Each stakeholder will have a unique and valuable perspective to contribute to the project, and it will be the responsibility of SUSTAIN 4S06 students to interview each stakeholder, listen and understand their perspectives, and to capture their ideas, concerns, recommendations, and questions.

 

SUSTAIN students will have access to potential trail and route designs prepared by CityLAB students, which will support their stakeholder engagement and research. Through qualitative research methodology, SUSTAIN students will interview and then conduct a thematic analysis of the interview data to pull out the key themes and important messages shared by the stakeholders. SUSTAIN students will work with Masters engineering design students on the next iteration of the ideal design solution that would result in positive outcomes for the stakeholders, the City, and the community.

 

Community Project Champions(s)Daryl Bender, Project Manager, Alternative Transportation, City of Hamilton

Cynthia Graham, Manager, Landscape Architectural Services, City of Hamilton

 

 

 

Millennials and the Market

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Millennials and the Market

The Hamilton Farmers’ Market is one of our city’s gems but is struggling logistically (1) and economically. Millennials, those born between 1982 and 1997, are the largest demographic in Hamilton, have a strong sense of belonging to the community, and participate in community life. The goal of this project is for SUSTAIN 4S06 students to learn about the attitudes and perceptions of millennials towards the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, which will provide opportunities for data-driven decision-making to enhance the Market and, as a result, the local community.

Community Project Champions(s)

Elly Bowen, Board Member of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, Citizen Representative

Bill Slowka, Market Manager, Hamilton Farmers’ Market 

 

 

 

Access and Pathways: Navigating Community Resources in Hamilton

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Access and Pathways: Navigating Community Resources in Hamilton

Everyday, all across the city, agencies are working to break down barriers for those in financial need.  These agencies know that despite their best efforts, breaking the cycle of poverty is a complex and multi layered challenge.  The agencies acknowledge that learning about the services of others, working together, developing long lasting partnerships and connecting the right client to the right services is an essential component of the work they do.

The Red Book of Hamilton was one of the city’s most integral resources that offered an up-to-date directory of community and government services. While it was recently out of circulation for a time, its void was clearly recognized by the agencies and citizens who relied on it. Fortunately, the Hamilton Public Library has adopted the Red Book, which is now in need of updating and redevelopment.

The goal for this project is for students to learn from agency representatives about the challenges they face, the resources they couldn’t work without, the information they wish they had but don’t, and ultimately how they would re-envision the the updated version of the Red Book of Hamilton.

Students will work with the Compass Community Health (formerly the North Hamilton Community Health Centre) for mentorship, guidance, for supporting in connecting with various agency and Library representatives.

Community Project Champions(s) Rikki Frith, Children’s Services & Neighbourhood Development, Healthy & Safe Communities Department, City of Hamilton

 

 

 

Enhancing Accessibility through the Everyone Rides Initiative

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: two student groups

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Enhancing Accessibility through the Everyone Rides Initiative

Hamilton’s Bike Share currently has a fleet of 825 bikes and 130 hubs. As of 2018, approximately 20,000 active riders took over 1.4 million trips and travelled 2 million kilometers of riding. The Everyone Rides Initiative (Hamilton’s bike share equity program), is currently in the process of enhancing the accessibility of the city’s bike share fleet, broadening the range of people who can take advantage of biking as a mode of transportation. While there have been initial discussions with the City’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, there is a recognized need for more involved community consultation. This SUSTAIN 4S06 project will include: researching to understand bike sharing from a disability justice and equity lens; developing interview questions to understand the perspectives from members of the Advisory Committee of what accessible bike share would look like in Hamilton; conducting interviews; transcribing, analyzing, and communicating the results to the community; and gaining additional feedback to enhance recommendations.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Chelsea Cox, Executive Director, Hamilton Bike Share

 

 

Plant Identification at the Community Permaculture Lab

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: two student groups

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Plant Identification at the Community Permaculture Lab

The Community Permaculture Lab was born in autumn of 2017 and it all began with a man named Adam wanting to make a change on a large scale and a woman named Cynthia offering her backyard as a pilot project… The Community Permaculture Lab’s mission is to build resilience in our communities in order to live well in the face of climate emergency, through growing connections, knowledge, and application, year by year. Our goal is to see a Community Permaculture Lab in every neighborhood of Hamilton.” ~ Community Permaculture Lab

 

The community associated with constructing the CPL has worked diligently over the past 1.5 years to initiate and establish an outdoor teaching and learning facility, close to campus, that exemplifies permaculture (an ethical design system for people and Earth), living sustainably and community-campus communion.  

 

Resulting from their efforts, there are now a number of native plant species populating the garden; however, they are not yet identified by signage. The goal for this project will be to work with members of the CPL community to learn about the plant species; conduct additional research about the plants, their histories, and their importance to permaculture; and then create and install engaging and educational signage made using materials and processes that align with the 12 Permaculture Design Principles.   

 

The CPL meets every second Thursday and every fourth Saturday of the month. Students who choose this project should be available at some point between 10am and 2pm on those days to meet with community members and their community project champions. 

Community Project Champion(s):

Cynthia Meyer

 

 

Piloting a Bicycle Buddy Program to Encourage Student Active Transportation

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Piloting a Bicycle Buddy Program to Encourage Student Active Transportation

Promotion of active transportation is a promising solution to building physical activity into daily life for many university students and helping the University meet its goals of encouraging sustainable travel. Cycling mode share in Hamilton is currently 1.2%, and most cycling trips in the city start and end near the University. While this is promising, there is evidence that Hamilton has plenty of potential for further cycling growth especially among certain demographics like students. To encourage more students to bicycle, we need to understand how to engage and support those who do not currently cycle but are interested. One example is a Bike Buddy program that supports habit change by pairing individuals who want to develop cycling skills with an experienced cyclist.

Students will have the opportunity to conduct a feasibility study for implementing a Bike Buddy program on campus, as well as develop and facilitate an engagement campaign or workshop to connect students. While the latter deliverable is open to student creativity and innovation, it could include the following: sharing knowledge of safe routes and cycling programs in Hamilton, providing advice for riding in different seasons and settings, asking friends to help use SoBi bicycles.

Community Project Champion(s):

Elise Desjardins, Graduate student in the Master of Public Health program, Wilson Leader

 

 

Mapping Community Desires for Friendly Streets 

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Mapping Community Desires for Friendly Streets 

Students will be responsible for planning, executing and disseminating the results of a participatory mapping workshop with community members in the Centennial neighbourhoods (Riverdale). The objective of this workshop is to learn more about community concerns and priority areas that we can focus to make Centennial streets friendlier. Students will be responsible for planning out the workshop, which includes connecting with community members (may need to visit the area), preparing materials such as maps, finding space to run the workshop in, and performing background research, with materials that include: the Friendly Streets Toolkit, Centennial Neighbourhoods Secondary Plan, and Centennial Transportation Master Plan. Friendly Streets will provide a protocol for how to run the participatory mapping workshop, based on other workshops we have run, but this protocol is open to revision. After the workshop, students will be responsible for adding the data to our existing maps, such as this,  through ArcGIS’ online tools. Lastly, students will report on this data through the Friendly Streets Blog and social media platforms.

Community Project Champion(s):

Waverley Birch, Project Manager, Friendly Streets

Beatrice Ekoko, Project Manager, Friendly Streets

 

 

Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University 

Meal Exchange‘s Hungry for Knowledge report was released in Maclean’s magazine in October of 2016. This report was the largest cross-campus investigation of student food insecurity in Canada and determined that 2 in 5 students on five university campuses had experienced moderate or severe levels of food insecurity – the inability to access sufficient healthy food due to financial constraints. In 2018, Meal Exchange worked with McMaster, including the MSU and SUSTAIN 3S03 students to identify food insecurity on campus and the contributing factors.  The results can be found in the student’s final report page here, which shows that 51% of students experience food insecurity but that only 24% of them use programming and services available to them.

 

The Hungry for Knowledge survey has helped us to learn more about food insecurity among McMaster students and to raise awareness of this issue among the students and campus administration. Specifically, the results of the survey and a connected study were presented to the Okanagan Charter Committee, including the then President, Patrick Deane. As a result, the Committee has championed broader discussions of this issue within the university.

 

This next phase of the project includes conducting a needs assessment of the McMaster environment to see what services are already available to support students, identify gaps, and research other best practices on campuses across the country. Following the needs assessment, a  systems workshops would bring key student leaders, faculty, and administration together to highlight the gaps and work through ideas to fill them. From the systems workshop, students would identify the limitations of the different campus-based strategies for addressing food insecurity and assess the sustainability of different potential solutions (ex. how suggested solutions could be implemented, funded, and sustained). Meal Exchange brings experience in both aspects of this project from their work with other institutions, and the MSU VP Education is committed to helping advance this work and the broader discussions within the Students Union.

 

This project will allow McMaster students to become a part of Canada’s national student food movement and connect with a network of peers, faculty, and community and advocacy organizations across the country.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Jamie White, Student Engagement and Events Coordinator, Meal Exchange

Shemar Hackett, VP Admin, McMaster Students Union

 

 

From Trash to Treasure: Refurbishing unwanted computers for community benefit

IN PROGRESS

Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03

  • Open to: two student groups

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From Trash to Treasure: Refurbishing unwanted computers for community benefit

McMaster disposes of approximately 2,000 [K1] computers annually. Once they are no longer needed on campus, these computers and other IT waste are recycled. However, while no longer suitable for university-level research, study, or operations many of these computers can be refurbished and donated within the community for many more years of use. GreenByte is a local NFP that does just that, and in addition to being recognized for enhancing ‘digital equality’ and contributing to Hamilton being named one of the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 [1] they also gave a laptop to every grade 8 student from Cathy Weaver Elementary School in 2018 [2].

 

The goal of this project is to establish best practices, with respect to both community engagement and operational process, for university IT reuse that enhances the lives of underserved members of the local community. Key objectives are to: create and disseminate information to all campus stakeholders using various platforms, consult members of the campus community in program enhancement, engage members of the McMaster community to contribute their IT waste; as well as to ensure data security, create multiple avenues for IT reuse, and maintain responsible recycling of end-of-life IT equipment.

 

This project is open to two student groups. One group will focus on communication and engagement of students, faculty, and staff. The other project will focus on the process for collection, security, sorting, refurbishing, and donating. Project teams are expected to work in collaboration, and both project groups will establish and report on associated measures of success.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Craig MacDonald, Director, Maintenance Services, Facility Services

Richard Godsmark, Director of Technology Innovation, Partnerships, and Risk Management, University Technology Services (project collaborator, mentor, and advisor)

Ryan Johnson, GreenByte (project collaborator, mentor, and advisor)

 

 

Greening the Grind at McMaster

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Greening the Grind at McMaster 

Businesses can have a major impact on individual behaviour. A café, for example, can support individual sustainability efforts by applying a discount for those who bring a reusable mug, and they can also go above and beyond by being a champion for sustainable change, the latter requiring significantly more effort, community engagement, and leadership.

The 2019/2020 MSU Executive is striving to take a leadership role through Greening The Grind. The Grind has been renovated and many sustainability initiatives have been implemented, such the inclusion of a compost bin, sourcing biodegradable cutlery, and removal of plastic bags. These changes will support individuals striving to reduce waste by diverting garbage and recycling to compost. However, they aren’t stopping there. The MSU is striving to champion environmental sustainability while also reducing costs for students. One option being considered is to separate the embedded costs of cups and cutlery for those who bring their own. For example, if your meal currently cost $5.00, such a change would result in a reduced costs of $4.90 with an optional purchase of biodegradable cutlery for an additional $0.10*.

The idea is that because humans are loss averse, being charged for single-use items will have a more dramatic impact than receiving a rebate for bringing your own. However, this same principle of loss aversion can make behaviour change difficult [1]. Such “nudges” have been shown to have good but mixed results [2 3] in supporting environmentally-friendly behaviour change, which will be key areas of research for this project. Additionally, student perception and support for this initiative will be imperative for long-term sustainability of the initiative.

The goal of this project is to enhance the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of The Grind through student engagement, education, and policy change.

Community Project Champion:

Alexandrea Johnston, VP Finance, MSU

 

 

The Solitary Bee Project at McMaster

IN PROGRESS

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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The Solitary Bee Project at McMaster 

In collaboration with Simran Jolly of The Solitary Bee Project, in June of 2019, 50 solitary bee houses were designed, constructed, and erected at McMaster University (read the Daily News story here). In addition to the goal of creating bee homes on campus, the objectives of this project were to bring together the community, educate individuals on the importance of solitary bees, and create a SUSTAIN 3S03 for the fall of 2019.

 

As a follow-up to the efforts in June, SUSTAIN 3S03 students will investigate:

  • Which locations were successful/unsuccessful?
  • Which materials were successful/unsuccessful?
  • Is the design effective?
  • How do we educate passersby about this initiative?
  • How do we track and record this information for others to utilize?
  • How can we further enhance this initiative and support solitary bees on campus and in the broader community?

 

The goal of this project is to share information on how individuals can support solitary bees through the creation and maintenance of bee houses.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Craig MacDonald, Director, Maintenance Services, Facility Services, Facility Services

Simran Jolly, Founder, The Solitary Bee Project

 

 

Sustainable Enhancement of the Essential Utensils Kit

IN PROGRESS

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

 

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Sustainable Enhancement of the Essential Utensils Kit  

 

In the fall of 2018, three SUSTAIN 3S03 students, Sabrina Dasouki, Billy Olds, and Kristal Ramnarine, created the Essential Utensils Kit and later went on to work with the The Forge to learn how to start their own business. They learned a lot and made some great connections, but have yet to start their business.

 

After seeing them highlighted in this Daily News story, the Campus Store reached out to see if they could carry the Essential Utensils Kit as a pilot project in the fall of 2019. This would align with The Campus Store’s work to enhance the sustainability of their operations and of the products they sell, as well as to support a new initiative where they support four McMaster entrepreneurs by providing a venue to test out the sale of their products.

 

The challenge is in how to create a sustainable business model and operation for the Essential Utensils Kit, one that would source materials most sustainably and ethically, create new ‘green jobs’ for members of the community, teach new skills to employees, leverage resources already available, and give back to the community. Some questions for consideration include:

  • What type of material should the cutlery be?
  • Where should products and materials be sourced from?
  • What kind of ‘green jobs’ could be created and how can they include social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability?
  • What type of meaningful and transferable skills can be taught through these jobs?
  • What resources or tools are already available and accessible on or near campus?
  • How could this business also give back?

 

Creating a sustainable business that has positive social and environmental impacts while still being profitable is harder than we think. There are many competing interests that must be weighed. This project will challenge students to think critically about the various aspects of sustainability, provide them with mentorship from both young entrepreneurs and seasoned retailers, and enable them to make a real sustainable impact.

 

 

 

Community Project Champions:

Sabrina Dasouki, Co-Founder, Essential Utensils Kit

Diane Warwick, Merchandise Manager, Campus Store (for mentorship and support)

 

 

 

Bags at the Campus Store

IN PROGRESS

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Bags at the Campus Store

McMaster’s Campus Store is on a mission to do good for the environment and for students, and one of their goals is to reduce the environmental impact of single-use bags and support students in making sustainable lifestyle choices by bringing a reusable bag or backpack that they already own. To support this shift, they have eliminated plastic, considered various alternative such as paper and oxo-biodegradable, and landed on a reinforced plastic tote as an alternative for purchase. While this change may seem easy, we can assure you that it is not.

 

The Campus Store recognizes that this issue is not so clear cut, just like most sustainability challenges. This Huffington Post article sheds some light on the paper vs plastic issue and how data and information are necessary, but the message can often leave us without a clear direction forward. The idea is that because humans are loss averse, being charged for single-use items will have a more dramatic impact on behaviour change than receiving a rebate for bringing your own is well received. However, this same principle of loss aversion can make behaviour change difficult [1]. Such “nudges” have been shown to have good but mixed results [2 3] in supporting environmentally-friendly behaviour change, which will be key areas of research for this project. Additionally, student perception and support will be imperative for long-term sustainability of the initiative.

 

The goal of this project will be to support the implementation of initiatives that will support sustainable behaviour change with respect to single-use bags at the Campus Store.

 

While this project is open to student creativity, opportunities may include research into examples of other bag initiatives of stores and municipalities to learn best practices, creating a social media campaign highlighting those who bring their own bag, or even leading a public lecture or debate about various types of bags.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Louise Walker, Sales Floor Manager, Campus Store

Adam Chiaravalle, Facility Services (mentorship and support)

Gabrielle Gonsalves, Sustainability Student Intern (mentorship and support)

 

 

Compostable Containers and Cutlery at Hospitality Services

IN PROGRESS

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Compostable Containers and Cutlery at Hospitality Services

McMaster’s Hospitality Services has made many sustainable changes to their operations and services that aim to reduce waste generated on campus, including:

  • Using china and metal cutlery in dining locations such as Centro, Bridges, and East Meets West,
  • Expanding both the Eco-Takeout Container Program and the Bring Your Own Container program to support waste-free takeout, and
  • Sourcing biodegradable containers and cutlery for when and where waste-free options are not available.

However, neither of these are simple “if you build it, they will come” scenarios. Hospitality Services recognizes that it’s not enough to just implement the programs. Research, education, promotion, communication, and community engagement are all imperative for sustainable behaviour change to happen. This project will focus specifically on the biodegradable containers and cutlery to support Hospitality Services sustainability efforts as well as to promote and support sustainable behaviours of students, faculty, and staff.

 

Community Project Champion:

Liana Bontempo, Wellness & Sustainability Manager, Hospitality Services

 

 

Enhancing Sustainability of Catered Student Events at McMaster

IN PROGRESS

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Enhancing Sustainability of Catered Student Events at McMaster

McMaster’s Catering Services, part of Hospitality Services, worked with SUSTAIN 3S03 students in the fall of 2018 on a project entitled, Catering Sustainable Events at McMaster, whereby students and staff worked together to add more and label menu items as Gluten Free, Halal, Vegetarian, and Vegan. The group piloted two student-led events as part of the implementation of the project, and made recommendations for a future project that would be focused on obtaining feedback from student event planners and event participants to understand student attitudes and behaviours around the changes made, as well as determine if/how further enhancements can be made.

While this project is open to student creativity and innovation, the initial idea is for SUSTAIN students to work with Catering Services, student customers who host catered events, and student event attendees to understand barriers and opportunities to enhance sustainability at catered events, to identify and implement appropriate changes, and then measure and report on the outcomes from piloting at least five sustainably catered student events.

Community Project Champion:

Catherine Young, Senior Manager Administration & Catering for Hospitality Services

 

 

Sustainability Day at McMaster: Tree Planting and Student Education

IN PROGRESS

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Sustainability Day at McMaster: Tree Planting and Student Education

Trees for Hamilton is a non-profit organization whose mission is to plant native trees in those areas of need in Hamilton and improve the long-term health of those living in our community. Trees for Hamilton develops, promotes, and facilitates projects which will preserve, conserve, and enhance natural landscapes and environment of Hamilton. (Source)

After a great success in 2018, this project will be continuing and expanding for the Fall of 2019. This year the goal is to engage McMaster students in this on-campus event and raise awareness about the importance of trees and their impact on climate change.

The challenge for McMaster students is to organize a tree-planting event, for the chosen date of Sustainability Day, October 23, 2019, which will include fundraising, choosing and receiving approval for the location of the tree planting on campus, researching what native species of trees are best in the chosen location, and gathering volunteers for the event. Additionally, students will need to plan food as well as marketing and promotion before, during, and after the event. Students will also be responsible for determining and reporting on measures of success to share the event outcomes. Preparing a report on the opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for future events will support the continuity and enhancement of a similar event in future years.

Community Project Champion:

Martha Kilian, Nature at McMaster

Wayne TerryberryCoordinator, Natural Lands & Outdoor Recreation

 

 

Towards a Sustainable Future: The Green Room Certification in Residence Program

IN PROGRESS

Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03

  • Open to: two student groups

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Towards a Sustainable Future: The Green Room Certification in Residence Program

The Green Room Certification (GRC) program is an opportunity for students in the Outdoor Leadership Living Learning Community to learn about how they can decrease their impact on the environment while living in residence. Participating students can follow the GRC checklist of ways to implement physical and behavioral changes in their residence room to be more sustainable, and then sign up to have their room certified, based on the checklist, and receive recognition and/or prize incentive for taking part.

SUSTAIN students who select this project will act as Student Project Champions and will be responsible for developing the GRC checklist and related learning strategies.

The GRC program will be split into two components:

  1. Checklist
    1. Educating about the GRC
    2. Researching what McMaster currently has available to students (Eco takeout container program, Sobi racks, etc.)
    3. Recruiting students to sign up for the GRC
    4. Conducting monthly ‘check ins’ with the signed up students
  2. Strategies
    1. Consists of active and passive activities for students
      1. Active: workshops, tours, movie nights, gatherings/talks etc. for participating students
      2. Passive: survey, poster, signage etc.
    2. Five key themes have been identified that will be the focus for the GRC strategies, split between two project teams. One team will work on Energy, Water and Transportation themed strategies; and another will work on Food and Waste themed strategies. For each key theme, the students will develop one active activity and one a passive activity.

This project presents a great opportunity for SUSTAIN students to act as Student Project Champions and encourage residence students to think about their impact on the environment and learn about steps they can take to decrease their impact on the environment.

Community Project Champion:

Katie Fitzgerald, Living Learning Coordinator, Residence Life Office

 

 

Students Supporting Students at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Students Supporting Students at McMaster

With the vision to change the way people view the “gig economy”, Gigit’s mission is to help connect people with the community around them, no matter where they are.

Through an online platform and smartphone application, people can both offer and find services, either for money or as a volunteer. For example, a budding photographer looking to build their portfolio and a not-for-profit organization looking for someone to help capture images at their annual charity gala can easily find each other through the Gigit platform.

The challenge for Sustain 3S03 students is to learn 1) what services students need at McMaster, and 2) what skills students have to offer, either for volunteer hours or a fee. For example, do students at Mac need mentorship from upper-year students, opportunities to have conversations in a new language, study help, support to learn a new software, or help editing their written work? Are there students at McMaster who could offer these services to their peers?

While the goal of this project is not to promote Gigit specifically, the findings will produce information about the McMaster population that can be useful to on-campus departments, such as the Student Success Centre, as well as to Gigit to better support Mac students the larger gig economy in Hamilton.

This project is ideal for students interested in working with and learning from a tech start-up, working in the volunteer or not-for-profit sector, working in the gig-economy, and/or supporting McMaster student development.  

Community Project Champion(s):

Chris McIntosh, President Gigit

 

 

Composting Education Campaign at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

 

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Composting Champions at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Composting Champions at McMaster

McMaster University is extending its composting program from the kitchen areas into public areas. Resulting from a successful SUSTAIN 3S03 project from 2017, you can see the first of these permanent, public-facing bins in the Student Centre, just in front of Union Market.

However, just because we put the bins in place, does not mean that people know they are there, know how to use them correctly, and feel empowered to make a difference through their actions in waste disposal.

The goal of this project will be to develop a Composting Champions program at McMaster, whereby staff, faculty, students can become Champions in their respective area and/or network. Students will be encouraged to reach out to groups and departments across campus, learn more about the barriers to taking part and/or becoming a Composting Champion, and then develop resources and engagement activities to support the program.  

Community Project Champion(s):

Adam Chiaravalle, Sustainable Food Systems Advocate

 

 

Trees for Hamilton COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

 

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 Catering Sustainable Meetings at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Catering Sustainable Meetings at McMaster

McMaster’s Hospitality Services is working to become more sustainable, and this extends to their Catering Services department. If you’ve ever been to a McMaster-catered event, you will have experienced their services. You may have even experienced the diversity in the types of catering they provide – some events are simple platters of coffee and cookies, others include platters of sandwiches and fruit trays, and others include buffet or plated meals. All types of catered events can benefit from additional consciousness towards sustainability, but it’s a joint effort between Hospitality Services, the clients who order the catering, and the participants who attend the meeting or event.

Questions related to this challenge include: 1. What changes can be made to catered events to enhance sustainability? 2. How can Catering Services support the changes? 3. How can clients who place orders be made aware of and encouraged to adopt the sustainable changes? 4. How can attendees of the events play a role to also support the sustainable changes that have been made? 5. How can Catering Services communicate the changes made and the results achieved in order to continue along this sustainable path?

While this project is open to student creativity and innovation, the initial idea is for Sustain students to work with Catering Services staff members, customers who host catered events, and students and staff members who attend catered events to understand barriers and opportunities to enhance sustainability at catered events, to identify and implement appropriate changes, highlight opportunities in a Sustainable Catering Guide, and then measure and report on the outcomes through piloting at least five sustainably catered events.

Community Project Champion(s):

Catherine Young, Senior Manager Administration & Catering for Hospitality Services

 Reduce Food Packaging Waste at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: One student group

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Reduce Food Packaging Waste at McMaster

You’ve seen it done many times before; companies encourage customers to bring a reusable container to reduce waste. Examples include: reusable grocery bags at grocery stores, reusable jars at Bulk Barn, reusable mugs at Nook Café and containers at Mustard Seed Co-op. But can we extend this to cafeteria and restaurant food?

Imagine if your sandwich could be placed in the reusable container you brought from home, rather than being wrapped in paper and plastic? It would reduce the packaging waste and also allow you to keep half fresh for later, possibly reducing food waste too. However, what are the barriers and challenges to implementing such a program and encouraging people to adopt it?

Students are challenged with identifying opportunities and barriers involved, working with Hospitality Services to pilot a program for accepting reusable containers in at least one eatery with at least one food product, and reporting on the outcomes and recommendations for next steps.

Community Project Champion(s):

Chris Roberts, Director of Hospitality Services

 Green Room Certification in Residence COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: Two student groups (one for each theme area)

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Green Room Certification in Residence

  • Applicable to: Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: Three student groups (one for each theme area)

The Green Room Certification (GRC) program is an opportunity for students in the Outdoor Leadership Living Learning Community to learn about how they can decrease their impact on the environment while living in residence. Participating students can follow a checklist of ways to implement physical and behavioral changes in their residence room to be more sustainable, and then sign up to have their room certified, based on the checklist, and receive recognition and/or prize incentive for taking part. See inspiration from Carlton’s GRC program here.

SUSTAIN students will be able to act as Student Project Champions where they will be responsible for developing the GRC program and related learning opportunities, such as workshops, events, tours, and challenges, for participating students. SUSTAIN students will also be responsible for assessing the students’ rooms and behaviours, having coaching conversations, and designating rooms with the GRC. Suggested GRC theme areas include Sustainable Eating & Drinking; Waste Reduction & Diversion; and Green Cleaning & Personal Care. Suggested learning opportunities could include a fun Foodie Tour or Coffee Tour to visit different eateries/cafes on or near campus to learn about sustainable choices, a Personal Waste Audit and workshop on how to reduce packaging and food waste, and a Green Cleaning and Personal Care workshop where participants learn how to make and use their own products (see here for ideas).

Fostering leadership opportunities for residence students to act as sustainability ambassadors is an important component of this project.

Community Project Champion(s):

Monica Palkowski, Community Development Coordinator, Residence Life, McMaster University

 No Lunch Money: Enhancing Student Engagement and Participation COMPLETED

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No Lunch Money: Enhancing Student Engagement and Participation

 

This project is great for Sustain students who want to work on a sustainability initiative that has social, environmental, and economic impacts. No Lunch Money is not just about saving lunch money, it’s also about forming community and social connects as well as about reducing food waste.

The challenge that NLM is facing is that we want every student at Mac to know about us and to feel comfortable taking part if they like. We understand that part of this includes removing stigma, connecting with student values, and also to demonstrating our legitimacy. However, we realize that there is much more we can do and we want to hear what students think.

Sustain students who take on this project will be encouraged to review and critique No Lunch Money’s current services and operations from a student engagement perspective, develop and conduct a student survey to see what’s working, what’s not, what we could do to be better, and from the group’s analysis and survey findings, provide a report of recommendations as well as work with NLM to implement one recommendation and report on the outcome of the change. Ideally, students will be able to identify a problem, recommend and implement a solution, as well as measure and report on the change in student engagement and participation as a result. This project is open to student innovation and creativity.

Community Project Champion(s):

Sai Garlapati, Chair of NoLunchMoney

 Upcycling Jute Coffee Sacks COMPLETED

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Upcycling Jute Coffee Sacks

 

Detour Coffee Roasters is one of Canada’s earliest speciality coffee roasters and they continually strive towards sustainable practices through various aspects of their business, including sourcing and processing. One area for opportunity is with the jute coffee sacks that are used to transport coffee beans from places like Rwanda and Ethiopia to their roasting facility in Burlington, Ontario. Over 100 jute bags are accumulated each month. Currently, the bags cannot be composted in local facilities and are disposed of as waste. However, there are a number of uses for jute bags (just Google or Pinterest the possibilities!)

The challenge for Sustain students is to develop a sustainable process for converting the bags into something of greater value that can be sold at Detour’s retail shops and by their retail partners across the country. Measures of success include: 1) having at least one upcycled product that can be sold during the holiday seasons starting in November and 2) having an established process that will transcend the student’s time on the project. This is a great project for students interested in developing a sustainable social enterprise and/or forming collaborations with existing groups or businesses.

Additional support for this project will be provided by Manufacturing students in McMaster’s W. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology.

Community Project Champion(s):

Alex Yurek, President, Detour Coffee Roasters

 Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University COMPLETED

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Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University

 

Meal Exchange‘s Hungry for Knowledge report was released in Maclean’s magazine in October of 2016. This report was the largest cross-campus investigation of student food insecurity in Canada, and determined that 2 in 5 students on five university campuses had experienced moderate or severe levels of food insecurity – the inability to access sufficient healthy food due to financial constraints. Meal Exchange is now working with the campuses included in the Hungry for Knowledge report to develop innovative programs to reduce student food insecurity.

As student food insecurity is influenced by a variety of factors at the campus, community, city, province, and federal level, we are interested in discovering the prevalence of food insecurity at McMaster University, the barriers faced by McMaster students, and the student groups who are most at risk. The Hungry for Knowledge survey can be used to learn more about food insecurity among McMaster students. We would also like to get student ideas and suggestions on ways to raise awareness of this issue among the student population.

This project would allow McMaster students to become a part of Canada’s national student food movement and connect with a network of peers, faculty, and community and advocacy organizations across the country, as well as build essential research methods and knowledge translation skills.

This project is open to two groups – one group to conduct the survey and another group to hold awareness-raising events and/or advocacy activities on campus.

Community Project Champion(s):

Merryn Maynard, Meal Exchange

Stephanie Bertolo, VP Admin, McMaster Students Union

Reducing Household Food Waste in Hamilton COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Reducing Household Food Waste in Hamilton

Consumer behaviour is one of the root causes for edible food being wasted or discarded. To reduce food waste in Hamilton, the City is planning to initiate a Food Waste Reduction Action Plan in the community.  To support this initiative, the City is interested in gathering data on residents’ attitudes and perceptions towards food waste in their household, such as perceptions about how much food they waste, why it is wasted, desire to reduce food waste, and motivators, barriers and challenges related to reducing food waste .The challenges for Sustain 4S06 students will be to conduct a study to learn about residents’ perceptions and attitudes towards food waste in Hamilton, analyze the data, summarize the findings, and work with the City to evaluate possible solutions. Once a possible solution has been identified, students will work to implement the solution and assess its effectiveness in reducing food waste.

Community Project Champion(s):

Ruby Samra, Public Health Dietician

 

 

 Accelerating Community Representation – Dismantling Barriers to Diverse Leadership in Hamilton COMPLETED

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Dismantling Barriers to Diverse Leadership in Hamilton

The goal of the project is to identify barriers that prevent women, Indigenous residents, and racialized individuals from being represented in leadership roles in our city and determine what actions our community can take to address this problem. It is our hope that measurable change can come out of the project. The idea for this project came out of the 2017 Our Future Hamilton Summit, which is the largest community engagement summit in Hamilton and one of the largest in the province. Over 430 residents, community partners, and civic advocates attended the 2017 OFH Summit to explore barriers to democratic engagement and identify areas for improvement. Through facilitated table discussions, attendees identified increased community representation as a recommended action for improving democratic engagement in Hamilton. This project will support the work of Our Future Hamilton which is the city’s 25-Year Community vision. To learn more about Our Future Hamilton, visit: hamilton.ca/ourfuturehamilton. Students involved with this project will develop skills in research, communication and community engagement. They will also have the opportunity to grow their network and meet community leaders in the city.

Community Project Champion:

Cindy Mutch, Senior Project Manager, Our Future Hamilton

Greg Iarusso, Assistant Community Planner

 Food Waste at McMaster COMPLETED

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Food Waste at McMaster

 

According to a 2011 McMaster Waste Audit, food waste accounted for nearly 50% of garbage, by volume, in the Commons Building. While this may seem shocking, it is consistent with the national trends shown here, along with the stat that “about 80% of consumer food waste was once perfectly edible”. There are multiple stages in the food process, many of which happen before the food even gets to the store or kitchen. Once the food has made its way to the final distribution point, consumers like you and me have the ability to impact what happens next.

At McMaster, Hospitality Service, a group of student food advocates including No Lunch Money and Mac Bread Bin, as well as sustainable-food superstar Adam Chiaravalle, are working together to identify and create solutions to the problems of food waste on campus. While this project is open to student innovation, some of the questions that have been posed include: How can we most effectively order and prepare the right amount of food each day? After trying to minimize leftovers, what happens to any remaining food? How can we ensure edible food is shared first for consumption and with the utmost concern for food safety and personal health and wellbeing. Students will have the opportunity to investigate the issue of food waste at McMaster; develop strategies for action; and make real, positive, and sustainable change.

Contacts

Chris Roberts

Director of Hospitality Services

roberch@mcmaster.ca

Adam Chiaravalle

Sustainable Food Systems Advocate

Block Party: A Strategy for Community Engagement  COMPLETED

  • Applicable to: Sustin 3S03
  • Open to: One student group

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Block Party: A Strategy for Community Engagement

 

  • Applicable to: Sustin 3S03
  • Open to: One student group

You might be wondering, what type of block party are we talking about? Good question. The City of Hamilton has developed a guide to hosting a block party with the goals of increasing community engagement, creating a safe and accessible environment, and expanding the public realm through community-led urban intervention. Additional characteristics of a block party would then include: closing the street to vehicular traffic; maintaining an all-inclusive and open invitation; and activating the public realm.

The challenge that the City of Hamilton is posing to Sustain 3S03 students is, “What value does a block party bring to members of the community?”. While this project is open to student creativity and innovation, some initial ideas include hosting a Halloween block party as a way to promote walkability and enhance safety for young trick-or-treaters. As a not-so-fun fact, this article suggests that Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian fatalities.

Students who take on this project will develop skills in research, municipal policy, community engagement, sustainable mobility, and injury prevention and public health.

Contacts

Peter Topalovic Project Manager Sustainable Mobility Programs City of Hamilton stdstpla2@hamilton.ca

Neighbourhoods as Incubators for Small Business Enterprise and Community Building COMPLETED

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Neighbourhoods as Incubators for Small Business Enterprise and Community Building

 

With an aging population, older housing stock, and the influence of gentrification, many residents may be in need of external home repairs, but lack the expertise and/or finances to pay for them. Unshoveled sidewalks and other exterior property concerns, such as overgrown lawns and broken fences, result in potentially dangerous situations for residents and neighbours. Non-compliance with city by-laws including the “Snow Removal By-law 03-296” and the “Yard Maintenance By-law 10-118” results in fines and compliance orders for property owners. While volunteer-based programs like Snow Angels and skill-development programs like the Neighbourhood Home Improvement Program have been developed, they struggle with on-going financial sustainability, volunteer recruitment and retention, or meeting skill requiring.

The needs within community are varied, but through the support of engaged citizens and City departments like the Neighbourhood Action Strategy (NAS) and Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), localized approaches can be developed and implemented.

As part of community conversations and neighbourhood actions, the need for a program of this sort, is evident. It’s believed that the trade skills exist within the community, but are not being accessed for reasons including liability insurance, as well as skills in marketing and business development. Those who may be interested in investing time and energy in developing their skills and starting a small business may not know the wide array of resources, grants, and supports available to them. Connecting residents to available services offered, including the Hamilton Tool Library for tool rentals as well as the Gigit app for connecting needs and services in Hamilton, and then to those in the community who could benefit from their services, would provide a win-win-win for homeowners, skilled individuals, and the city as a whole.

Resources

Our Future Hamilton Reports Neighbourhood Action Strategy Snow Angels Small Business Enterprise Centre Gigit


Contact

Jocelyn Strutt Project Manager, Neighbourhood Action Strategy City of Hamilton jocelyn.strutt@hamilton.ca

Cycle Hamilton: Creating Real Value for Individuals and Businesses COMPLETED

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Cycle Hamilton: Creating Real Value for Individuals and Businesses

Formed in 2015, Cycle Hamilton was developed with the mission to get more people on bikes in Hamilton. Cycle Hamilton is “a member-supported coalition of individuals, communities, and organizations that works together to promote a healthy, safe, and sustainable cycling culture in Hamilton”. As an advocacy group, its power is in its membership. The more members it has, the stronger the voice, and the more influence the organization has to inspire positive change.

Over the initial two years of development, Cycle Hamilton focused on developing as a formal organization, engaging a board of directors, a strong volunteer base, and most recently engaged in broad community consultation to develop a 3-year strategic plan. Now that development is well underway and a foundation has been built, Cycle Hamilton is well equipped to grow its membership. The question that Cycle Hamilton is posing to Sustain 3S03 students is “How do we create real value for individuals and/or businesses?” Students who take on this project will develop skills in research, communication, community engagement, developing value propositions, and marketing. Students will also have the opportunity to identify and meet with local business to gain their perspectives and discuss opportunities for collaboration.

Contacts

Jay Krause Membership Program Coordinator Cycle Hamilton krausejt@mcmaster.ca

Developing a Municipal Sustainability Strategy in Port Hope, Ontario COMPLETED

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Developing a Municipal Sustainability Strategy in Port Hope, Ontario

 

Port Hope was recently listed as an Area of Concern by Environment and Climate Change Canada due to “a legacy of contamination from the operation of waste management practices of Eldorado Mining and Refining between 1933 and 1953 [which] led to an estimated 85,000-95000 cubic meters of sediment containing low-level radioactive material within the turning basin and west slip of the Port Hope Harbour”. In response, the federal government has committed to spending $1.28 billion over 10 years to clean up the low-level radioactive waste. Part of Port Hope’s action plan, as established by their new Centre of Excellence Working Group is to develop partnerships with educational institutions and investigate educational opportunities. While much of the current focus is on environmental remediation of the contaminated lands as well as on waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, Port Hope is utilizing the momentum and support to also develop a long-term sustainability plan for the municipality.

Students interested in conducting research on best practice for long-term sustainability strategies, such as this one in Freiburg, Germany, and making recommendations on how Port Hope could tailor and then utilize some of the strategies that have been successful elsewhere should contact Kate Whalen.

While this project is highly research-focused, it will expected that students will work with Port Hope to achieve some level of actioned result, which may take the form of community consultation, survey development and analysis, and/or delivering a presentation of findings and recommendations.

Resources

Port Hope Area of Concern, Environment and Climate Change Port Hope’s Centre of Excellence Working Group $1.28B for Port Hope radioactive cleanup (CBC Jan 2012) 30 Years of Planning Continuity in Frieiburg, Germany


Contact

Kevin Narraway Manager of Marketing, Port Hope KNarraway@porthope.ca

Enabling Entrepreneurship through the “Gig” Economy COMPLETED

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Enabling Entrepreneurship through the “Gig” Economy

 

According to this article in the BBC, the ‘gig’ economy can be defined as “a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs”. The gig economy is growing and it’s growing fast. According to the iLabour Project, the online gig economy already grew 26% in the past year. This article in Forbes shares why many millennials are embracing this new style of work, due to more flexibility, autonomy, and to ease into entrepreneurship. This report published by McKinsey company examines the benefit and challenges of independent work and captures the ways people make money in this space.

Started by members from a local software company, and then further developed and launched as part of a Sustain 4S06 project team in 2016/17, the smartphone application titled Gigit was created. Gigit was developed to help make both volunteer and job connections through smartphone technology. The app started out for volunteers only and has since developed opportunity to connect people for paid gigs. With an objective to be a made-in-Hamilton solution, Gigit Marketplace Inc. wants to know what local millennials think about the gig economy and how Gigit can help. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Gigit team to make app recommendations and developments as well as to pilot the enhanced technology. A challenge to address is to increase adoption of gigit through creative ways in practical settings. This project is open to student creativity and innovation.

Contacts

Midhat Malik Gigit Marketplace midhat@gigitmarketplace.com

Student Impact on the Environment, with a Focus on Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling COMPLETED

  • Applicable to: Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: Three student groups

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Student Impact on the Environment, with a Focus on Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling

 

The McMaster Students Union (MSU), led by President Chukky Ibe, has identified waste reduction, reuse, and recycling on campus as areas for improvement and opportunity. While there are various kinds of waste, the MSU is focused on addressing electronics, coffee cups, and take-out containers specifically. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with the MSU President and executive team in tackling one or more of these complex sustainability issues. As an exciting addition, the project outcomes will be highlighted in the MSU’s annual State of the Union report, as the issues associated with these particular waste items have been formally included on the President’s Year Plan. Students wishing to work on this project are requested to specify their interest in electronics, coffee cups, and/or take-out containers.

Contacts

Chukky Ibe MSU President president@msu.mcmaster.ca

Wellness and Engagement: Learning From Examples Within City Housing Hamilton COMPLETED

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Wellness and Engagement: Learning From Examples Within City Housing Hamilton

 

City Housing Hamilton supports 11 sites specifically for adults 60 years of age and older. While many of their programs are led by resident volunteers, their Wellness Program is one of the few that is coordinated by staff (with day-to-day operations of Wellness Rooms supported by volunteer residents). is staff-led. Despite the request from residents, several initiatives have low participation, including the Falls Prevention Exercise Classes, Cooking for One, and the Good Food Box initiatives have low participation, and it is not fully understood why. A separate challenge is that both the Wellness Program rooms and the resident-led programs are dependent on a small number of dedicated volunteers and when they retire their role the programs collapse or service is disrupted. However, without a dedicated staff member to support resident volunteers the programs are at risk of failure.

The challenges posed to Sustain 4S06 students is to select one of the two issues identified above and work with staff members, community developers, and residents to better understand the barriers and opportunities. Once the problem is analyzed, and possible solutions developed, the students with support from City Housing will implement a solution and evaluate the results.

Students who select this project will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of complex issues related to housing, social dynamics, wellness, and citizen engagement. Furthermore, students will gain leadership experience in fostering sustainable and resilient communities.

Resources

Tenant Engagement Report Tenant Engagement Booklet The Good Food Box program is provided through Environment Hamilton.


Contact

Kelly Coxson Community Development Coordinator, City Housing Hamilton kelly.coxson@hamilton.ca

Ment-it: Cultivating Mentorships and Community in an Ambitious City COMPLETED

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Ment-it: Cultivating Mentorships and Community in an Ambitious City

 

Sustainability is a complex, system-wide issue. Sustainability problems are interdisciplinary problems, requiring interdisciplinary solutions. Identifying problems, generating sustainable solutions, and working to realize positive change, takes teamwork, collaboration, and community. The Executive Board of the Hamilton Sustainability Professionals Network (SPN)believe that great teams are formed first through personal connections, where both parties give and take in a reciprocal relationship. As the building blocks of creating great teams, community, and culture change, personal connections are not always easy to form and foster but they are worth the investment. Mentor-mentee relationships are an integral part of building the types of relationships where individuals share knowledge, meet and discuss common areas of interest, and start to build connections that can have a profound impact.

The goal of this project is to develop and help host a workshop session at the Hamilton HIVE’s annual young professional’s conference, HIVEX, which will educate young professionals about mentorship. Through storytelling, roundtable discussions, and workshop-style activity, this workshop will de-mystify common misconceptions around mentorship and offer steps that current or prospective mentors and mentees can use to form powerful personal connections, give back, and have positive, sustainable impact. The proposed objectives include the following: Present what ‘real’ mentor-mentee relationships look like in Hamilton right now; highlight the impact that mentor-mentee relationships can have for community development and personal growth; and inform people about how to get started on developing or enhancing their mentor-mentee relationships to have a positive, sustainable impact.

Students who take on this project will have the opportunity to design and conduct university-level primary research; develop connections across Hamilton’s diverse professional networks; gain experience presenting at a conference; hone their skills in project management, time management, organization, and communication; as well as have the opportunity to choose from Hamilton SPN’s Executive team members to be your personal mentor over the duration of the academic term. Exec members include: Maria Topalovic, Jayde Liebersbach, Janelle Trant, Jay Carter, Kate Whalen, Vikram Hardatt.

Contact

Vikram Hardatt Executive Board Member Hamilton Sustainability Professionals Network By day, Vikram is a Transportation Planner at IBI Group and Program Manager at Smart Commute Hamilton. vikram.hardatt@gmail.com

Reducing Barriers to Sobi Use On Campus COMPLETED

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Reducing Barriers to Sobi Use On Campus

 

The City of Hamilton, in partnership with SoBi, implemented a bike share program in 2015 with a fleet of 750 bikes.

Currently, there are 7 bike share stations on McMaster’s main campus, which offer substantial opportunity for students to use the service to get to and from Campus. Additionally, Sobi has consulted the Mac population to create accessible membership options. However, the parking lots are still full and line-ups at the HSR stops still exist. The question Sobi is posing to Sustain 3S03 students is “How do we increase student Sobi ridership by decreasing barriers?”. This project is open to student creativity and innovation.

Contacts

Peter Topalovic Project Manager Sustainable Mobility Programs City of Hamilton stdstpla2@Hamilton.ca

Active and Sustainable Travel to Secondary School: A strategy developed for students, by students COMPLETED

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Active and Sustainable Travel to Secondary School: A strategy developed for students, by students

 

The City of Hamilton’s Public Health Department has been working with Hamilton Elementary Schools since 2009 to help them develop and implement School Travel Plans (STP). While much success has been achieved through working with elementary schools, the same strategies have not been effective at the secondary school level.

Students in secondary school have greater autonomy to choose their mode of travel and are at a critical age where driving a personal automobile becomes an option for those who get their licence and have access to a vehicle. At the same time, these same students may also be taking on greater leadership roles through student government, clubs, and advocating for the things they care about. This provides the opportunity for student leadership rather than relying on school administration to advance ASST objectives. Additionally, secondary school students will likely be more receptive to working with University students, rather than City and/or school administrative staff, to learn about approaches to leadership and advocacy.

Students interested in this project will have the opportunity to work with City staff (from Public Health, Public Works, Planning and Economic Development) and local secondary schools to engage students in taking leadership on ASST, working with them to develop strategies that they feel are effective in engaging their peers, helping them to implement their plans, and report on the outcomes. Ultimately, reporting on a strategy to working with secondary school students to advance ASST through student leadership would support growth and expansion of the strategy to other elementary schools in Hamilton and beyond.

Resources

Regional ASST Information Hamilton ASST website Hamilton Active & Sustainable School Transportation Charter


Contact

Peter Topalovic Project Manager Sustainable Mobility Programs City of Hamilton peter.topalovic@hamilton.ca

Seedy Saturday 2018 COMPLETED

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Seedy Saturday 2018

 

Are you interested in the local food movement? Learning how to grow your own food? Connecting with Hamilton based farmers, seed suppliers, and local community groups addressing food security? Seedy Saturday is Hamilton’s annual one-day festival. Inspired by Seeds of Diversity Canada, this event brings together a wonderful community of like-minded vendors, environmental groups, and local organizations. It is the ‘go to’ place for anyone and everyone interested in backyard gardening, edible gardening, pollinator gardens, sustainability, heirloom and organic seed supplies, and more!

The goal is to develop a community seed exchange, promote sustainable and local products and practices, and share knowledge through workshops and presentations. This event has been organized by Green Venture since 2007, Hamilton’s environmental education organization. The 2018 event is scheduled for a Saturday in early February 2018. While the seed exchange will take place outside of the course timeframe, student are encouraged to host a ‘teaser’ event to spur interest among the student population and the broader community. Students are also encouraged to attend and/or volunteer with Green Venture at Seedy Saturday 2018 to experience the fruits of their effort.

Green Venture is looking for a dynamic team of Sustain 3S03 students to work with our coordinators to help shape the 2018 event. This would include researching and selecting a 2018 host location, research and inviting vendors and sponsors to participate, organizing fundraising initiatives like soliciting raffle prizes, researching and inviting guest speakers for the workshops, coordinating marketing for the event, and setting up logistics including recruiting volunteers.

If you are interested in this grass-roots local food festival and/or environmental non-profits, this is the project to develop and hone your skills in communication, community engagement, social marketing, and project management.

Contact

Laura Anderson Program Coordinator Green Venture laura.anderson@greenventure.ca

Designing a Mobile Greenhouse COMPLETED

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Designing a Mobile Greenhouse

 

Backyard Harvest is an urban farm growing ultra-local produce, using organic and biodynamic methods, in Hamilton, Ontario. The food is produced in 11 backyards in the Strathcona, Kirkendall and North End neighbourhoods resulting in the ability to harvest within 3 hours of market start. Backyard Harvest provides all the benefits of local food – flavour, nutrition, environmental, economic – and contributes to the resilience of our community. To address the continued demand for local food, Backyard Harvest is looking to build their own greenhouse in the city, enabling the earlier start of spring plants. The project will provide a unique opportunity to contribute to an existing vibrant enterprise while developing the communication, financial, project management and design skills necessary to implement sustainable change. Students will have the opportunity to research the various greenhouse options that are currently available and recommend the most appropriate design based on the physical constraints of the various sites. In addition, students will work towards preparing a project plan that identifies regulatory approvals, and may also engage in activities related to public consultation and financing that are necessary to achieve the social, environmental and financial objectives of the project. This project will result in a meaningful improvement to the local food system in Hamilton.

Contact

George Sweetman Green Light Projects In george@greenlightprojects.ca

Plant Identification at the Community Permaculture Lab

  AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: two student groups

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Plant Identification at the Community Permaculture Lab

The Community Permaculture Lab was born in autumn of 2017 and it all began with a man named Adam wanting to make a change on a large scale and a woman named Cynthia offering her backyard as a pilot project… The Community Permaculture Lab’s mission is to build resilience in our communities in order to live well in the face of climate emergency, through growing connections, knowledge, and application, year by year. Our goal is to see a Community Permaculture Lab in every neighborhood of Hamilton.” ~ Community Permaculture Lab

 

The community associated with constructing the CPL has worked diligently over the past 1.5 years to initiate and establish an outdoor teaching and learning facility, close to campus, that exemplifies permaculture (an ethical design system for people and Earth), living sustainably and community-campus communion.  

 

Resulting from their efforts, there are now a number of native plant species populating the garden; however, they are not yet identified by signage. The goal for this project will be to work with members of the CPL community to learn about the plant species; conduct additional research about the plants, their histories, and their importance to permaculture; and then create and install engaging and educational signage made using materials and processes that align with the 12 Permaculture Design Principles.   

 

The CPL meets every second Thursday and every fourth Saturday of the month. Students who choose this project should be available at some point between 10am and 2pm on those days to meet with community members and their community project champions. 

Community Project Champion(s):

Cynthia Meyer

 

 

Piloting a Bicycle Buddy Program to Encourage Student Active Transportation

  AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Piloting a Bicycle Buddy Program to Encourage Student Active Transportation

Promotion of active transportation is a promising solution to building physical activity into daily life for many university students and helping the University meet its goals of encouraging sustainable travel. Cycling mode share in Hamilton is currently 1.2%, and most cycling trips in the city start and end near the University. While this is promising, there is evidence that Hamilton has plenty of potential for further cycling growth especially among certain demographics like students. To encourage more students to bicycle, we need to understand how to engage and support those who do not currently cycle but are interested. One example is a Bike Buddy program that supports habit change by pairing individuals who want to develop cycling skills with an experienced cyclist.

Students will have the opportunity to conduct a feasibility study for implementing a Bike Buddy program on campus, as well as develop and facilitate an engagement campaign or workshop to connect students. While the latter deliverable is open to student creativity and innovation, it could include the following: sharing knowledge of safe routes and cycling programs in Hamilton, providing advice for riding in different seasons and settings, asking friends to help use SoBi bicycles.

Community Project Champion(s):

Elise Desjardins, Graduate student in the Master of Public Health program, Wilson Leader

 

 

Piloting a Bicycle Buddy Program to Encourage Student Active Transportation

  AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Piloting a Bicycle Buddy Program to Encourage Student Active Transportation

Promotion of active transportation is a promising solution to building physical activity into daily life for many university students and helping the University meet its goals of encouraging sustainable travel. Cycling mode share in Hamilton is currently 1.2%, and most cycling trips in the city start and end near the University. While this is promising, there is evidence that Hamilton has plenty of potential for further cycling growth especially among certain demographics like students. To encourage more students to bicycle, we need to understand how to engage and support those who do not currently cycle but are interested. One example is a Bike Buddy program that supports habit change by pairing individuals who want to develop cycling skills with an experienced cyclist.

Students will have the opportunity to conduct a feasibility study for implementing a Bike Buddy program on campus, as well as develop and facilitate an engagement campaign or workshop to connect students. While the latter deliverable is open to student creativity and innovation, it could include the following: sharing knowledge of safe routes and cycling programs in Hamilton, providing advice for riding in different seasons and settings, asking friends to help use SoBi bicycles.

Community Project Champion(s):

Elise Desjardins, Graduate student in the Master of Public Health program, Wilson Leader

 

 

Mapping Community Desires for Friendly Streets  AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Mapping Community Desires for Friendly Streets 

Students will be responsible for planning, executing and disseminating the results of a participatory mapping workshop with community members in the Centennial neighbourhoods (Riverdale). The objective of this workshop is to learn more about community concerns and priority areas that we can focus to make Centennial streets friendlier. Students will be responsible for planning out the workshop, which includes connecting with community members (may need to visit the area), preparing materials such as maps, finding space to run the workshop in, and performing background research, with materials that include: the Friendly Streets Toolkit, Centennial Neighbourhoods Secondary Plan, and Centennial Transportation Master Plan. Friendly Streets will provide a protocol for how to run the participatory mapping workshop, based on other workshops we have run, but this protocol is open to revision. After the workshop, students will be responsible for adding the data to our existing maps, such as this,  through ArcGIS’ online tools. Lastly, students will report on this data through the Friendly Streets Blog and social media platforms.

Community Project Champion(s):

Waverley Birch, Project Manager, Friendly Streets

Beatrice Ekoko, Project Manager, Friendly Streets

 

 

Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University 

Meal Exchange‘s Hungry for Knowledge report was released in Maclean’s magazine in October of 2016. This report was the largest cross-campus investigation of student food insecurity in Canada and determined that 2 in 5 students on five university campuses had experienced moderate or severe levels of food insecurity – the inability to access sufficient healthy food due to financial constraints. In 2018, Meal Exchange worked with McMaster, including the MSU and SUSTAIN 3S03 students to identify food insecurity on campus and the contributing factors.  The results can be found in the student’s final report page here, which shows that 51% of students experience food insecurity but that only 24% of them use programming and services available to them.

 

The Hungry for Knowledge survey has helped us to learn more about food insecurity among McMaster students and to raise awareness of this issue among the students and campus administration. Specifically, the results of the survey and a connected study were presented to the Okanagan Charter Committee, including the then President, Patrick Deane. As a result, the Committee has championed broader discussions of this issue within the university.

 

This next phase of the project includes conducting a needs assessment of the McMaster environment to see what services are already available to support students, identify gaps, and research other best practices on campuses across the country. Following the needs assessment, a  systems workshops would bring key student leaders, faculty, and administration together to highlight the gaps and work through ideas to fill them. From the systems workshop, students would identify the limitations of the different campus-based strategies for addressing food insecurity and assess the sustainability of different potential solutions (ex. how suggested solutions could be implemented, funded, and sustained). Meal Exchange brings experience in both aspects of this project from their work with other institutions, and the MSU VP Education is committed to helping advance this work and the broader discussions within the Students Union.

 

This project will allow McMaster students to become a part of Canada’s national student food movement and connect with a network of peers, faculty, and community and advocacy organizations across the country.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Jamie White, Student Engagement and Events Coordinator, Meal Exchange

Shemar Hackett, VP Admin, McMaster Students Union

 

 

From Trash to Treasure: Refurbishing unwanted computers for community benefit AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: two student groups

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From Trash to Treasure: Refurbishing unwanted computers for community benefit

McMaster disposes of approximately 2,000 [K1] computers annually. Once they are no longer needed on campus, these computers and other IT waste are recycled. However, while no longer suitable for university-level research, study, or operations many of these computers can be refurbished and donated within the community for many more years of use. GreenByte is a local NFP that does just that, and in addition to being recognized for enhancing ‘digital equality’ and contributing to Hamilton being named one of the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 [1] they also gave a laptop to every grade 8 student from Cathy Weaver Elementary School in 2018 [2].

 

The goal of this project is to establish best practices, with respect to both community engagement and operational process, for university IT reuse that enhances the lives of underserved members of the local community. Key objectives are to: create and disseminate information to all campus stakeholders using various platforms, consult members of the campus community in program enhancement, engage members of the McMaster community to contribute their IT waste; as well as to ensure data security, create multiple avenues for IT reuse, and maintain responsible recycling of end-of-life IT equipment.

 

This project is open to two student groups. One group will focus on communication and engagement of students, faculty, and staff. The other project will focus on the process for collection, security, sorting, refurbishing, and donating. Project teams are expected to work in collaboration, and both project groups will establish and report on associated measures of success.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Craig MacDonald, Director, Maintenance Services, Facility Services

Richard Godsmark, Director of Technology Innovation, Partnerships, and Risk Management, University Technology Services (project collaborator, mentor, and advisor)

Ryan Johnson, GreenByte (project collaborator, mentor, and advisor)

 

 

Greening the Grind at McMaster AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Greening the Grind at McMaster 

Businesses can have a major impact on individual behaviour. A café, for example, can support individual sustainability efforts by applying a discount for those who bring a reusable mug, and they can also go above and beyond by being a champion for sustainable change, the latter requiring significantly more effort, community engagement, and leadership.

The 2019/2020 MSU Executive is striving to take a leadership role through Greening The Grind. The Grind has been renovated and many sustainability initiatives have been implemented, such the inclusion of a compost bin, sourcing biodegradable cutlery, and removal of plastic bags. These changes will support individuals striving to reduce waste by diverting garbage and recycling to compost. However, they aren’t stopping there. The MSU is striving to champion environmental sustainability while also reducing costs for students. One option being considered is to separate the embedded costs of cups and cutlery for those who bring their own. For example, if your meal currently cost $5.00, such a change would result in a reduced costs of $4.90 with an optional purchase of biodegradable cutlery for an additional $0.10*.

The idea is that because humans are loss averse, being charged for single-use items will have a more dramatic impact than receiving a rebate for bringing your own. However, this same principle of loss aversion can make behaviour change difficult [1]. Such “nudges” have been shown to have good but mixed results [2 3] in supporting environmentally-friendly behaviour change, which will be key areas of research for this project. Additionally, student perception and support for this initiative will be imperative for long-term sustainability of the initiative.

The goal of this project is to enhance the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of The Grind through student engagement, education, and policy change.

Community Project Champion:

Alexandrea Johnston, VP Finance, MSU

 

 

The Solitary Bee Project at McMaster AVAILABLE

 

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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The Solitary Bee Project at McMaster 

In collaboration with Simran Jolly of The Solitary Bee Project, in June of 2019, 50 solitary bee houses were designed, constructed, and erected at McMaster University (read the Daily News story here). In addition to the goal of creating bee homes on campus, the objectives of this project were to bring together the community, educate individuals on the importance of solitary bees, and create a SUSTAIN 3S03 for the fall of 2019.

 

As a follow-up to the efforts in June, SUSTAIN 3S03 students will investigate:

  • Which locations were successful/unsuccessful?
  • Which materials were successful/unsuccessful?
  • Is the design effective?
  • How do we educate passersby about this initiative?
  • How do we track and record this information for others to utilize?
  • How can we further enhance this initiative and support solitary bees on campus and in the broader community?

 

The goal of this project is to share information on how individuals can support solitary bees through the creation and maintenance of bee houses.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Craig MacDonald, Director, Maintenance Services, Facility Services, Facility Services

Simran Jolly, Founder, The Solitary Bee Project

 

 

Sustainable Enhancement of the Essential Utensils Kit AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Sustainable Enhancement of the Essential Utensils Kit  

In the fall of 2018, three SUSTAIN 3S03 students, Sabrina Dasouki, Billy Olds, and Kristal Ramnarine, created the Essential Utensils Kit and later went on to work with the The Forge to learn how to start their own business. They learned a lot and made some great connections, but have yet to start their business.

 

After seeing them highlighted in this Daily News story, the Campus Store reached out to see if they could carry the Essential Utensils Kit as a pilot project in the fall of 2019. This would align with The Campus Store’s work to enhance the sustainability of their operations and of the products they sell, as well as to support a new initiative where they support four McMaster entrepreneurs by providing a venue to test out the sale of their products.

 

The challenge is in how to create a sustainable business model and operation for the Essential Utensils Kit, one that would source materials most sustainably and ethically, create new ‘green jobs’ for members of the community, teach new skills to employees, leverage resources already available, and give back to the community. Some questions for consideration include:

  • What type of material should the cutlery be?
  • Where should products and materials be sourced from?
  • What kind of ‘green jobs’ could be created and how can they include social, environmental, and economic aspects of sustainability?
  • What type of meaningful and transferable skills can be taught through these jobs?
  • What resources or tools are already available and accessible on or near campus?
  • How could this business also give back?

 

Creating a sustainable business that has positive social and environmental impacts while still being profitable is harder than we think. There are many competing interests that must be weighed. This project will challenge students to think critically about the various aspects of sustainability, provide them with mentorship from both young entrepreneurs and seasoned retailers, and enable them to make a real sustainable impact.

 

 

 

Community Project Champions:

Sabrina Dasouki, Co-Founder, Essential Utensils Kit

Diane Warwick, Merchandise Manager, Campus Store (for mentorship and support)

 

 

Bags at the Campus Store AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Bags at the Campus Store

McMaster’s Campus Store is on a mission to do good for the environment and for students, and one of their goals is to reduce the environmental impact of single-use bags and support students in making sustainable lifestyle choices by bringing a reusable bag or backpack that they already own. To support this shift, they have eliminated plastic, considered various alternative such as paper and oxo-biodegradable, and landed on a reinforced plastic tote as an alternative for purchase. While this change may seem easy, we can assure you that it is not.

 

The Campus Store recognizes that this issue is not so clear cut, just like most sustainability challenges. This Huffington Post article sheds some light on the paper vs plastic issue and how data and information are necessary, but the message can often leave us without a clear direction forward. The idea is that because humans are loss averse, being charged for single-use items will have a more dramatic impact on behaviour change than receiving a rebate for bringing your own is well received. However, this same principle of loss aversion can make behaviour change difficult [1]. Such “nudges” have been shown to have good but mixed results [2 3] in supporting environmentally-friendly behaviour change, which will be key areas of research for this project. Additionally, student perception and support will be imperative for long-term sustainability of the initiative.

 

The goal of this project will be to support the implementation of initiatives that will support sustainable behaviour change with respect to single-use bags at the Campus Store.

 

While this project is open to student creativity, opportunities may include research into examples of other bag initiatives of stores and municipalities to learn best practices, creating a social media campaign highlighting those who bring their own bag, or even leading a public lecture or debate about various types of bags.

 

Community Project Champion(s):

Louise Walker, Sales Floor Manager, Campus Store

Adam Chiaravalle, Facility Services (mentorship and support)

Gabrielle Gonsalves, Sustainability Student Intern (mentorship and support)

 

 

Compostable Containers and Cutlery at Hospitality Services AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Compostable Containers and Cutlery at Hospitality Services

McMaster’s Hospitality Services has made many sustainable changes to their operations and services that aim to reduce waste generated on campus, including:

  • Using china and metal cutlery in dining locations such as Centro, Bridges, and East Meets West,
  • Expanding both the Eco-Takeout Container Program and the Bring Your Own Container program to support waste-free takeout, and
  • Sourcing biodegradable containers and cutlery for when and where waste-free options are not available.

However, neither of these are simple “if you build it, they will come” scenarios. Hospitality Services recognizes that it’s not enough to just implement the programs. Research, education, promotion, communication, and community engagement are all imperative for sustainable behaviour change to happen. This project will focus specifically on the biodegradable containers and cutlery to support Hospitality Services sustainability efforts as well as to promote and support sustainable behaviours of students, faculty, and staff.

 

Community Project Champion:

Liana Bontempo, Wellness & Sustainability Manager, Hospitality Services

 

 

Enhancing Sustainability of Catered Student Events at McMaster AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Enhancing Sustainability of Catered Student Events at McMaster

McMaster’s Catering Services, part of Hospitality Services, worked with SUSTAIN 3S03 students in the fall of 2018 on a project entitled, Catering Sustainable Events at McMaster, whereby students and staff worked together to add more and label menu items as Gluten Free, Halal, Vegetarian, and Vegan. The group piloted two student-led events as part of the implementation of the project, and made recommendations for a future project that would be focused on obtaining feedback from student event planners and event participants to understand student attitudes and behaviours around the changes made, as well as determine if/how further enhancements can be made.

While this project is open to student creativity and innovation, the initial idea is for SUSTAIN students to work with Catering Services, student customers who host catered events, and student event attendees to understand barriers and opportunities to enhance sustainability at catered events, to identify and implement appropriate changes, and then measure and report on the outcomes from piloting at least five sustainably catered student events.

Community Project Champion:

Catherine Young, Senior Manager Administration & Catering for Hospitality Services

 

 

Sustainability Day at McMaster: Tree Planting and Student Education AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Sustainability Day at McMaster: Tree Planting and Student Education

Trees for Hamilton is a non-profit organization whose mission is to plant native trees in those areas of need in Hamilton and improve the long-term health of those living in our community. Trees for Hamilton develops, promotes, and facilitates projects which will preserve, conserve, and enhance natural landscapes and environment of Hamilton. (Source)

After a great success in 2018, this project will be continuing and expanding for the Fall of 2019. This year the goal is to engage McMaster students in this on-campus event and raise awareness about the importance of trees and their impact on climate change.

The challenge for McMaster students is to organize a tree-planting event, for the chosen date of Sustainability Day, October 23, 2019, which will include fundraising, choosing and receiving approval for the location of the tree planting on campus, researching what native species of trees are best in the chosen location, and gathering volunteers for the event. Additionally, students will need to plan food as well as marketing and promotion before, during, and after the event. Students will also be responsible for determining and reporting on measures of success to share the event outcomes. Preparing a report on the opportunities, challenges, and recommendations for future events will support the continuity and enhancement of a similar event in future years.

Community Project Champion:

Martha Kilian, Nature at McMaster

Wayne TerryberryCoordinator, Natural Lands & Outdoor Recreation

 

 

Towards a Sustainable Future: The Green Room Certification in Residence Program AVAILABLE

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: two student groups

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Towards a Sustainable Future: The Green Room Certification in Residence Program

The Green Room Certification (GRC) program is an opportunity for students in the Outdoor Leadership Living Learning Community to learn about how they can decrease their impact on the environment while living in residence. Participating students can follow the GRC checklist of ways to implement physical and behavioral changes in their residence room to be more sustainable, and then sign up to have their room certified, based on the checklist, and receive recognition and/or prize incentive for taking part.

SUSTAIN students who select this project will act as Student Project Champions and will be responsible for developing the GRC checklist and related learning strategies.

The GRC program will be split into two components:

  1. Checklist
    1. Educating about the GRC
    2. Researching what McMaster currently has available to students (Eco takeout container program, Sobi racks, etc.)
    3. Recruiting students to sign up for the GRC
    4. Conducting monthly ‘check ins’ with the signed up students
  2. Strategies
    1. Consists of active and passive activities for students
      1. Active: workshops, tours, movie nights, gatherings/talks etc. for participating students
      2. Passive: survey, poster, signage etc.
    2. Five key themes have been identified that will be the focus for the GRC strategies, split between two project teams. One team will work on Energy, Water and Transportation themed strategies; and another will work on Food and Waste themed strategies. For each key theme, the students will develop one active activity and one a passive activity.

This project presents a great opportunity for SUSTAIN students to act as Student Project Champions and encourage residence students to think about their impact on the environment and learn about steps they can take to decrease their impact on the environment.

Community Project Champion:

Katie Fitzgerald, Program Administrator, Healthy Leadership Academy

 

 

Students Supporting Students at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Students Supporting Students at McMaster

With the vision to change the way people view the “gig economy”, Gigit’s mission is to help connect people with the community around them, no matter where they are.

Through an online platform and smartphone application, people can both offer and find services, either for money or as a volunteer. For example, a budding photographer looking to build their portfolio and a not-for-profit organization looking for someone to help capture images at their annual charity gala can easily find each other through the Gigit platform.

The challenge for Sustain 3S03 students is to learn 1) what services students need at McMaster, and 2) what skills students have to offer, either for volunteer hours or a fee. For example, do students at Mac need mentorship from upper-year students, opportunities to have conversations in a new language, study help, support to learn a new software, or help editing their written work? Are there students at McMaster who could offer these services to their peers?

While the goal of this project is not to promote Gigit specifically, the findings will produce information about the McMaster population that can be useful to on-campus departments, such as the Student Success Centre, as well as to Gigit to better support Mac students the larger gig economy in Hamilton.

This project is ideal for students interested in working with and learning from a tech start-up, working in the volunteer or not-for-profit sector, working in the gig-economy, and/or supporting McMaster student development.  

Community Project Champion(s):

Chris McIntosh, President Gigit

 

 

Composting Education Campaign at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

 

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Composting Champions at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Composting Champions at McMaster

McMaster University is extending its composting program from the kitchen areas into public areas. Resulting from a successful SUSTAIN 3S03 project from 2017, you can see the first of these permanent, public-facing bins in the Student Centre, just in front of Union Market.

However, just because we put the bins in place, does not mean that people know they are there, know how to use them correctly, and feel empowered to make a difference through their actions in waste disposal.

The goal of this project will be to develop a Composting Champions program at McMaster, whereby staff, faculty, students can become Champions in their respective area and/or network. Students will be encouraged to reach out to groups and departments across campus, learn more about the barriers to taking part and/or becoming a Composting Champion, and then develop resources and engagement activities to support the program.  

Community Project Champion(s):

Adam Chiaravalle, Sustainable Food Systems Advocate

 

 

Trees for Hamilton COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

 

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 Catering Sustainable Meetings at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: one student group

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Catering Sustainable Meetings at McMaster

McMaster’s Hospitality Services is working to become more sustainable, and this extends to their Catering Services department. If you’ve ever been to a McMaster-catered event, you will have experienced their services. You may have even experienced the diversity in the types of catering they provide – some events are simple platters of coffee and cookies, others include platters of sandwiches and fruit trays, and others include buffet or plated meals. All types of catered events can benefit from additional consciousness towards sustainability, but it’s a joint effort between Hospitality Services, the clients who order the catering, and the participants who attend the meeting or event.

Questions related to this challenge include: 1. What changes can be made to catered events to enhance sustainability? 2. How can Catering Services support the changes? 3. How can clients who place orders be made aware of and encouraged to adopt the sustainable changes? 4. How can attendees of the events play a role to also support the sustainable changes that have been made? 5. How can Catering Services communicate the changes made and the results achieved in order to continue along this sustainable path?

While this project is open to student creativity and innovation, the initial idea is for Sustain students to work with Catering Services staff members, customers who host catered events, and students and staff members who attend catered events to understand barriers and opportunities to enhance sustainability at catered events, to identify and implement appropriate changes, highlight opportunities in a Sustainable Catering Guide, and then measure and report on the outcomes through piloting at least five sustainably catered events.

Community Project Champion(s):

Catherine Young, Senior Manager Administration & Catering for Hospitality Services

 Reduce Food Packaging Waste at McMaster COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: One student group

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Reduce Food Packaging Waste at McMaster

You’ve seen it done many times before; companies encourage customers to bring a reusable container to reduce waste. Examples include: reusable grocery bags at grocery stores, reusable jars at Bulk Barn, reusable mugs at Nook Café and containers at Mustard Seed Co-op. But can we extend this to cafeteria and restaurant food?

Imagine if your sandwich could be placed in the reusable container you brought from home, rather than being wrapped in paper and plastic? It would reduce the packaging waste and also allow you to keep half fresh for later, possibly reducing food waste too. However, what are the barriers and challenges to implementing such a program and encouraging people to adopt it?

Students are challenged with identifying opportunities and barriers involved, working with Hospitality Services to pilot a program for accepting reusable containers in at least one eatery with at least one food product, and reporting on the outcomes and recommendations for next steps.

Community Project Champion(s):

Chris Roberts, Director of Hospitality Services

 Green Room Certification in Residence COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: Two student groups (one for each theme area)

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Green Room Certification in Residence

  • Applicable to: Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: Three student groups (one for each theme area)

The Green Room Certification (GRC) program is an opportunity for students in the Outdoor Leadership Living Learning Community to learn about how they can decrease their impact on the environment while living in residence. Participating students can follow a checklist of ways to implement physical and behavioral changes in their residence room to be more sustainable, and then sign up to have their room certified, based on the checklist, and receive recognition and/or prize incentive for taking part. See inspiration from Carlton’s GRC program here.

SUSTAIN students will be able to act as Student Project Champions where they will be responsible for developing the GRC program and related learning opportunities, such as workshops, events, tours, and challenges, for participating students. SUSTAIN students will also be responsible for assessing the students’ rooms and behaviours, having coaching conversations, and designating rooms with the GRC. Suggested GRC theme areas include Sustainable Eating & Drinking; Waste Reduction & Diversion; and Green Cleaning & Personal Care. Suggested learning opportunities could include a fun Foodie Tour or Coffee Tour to visit different eateries/cafes on or near campus to learn about sustainable choices, a Personal Waste Audit and workshop on how to reduce packaging and food waste, and a Green Cleaning and Personal Care workshop where participants learn how to make and use their own products (see here for ideas).

Fostering leadership opportunities for residence students to act as sustainability ambassadors is an important component of this project.

Community Project Champion(s):

Monica Palkowski, Community Development Coordinator, Residence Life, McMaster University

 No Lunch Money: Enhancing Student Engagement and Participation COMPLETED

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No Lunch Money: Enhancing Student Engagement and Participation

 

This project is great for Sustain students who want to work on a sustainability initiative that has social, environmental, and economic impacts. No Lunch Money is not just about saving lunch money, it’s also about forming community and social connects as well as about reducing food waste.

The challenge that NLM is facing is that we want every student at Mac to know about us and to feel comfortable taking part if they like. We understand that part of this includes removing stigma, connecting with student values, and also to demonstrating our legitimacy. However, we realize that there is much more we can do and we want to hear what students think.

Sustain students who take on this project will be encouraged to review and critique No Lunch Money’s current services and operations from a student engagement perspective, develop and conduct a student survey to see what’s working, what’s not, what we could do to be better, and from the group’s analysis and survey findings, provide a report of recommendations as well as work with NLM to implement one recommendation and report on the outcome of the change. Ideally, students will be able to identify a problem, recommend and implement a solution, as well as measure and report on the change in student engagement and participation as a result. This project is open to student innovation and creativity.

Community Project Champion(s):

Sai Garlapati, Chair of NoLunchMoney

 Upcycling Jute Coffee Sacks COMPLETED

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Upcycling Jute Coffee Sacks

 

Detour Coffee Roasters is one of Canada’s earliest speciality coffee roasters and they continually strive towards sustainable practices through various aspects of their business, including sourcing and processing. One area for opportunity is with the jute coffee sacks that are used to transport coffee beans from places like Rwanda and Ethiopia to their roasting facility in Burlington, Ontario. Over 100 jute bags are accumulated each month. Currently, the bags cannot be composted in local facilities and are disposed of as waste. However, there are a number of uses for jute bags (just Google or Pinterest the possibilities!)

The challenge for Sustain students is to develop a sustainable process for converting the bags into something of greater value that can be sold at Detour’s retail shops and by their retail partners across the country. Measures of success include: 1) having at least one upcycled product that can be sold during the holiday seasons starting in November and 2) having an established process that will transcend the student’s time on the project. This is a great project for students interested in developing a sustainable social enterprise and/or forming collaborations with existing groups or businesses.

Additional support for this project will be provided by Manufacturing students in McMaster’s W. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology.

Community Project Champion(s):

Alex Yurek, President, Detour Coffee Roasters

 Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University COMPLETED

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Hungry for Knowledge: Student Food Insecurity at McMaster University

 

Meal Exchange‘s Hungry for Knowledge report was released in Maclean’s magazine in October of 2016. This report was the largest cross-campus investigation of student food insecurity in Canada, and determined that 2 in 5 students on five university campuses had experienced moderate or severe levels of food insecurity – the inability to access sufficient healthy food due to financial constraints. Meal Exchange is now working with the campuses included in the Hungry for Knowledge report to develop innovative programs to reduce student food insecurity.

As student food insecurity is influenced by a variety of factors at the campus, community, city, province, and federal level, we are interested in discovering the prevalence of food insecurity at McMaster University, the barriers faced by McMaster students, and the student groups who are most at risk. The Hungry for Knowledge survey can be used to learn more about food insecurity among McMaster students. We would also like to get student ideas and suggestions on ways to raise awareness of this issue among the student population.

This project would allow McMaster students to become a part of Canada’s national student food movement and connect with a network of peers, faculty, and community and advocacy organizations across the country, as well as build essential research methods and knowledge translation skills.

This project is open to two groups – one group to conduct the survey and another group to hold awareness-raising events and/or advocacy activities on campus.

Community Project Champion(s):

Merryn Maynard, Meal Exchange

Stephanie Bertolo, VP Admin, McMaster Students Union

Reducing Household Food Waste in Hamilton COMPLETED

  • Applicable to:  Sustain 4S06
  • Open to: one student group

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Reducing Household Food Waste in Hamilton

Consumer behaviour is one of the root causes for edible food being wasted or discarded. To reduce food waste in Hamilton, the City is planning to initiate a Food Waste Reduction Action Plan in the community.  To support this initiative, the City is interested in gathering data on residents’ attitudes and perceptions towards food waste in their household, such as perceptions about how much food they waste, why it is wasted, desire to reduce food waste, and motivators, barriers and challenges related to reducing food waste .The challenges for Sustain 4S06 students will be to conduct a study to learn about residents’ perceptions and attitudes towards food waste in Hamilton, analyze the data, summarize the findings, and work with the City to evaluate possible solutions. Once a possible solution has been identified, students will work to implement the solution and assess its effectiveness in reducing food waste.

Community Project Champion(s):

Ruby Samra, Public Health Dietician

 

 

 Accelerating Community Representation – Dismantling Barriers to Diverse Leadership in Hamilton COMPLETED

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Dismantling Barriers to Diverse Leadership in Hamilton

The goal of the project is to identify barriers that prevent women, Indigenous residents, and racialized individuals from being represented in leadership roles in our city and determine what actions our community can take to address this problem. It is our hope that measurable change can come out of the project. The idea for this project came out of the 2017 Our Future Hamilton Summit, which is the largest community engagement summit in Hamilton and one of the largest in the province. Over 430 residents, community partners, and civic advocates attended the 2017 OFH Summit to explore barriers to democratic engagement and identify areas for improvement. Through facilitated table discussions, attendees identified increased community representation as a recommended action for improving democratic engagement in Hamilton. This project will support the work of Our Future Hamilton which is the city’s 25-Year Community vision. To learn more about Our Future Hamilton, visit: hamilton.ca/ourfuturehamilton. Students involved with this project will develop skills in research, communication and community engagement. They will also have the opportunity to grow their network and meet community leaders in the city.

Community Project Champion:

Cindy Mutch, Senior Project Manager, Our Future Hamilton

Greg Iarusso, Assistant Community Planner

 Food Waste at McMaster COMPLETED

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Food Waste at McMaster

 

According to a 2011 McMaster Waste Audit, food waste accounted for nearly 50% of garbage, by volume, in the Commons Building. While this may seem shocking, it is consistent with the national trends shown here, along with the stat that “about 80% of consumer food waste was once perfectly edible”. There are multiple stages in the food process, many of which happen before the food even gets to the store or kitchen. Once the food has made its way to the final distribution point, consumers like you and me have the ability to impact what happens next.

At McMaster, Hospitality Service, a group of student food advocates including No Lunch Money and Mac Bread Bin, as well as sustainable-food superstar Adam Chiaravalle, are working together to identify and create solutions to the problems of food waste on campus. While this project is open to student innovation, some of the questions that have been posed include: How can we most effectively order and prepare the right amount of food each day? After trying to minimize leftovers, what happens to any remaining food? How can we ensure edible food is shared first for consumption and with the utmost concern for food safety and personal health and wellbeing. Students will have the opportunity to investigate the issue of food waste at McMaster; develop strategies for action; and make real, positive, and sustainable change.

Contacts

Chris Roberts

Director of Hospitality Services

roberch@mcmaster.ca

Adam Chiaravalle

Sustainable Food Systems Advocate

Block Party: A Strategy for Community Engagement  COMPLETED

  • Applicable to: Sustin 3S03
  • Open to: One student group

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Block Party: A Strategy for Community Engagement

 

  • Applicable to: Sustin 3S03
  • Open to: One student group

You might be wondering, what type of block party are we talking about? Good question. The City of Hamilton has developed a guide to hosting a block party with the goals of increasing community engagement, creating a safe and accessible environment, and expanding the public realm through community-led urban intervention. Additional characteristics of a block party would then include: closing the street to vehicular traffic; maintaining an all-inclusive and open invitation; and activating the public realm.

The challenge that the City of Hamilton is posing to Sustain 3S03 students is, “What value does a block party bring to members of the community?”. While this project is open to student creativity and innovation, some initial ideas include hosting a Halloween block party as a way to promote walkability and enhance safety for young trick-or-treaters. As a not-so-fun fact, this article suggests that Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian fatalities.

Students who take on this project will develop skills in research, municipal policy, community engagement, sustainable mobility, and injury prevention and public health.

Contacts

Peter Topalovic Project Manager Sustainable Mobility Programs City of Hamilton stdstpla2@hamilton.ca

Neighbourhoods as Incubators for Small Business Enterprise and Community Building COMPLETED

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Neighbourhoods as Incubators for Small Business Enterprise and Community Building

 

With an aging population, older housing stock, and the influence of gentrification, many residents may be in need of external home repairs, but lack the expertise and/or finances to pay for them. Unshoveled sidewalks and other exterior property concerns, such as overgrown lawns and broken fences, result in potentially dangerous situations for residents and neighbours. Non-compliance with city by-laws including the “Snow Removal By-law 03-296” and the “Yard Maintenance By-law 10-118” results in fines and compliance orders for property owners. While volunteer-based programs like Snow Angels and skill-development programs like the Neighbourhood Home Improvement Program have been developed, they struggle with on-going financial sustainability, volunteer recruitment and retention, or meeting skill requiring.

The needs within community are varied, but through the support of engaged citizens and City departments like the Neighbourhood Action Strategy (NAS) and Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), localized approaches can be developed and implemented.

As part of community conversations and neighbourhood actions, the need for a program of this sort, is evident. It’s believed that the trade skills exist within the community, but are not being accessed for reasons including liability insurance, as well as skills in marketing and business development. Those who may be interested in investing time and energy in developing their skills and starting a small business may not know the wide array of resources, grants, and supports available to them. Connecting residents to available services offered, including the Hamilton Tool Library for tool rentals as well as the Gigit app for connecting needs and services in Hamilton, and then to those in the community who could benefit from their services, would provide a win-win-win for homeowners, skilled individuals, and the city as a whole.

Resources

Our Future Hamilton Reports Neighbourhood Action Strategy Snow Angels Small Business Enterprise Centre Gigit


Contact

Jocelyn Strutt Project Manager, Neighbourhood Action Strategy City of Hamilton jocelyn.strutt@hamilton.ca

Cycle Hamilton: Creating Real Value for Individuals and Businesses COMPLETED

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Cycle Hamilton: Creating Real Value for Individuals and Businesses

Formed in 2015, Cycle Hamilton was developed with the mission to get more people on bikes in Hamilton. Cycle Hamilton is “a member-supported coalition of individuals, communities, and organizations that works together to promote a healthy, safe, and sustainable cycling culture in Hamilton”. As an advocacy group, its power is in its membership. The more members it has, the stronger the voice, and the more influence the organization has to inspire positive change.

Over the initial two years of development, Cycle Hamilton focused on developing as a formal organization, engaging a board of directors, a strong volunteer base, and most recently engaged in broad community consultation to develop a 3-year strategic plan. Now that development is well underway and a foundation has been built, Cycle Hamilton is well equipped to grow its membership. The question that Cycle Hamilton is posing to Sustain 3S03 students is “How do we create real value for individuals and/or businesses?” Students who take on this project will develop skills in research, communication, community engagement, developing value propositions, and marketing. Students will also have the opportunity to identify and meet with local business to gain their perspectives and discuss opportunities for collaboration.

Contacts

Jay Krause Membership Program Coordinator Cycle Hamilton krausejt@mcmaster.ca

Developing a Municipal Sustainability Strategy in Port Hope, Ontario COMPLETED

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Developing a Municipal Sustainability Strategy in Port Hope, Ontario

 

Port Hope was recently listed as an Area of Concern by Environment and Climate Change Canada due to “a legacy of contamination from the operation of waste management practices of Eldorado Mining and Refining between 1933 and 1953 [which] led to an estimated 85,000-95000 cubic meters of sediment containing low-level radioactive material within the turning basin and west slip of the Port Hope Harbour”. In response, the federal government has committed to spending $1.28 billion over 10 years to clean up the low-level radioactive waste. Part of Port Hope’s action plan, as established by their new Centre of Excellence Working Group is to develop partnerships with educational institutions and investigate educational opportunities. While much of the current focus is on environmental remediation of the contaminated lands as well as on waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, Port Hope is utilizing the momentum and support to also develop a long-term sustainability plan for the municipality.

Students interested in conducting research on best practice for long-term sustainability strategies, such as this one in Freiburg, Germany, and making recommendations on how Port Hope could tailor and then utilize some of the strategies that have been successful elsewhere should contact Kate Whalen.

While this project is highly research-focused, it will expected that students will work with Port Hope to achieve some level of actioned result, which may take the form of community consultation, survey development and analysis, and/or delivering a presentation of findings and recommendations.

Resources

Port Hope Area of Concern, Environment and Climate Change Port Hope’s Centre of Excellence Working Group $1.28B for Port Hope radioactive cleanup (CBC Jan 2012) 30 Years of Planning Continuity in Frieiburg, Germany


Contact

Kevin Narraway Manager of Marketing, Port Hope KNarraway@porthope.ca

Enabling Entrepreneurship through the “Gig” Economy COMPLETED

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Enabling Entrepreneurship through the “Gig” Economy

 

According to this article in the BBC, the ‘gig’ economy can be defined as “a labour market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs”. The gig economy is growing and it’s growing fast. According to the iLabour Project, the online gig economy already grew 26% in the past year. This article in Forbes shares why many millennials are embracing this new style of work, due to more flexibility, autonomy, and to ease into entrepreneurship. This report published by McKinsey company examines the benefit and challenges of independent work and captures the ways people make money in this space.

Started by members from a local software company, and then further developed and launched as part of a Sustain 4S06 project team in 2016/17, the smartphone application titled Gigit was created. Gigit was developed to help make both volunteer and job connections through smartphone technology. The app started out for volunteers only and has since developed opportunity to connect people for paid gigs. With an objective to be a made-in-Hamilton solution, Gigit Marketplace Inc. wants to know what local millennials think about the gig economy and how Gigit can help. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Gigit team to make app recommendations and developments as well as to pilot the enhanced technology. A challenge to address is to increase adoption of gigit through creative ways in practical settings. This project is open to student creativity and innovation.

Contacts

Midhat Malik Gigit Marketplace midhat@gigitmarketplace.com

Student Impact on the Environment, with a Focus on Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling COMPLETED

  • Applicable to: Sustain 3S03
  • Open to: Three student groups

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Student Impact on the Environment, with a Focus on Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling

 

The McMaster Students Union (MSU), led by President Chukky Ibe, has identified waste reduction, reuse, and recycling on campus as areas for improvement and opportunity. While there are various kinds of waste, the MSU is focused on addressing electronics, coffee cups, and take-out containers specifically. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with the MSU President and executive team in tackling one or more of these complex sustainability issues. As an exciting addition, the project outcomes will be highlighted in the MSU’s annual State of the Union report, as the issues associated with these particular waste items have been formally included on the President’s Year Plan. Students wishing to work on this project are requested to specify their interest in electronics, coffee cups, and/or take-out containers.

Contacts

Chukky Ibe MSU President president@msu.mcmaster.ca

Wellness and Engagement: Learning From Examples Within City Housing Hamilton COMPLETED

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Wellness and Engagement: Learning From Examples Within City Housing Hamilton

 

City Housing Hamilton supports 11 sites specifically for adults 60 years of age and older. While many of their programs are led by resident volunteers, their Wellness Program is one of the few that is coordinated by staff (with day-to-day operations of Wellness Rooms supported by volunteer residents). is staff-led. Despite the request from residents, several initiatives have low participation, including the Falls Prevention Exercise Classes, Cooking for One, and the Good Food Box initiatives have low participation, and it is not fully understood why. A separate challenge is that both the Wellness Program rooms and the resident-led programs are dependent on a small number of dedicated volunteers and when they retire their role the programs collapse or service is disrupted. However, without a dedicated staff member to support resident volunteers the programs are at risk of failure.

The challenges posed to Sustain 4S06 students is to select one of the two issues identified above and work with staff members, community developers, and residents to better understand the barriers and opportunities. Once the problem is analyzed, and possible solutions developed, the students with support from City Housing will implement a solution and evaluate the results.

Students who select this project will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of complex issues related to housing, social dynamics, wellness, and citizen engagement. Furthermore, students will gain leadership experience in fostering sustainable and resilient communities.

Resources

Tenant Engagement Report Tenant Engagement Booklet The Good Food Box program is provided through Environment Hamilton.


Contact

Kelly Coxson Community Development Coordinator, City Housing Hamilton kelly.coxson@hamilton.ca

Ment-it: Cultivating Mentorships and Community in an Ambitious City COMPLETED

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Ment-it: Cultivating Mentorships and Community in an Ambitious City

 

Sustainability is a complex, system-wide issue. Sustainability problems are interdisciplinary problems, requiring interdisciplinary solutions. Identifying problems, generating sustainable solutions, and working to realize positive change, takes teamwork, collaboration, and community. The Executive Board of the Hamilton Sustainability Professionals Network (SPN)believe that great teams are formed first through personal connections, where both parties give and take in a reciprocal relationship. As the building blocks of creating great teams, community, and culture change, personal connections are not always easy to form and foster but they are worth the investment. Mentor-mentee relationships are an integral part of building the types of relationships where individuals share knowledge, meet and discuss common areas of interest, and start to build connections that can have a profound impact.

The goal of this project is to develop and help host a workshop session at the Hamilton HIVE’s annual young professional’s conference, HIVEX, which will educate young professionals about mentorship. Through storytelling, roundtable discussions, and workshop-style activity, this workshop will de-mystify common misconceptions around mentorship and offer steps that current or prospective mentors and mentees can use to form powerful personal connections, give back, and have positive, sustainable impact. The proposed objectives include the following: Present what ‘real’ mentor-mentee relationships look like in Hamilton right now; highlight the impact that mentor-mentee relationships can have for community development and personal growth; and inform people about how to get started on developing or enhancing their mentor-mentee relationships to have a positive, sustainable impact.

Students who take on this project will have the opportunity to design and conduct university-level primary research; develop connections across Hamilton’s diverse professional networks; gain experience presenting at a conference; hone their skills in project management, time management, organization, and communication; as well as have the opportunity to choose from Hamilton SPN’s Executive team members to be your personal mentor over the duration of the academic term. Exec members include: Maria Topalovic, Jayde Liebersbach, Janelle Trant, Jay Carter, Kate Whalen, Vikram Hardatt.

Contact

Vikram Hardatt Executive Board Member Hamilton Sustainability Professionals Network By day, Vikram is a Transportation Planner at IBI Group and Program Manager at Smart Commute Hamilton. vikram.hardatt@gmail.com

Reducing Barriers to Sobi Use On Campus COMPLETED

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Reducing Barriers to Sobi Use On Campus

 

The City of Hamilton, in partnership with SoBi, implemented a bike share program in 2015 with a fleet of 750 bikes.

Currently, there are 7 bike share stations on McMaster’s main campus, which offer substantial opportunity for students to use the service to get to and from Campus. Additionally, Sobi has consulted the Mac population to create accessible membership options. However, the parking lots are still full and line-ups at the HSR stops still exist. The question Sobi is posing to Sustain 3S03 students is “How do we increase student Sobi ridership by decreasing barriers?”. This project is open to student creativity and innovation.

Contacts

Peter Topalovic Project Manager Sustainable Mobility Programs City of Hamilton stdstpla2@Hamilton.ca

Active and Sustainable Travel to Secondary School: A strategy developed for students, by students COMPLETED

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Active and Sustainable Travel to Secondary School: A strategy developed for students, by students

 

The City of Hamilton’s Public Health Department has been working with Hamilton Elementary Schools since 2009 to help them develop and implement School Travel Plans (STP). While much success has been achieved through working with elementary schools, the same strategies have not been effective at the secondary school level.

Students in secondary school have greater autonomy to choose their mode of travel and are at a critical age where driving a personal automobile becomes an option for those who get their licence and have access to a vehicle. At the same time, these same students may also be taking on greater leadership roles through student government, clubs, and advocating for the things they care about. This provides the opportunity for student leadership rather than relying on school administration to advance ASST objectives. Additionally, secondary school students will likely be more receptive to working with University students, rather than City and/or school administrative staff, to learn about approaches to leadership and advocacy.

Students interested in this project will have the opportunity to work with City staff (from Public Health, Public Works, Planning and Economic Development) and local secondary schools to engage students in taking leadership on ASST, working with them to develop strategies that they feel are effective in engaging their peers, helping them to implement their plans, and report on the outcomes. Ultimately, reporting on a strategy to working with secondary school students to advance ASST through student leadership would support growth and expansion of the strategy to other elementary schools in Hamilton and beyond.

Resources

Regional ASST Information Hamilton ASST website Hamilton Active & Sustainable School Transportation Charter


Contact

Peter Topalovic Project Manager Sustainable Mobility Programs City of Hamilton peter.topalovic@hamilton.ca

Seedy Saturday 2018 COMPLETED

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Seedy Saturday 2018

 

Are you interested in the local food movement? Learning how to grow your own food? Connecting with Hamilton based farmers, seed suppliers, and local community groups addressing food security? Seedy Saturday is Hamilton’s annual one-day festival. Inspired by Seeds of Diversity Canada, this event brings together a wonderful community of like-minded vendors, environmental groups, and local organizations. It is the ‘go to’ place for anyone and everyone interested in backyard gardening, edible gardening, pollinator gardens, sustainability, heirloom and organic seed supplies, and more!

The goal is to develop a community seed exchange, promote sustainable and local products and practices, and share knowledge through workshops and presentations. This event has been organized by Green Venture since 2007, Hamilton’s environmental education organization. The 2018 event is scheduled for a Saturday in early February 2018. While the seed exchange will take place outside of the course timeframe, student are encouraged to host a ‘teaser’ event to spur interest among the student population and the broader community. Students are also encouraged to attend and/or volunteer with Green Venture at Seedy Saturday 2018 to experience the fruits of their effort.

Green Venture is looking for a dynamic team of Sustain 3S03 students to work with our coordinators to help shape the 2018 event. This would include researching and selecting a 2018 host location, research and inviting vendors and sponsors to participate, organizing fundraising initiatives like soliciting raffle prizes, researching and inviting guest speakers for the workshops, coordinating marketing for the event, and setting up logistics including recruiting volunteers.

If you are interested in this grass-roots local food festival and/or environmental non-profits, this is the project to develop and hone your skills in communication, community engagement, social marketing, and project management.

Contact

Laura Anderson Program Coordinator Green Venture laura.anderson@greenventure.ca

Designing a Mobile Greenhouse COMPLETED

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Designing a Mobile Greenhouse

 

Backyard Harvest is an urban farm growing ultra-local produce, using organic and biodynamic methods, in Hamilton, Ontario. The food is produced in 11 backyards in the Strathcona, Kirkendall and North End neighbourhoods resulting in the ability to harvest within 3 hours of market start. Backyard Harvest provides all the benefits of local food – flavour, nutrition, environmental, economic – and contributes to the resilience of our community. To address the continued demand for local food, Backyard Harvest is looking to build their own greenhouse in the city, enabling the earlier start of spring plants. The project will provide a unique opportunity to contribute to an existing vibrant enterprise while developing the communication, financial, project management and design skills necessary to implement sustainable change. Students will have the opportunity to research the various greenhouse options that are currently available and recommend the most appropriate design based on the physical constraints of the various sites. In addition, students will work towards preparing a project plan that identifies regulatory approvals, and may also engage in activities related to public consultation and financing that are necessary to achieve the social, environmental and financial objectives of the project. This project will result in a meaningful improvement to the local food system in Hamilton.

Contact

George Sweetman Green Light Projects In george@greenlightprojects.ca