The UTM Green Team held its annual Green Daze last week on campus to promote environmental issues and initiatives on campus.
During the week, the Green Team collaborated with student clubs and Facilities Management and Planning to organize a worm-composting workshop, movie screenings, a seed-starting workshop, and two geothermal tours of the Instructional Centre.
“People had said that they didn’t know too much about the geothermal system, they didn’t know where it was, and they’d like to learn more. The system is not very visible because the pipes are buried under [the North Field] and the equipment is in the mechanical rooms,” said Chelsea Dalton, the environmental/sustainability coordinator of FMP, who leads the Green Team, during an interview.
The Instructional Centre is completely heated and cooled by the geothermal system, whereby a special liquid passes through pipes beneath the North Field to absorb or lose heat to the ground. This keeps a steady temperature compared to the air above, said Dalton.
Dalton added that the tours attracted a lot of students and were completely booked on the second day. James Boutilier, the urban agriculture coordinator of the Green Team, led the seed-starting workshop to show attendees how to make a good seeding mix of soil, how far below the surface to put seeds in seed starters, and what to do once they germinated.
“[I wanted people] to get some hands-on seed-starting skills for the season and to also know that we have a community garden on campus where they can apply these skills,” said Boutilier in an interview.
On Friday, the Green Team helped promote EnvirOlympics, organized by the UTM Residence Council. At the event, around 40 students split into teams to earn points at different stations. The stations included games like charades and jeopardy, and a debate station where teams debated the merits and demerits of “Earth Hour”, an initiative in which citizens turn off all electrical lights and appliances in coordination.
During lunch, Dalton gave a talk about green initiatives on campus, including the LEED-certified buildings (including IB, the library, and the Health Sciences Complex); alternative transportation (including UTM BikeShare and the U-Pass); naturalization sites where native plants are grown; hydrogen fuel cells, which supply backup power for UTM’s computer servers; and the “green dashboard”, a touchscreen display in IB that displays real-time information about energy saving on campus.
The goal of Green Daze was to show students which environmental initiatives are present on campus and which opportunities are available with the Green Team, and to get students excited about the environment, said Dalton. She mentioned that she was drawn into environmental issues by a student club at UTM during her first year, and hopes to pass on the same excitement to current students through Green Daze.
UTM Green Team is a group of Work-Study and volunteer students who help out with environmental initiatives on campus, according to their website.
UTM BikeShare cancelled its workshops and tours due to weather conditions.