Trent Oxfam Presents: A Sustainable Soiree

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Dim the lights and imagine walking down the main stairs into Champlain College’s Great Hall. A student cafeteria during the daytime, tonight the hall is transformed into “A Sustainable Soiree.” There are tables of hearty food, and semi formal attendants mingling or drinking at the bar. Don’t worry, everything about this event is designed to be low impact or reusable. Trent Oxfam knows how to throw a ‘green’ party.

On Saturday November 24, Trent Oxfam hosted a Sustainable Soiree, intending to show rather than tell Trent how to host sustainable, low-environmental impact events on Symons campus.

Trent Oxfam’s executive team raffles off prizes at A Sustainable Soiree event on November 24, 2018. Photo via Trent Oxfam on Facebook.

Oxfam was originally a confederation of twenty independent charitable organizations focusing on the reduction of global poverty, and thus coining the name of the confederation as Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, shortened to be known as Oxfam. Trent Oxfam is the campus group working as a chapter of Oxfam International to focus on issues of food security, gender justice, and climate change within the Trent community.

Trent Oxfam held the event to facilitate discourse regarding sustainability, green business, and food security amongst peers, faculty members, and friends within the Trent community. Members of the executive team, Laura and Marissa, made a speech during the soiree, noting that everything at the event was sustainable in some manner, from the decorations to the cutlery. They thought “if [any] events on campus can be sustainable, why shouldn’t they all be?”. The evening was a success, and can be an inspiration for other events hosted on campus to be sustainable and local, and also demonstrated some of the sustainable options currently available on campus.

The soiree was catered by the Seasoned Spoon Cafe, a non-profit, vegetarian, cooperative cafe located at the university in Champlain College. The cafe is committed to serving local, and when possible, organic foods at affordable prices. Local initiatives, such as this cafe, were highlighted as examples of action to be taken against food security and climate issues.

A local band, composed of Trent Alumni, set the tone for the evening with their relaxing jazzy tunes, and some of the decorations included snowflakes made out of paper towels (you couldn’t tell). A bar sold alcohol for those old enough to consume it, with beers from local breweries available.

A band of Trent alumni plays at Trent Oxfam’s A Sustainable Soiree event on November 24, 2018. Photo by Lubna Sadek.

A raffle had attendees on the edge of their seats, with green product giveaways including reusable stainless steel straws (Arthur won a pack!), natural soaps, and beeswax food wraps. The evening facilitated networking amongst members of the community, and created space on campus where students could enjoy a semi formal evening while still learning.

One of the executive members spoke with Arthur, explaining how the conversation on food security, gender justice, and climate change needs to evolve, and the importance of believing in small changes. One of the primary goals of Trent Oxfam’s work is supporting or initiating local action on these issues. Whilst said issues are discussed on a global scale at Trent Oxfam, it is also important to discuss how individually, within our local communities, we can take small steps towards a greater, and more sustainable, plan of action.

Another member of the executive team Gauri Sreevasu, an international student from India, excitedly discussed joining a campus group like Trent Oxfam with Arthur. She was determined to continue her passion on issues of gender justice and sustainability upon her arrival in Canada, and appreciates that the group implements real change in small daily increments. Highlighting the challenges of creating change in developing countries is important in the conversation of sustainability, and Gauri is pleased as an international student to find such initiatives at Trent.

Let us all join Trent Oxfam’s initiative of taking action for the greater good of the world we live in together – one local action at a time.