Trent has been known for campus sustainability and its efforts to be more ecologically friendly.

On March 12 the campus sustainability conference was held, run by the Trent Green Team and Sustainable Trent. It went from 10a.m. until 5p.m., in Gzowski College and is completely free!

The conference included a delicious vegetarian lunch catered by local food producers Food Not Bombs, Seasoned Spoon and Kyoto coffee, which are all sustainable in their practices.

It was a fun day with tours of Trent’s cutting edge eco-facilities and inspiring, informative presentations and guest speakers.

Over 10 different student groups from Trent University and Fleming College as well as the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University ran interactive workshops, including Anisha Madden’s workshop on changing campus food policy and student engagement in food sustainability.

There were also poster displays from the finalists from the Trent Green Your Campus competition, where students submitted project ideas to improve sustainability around campus. The winning project can be funded up to $5,000. Included in the busy schedule of events were several guest speakers such as Bob Paelke, Charles Hopkins and more.

Robert Paehlke is a professor of Environmental and Resource Studies here at Trent University. He edited the Canadian environmental journal and magazine Alternatives from its founding in 1971 until 1982, and is the author and editor of several books on politics and environmentalism.

His talk “From Protesters to Economic Players: A Brief History of Environmentalism” gave a very quick history of the environmental movement (from the 1970s until today); from political protests to a broad public view that how we act at home and work, in the marketplace and in the institutions we are a part of (including universities), can build a better future.

Charles Hopkins is from York University, and has worked with UN and UNESCO on environmental education and development.

He is an advisor to several ministries of education in Asia and Europe, as well as universities and colleges in the Americas, and also has several publications.

His talk focused on participation in higher education in implementing the new Sustainable Development Goals created in November 2015 by the UN. It also covers the roles of higher education in the future, as university graduates become the leaders in the future of environmental change.

A workshop followed the presentation discussed how higher education can have an impact on sustainability policies and what can be done.

In today’s society, sustainability is increasingly becoming an important discussion topic as we deal with climate change, and awareness and becoming active in implementing change is crucial.

The sustainability conference aims to educate students about sustainability and projects going on around campus, and inspire those who come to try to be more sustainable through engaging activities and events.

Conference topics included food production on campus, beekeeping at Trent, indigenous perspectives on sustainability, options for reinvestment and sustainability in education.

It was an interesting day filled with many events that appealed to all audiences!