World Cafe sets sustainability table at Western

Western community members with an environmental ‘sustainability wish list’ can help translate imagination into reality at the World Café being held Oct. 25.

The World Café concept is used by organizations to facilitate small- and large-group conversations about important topics. It is based on the principles of making a world from which everyone can benefit, and creating positive, large-scale social change. Discussions at this event will centre on what aspect of university sustainability is most important to the community, and what needs to be done to achieve that vision.

The opinions shared will help inform a 10-year sustainability plan, as well as a five-year action plan for the university.

“We have a very active community when it comes to environmental responsibility, and at Western, sustainability is everyone’s responsibility – that includes faculty, staff and students,” says Roy Langille, associate vice-president of Facilities Management. “Community participation is absolutely necessary, and events like the World Café provide a way for everyone to contribute substantially to Western’s sustainability future.”

The café will give community members a chance to be heard by peers, as well as listen to the priorities of others concerning Western’s environmental sustainability efforts. The event is organized so that each participant will get a chance to exchange opinions with a significant number of other contributors.

Dialogue will take place in small groups. Questions regarding visions of Western’s ideal sustainability future will be posed to the attendees, who will deliberate amongst themselves. There will be a larger discussion at the end of the group conversations to focus on recurrent themes and the tasks that need to be undertaken in the present to make the collective future a possibility.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainability (PACES) organized the event. The committee consists of key faculty, staff and students.

“We’re working toward a holistic approach in pursuing environmental change,” says Beverley Ayeni, Facilities Management manager of energy and environment and PACES member. “The World Café is one of the many opportunities that encourage necessary dialogue among different groups within Western’s community. It’s a great chance to cultivate ideas, and to decide how they can be put into action.

“We want people to voice their sustainability wishes, to discuss what they want Western to look like in the future. We need to spread awareness of the initiatives already being taken, and of the ways more people can get involved.”

The World Café will assemble a second time in February 2012.

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Want to go? The World Café will be held 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Great Hall. You may register through the events section at the event website (or, if you cannot attend, make contributions through the website) or by emailing