Green Awards: Ideas in full bloom

This year’s winners of the Western Green Awards have helped not only the university, but the entire London community, continue to turn over a new leaf when it comes to environmental sustainability.

Established in 2008, the Western Green Awards celebrate individuals and/or teams who initiate or support activities with positive environmental outcomes, encourage participation and involvement, work together with others or demonstrate an environmentally friendly effort. The purpose of the awards is to help raise awareness of sustainability at Western.

Announced Tuesday, the 2015 winners include the Hospitality Services Sustainability Team, Group Nomination category; EnviroWestern, Group Nomination category; and Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Jason Gerhard, Individual Nomination category.

Sustainable thinking on campus took centre stage this year, as winners of the 2015 Western’s Ideas for Sustainability and the Environment (WISE) competition brought new insights to old problems.

Launched last fall, WISE asks students to come up with innovative and high-impact ideas to reduce – or even eliminate – some of today’s most pressing environmental concerns. In its inaugural year, the competition aims to generate ideas and initiatives among Western’s students around the topic of sustainability, and officially recognize the winning ideas.

Announced Tuesday, WISE winners included Soojeong Choe, Undergraduate Category; Tarek Rashwan, Graduate Category co-winner; and Margaret Liu, Lina Sherazy and Rei Ahn, Graduate Category co-winners.

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Hospitality Services Sustainability Team
Gordon Robinson, Anne Zok, Janet Smith and Ruth Harland
Group Nomination category

The Western Farmers’ Market is a true celebration of food. Gone are the days where students, faculty and staff had to venture off campus to purchase our region’s finest farm-fresh produce and locally made goods like honey, jams and baked goods. The market became a weekly destination for many of the Western community where healthy foods at a reasonable price could be obtained, friends could re-connect and the local movement could be felt through interaction with the many vendors. The impact of the farmers’ market was, essentially, immeasurable.

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EnviroWestern
Group Nomination category

EnviroWestern has evolved into a force for environmental change on campus. A student-run group within the University Students’ Council, EnviroWestern provides both action and advocacy for environmental issues important to students at Western.

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Jason Gerhard
Civil and Environmental Engineering professor
Individual Nomination category

Jason Gerhard, the Canada Research Chair in Geoenvironmental Remediation, has been promoting sustainability and environmental issues since arriving on Western’s campus in 2007. He has fostered environmental awareness and positive outcomes toward sustainability through his teaching, research, committee work and many interdisciplinary activities on campus and in the community.

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Soojeong Choe
WISE Awards, Undergraduate Category

Medical Sciences student Soojeong Choe aims to save 4 million pounds of paper from entering landfills through his Greenline Program. Inspired by projects like the High Occupancy Vehicle Lane and Disneyland FASTPASS, Greenline redesigns customer lineups to promote the use of tumblers and reusable mugs by dedicating one cash register at every Starbucks, for instance, toward green customers who bring their own mug.

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Tarek Rashwan
WISE Awards, Graduate Category co-winner

Engineering graduate student Tarek Rashwan provided experimental evidence to support the technical efficacy of STARx, a patented and patent pending technology, using smouldering combustion, as a sustainable means for biosolids disposal. The solution has huge financial savings implications for wastewater treatment plants.

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Lina Sherazy, Margaret Liu and Rei Ahn
WISE Awards, Graduate Category co-winners

The trio aims to promote a concept of ‘sustainable consumerism’ through encouraging the purchase and exchange of used clothing. Their thought is, the creation of a pop-up campus thrift store, selling fashionable quality clothing, will help mitigate the consumerist society we live in.