Green Awards celebrate campus sustainability leaders

This year’s winners of the Western Green Awards have helped not only Western, 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 on Monday, the 2014 winners include the London Youth Sustainability Network, Group Nomination category; Michael Tattersall, Individual Nomination category; and Repurpose for Change, Group Nomination category.

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Michael Tattersall
Director of Physical Plant, King’s University College

People consider Michael Tattersall a difference-maker.

The King’s University College Physical Plant director  has spearheaded numerous environmental efforts at the Western affiliate including pursuing LEED-Silver designation for the Darryl J. King Student Life Centre; creating a university-wide Environment and Sustainability Committee; planting more than 200 trees on campus through ReForest London; hiring and supervising an environment and sustainability intern to recommend best practices; installing solar panels on rooftops of buildings; providing green shuttle buses; and assisting students with installation of community garden.

Through these actions, Tattersall has been a source of education and inspiration to colleagues, employees and students.

“His leadership,” one nominator wrote, “has made King’s an environmentally friendly campus that not only is committed to green practices, but provides education to visitors and students alike – a key aspect of the LEED certification.”

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repurpose for Change

Geography graduate students Kevin Vuong, Sepehr Pashang and Joseph Kangmennaang are true global ambassadors for Western.

The trio burst onto the campus sustainability scene at Western International’s World’s Challenge Challenge, where the group took home top prize for its inexpensive solar cook stoves. This award encouraged the team to compete in the provincial Social Venture Challenge (SVC) hosted by Social Spark, an early incubator for global social enterprises. SVC enabled them to cofound the social enterprise, rePurpose for Change.

Currently, rePurpose for Change is developing inexpensive and safe alternatives to cooking using solar energy, beginning first in Ghana, with the aim of extending the solution to the rest of Africa and the developing world.

The team has also been involved in other sustainability efforts on campus.

“Whether it is developing an innovative solution for a world challenge, sharing research and expertise at a global conference or implementing best practices here on campus,” one nominator wrote, “rePurpose for Change has shown they are champions of sustainability. They are role models for those around them, inspiring others to follow in their leadership of enacting real, positive environmental outcomes.”

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London Youth Sustainability Network

Although its roots are on campus, the London Youth Sustainability Network has seen its work echo across the community.

Growing out of EnviroWestern, a service within the University Students’ Council, the London Youth Sustainability Network inspires action through activity on the issue of sustainability.

The group, led by Jennifer Hao, has spearheaded numerous environmental efforts including hosting Buy Nothing This Holiday, a holiday gift drive using completely re-used and recycled decorations; organizing the university clothing swaps where students trade old clothes from home instead of buying new items; presenting Buy Nothing Valentines, where more than 60 students created Valentine’s Day gifts and cards instead of buying new gifts for loved ones; organizing Eco Action Day, a conference with films, presentations, interactive activities and discussions on a variety of environmental issues; and overseeing the first steps to building an outdoor classroom behind the HBA Building.

“In addition to the obvious benefits of the events held by the London Youth Sustainability Network,” wrote one nominator, “the group’s presence on campus through events and promotions serves as a continuous reminder to all students to be more eco-conscious. The London Youth Sustainability Network has been a great way for environmentally inclined students to support each other and strengthen their passion of saving the planet.”