Campus celebrates Earth Day with cleanup

In honour of Earth Day, a small group from Durham College (DC) and UOIT gathered to help clean-up natural areas just beyond campus buildings.

About ten people took part in the second annual Campus Clean-Up, which took place at the Grounds Building behind South Village residence.

Led by DC sustainability coordinator, Tanya Roberts, and UOIT asset and sustainability planner, Shannon Oletic, their goal for Earth Day is to bring engagement in the community and bring people out to the campus.

“The sustainability offices and the facility offices have all joined together to kind of focus on the areas outside of the campus that aren’t already maintained, mostly the protected areas that grounds crew don’t have a chance to get to,” says Oletic.

Suzanne Chasse, DC-UOIT facilities management manager, says students and faculty around the school have done an excellent job of keeping it clean.

“I spoke to a professor this morning who works with UOIT and York University and he said that this is the cleanest campus he’s ever been on, so I’m definitely proud of my staff and what they do,” says Chasse.

Aside from Earth Day, both sustainability programs work throughout the school year to improve energy, water waste, and other green initiatives around campus.

It is important for both schools to work together on these types of projects says Roberts.

“There are some things where you want to have your own identity as a school but when it comes to sustainability, especially when you’re on a shared campus it’s always better when you have a bigger team behind you,” says Roberts.

Durham College Aboriginal student advisor, Julie Pigeon, conducted a smudging ceremony to help lift away negative energy, feelings and emotions before kicking off the event.

Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate our environment and raise public awareness regarding pollution. Founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day began in 1970 after a massive oil spill took place in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. That day inspired Nelson to organize a nation-wide event to help educate the public about our planet.

As Oletic says, spring kind of signifies cleaning, and there’s no better way to kick off spring then to have a campus wide cleanup.