Sustainability month goes virtual

The U of M’s office of sustainability has been thriving in an online setting thanks to social media.

With October being sustainability month, the U of M’s office of sustainability has shifted to hosting events and activities relating to sustainability and climate change online.

The office has been promoting sustainability month through its social media. It has been reaching students through mediums like Instagram, where it posted daily tips and facts during waste reduction week, which took place from Oct. 19 to 25.

According to the Waste Reduction Week in Canada campaign, waste reduction week is “a year-round campaign focused on the principles of the circular economy, resource efficiency and waste reduction.”

“Usually we do a lot of in-person workshops or videos or speaker sessions, but this year we wanted to focus it all online because that was kind of the only option we had,” said Christie Nairn, director of the office of sustainability.

“So, we really focused on promoting things on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”

Activities and theme days that took place throughout the month included sustainability bingo, meatless Monday recipes, energy efficiency day, contests and an “expert chat” on World Food Day with Marcos Cordeiro, assistant professor in the department of animal science.

Nairn said she felt getting events up and running online went “pretty smoothly.”

“Anything we kind of want to do on social media, we have a lot of freedom to put out different messages that are related to sustainability,” she said.

“And if anything, not being constrained with a physical event or physical environment might’ve made it a little bit more flexible and we can focus on more topics within the month versus having to physically plan an event, or plan catering, or whatever else goes along with actually planning something on campus.”

With sustainability month over, achieving sustainability is still of vital importance to Nairn.

“Sustainability is still really top of mind for a lot of students and just because [COVID-19] is happening, it doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t happening.”

“It’s really important to just keep plugging along with all the things that we were doing before. Some things obviously look differently but, trying to be as sustainable as possible while you’re working at home or whatever you’re doing during [COVID-19], and also just being kind to yourself,” she added.

“There’s a lot of anxiety that comes along with a global pandemic, and also with climate change and all that stuff. So, making sure that everyone is being kind to themselves and seeking necessary resources to kind of lower that anxiety, to just feel things in incremental steps.”