Blog Contributor: Shelby McFadden
It’s crazy to think that only three months ago I was writing my first blog for the ESRC and Sustainability at Brock, talking about my experiences and expectations after the first week of working in the ESRC.
Looking back now, it went by fast, but we accomplished quite a bit in such a short amount of time, and I’m really proud of our achievements.
One of the things I mentioned in my first blog was that I was looking forward to contributing something positive and meaningful to Brock, and I really do feel like I had the opportunity to do this. Over the past few months, we worked on a lot of different research, background documents, and reports, ultimately helping to strengthen sustainability at Brock.
One of our biggest achievements was the environmental sustainability plan, which outlines Brock’s current sustainability initiatives, sets goals and strategies, and has allowed Brock to receive $7.9 million in provincial funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus. Our efforts have made it possible for Brock to replace outdated equipment in its district energy plant with efficient items that will increase Brock’s energy production capacity, while also significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But we also worked on several other initiatives. We did a lot of work to help Brock prepare for future long-term planning, and the creation of a campus-wide, long-term sustainability plan. We gathered information on current sustainability initiatives, worked on creating a database to track current and future initiatives, developed an action plan for long-term planning, conducted a SWOT analysis of the current state of sustainability at Brock, completed research on different evaluation tools, wrote a report for Dining Services, and completed several other complementary tasks.
This research and collection of background documents and reports will be valuable resources for sustainability at Brock going forward.
Not only do I get to feel good about everything we created, but I can also revel in the knowledge that I gained a lot of valuable knowledge, skills, and experiences in regard to sustainability. As I will be starting in the Sustainability Society and Science Graduate Program in a few weeks, I especially feel grateful for this summer. Working at the ESRC for the summer has helped me get acquainted with Brock, the Centre, ESRC staff and faculty, and my incoming program beforehand, which has given me so much more confidence in starting my program. It has also given me the valuable opportunity to engage with sustainability concepts, and gain insight into how sustainability operates within an institution, the many challenges that arise, and how to go about finding solutions to those challenges.
While I stand by what I said in May—that there is a lot of good work being done at Brock, but with room for improvement, I have also had a first-hand glimpse into sustainability at Brock, and strongly believe we’re heading into the right direction. A lot of important steps were taken this summer and Brock has impressed me by proving that it is serious about committing to sustainability across campus.
I will be coming back as one of the two research assistants from the graduate program in the fall and am excited to continue to strengthen sustainability at Brock throughout the 2018/2019 school year.
Here’s to a bright, green future at Brock!