Celebrating 12 years: Green Team inspires change from the ground up

BCIT is already well known for its environmentally-focused applied research and operations, but just as important is the grassroots effort to bring sustainability into the every-day practices of staff and students.

It’s in this role that the Green Team at BCIT is working to make a difference across campus.

“It’s about inspiring change from the ground up,” says long-time member Leesa Watt, “our focus is on bringing faculty and staff into the sustainability conversation.”

It started with three dedicated BCIT employees

Launched in 2007 by three BCIT employees, the Green Team now includes over 60 members, representing schools and departments across the institute. Over the years, the Green Team has organized campaigns around daily practices including printing, lights, heating, and transportation, all to help conserve energy on campus and reduce carbon emissions from daily operations.

From organizing Bike to Work Week to encouraging the participation of National Sweater Day, the Green Team focuses on actions that everyone can participate in.

BCIT Green Team during Bike to Work Week
Bike mechanics and volunteers help cyclists gear up for commuting during BCIT Bike to Work Week.

“There have been a lot of people who have been involved over the years,” says Cynthia van Ginkel, Business Development Manager with the School of Computing and Academic Studies and Green Team member.

Cynthia and Leesa have both taken turns chairing the Green Team. It’s an important role that helps to coordinate the many people who volunteer through the year. “It’s been a real team effort,” says Cynthia.

SEE MORE: Two BCIT students are cultivating the circular and repair economy in Metro Vancouver

An avid cyclist, one of Leesa’s favourite bi-annual events is Bike to Work Week in May and October, with its celebration stations. “One thing we did that we’re proud of is that we’ve managed to make it a zero waste event,” she explains.

Green Team members Tina Taylor and Joe Boyd have also both played key roles in expanding things like bike repair opportunities and secure storage. The team has also collaborated with the facilities department to have bike maps introduced around campus.

Building environmental stewardship at BCIT

Looking ahead, the Green Team will work closely with the new Sustainability Manager, David Pereira, and Director, Jennie Moore, to build on this legacy.

“A lot of the impact we’ve had has been building consciousness at BCIT. It has really been important to keep the conversation open and provide a place to connect,” says Cynthia.

Get involved with the BCIT Green Team to inspire change from the ground up!

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This story is part of the monthly  Countdown to Ecocity 2019 series, which highlights BCIT’s leadership in the face of today’s complex environment challenges. This initiative supports the Ecocity Standard for Community Capacity and Governance, which encourages full and equitable community participation in decision making processes.

Learn more about BCIT’s role as host of the Ecocity World Summit in 2019.

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