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Every year around this time, local gardeners start keeping a close eye on the weather, pining for spring and the first opportunity to start sowing seeds and spreading compost for another brief season of green.
James Nicell, McGill’s new Associate Vice-Principal, University Services, is doing the same, except this year he’ll be spreading information about the University’s many environmental initiatives.
Responding to questions from student senators at the monthly Senate meeting on March 7, Nicell, new to the AVP job as of this year, said environmental sustainability at McGill is among his top priorities.
To that end, he plans to solicit input from student groups, and work closely with the Subcommittee on Environment (SCE), a working group of the Senate Committee on Physical Development, to develop key performance indicators and generally encourage more members of the University community to get on board and contribute to an environmentally sustainable McGill. His goal, he said, is to help McGill go green “without breaking the bank.”
He enumerated various other initiatives already under way, including the placement of outdoor recycling bins around campus, reuse and redeployment of office materials, and reduction in the use of paper. Professors could further do their part by allowing two-sided printing of student papers, Nicell said.
At Macdonald campus, students have been involved in a number of environmental activities, noted Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, including the selection of sustainable materials for the new library.
Nicell urged McGill students, staff and faculty to join the cause by signing the “Rethink sustainability pledge” launched in January during the Week of Action on Climate Change.
Rethink McGill, the University’s environmental campaign, aims to have 500 signatures at the SCE-sponsored sixth annual Rethink conference, to be held the morning of Friday, March 16, in Room 232 of the Leacock Building.
Rethink McGill’s website, www.mcgill.ca/rethink, has plenty of other good ideas to help make and keep McGill green, Nicell said.