UTERN (U of T Environmental Resource Network) Fall Update

Friday, December 5, 2008 10:00:00 AM

By David Berliner

As the school year started again this fall, UTERN (the U of T Environmental Resource Network) was eager to link students' academic interests in the environment with initiatives on campus. With its annual U of T Environment Week, held this year from September 25 to October 4, 2008, UTERN collaborated with various groups to host many events including a multi-faith panel on the environment, a movie night, and a talk by renowned author Naomi Klein presented by the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at U of T. The week culminated with a day-long conference on climate change.

UTERN also helped fund a day-long event on local food with a free lunch provided by U of T's cooking collective Hot Yam, various speakers, as well as a local farmer selling produce. Other events UTERN collaborated on included Car Free Day hosted by Bikechain, U of T's free bicycle repair facility, and an art project encouraging people to view their environment through a different "lens".

UTERN has also been holding monthly Environmental Working Group meetings which bring together various environmental groups across the different campuses to discuss issues related to sustainability. Creating this forum for discussion helps create networks, encourages collaboration, and creates a stronger sustainability movement on campus.

What's next for UTERN? Plans are in the works to create a more comprehensive and accessible list of events, resources, and clubs on campus. UTERN is also working in advisory roles with the U of T Sustainability Office, Hart House's Sustainability Committee and Victoria College's Working Group on Sustainability.

UTERN is a U of T environmental student group that funds student environmental initiatives and facilitates networking between different environmental groups, both on and off campus. For more information: www.utern.org or email utern.admin@utoronto.ca.

David Berliner is 2008-09 President of UTERN.


GESA (Graduate Environmental Students' Association)
The Graduate Environmental Students' Association (GESA) is an association for all graduate environmental students at U of T. Graduate students registered at the Centre for Environment (CFE) are members of GESA, along with its elected executive committee. GESA is a component of students' campus life and offers opportunities for leadership development. The Association serves as a liaison between the graduate students and the CFE administration. In addition, GESA hosts a number of events to bring together and encourage communication among graduate students from environmental disciplines across campus. GESA collaborates with other environmental campus organizations including the U of T Environmental Resource Network in order to participate in larger environmental projects and decisions affecting the university.

GESA organizes a number of social events during the year for its students and staff at the Centre for Environment such as the graduate orientation session in the fall, environment-related film screenings, library research orientations, New Year's pub nights, weekend retreats at U of T's Hart House Farm and various other fund-raising events.

Benefits of joining GESA for students include expanding their network opportunities, developing new skills and abilities, time-management and sharing talents, working in a team to set and achieve goals as well as having fun. For more information, email gesa@utoronto.ca.

ENSU (Environmental Students' Union)
The Environmental Students' Union (ENSU) is a student organization that aims to create and support initiatives to increase environmental awareness and sustainability both on and off the U of T campus. Membership is open to students at the university regardless of area of study or degree. The executive, however, is comprised of elected undergraduate representatives, and positions of academic concern are reserved for students in environmental programs affiliated with the Centre for Environment.

ENSU has recently worked on environmental projects on campus such as the installation of a solar panel array on Sidney Smith Hall and a project aimed at improving the composting collections. It has also organized socials and environmentally themed film nights, a winter retreat to Hart House Farm, and a graduate studies information session, and has continued to play a role in the annual Environmental Career Day. For information, please visit http://ensu.sa.utoronto.ca or email studentaffairs.ensu@utoronto.ca.