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QBACC initiative encourages students to have a more “Sustainable Semester”

Julia Harmsworth
 QBACC initiative encourages students to have a more “Sustainable Semester”

Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC) is running an initiative encouraging students to adopt more sustainable practices.

QBACC’s Sustainable Semester started Jan. 25, shortly into the winter term. Each week, the club posts a sustainability challenge to its social media accounts. Students are invited to complete the challenges and upload a picture or video of them doing so to the designated Google Form(link is external).

“We […] really just wanted to normalize integrating sustainable practices into your daily lifestyle as a student,” Lexi Wright, QBACC activism and education coordinator, said in an interview with The Journal.

“As students, many of us are on strict budgets. We have a lot of other things to focus on in terms of prioritizing our time, so we wanted to show different small ways that you can make an impact.”

Each student who submits a photo is entered into a draw to win a monthly prize and an additional draw for the grand prize which will be given out at the end of the semester.

There are two weeks left in the program. The last challenge will be posted on March 29.

At the end of February, QBACC gave away a sustainable product gift basket worth $100—the same monthly prize will be distributed at the end of March. The grand prize is an AeroGarden Year-Round Indoor Garden, valued at $150.

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“After this challenge is over we hope that people carry with them what they learned through the challenge and pick a few of those challenges that they participated in or many of them to continue using in their daily life,” Wright said.

Some of the challenges included using a reusable water bottle, taking reusable bags to get groceries, shopping from local brands, eating a meatless meal, doing 15 minutes of outdoor activities, using green transportation, shortening showers and tap usage, and making cleaning products.

“I just went to the store and picked up a few ingredients: lemon, vinegar, and some thyme,” Wright said. “It was really simple and a great way to help not only reduce the cost—I think it was definitely cheaper than buying other cleaning products—but also to make sure that healthy things are going into our water system.”

The last two challenges involve picking up one bag of garbage and doing green laundry by cold washing and air drying.

“[We are] just showing how easy and simple it can be to incorporate those sustainable practices,” Wright said.

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QBACC has seen “a lot of really great responses” to the program, according to Wright, through the Google Form and on social media. About 35 students participated in the program in January and February.

“We think we’re creating some real leaders in the community through them showing other people that it is possible to do these small things to help the environment,” Wright said.

Wright told The Journal QBACC hopes this initiative will help change the rhetoric around how students live and make living a sustainable life the norm.  

“We can’t put all of the onus on ourselves as students to fix this, but by showing that we care about sustainability and we want to be sustainable, hopefully we can push the government and corporations to see that there is a need and a want to change those things.”




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