Students help community members adopt sustainable habits

Three photos arranged in a grid. They show McMaster students presenting at a project showcase night.

Student groups present the results of projects that saw them implement sustainable change through experiential learning and community engagement projects.

Getting individuals to adopt sustainable habits sometimes means finding a community-based solution.  

A group of McMaster students learned that lesson last semester, helping both elementary school students adopt greener modes of transportation, and creating a platform for campus community members to give unwanted items a second life.  

The two projects grew out of SUSTAIN 3S03, a course dedicated to implementing sustainable change through experiential learning and community engagement projects.  

The first project saw students, along with community organization Daily School Route (DSR), promote more active modes of transportation — like walking and wheeling — to and from school at an elementary school in downtown Hamilton.  

The second project included the launch of the ‘Trash to Treasure Program.’ It helps McMaster community members find new owners for their unwanted office supply items, keeping them out of landfills and giving them a second life.  

“At the heart of SUSTAIN 3S03, students implement real, sustainable change. I am incredibly proud of their dedication to sustainability and the positive impact they’ve sparked on campus and in the community,” says course instructor Liana Bontempo.  

Both groups reported bringing about positive change at a project showcase held on campus.  

The majority of elementary students surveyed as part of the Daily School Route project said they were proud of their participation and believed their friends would walk to school more often because of the group’s efforts to promote active modes of transportation.  

“We’re dedicated to reshaping commuting habits and fostering environmental responsibility in our communities,” says Mia Le, a commerce student and Daily School Route team member. “Through the event and lasting installations, we hope to create a culture of active travel, leading to healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.”  

The ‘Trash to Treasure’ project successfully found new owners for 26 pieces of furniture, as well as additional office essentials like staplers and whiteboards.  

“I feel very fortunate that I was given the opportunity to create sustainable change on campus and solve an important problem,” says Trash to Treasure project team member Ofure Itua. “I’m very grateful for all the faculty members that helped us along the way, and I’m excited to see what this project becomes,” adds the biomedical discovery & commercialization student.  

To learn more about these student projects, check out the 2022/2023 Academic Sustainability Programs Office Annual Report.

Learn more about the project showcase night in this reel and follow @MacSustain on Instagram.