The environment is usually a lesser known issue in student elections, however the TRUSU Eco Club wanted to change that this year. As such, they put out a questionnaire to this year’s candidates on key environmental issues.
The questions ranged on issues across campus and if implemented would have a profound effect in reducing emissions, reducing waste and for increasing sustainability at TRU. If every policy put forward was implemented tomorrow TRUSU would become a strawless, paperless organization, offering vegan and fruit options at commons grounds, with lockers for any student to use, along with creating a permanent clothing swap, as well as making an official position for the advocacy of divestment from fossil fuel investments at TRU!
Of the 42 candidates running for election this year, 25 responded to the survey, representing 59.25 per cent of all candidates.
Of candidates that did the survey, the majority were from the incumbent slate, Progressive Student Advocates, with 15 respondents. This compares with nine candidates from the Yours Truly slate and one response from an independent, Kazim Amirali.
92.3 per cent said they were in favour of banning straws on campus and at common grounds. While 100 per cent of candidates were in favour of TRU divesting from fossil fuels.
96.2 per cent of candidates were in favour of the creation of a permanent take, leave, swap at the student union. A take leave swap is a term for a clothing or used items exchange.
80.8 per cent of candidates were in favour of building more student lockers on campus. Currently only clubs have access to lockers in the student union building. Other areas with lockers on campus include the trades and technology building and the arts area of Old Main, which are only for students of the respective facilities.
96.2 per cent of candidates were in favour of changing common grounds menu to offer more fruit and vegan options. 84.6 per cent of candidates supported making the student union a paperless organization.
96.2 per cent of candidates supported renovating the bus stops on campus to be heated in the winter months to encourage more bus ridership in the winter.
Finally, 100 per cent of candidates were in favour of more zero waste stations to be put around coffee shops and classrooms around campus.
“[We need to promote sustainability] in any way possible. Sustainability doesn’t just end at banning straws, there is so much more work that needs to be done,” Gilbert said of her environmental priorities.
Some initiatives Gilbert and her slate would like to see implemented beyond the survey questions included a rent a plate program, campus community garden, more flora and fauna, a better food waste plan, creation of a solar program in the Trades department and importantly, according to Gilbert, divesting from fossil fuels.
Yours Truly Presidential candidate Gagandeep Singh that he wishes to “create awareness and continue to educate the student body about the importance of sustainability and then implement sustainable approaches.”
Some key policies beyond the survey raised by that slate included promoting awareness regarding wildfire prevention, seeking greater help from the students and staff towards mitigation activities and encouraging students to choose cycling over driving to school.