Our projects portfolio rallies together local involvement to create global change. We challenge people to live outside the norm, think critically about our global effect, and tackle the issues present in our own backyard. By improving our communities, we dismantle global systems of poverty.
Fair Trade is a social movement whose purpose is to help workers in developing countries achieve fairer trading conditions and develop sustainable farming. This can include an increased payment to producers/farmers of certain products, as well as better social and environmental conditions. Working with Hospitality Services at Western, Fair Trade works towards increasing availability of Fair Trade products, awareness of the Fair Trade system, and ethical issues related to modern consumerism.
An important part of being a member of the fair trade team is having the willingness to learn about current fair trade practices and benefits, and how we as students can get involved on campus and in their daily lives. We run various information booths, contests and promotions that take place on campus. These events are a fun, interactive way to spread information to the western community. We also work with other portfolios to incorporate fair trade items and information into their events.
In January 2016, thanks to the Fair Trade portfolio, Western received its certification as a Fair Trade campus!
At the food systems table we talk about everything related to food. From production to packaging, distribution to disposal, there are many complex systems associated with food. In previous years we have led composting initiatives for the engineering buildings. We have promoted sustainable and nutritious “pulses” (beans, chickpeas, legumes, etc.) through our “Pulse Bake Off”. We also promote the zero-waste movement with “Zero Waste Challenges.” We try to tackle these issues to promote a more sustainable local food system.
In 2014, EWB Western was given a challenge to make an impact on a social and environmental issue within our local food system. By focusing our efforts on organic waste, the food systems team believes we can make a measurable effect on Western’s carbon footprint. Through a partnership with western sustainability, hospitality services, the undergraduate engineering society and the faculty of engineering, EWB Western has set up a student run organic waste initiative in the Spencer Engineering Building. the goal of our initiative is to increase the use of Western’s organic waste bins, educate students about the benefit of composting and prove that composting programs can be expanded throughout our community. Organic waste at Western is sent to Harvest Power, a facility in London that uses organic waste to generate carbon neutral electricity.
In Women Empowerment, we really focus on bringing together women and girls of the London and Western community. Through our pen pal program, we connect female engineering students and elementary school girls. It’s important to us that our mentors write letters engaging the mentees and encouraging them to pursue whichever path they desire.
We are also committed to staying connected to the women in the London community. By organizing clothing swaps on campus and donating the remaining garments to women’s shelters, we are not only reducing textile waste but also providing the women with quality gently used clothing.
The actions we are taking in EWB’s Women Empowerment portfolio are steps along a path to a final destination of gender equality and inclusion. By involving students at western in our initiatives, we are educating them on the importance of these issues, and working on tackling them at their core.