Earth Day through a Humber College lens

by | Apr 22, 2019 | Headlines, News

Madeline Jafarnejad, News Reporter

Climate change is in the headlines almost every day and Humber College is on the front line fighting every year to be one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.

The college’s Office of Sustainability kept Humber College on the list of Canada’s Greenest Employers four years in a row and its Earth Day event April 22 featuring bicycle-powered music is just a small part of making that possible.

Ammarah Sachedina, Events and Communications Intern at the Humber College Office of Sustainability, said student participation in events like Earth Day and other initiatives is a huge part of its success.

“I think it’s really important for students to participate in these kind of activities because it creates awareness of what’s going on in the world,” Sachedina said.

Ammarah Sachedina (right), Events and Communications Intern at the Humber College Office of Sustainability, hands out free swag to students participating in Earth Day at Humber College North Campus on April 22, 2019. (Madeline Jafarmejad)

Sachedina was one of many people at the event who offered to power the music with the bicycle.

Staff, faculty and students, including Maheen Nazim, a fourth-year Justice Studies student at Humber, got to take turns pedaling for power.

Nazim said she would recommend participating in Earth Day festivities to other students who may or may not be considering it.

“It’s our campus so I’m assuming if you’re a full time student a big chunk of your week is on campus,” Nazim said. “Even if you’re a part time student it’s just important to be a part of the driving change.”

Sean Bertram, a Music student at Humber Lakeshore campus, performed live with other members of his program thanks to the bicycle-powered instruments and technology.

Devon Fernandes (left), Sustainability Specialist at the Office of Sustainability, powers the music using a bicycle while Sean Bertram (front right) performs with other music students at the Humber College North campus’ Earth Day event on April 22, 2019. (Madeline Jafarnejad)

Devon Fernandes, a Sustainability Specialist at the Humber College Office of Sustainability, said Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ont., was the inspiration for the bicycle-powered music.

“When I saw that I thought, ‘How can we bring that to Humber?’ And it ended up being a great partnership where we can really empower people using these kinds of bikes,” he said.

“It showcases a tie-in to our students with our Humber Music students playing the music while students and staff actually generating the power,” Fernandes said.

Many colleges and universities contribute to making Ontario a greener place in some way.

However, Humber recently became the first college to sign the Okanagan Charter.

On the Humber College website, it says this means it will infuse health, sustainability and diversity into the decisions it makes while striving to become the healthiest campus in Canada.

“Humber College is a massive employer and huge player in the college sector,” Fernandes said.

“We can have a really significant impact in terms of our operations, the amount of waste that we generate and how we are teaching students to integrate sustainability into their role when they leave,” he said.

“If we do that we will have thousands of little change champions that can apply sustainability into their field in the working world,” Fernandes said.