Filed under: General, Green education | Tags: Berkeley Project, BMUN Sustainability, Claremont Canyon Conservancy, community events, community service, UC Berkeley, volunteering
Hello everyone. I’m sorry for not posting in a while. With the Thanksgiving vacation this week, and finals approaching, I have been a bit lax in keeping up with the blog. Today I wanted to let you know about a really great community service day that Berkeley Model United Nations members participated in on November 15th, 2008. It’s called the Berkeley Project and is a community-wide volunteer day in which thousands of people are dispersed to tons of locations across the East Bay for projects ranging from gardening and landscaping to mural decoration and public works projects. The project is in its third year, having been pioneered in 2006 by two Berkeley undergraduate students – read the story here.
Our group of 15 volunteers was assigned to a site in the Berkeley Hills called the Claremont Canyon Conservancy. It’s a beautiful area, which I had never had the pleasure of visiting before, and we were lucky to have a beautiful sunny day in which to work. We split into small groups with some other volunteers, and were working on landscaping projects – mostly removing an invasive weed called the French broom which is displacing many locally growing plants in certain areas of the canyon. (Check out a really big one that Rachel removed to the left!) Some of us also reseeded a cleared area with California native plants. And in this picture below, we are spreading out bark across a hillside to prevent erosion.
We had a great time! I’ve included a few of the best pictures from the event here. For those of you living in or near the Bay Area, I encourage you to consider participating in the Berkeley Project day that’s happening in the spring of 2009. They haven’t set a date yet, but check back on their website for more details next year.
Here’s one last image that our media editor and photographer Francis put together.
Filed under: Event Planning, Waste diversion, Water | Tags: compost, Delegate Workshop, recycling, UC Berkeley, water fountains
So BMUN’s Delegate Workshop is coming up in just one week – on October 18th, 2008. I have been busily running around trying to make preparations, since we are expecting around 200 attendees! Our lovely Undersecretary General of Logistics, Taumoha, has secured Wheeler Hall as the location for the workshop, so my first order of business was to check out the venue. I’ve been in this building countless times in my undergraduate years – it is the location of the largest lecture hall on campus, after all – but inspecting it as sustainability coordinator meant I had to see the building in a new light.
First, I checked out the water fountains in each of the four halls where participants would be located. Would they work? It turns out that about 80% of them were functional, and at least one worked in each hall, which is better than I had expected. I wanted to make sure that attendees of the workshop had an alternative to buying packaged water. Generally speaking, it’s common in university lecture halls to see vending machines stocked with dozens of plastic water bottles, and as a result, students often seem to forget it’s an option to drink from the tap. Faucets come into disrepair, and the university doesn’t see an urgent need to fix the problem since so few students rely on them for drinking water anyways. (I’m not swayed by the marketing schemes of the water bottles companies though, especially since I now carry my BMUN canteen around with me when I’m on campus!)
UC Berkeley is notably ahead of the curve in this regard. They just launched their I Heart Tap Water campus campaign that is working to raise students’ consciousness about Berkeley tap water. There is actually a Community Nutrition class that is assessing all of the campus’s broken fountains this semester! So cool.
Anyways, back to my inspection. I also wanted to see where the best places would be to locate waste facilities. Through the campus’s Recycling and Refuse Services we are planning to have recycling and compost bins delivered to the building on Saturday morning so that we can achieve greater waste diversion. Both the advisor and secretariat lounges will have food available, and I want to make sure that they know where, how, and what to compost and recycle.
Greening these type of events is really important to the overall long-term sustainability of BMUN in our community. I just learned recently that event-planning is considered the second-most polluting sector of industry, coming after only waste-and-demolition (!) I know, shocking, right? So I feel now more than ever that these steps will be necessary to keeping BMUN’s impact on the community minimal. I will be sure to let you all know how the event goes next weekend!