Step up to sustainability

- September 16, 2010

A member of the Goggles troupe talks to a student at Saint Mary's.
Intrigued Saint Mary’s students slowly built a more condensed circle outside of their union building during the Wednesday lunch hour, as they surrounded a curious theatre troupe. The members were wearing goggles, made from cut out bottoms of plastic bottles.

“Welcome to Rethink University,” a girl in the troupe yells to the crowd, as she starts a 20-minute skit with three other actors all wearing their recycled goggles. The skit includes a quiz with interesting facts, and end with a sustainability rap.

The troupe is part of the Goggles Project, a project aimed at prompting discussion about sustainability. It was started by Dal professor Tarah Wright. She created the project to distribute valuable information across campuses and address a barrier to university leadership in sustainability: the lack of understanding and awareness.

The educational troupe plans to visit 18 college and university campuses across Canada between now and October 1st to deliver their skit and videotape comments from students. The best five or six videos from each day will be posted on their website,

“The fun part of Goggle Project is that we ask people to become part of the project,” explains Dr. Wright, who teaches in the Environmental Science Program at Dal. “It’s not just us talking to them, but its asking people to tell us what they think the university should be doing to be more sustainable.”

The project comes to Dal Thursday, Sept. 16, outside the medical school quad at 10:15  a.m. and outside the Ralph Medjuck Building at noon. On Friday, Sept. 17, it will take place in the Killam Atrium at 10:30 a.m. and outside the SUB at noon.

tarah wright
Tarah Wright wears goggles made from the bottoms of pop bottles.

“I’m looking forward to taking this tour to my home campus because I know Dalhousie has done a lot in terms of sustainability, and I think there’s a lot of awareness on campus, but I still think there’s a lot of things to do,” says Dr. Wright.

The Goggles project is a result of Dr. Wright’s previous work. In 2005, she began a two-year study examining what university presidents believe are the major issues facing universities in the future, how they define concepts of sustainable development, sustainable universities and the role universities play in achieving a sustainable future.

Considering its content, Dr. Wright wanted to make her research more accessible and so applied for another grant ito create the Goggles project. Funding comes from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

“We don’t want to preach to the converted. We want everybody to start talking about this because we think sustainability is important and everybody should be talking about it and not just people in environment and sustainability clubs.”



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