Dalhousie Ecolympics aim to reduce carbon footprint with a lesson in less is more

- February 7, 2022

Now in its tenth year, the Ecolympics encourages students living in residence to reduce their individual and collective environmental footprint. (Provided photos)
Now in its tenth year, the Ecolympics encourages students living in residence to reduce their individual and collective environmental footprint. (Provided photos)

With Friday’s lighting of the 2022 Winter Olympics flame, Dalhousie students are lighting a torch of their own — the torch of sustainability.

Dalhousie’s annual Residence Ecolympics begin Monday (Feb. 7). This two-week event discourages energy and water waste and educates on sustainability efforts at Dal. During the event, student residences across Halifax and Truro participate by minimizing water and electricity use.

Before the event got underway, residences had water and electrical usage measured. Readings will be taken again at the finale of the competition to see which residence best reduced its carbon footprint.

Stop, collaborate and listen

Now in its tenth year, The Ecolympics is a massive collaborative event organized by Dal’s Office of Sustainability in partnership with Dal Residence Life, the Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability, and Dal students.  

Kareina D'Souza, sustainability manager with the Office of Sustainability, has overseen the competition for four years now.

“Sustainability is one of those topics where even if it's not your field of study it’s something you consider,” says D’Souza. “I believe this younger generation of university students is much more aware of the environment, their place in the world, and how they can make a difference.”

The Ecolympics sheds light on how to put that motivation into action.

“This is a way to give people some real skills, build community and create that culture of sustainability that we're looking for,” says D'Souza.

Related reading: New Green Labs program empowers Dal researchers to create more sustainable spaces

Get involved and meet like-minded people

There’s more to the Ecolympics than reducing water waste. Students are also encouraged to participate in activities in and out of residences (COVID-19 restrictions permitting).  

Activities over the next two weeks include potting plants, celebrating local food, a Greta Thunberg documentary viewing, and more. A full schedule of events is available on the Office of Sustainability website.  

“One of our best events is the clothing swap. I think there’s been an uptick in fast fashion the last couple of years. People don't consider the impact of the clothes they’re wearing,” D’Souza says.

This year’s clothing swap is on Feb. 12 in the LeMarchant Atrium from 11:00 am to  2:00 pm.

 “Come out, chat and pick up clothes and divert things from ending up in the landfill,” D’Souza encourages. “Give perfectly good clothing a new home. You can refresh your wardrobe with people in the same age range and it's a great community builder. It's also good to see people learn about thrifting and trend away from buying new.”

The Ecolympics concludeds on Feb. 20. Best of luck to all involved!


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