We are thrilled to introduce you to four new OPIRG volunteer “working groups” as they begin their journey to make positive changes in their respective areas of interest:
In alphabetical order:
- Eco Friendly Mac
- MacTurtles/Turtle Group
- McMaster Community Engagement Project
- McMaster Welcome Group
You can reach all our (now 11) working groups from our volunteer page
The primary objective of this Working Group is to establish a more accessible and streamlined battery recycling program at McMaster. Battery recycling is not something that busy students prioritize and many throw them in the garbage without realizing that batteries need to be properly disposed of.
The current placements of the battery recycling stations are somewhat hidden from the average student and the numerous battery recycling stations scattered around are very disjointed in their operation. For example, the battery recycling station in the MSU office has not been processed in a year.
We also seek to make the general student body more aware about the notion that batteries need to be properly disposed of as well as the locations of these recycling stations.
Protection and conservation of turtles and wetlands through awareness and improvement of conservation efforts is what defines our working group.
Habitat fragmentation, climate change, pollution, and hunting are all reasons for the stark decline in turtle populations. Our group believes that a public and scientific understanding of these causes would help protect the declining turtle populations.
The wetlands are critical to biodiversity and human well-being. Our goal is to show the public that turtles are an important part of this ecosystem. Preserving and increasing turtle populations will help the wetlands and preserve a critical species.
We want to do this through connecting labs and groups by creating a conference to promote collaboration and information propagation. We have also created a radio show to build an appreciation for the importance of turtle protection. Designing petitions for reducing speed limits on Cootes and reducing the number turtles a person is allowed to hunt is another way to help.
Lastly, we have a proposal to work with Reyna Matties on having wildlife cameras monitor turtles. Trained volunteers would sift through the pictures helping to extract relevant data to be analyzed. This would give a cursory glance at how effective our conservation efforts are.
McMaster Community Engagement Project
This working group will advocate for students’ interests while raising awareness of ForWard1, the participatory budgeting process used in the City of Hamilton. Since Ward 1 is predominantly a student-inhabited area, it is important that this budgeting process takes the ideas and perspectives of students into consideration.
Throughout the year beginning January 2016, the McMaster Community Engagement (MCE) Project will collect ideas from student groups who are passionate about bringing positive change to the community. These ideas will be further developed by the MCE group with feedback from McMaster staff and submitted at the end of the year to receive ForWard 1 funding.
McMaster Welcome Group
The Syrian conflict has recently been brought close to home, 982 Syrian Refugees have settled in Hamilton this past year, these numbers will increase dramatically before this spring. 14 families, over 100 individuals, have already been placed in McMaster’s immediate community.
These families need support. With very little resources and no ability to speak English, simple activities like grocery shopping are a struggle. More complex tasks such as navigating our health care system for a pregnancy or finding work prove to be impossible alone.
Our group has been working to assist these families in their Canadian transition. We have collected and distributed winter clothing, furnished apartments, booked and translated doctors appointments and taught English lessons. Above all else we have developed strong friendships with these Newcomer Families.
We would like OPIRG’s support in continuing to assist Westdale’s newcomer families while reaching out regionally and internationally in the midst of this international humanitarian crisis.