Eco-Friendly Mac interview

Working Groups consist of students who are passionate about tackling a specific issue. They receive support from OPIRG staff, and funding to meet their goals and ambitions. Each year OPIRG accepts new Working Group ideas. This year Eco-Friendly Mac was created, and their focus is on establishing a battery-recycling program at McMaster. The following is Q & A regarding the dynamics of this working group

Interview by ZAIN ABIDEEN

Who came up with the working group idea?

I (Daniel Wu) and Tanisha Sharma co-founded this working group. A while back, I had a plethora of used batteries and ink cartridges piled up in a box at home. Knowing that these things should be recycled, I looked up some of the E-waste recycling stations on campus from the McMaster sustainability website. What should have been a 10 min trip to the recycling station ended up taking more than an hour because the system is extremely outdated and most stations no longer exist. After talking to some OPIRG staff, I realized that reinstating the battery recycling stations could be the first stepping-stone for a bigger group, and thus Eco-Friendly Mac was born!

Why did you feel it was important and what do you hope to achieve? 

The eventual goal of Eco-Friendly Mac is to provide an avenue for the student body to bring up sustainability concerns and solutions, as well as providing them with financial support and human resources.

What should have been a 10 min trip

to the recycling station

ended up taking

more than an hour

What impact will the working group have on the McMaster and Hamilton community? 

We are currently in the process of reinstating the outdated battery-recycling project. This will provide students with a convenient way to recycle their batteries without having to go through a pilgrimage across campus. Once this project has been completed, our working group will begin to openly recruit volunteers and tackle on other sustainability related projects.

What has been the most memorable experience been thus far?

Getting lost in downtown Hamilton trying to find the McMaster Continuing Education Center for one of our OPIRG meetings!

How can anyone get involved, what is the schedule like?

The best way is through email. Right now our working group is still in its “beta” phase  – we are still in the process of learning the system and how things get implemented around campus. In short, we’re not openly recruiting volunteers at the moment. Once we feel like we have a good understanding of the system, naturally gathering volunteers is the next step.

Is there a big project coming up that you are looking forward to or planning?

We are looking forward to working with Chukky on his reusable take out container initiative!


Find Eco-Friendly-Mac on our (new) website

Hiring a Student for Street Tree Project

OPIRG McMaster is seeking a student Street Tree Project Coordinator through the McMaster Work Program for Spring/Summer 2017.

Street Tree Project

For the past four summers OPIRG has hired a student staff to implement the Street Tree
Project. We piloted the project in the Summer of 2013 in Hamilton’s Keith Neighbourhood in Ward 3.

streetsThe project was designed by Randy Kay using mobile air quality data from Clean Air Hamilton, satellite mapping to identify areas lacking trees (which coincided with neighbourhoods with higher than average air pollution and lower than average incomes), and a partnership with the ward councillor and the city forestry department.

Our method is to go door to door and sign up residents for a free city street tree for the front of their homes. As a result, we successfully increased the average street tree requests from three to 75 in a two month period (May and June) in 2013.

The project expanded in 2014 to the Crown Point Neighbourhood where we received over 80 requests for Street Trees. Our third year focused on Ward Three’s Gibson/Landsdale Neighbourhood in 2015. 2016 found us back in Ward Three, going door to door in Gibson, Landsdale and Stipleyneighbourhoods and netting 62 tree requests.

Our work has received positive media attention and a “community builder” award from Volunteer Hamilton and the Hamilton Spectator. Four different students have directly made a lasting impact on these neighbourhoods that will pay dividends in terms or air quality for decades to come.

The Street Tree project has a twitter account, a new Facebook Page, as well as a blog.
You can read annual reports online or find them on the Hamilton Street Tree blog.

The Street Tree Project Coordinator will further implement the project for 2017.

Details of the Position:
Hourly Rate of Pay: $14.00
Hours Per Week: 30
Total Number of Weeks: 9
Employment Dates: Monday, May 1, 2017 – Friday, June 30, 2017
Work Schedule:
Monday – Friday
Application Deadline: Friday, March 17, 2017

Applications require a cover letter, resume and approved work program form and should be submitted through MOSIAC. (link to job on MOSIAC)

OPIRG welcomes the contributions that individuals from marginalized communities bring to our organization, and invites aboriginal people, people of colour, poor and working-class people and those on social assistance, women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, queer-oriented people; transgender, transsexual, intersex and two-spirit people; single parents, members of ethnic minorities, immigrants, people from non-academic backgrounds and people with disabilities to apply. We encourage applicants to describe the contributions and experiences they would bring to the OPIRG organization in their cover letter.

OPIRG’S Mission
OPIRG McMaster’s mission is to empower students and community in exchanging ideas and taking action on diverse social justice and environmental issues by connecting individuals, groups, organizations, and resources