Forum: Linking North-South through research on campus sustainability
From March 13 – 15, 2017, Dawson faculty, staff and students participated in the Third Sustainable Campuses Research Forum, which took place at three partner institution campuses in the state of Morelos in Mexico. Dawson’s delegation was comprised of lead Sustainable Campuses Researcher and Dawson faculty member Gisela Frias, Sustainable Dawson’s Chris Adam, CRLT faculty member Sarah Cartier and the Coordinator of the Dawson College Peace Centre and Community Life Programming, Diana Rice. Also joining the group were two CRLT students, Keera Taylor and Jessica Rouillier, who were completing a 6 week internship experience at partner schools.
The Dawson group received the warmest of welcomes as the Third Sustainable Campuses Forum kicked off at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM) Preparatoria Comunitaria Tres Marias Campus, with whom the College has a newly penned partnership. At Tres Marias, the Dawson group was shown the groundwork that has gone into construction of a classroom made of completely sustainable materials. The participants got their feet dirty as they stomped through mud mounds in an effort to rid them of stones that could create lumps in the adobe mud bricks being made to create the structure’s walls. They were also treated to a presentation of an indigenous medicinal plant garden, underlining the importance of the preservation of traditional knowledge and implementation of experiential learning curriculum. Finally, they enjoyed a theater performance “A Time to Act”, where our two students performed.
At the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN) Ayala Campus, Forum participants took in the grounds that had been transformed from manicured lawns into a home for local plant life like cacti and other native tree species: its own living campus! Presentations at UPN Ayala centered on food justice and security, which demonstrated how small initiatives can have a big impact in the formation of action-based communities. Participants also visited the community of Huitchila where they met with a group of rural women working in collaboration with the UPN to learn about traditional medicine.
The final day of the Forum was held at the Universidad Politécnica del Estado de Morelos (UPEMOR) where the group of Canadian and Mexican participants had a chance to share personal experiences around sustainability, reminding them that we each have a role to play in our personal and professional lives toward creating sustainable change in the world. Finally, the inauguration of the UPEMOR’s Mural for the soon to come Aquatic Peace Garden which will celebrate the creation of serene, natural spaces inhabited by myriad local biodiversity was the perfect way to end another successful Forum.
The Dawson community will have the opportunity to partake in Forum events when the Bi-National Itinerant Forum comes to Dawson College from April 24-28th, 2017. A schedule will be released to the community but in the meantime, you can learn more by reading both student intern and Forum participant blogs!