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VIU students go green

By Bruce Patterson

The polls are open as two teams from Vancouver Island University compete for national video honours in the fourth annual TD Friends of the Environment Go Green Challenge.

Students from across Canada have entered videos up to four minutes long describing how they would take on their schools’ greatest sustainability challenges.

The stakes are high with a $20,000 team prize for the top entry along with paid summer internships for team members who will have the opportunity to work for TD Friends of the Environment Foundation or another organization. There is also a $100,000 grant for their institution to support sustainability initiatives.

In addition to the second and third-place prizes which are also selected by a judging panel, there’s a People’s Choice Award of $2,500 for the team that garners the most votes online at:

VIU’s teams have come up with creative and imaginative proposals.

Bachelor of tourism management students Pascale Jallabert and L-A Shibish focus on the potential to extract heat from water in abandoned coal mine shafts deep beneath the Nanaimo campus through an innovative geo-exchange system.

Members of Solutions: A Sustainability Network, Jawn Lafratta, Chris LoScerbo, Dana Short and Travis Barrington take a musical approach to extol the virtues of an ALTRA Active Transportation Station for campus.

In their video, Shibish and Jallabert demonstrate the potential for a geo-exchange system to tap into the water in abandoned mine shafts. Since the water is heated naturally by energy at the Earth’s core, it can be used to heat and cool campus buildings and reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

The ALTRA video stems from ongoing efforts to promote a range of sustainability initiatives on campus.

The student club has been working for two years to have a centre built on campus to encourage cycling, walking, car-pooling, riding the bus and other alternatives to commuting to campus by motor vehicles.

Videos from the VIU teams and their competitors from across Canada will be posted until March 11.