University of the Fraser Valley

UFV community shows commitment to sustainability through Ecochallenge

UFV community shows commitment to sustainability through Ecochallenge

Samantha Gibbs finished first in the UFV Ecochallenge standings with 1987 points.

More than 100 UFV employees and students participated in the third-annual Campus Ecochallenge, producing impressive results. Between Oct 10 and Nov 10, 2023, they worked on building healthy and sustainable habits, choosing from a list of more than 100 actions in nine categories: waste, food, health, transportation, energy, community, nature, water, and simplicity.

Examples included buying from a farmer’s market, disconnecting from email or using a reusable water bottle. Participants tracked their activities and earned points for success. The top three scorers – Samantha Gibbs, Rachael Clarke, and Susan Gibbs — earned sustainable prize packs. Samantha was first with 1,987 points, Rachael second with 1,830 and Susan third with 1,636.

“The Ecochallenge shows us that the UFV community values sustainability, and we have champions everywhere who are ready to drive positive change,” says Jennifer Martel, sustainability manager in UFV’s Office of Sustainability. “Participating in our annual Ecochallenge showcases commitment to a more harmonious future, and I am proud to be part of this community.”

A list of achievements included but was certainly not limited to:

  • More than 450 meatless or vegan meals consumed
  • More than 350 extra servings of fruits and vegetables
  • More than 2,000 minutes of mindfulness/meditation
  • More than 9,000 minutes avoided of screen time
  • More than 110 pounds of waste composted
  • Almost 200 hours spent exercising
  • More than 4,200 minutes of additional sleep
  • More than 5,000 minutes spent outdoors

As a group, UFV accumulated more than 21,000 points, more than double the total from 2022. For instance, last year participants saved 162 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. This year that number hit 1,344.

“Seeing the impact of our UFV community improving year over year is an encouraging reminder that together, our collective actions can make a big difference,” Martel notes. “Institutional and systematic changes take a lot of time and work, so seeing that people are ready to jump in with us to support sustainability at a grassroots level motivates us in our work.”

There were prizes for participants that checked in frequently, and there were 30 additional prize draws throughout the month to recognize that each participant’s actions matter, even if they seem small.

Other post-secondary institutions, most of them in North America, held Ecochallenge events of their own, and Martel was proud to see UFV ranking fifth out of 69 teams. The UFV group had the fourth highest number of participants with 101.