Student team named finalists in Sustainable Campus International Competition

August 20, 2013

When Derek Reid learned about about the Sustainable Campus International Competition (SCIC), the Bachelor of Science student went into an information session for the contest with the idea for vermicomposting (using worms to convert food waste into fertilizer).

“When I got there, it was made clear that we should be thinking bigger picture,” he says.

IMAGE-SCIC-DerekReidBig-picture thinking has so far paid off for the Solar Greenhouse Test Module team. Earlier this month, the team was named a finalist in the SCIC, representing the university at the international level. Derek, business student Misha Bazelevskyy, and computer science student Andrew Talviste developed a proposal for a mostly self-sufficient food-processing greenhouse that could operate efficiently through Edmonton winters.

The team members recognized that while it would be impossible for the greenhouse to be 100 per cent self-sufficient, they are confident that they can get close to that percentage by using aquaponics—a combination of aquaculture (edible fish) and hydroponics (vegetables)—and by researching sustainable heating and lighting costs to keep the greenhouse operating throughout the year.

“We proposed to design and build a passive solar greenhouse module off site, hopefully in partnership with another stakeholder, install it at City Centre Campus, and run various experiments over a couple of winters,” says Derek.

On August 29, Derek will participate in a final interview along with the finalists from McGill University and the International School of Management in Dakar, Senegal. After the interviews, the SCIC jury panel will select and announce the winner. On the line: coaching and guidance for the implementation of the winning team’s project and $3,000 in seed money.

“It seems like the previous levels of competition had us explaining what we want to do, whereas this final stage is about explaining how exactly we intend to do it,” says Andrew.

“Having a great idea is only one part of being successful. You have to know how to implement it and I feel that’s what this part of the competition is about.”

SCIC was launched to empower students to make a difference while creating an international network of sustainable campuses. This inaugural year saw the participation of seven post-secondary institutions from around the world.

“When you’re working on a proposal for an international organization, you really have to appeal to as broad an audience as possible,” says Andrew.

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