2024 Projects

Aerial view of campus horizon

2024 Western Sustainable Impact Fund Projects

Culture Nights at the Lodge

The Wampum Learning lodge hosts bi-weekly culture nights, that are designed to bring people together in a healthy way, which is very important in building a safe environment for cultural reclamation. This project will introduce new programming in two areas, Indigenous crafting and Powwow Fitness.

CEMS Global Citizenship Seminar

This project involves creating a 2-day sustainable development seminar for incoming CEMS exchange students, which will be focused on textiles. The event will include a speaker series featuring fashion industry professionals as well as industry visits, including a trip to the Goodwill shredding/recycling factory here in London.

Western Engineering Technology Club - DAC Device

The Western Engineering Green Technology Club (WEGTC) is embarking on an ambitious multi-year project to construct and optimize a Direct Air Capture Device. This initiative is centred on developing technology capable of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a critical step in combating climate change. By continuously refining and advancing this technology over the coming years, WEGTC aims to make a substantial impact in the field of green technology and contribute meaningfully to the reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels.

Western Engineering - Sustainable Impact - Faculty Education Session

This project will create a Speaker Session for the Faculty of Engineering, focused on sharing how the speaker's research is making a positive impact on life and the environment. Through this speaker series, the project team hopes to engage 120-150 attendees, including students, staff, and faculty. This project supports both Western Engineering's Vision & Mission as well as the University's Strategic Plan - "Western's Place in the World".

SustainableCities Connect Workshop

This project involves creating and hosting a two-day training workshop on building sustainable and inclusive cities. This event will be focused on bringing Western into the collaborative network of the international think-tank ICCCASU (the International Conference on Canadian, Chinese and African Sustainable Urbanization). This workshop will engage academics, researchers, professionals, local communities and city officials across the globe to participate in sharing and exchanging experiences, challenges and opportunities.

Evaluating and sustaining biodiversity at Western's Experimental Field Station

This project will help advance the Environmental Sciences Western Field Station to become a critical teaching and training facility in sustainability. This project will accomplish three major goals: 1) complete a biodiversity inventory of the ESW site; 2) establish a sustainable management plan that will maintain and enhance biodiversity on this site and 3) evaluate the use of this site by migratory and resident birds.

Digitizing Biology's Collections Reveals Biodiversity Data From London and the Western Campus

The Dr. Laurie L Consaul Herbarium and the Zoological Collections of the Department of Biology contain thousands of research specimens of plants, fungi and animals collected on campus, throughout the city of London and in the surrounding region. Currently, most of the Zoological Collections and Herbariums specimens are not digitized. Digitizing the collection will help advance the science of biodiversity in a variety of ways, including uploading the data to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and by uploading the data to iNaturalist for specimens collected on campus through the UWO Biodiversity Inventory Campus as a Living Lab Project. This project is envisioned as the first phase of a larger project that will result in the complete digitization of all of these research specimens.

Alternative analysis of winter road salts

This research project involves the research and implementation of alternative de-icers, that are less corrosive and harmful to the environment. This research will involve collaboration with local authorities responsible for winter road maintenance, and by working together to find more sustainable solutions, the University can contribute to the broader community's efforts to reduce the environmental impact of road salt use.

Owl habitat as natural rodent pest control

This project will install boxes for birds of prey (such as Easter Screech Owls, Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls or American Kestrels) to natural areas near buildings on campus, providing a natural rodent pest control service. Each bird of prey will consume hundreds to thousands of rodents each year, which will reduce the risk of rodents entering building and requiring other interventions, such as applications of pesticides.

Forest City Tree Festival

This project will support the development and hosting of a week long festival dedicated to trees on Western's Campus in Fall 2024, in collaboration with City of London, ReForest London, and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Programming to include tree giveaways, plantings, boothing etc.

Bird Safety Window Films for Music Building

This project involves the installation of bird safety film on the windows of the Music Building to curb bird strikes. The Music Building has an entrance corner and two connecting passages between it and Talbot College that are almost entirely made of glass. These areas are frequented not only by staff and students, but also by the general population, as The Faculty hosts weekly public events. It has been noticed over the years since this new structure was built that many birds fail to see the windows and strike the glass, causing death in many cases. This not only impacts the biodiversity of our wildlife, but also the mental health of our staff, students, and guests. Seeing a dead bird just outside the glass can trigger a trauma response from many people. Specifically patterned film applied on windows has been proven to prevent bird strikes. This project proposes to rectify this conservation and trauma issue by installing film which has been uniquely designed to be effective against bird strikes to all the windows in these passages.

Ecologies in Practice; podcast and workshop series

This project will develop and implement a public podcast and workshop series at the Centre for Sustainable Curating. An eight episode podcast series will be created to focus on artists and their work as it relates to the environment. The public format of the podcast will be accessible on and off campus and the proposed workshops will be in-person events. The podcast will appeal to students, artists, arts workers, policy makers, educators, scientists and scholars, as well as larger public audiences interested in exploring environmental issues and climate change from a cultural and artistic perspective. In addition, the in-person workshops explore sustainable practices, processes, and materials of art-making, which will be unique and exciting opportunities to learn about important sustainable alternatives. This will also work to support the current research stream at the Centre for Sustainable Curating, which is focused on materials. Together, the podcast and workshops will engage the campus and local communities, while supporting teaching and learning with sustainability knowledge and practices.

Tahir Carl Karmali: Reverse Mining Practices in Contemporary Art

In collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Curating, this project will develop a hands-on workshop for Western students with Tahir Carl Karmali, a Nairobi-born and Brooklyn-based artist, as the event's featured guest. Karmali will speak to ethical mining operations abroad.

terra aesthetica: art, activism, and the tectonics of power and pedagogy

This project will develop and host a panel on art, activism, educational methodologies, and power structures with perspectives from experts in art and visual culture. The panel will be structured as an interactive discussion involving experts in environmental activism and scholars in the fields of art and visual culture.

Migratory fish in Medway Creek: eDNA validation of temporal and spatial patterns

This research project will study white sucker migration in Medway Creek, and will involve field lab and outreach components. White suckers are a migratory fish, who migrate approximately 250 km up river from Lake St. Clair to spawn in the upper Thames River and its tributaries, and back again. This research focused on the white sucker could provide key information about the overall ecosystem health of the Thames River.

WaterAid Western's Annual Sustainability Conference

This project will support WaterAid Western's Sustainability Conference at the end of the academic year WaterAid Western is a student group, that is also part of the Western Environment & Sustainability Network. The event will focus on the climate crisis, call for action, and educate students on how to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

Hydroponic Library

This project will develop a Hydroponic Library on campus, in collaboration with USC Food Support Services aimed at addressing student demand for fresh fruit and vegetables. This project will allow students to sign-out hydroponic kits through USC Food Support Services for an agreed upon period of time and enable them to grow their own food at home.

Western University's Teaching, Research and Community Apiary

This project will renew and expand the living infrastructure at Western's Teaching, Research and Community Apiary, currently located in a remote part of the Research Park (Collip Circle). This project will not only double the number of hives, but also include improvements to the basic hive physical infrastructure needed to optimize the health of the colony.

Bird-friendly retrofitting for Collip and Western Science Centre windows

Installation of bird safety film on the windows of the Collip Medical Science Building, glass façade of the Western Science Building, and windows of third-floor bridge connecting BGSB to curb bird strikes.

Recyclable Polymer Foam Composite for a Sustainable Future

This student-led systematic study will examine the effect of CO2 on the exfoliation of carbon and on the thermal, sound insulation, fire retardancy, and mechanical properties of polystyrene nanocomposite foam.

Digital dentistry workflows to improve sustainability and accessibility

This project seeks to advance work outlined in Schulich Dentistry's Sustainability Action plan, and will enable dental students to provide the highest level of patient care, through a sustainable approach. This project seeks to acquire and install two scanners; a digital patient scanner as well as a laboratory scanner, which will provide detailed digital, three-dimensional images of patient's teeth. This equipment will enable the dental school to begin transitioning from being completely analogue to an open digital workflow for the fabrication of dental prostheses and delivery of treatment. Currently, dental impressions and casts are transported from the school to the lab and back using vehicular transportation, often requiring multiple trips. The scanners will help reduce Western's carbon footprint and GHG emissions.

LEADER Project Workshop/Fundraiser

This project will involve hosting two events focusing on fundraising/entrepreneur education workshops for not-for-profit and social enterprises, and is a collaboration between LEADER Project at Ivey and Innovation Works. The goal and objective is to educate social enterprise leaders with business acumen, in order to help make these organizations more sustainable. These events are targeting enterprises that inherently benefit the community and will create and foster community ties and connections.

Educational Signs for the Pollinator Garden

This project is requesting funding to support the installation of permanent informational signage at the Friends of the Garden (FOGs) Pollinator Garden. The garden was created in 2022 and expanded in 2023 and is a significant and visible sustainability project that is also part of the Campus as a Living Lab program. This signage seeks to improve awareness of the project and to inform pedestrian traffic of the design and goals of the pollinator garden.

Usage of Recycled Rubber in Light Weight Concrete Applications

The Western Engineering Concrete Canoe Association (WECCA) is a design and build team that annually constructs a new canoe made almost entirely of lightweight sustainable concrete. Each year the concrete composition is altered to drive continual improvement. This year, the team's project is to reduce the environmental impact of its concrete mix by implementing recycled rubber tires. This project has opened an avenue for the club to begin doing research on how recycled material can be used as a direct substitute for unsustainable aggregates.

Western University Sustainable Transportation Pitch Competition

A Western Engineering wide on-campus event targeted towards first and second year undergraduate students. The pitch competition/event will be designed to encourage sustainable design in the transportation and engineering sector, in the context of campus. The pitch competition will aim to allow students to think about the modes of transportation available on campus, in addition to accessibility and functionality of existing infrastructure and produce a proposal on how they would improve/re-design their proposed site on campus.

Planetary Health Considerations in Human Health Education: PPE Recycling Pilot Project in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry Anatomy Lab

This project aims to implement a PPE recycling program in the Anatomy Lab at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, specifically focused on disposable face masks.

It is estimated that more than 25,000 disposable face masks could be diverted from landfill through this program, as they are currently thrown in the garbage. The project would include running a year-long PPE (facemask) waste diversion pilot in the lab, using purchased recycling boxes from vendors that have PPE specific recycling programs, such as LifeCycle Revive and TerraCycle.

Snack Wrapper Recycling Program

This project will build upon and expand the pre-existing program started (and funded) by the Society of Biology Graduate Students (SOGBS), that recycles snack wrappers in the Department of Biology. This program has been quite successful and has gained interest beyond the biology department. This project will expand the program to add snack wrapper recycling at 9 locations on campus including BGSB, Middlesex College, UCC, WSC, NCB, Collip and NSC. The program will continue to be managed by the SOGBS.

Signage for Campus Trail Entrances

This project aims to install metal signage near the entrance trails on campus to inform trail users about their ecological significance, to share rules and considerations for using natural areas, and to reflect Western's commitment to environmental stewardship. Signs are proposed for installation at the entrance to the Medway Valley Heritage Forest behind Support Services Building (in collaboration with Huron College) behind Brescia (in collaboration with Brescia), behind the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, on the southeast and northwest sides of University Drive Bridge, and beside Western Alumni Stadium.

On-Campus Refillable Soap Dispenser

This project involves the installation of a bulk laundry and dish soap dispenser on campus for students to access at an affordable rate. In a time where the cost of living is rising, students need to be supported in innovative ways. Following the lead of UBC and Simon Fraser, this project will install a refillable Soap Stand dispenser within Food Support Services in UCC, and will be supported by USC staff.

Promoting Sustainable Transportation Options to Campus - Cycling at Western

The overall goal of this project is to encourage active and sustainable transportation options on campus in order to increase participation in the bicycling community. There are two elements to the project which include hosting two friendly bicycle commuting competitions (one in spring and one in fall) and a installing a bike repair/tune-up station on campus.

The bicycle commuting competitions will be held in the spring and the fall to ensure that cycling is promoted to the undergraduate student population during the academic year.