Making Connections Week is OPIRG McMaster’s Social Justice and Environment Week. The event runs in annually September, at the beginning of the academic year, and is also known as McMaster’s Alternative Welcome Week.The goal of Making Connections is to highlight environmental and social justice issues, both locally and globally. These issues are significant and require engaged people from all backgrounds, skills and abilities. It is also an opportunity to connect McMaster students — from first year to graduate school — with Hamilton community members. Everyone is welcome to participate.
The Hamilton Street Tree Project started in the summer of 2013, when OPIRG McMaster initiated a street tree pilot project in Hamilton’s Keith Neighbourhood in Ward 3.
The goal of the project was to increase the urban forest canopy in an area lacking trees plus facing a measurable air pollution problem. The method was to go door-to-door and sign residents up for a free City of Hamilton provided street tree for the front of their homes.
The Activist Skills Training Series was created to help individuals prepare and take action on issues in the public interest. Training is provided by community members on a variety of topics, from consensus decision-making to publicity and promotions.
Hamilton’s first volunteer-run, community-based bicycle repair workshop started with a proposal to the OPIRG Board of Directors in 1997. The need to have bicycle maintenance and repair skills available to Mac cyclists and community members led to the creation of RECYCLE CYCLES, first as a volunteer working group, now as a self sustaining entity. OPIRG McMaster helped purchase tools and equipment, and initial rent in a church basement (Erskine Presbyterian, 19 Pearl Street North).
Alternative Welcome Week
OPIRG had our first “AltWW” in the fall of 2010, made possible by a YMCA Youth Grant to hire a AltWW coordinator. Alternative Welcome Week has become part of the yearly cycle at OPIRG McMaster, offering free events to introduce students and the McMaster community to the dynamic social justice, environmental and arts scene in Hamilton! This is now known as our Making Connections week – be sure to check it out!
Student reports identifies the nature and amount of waste generated by McMaster though the findings from a waste audit conducted in 1995.
Plots were available for urban growers to make their vegetable dreams come true – project displaced by the construction of the MoMac Building.
Native Species Garden
A teaching garden in the Arts Quad courtyard (now the patio of TwelvEighty) featured low maintenance native species of plants including flowers and shrubs and information signage to educate about the benefits of using native species.
Terrace Garden Green Roof
OPIRG was offered an opportunity to grow plants on the 3rd floor terrace of the Student Centre. A team of volunteers from various working groups, board of directors, Engineers Without Borders, teamed up to green the Terrace. This grew into plans for a Green Roof project.
Battery Recycling Organization
The Battery Recycling program at McMaster grew out of the work done by OPIRG’s Battery Recycling Organization Working Group started by Engineering students Jennifer Li and Zdravko Simko.
By working collaboratively with the university, a campus wide policy that expanded the ability of the university community to ensure safe and environmentally sound battery recycling was established in October 2008.