I'm excited about how many of you are telling me you've been checking out my blog, and looking at my vision for campus, and for the world in general. Thanks for coming to the forums, thanks for reading our scrutinizing our platform and for so much of your help. I thought I'd share with you
I've been incredibly inspired by the diversity on the UW campus that I haven't seen until now, and the Thank you to the volunteers and supporters - thanks for caring in this campaign and believing in me. Honestly, I could not have done any of this without you.
I've been talking a lot about three main things I've done which show my competence for this job I'm applying for: active in a my student association, President of a club and Coordinator of a Service. What might you not know about me? I'm on the Senate Undergraduate Council and I have a meeting tomorrow, I've been in the UW Stage Band and Chamber Ensemble, playing trumpet at Grebel. When I was in grade 12 I started an ensemble of the experience musicians in our band, I started the Environment Club - and then joined Sarnia Environmental Activists, the Sarnia Urban Wildlife Committee and the Green Party. I started a group called PeaceWorks with a group of older residents to protest war and increase peace advoacy. Grade 11 was when my friends and I started a group called Teens for Our Education and the Ontario Student Federatives to advocated across the province for fixes to our education and tuitions. I also was editor for a short time of a newsletter called The Cucumber, and am now Submissions editor for a national online mag called The Understory. I'm so glad my program considered extra-curriculars and not just marks. But my marks were high and a scholarship from UW would have been nice! haha.
I have written for almost every section of Imprint, including Arts, News, Science, Opinion and Features. I was also a columnist over the summer for The Observer in Sarnia, while having a main summer job writing for Alternatives Journal.

Let me share some random volunteer photos below.
Some interesting links:
Imprint cover - Sept 22, 06
Chelsea Prescod's latest blog note on facebook
Keith Chan's campaign site
ERS 250 report on the UW Environment Network, interview myself
Record article one year ago, before the climate issue exploded
Diversity campign: One Waterloo

Just wanted to point out some errors on Faraz and Team Yellow posters in ES - their "open letter".
It says, lobby for the "reinstitution" of a Sustainability Office, however we never had one at UW. This is a new and exciting initiative, where we as a campus are need to catch up. We did however have a waste management program and a cross-faculty committee on greening.
They also say "new environmental ideas" such as a cross-campus Feds lug-a-mug, yet this is not new either and was done by Food Services and UWSP:

I do practice what I preach on the environment. I don't eat animal products and try to eat organic and local. I conserve energy at home and take appropriate transportation or walk/bike where possible. Furthermore, I've worked to encourage countless numbers of people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, and am now doing that at the campus level.

What we need now is not a Feds council motion favouring an Office of Sustainability (we sent a letter to David Johnston with nine student groups and the Feds President in 2005), but we just have to encourage the remainder of the Faculties that this is in UW's best interest - and I have been working with many at this level. Clearing a Path is the group suppoting these efforts, and is currently discussing best strategies, coming out of the discussions with M'Gongile.

Enjoy tonight's snow!


So the mayor of Waterloo today left me with the task of advising her on how to make the City of Waterloo a world leader in environmental innovation.
We can do it.
I'm just glad I'll have something to do as an extra-curricular if I win VP I.


Platform plank: Student Service

Check for new videos: http://www.2007ex.com

A few minutes after Sai Kit's resignation on Wednesday, the Imprint reporter at the campus media forum asked the candidates for VP Internal if we would commit to serving all the students and not put our personal biases up front. The VP's role must be just this. While I should state my own biases: to work on social justice and environmental issues, I am interested and excited every time I learn about the actions of another club, and I will work for everyone. To do this, the VP Internal must be competent and accessible to all groups and students. For example, I am vegan and so I have certain dietary restrictions for various reasons. Does this mean I place value judgments and undermine the Cheese Club? Of course not. I may have a bias towards the Campus Response Team, because I've been a member of Red Cross first aid and disaster response teams in the past. But does this mean I don't put equal time to helping the Food Bank? No, obviously I care about this service just as much.

With so many Society forums, I don't feel I've had enough chance to talk about the Services. As the only candidate with real experience in one of the seven Feds services (I was Co-coordinator of UWSP), I understand the problems that Services face and will come into the position with competence and the ability to work together to make the necessary changes.

My team will implement a Services Director to provide much needed support. We also need a stronger 'thank you' to those service coordinators who do so much for our students - these individuals need more support, which can be given in a small honourarium, but also in simply being treated well by Feds. Sai Kit was just investigating a clubs reward program. When I was Coordinator of UWSP, we wanted to thank our long-time Board members and our volunteer of the year, but didn't have support to provide even a framed certificate.

Service executives feel they are led around to different people when dealing with planning an event with the help of Feds. I will be efficient, and work to investigate, then solve these problems. Not all problems are too difficult to solve. International Student Connection told me they want to know other Service leaders better - this will help students be able to go to each other for questions and solutions. We need a Feds website with simple forms to recruit volunteers and a better coordinator handbook for volunteers. While my opponents and I all commit to more COPs meetings for Societies, I commit to more join Services meetings. If Service volunteers notice any problems or issues while I am Internal, I want them to bring them to me right away.

GLOW, CRT and UWSP all have internal or structural challenges that can be looked at and solved with some hard work by many individuals. When I Coordinated UWSP, Michelle Zakrison was my Internal Communications Director and she came up better communication plans to deal with the organization's problems, after having private interviews with each of the key stakeholders. It's an exciting time for the Women's Centre, with several upcoming events and partnerships. It's now time to eliminate conflicts with Council, and provide the right support that the service may flourish.

The University also offers services which we all pay for, such as athletics, libraries, the Safety Office, and Office for Persons with Disabilities. When I was in first year, because of a lung problem I required the service of the Student Access Van for a few months. It opened my eyes to the needs of some students. That's why I say in my platform that we'll have forums for students and groups to see what's going well and what isn't. We must know that UW and Feds services are working for you. Administrators will come to these forums because they're primarily here for students and they care about your issues.

I've realized through the campaign that people don't know how to get involved in ay part of Feds, but many will with the right information. People need Feds explained, and I will speak directly to groups of students in my term to inspire them to act and get involved.

Vote for eXpertise.
Vote Higgins.


Do you agree with Andy? ...let me know

I'm sitting in the SLC, readying for Imprint interviews, while Engineers Without Borders is setting up their booth for International Development Week. The theme is Gender Equality, and so they have the Women's Centre and the new PACs Collective setting up with them. It's great!

So winter has set in, and it's terrible outside. Campaigning is a real committment, especially with the constant moving around and the long days. My walk to school yesterday, through blustery -30 windchill and snow drifts only left me thinking about getting this U-pass and increased service so I could have used the bus.

Thanks to everyone who taught me card games on the weekend! I had some great food with the Bangladeshi Students Association, in an amazing cultural event for the community. The mayor was there, encouraging the undergrads to all vote. She enjoyed herself, and it was wonderful for me to be invited and share the excellent dinner and chats. Michelle even snapped a picture of me serving the students ;)


"Waterloo doesn't have a bus pass? Are you serious? Oh my God, that's good to know," he says. "They should have bus passes. They should have a sustainability office and a sustainability co-ordinator."
- Michael M'Gonigle.

He's helped activate movements before.
M'Gonigle isn't coming... He's here!

Everyone please join in the movement on Tuesday to talk about how we can have a more accountable university and sustainable community. I met Michael at Arizona State University, and we had a chat on the lawn over lunch with a few others from across Canada in how we can make a change in campuses across this country. They change we'll need to move to a campus that actually deals with issues like climate change.

He'll be hosting a student colloquium at 2:30pm in the ES Courtyard (ES1 by living walls) and a public lecture at 7:00pm in the Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

from Saturday's Record...Greenpeace founder speaks at UW Tuesday
M'Gonigle's lecture will draw on his book, Planet U


Michael M'Gonigle rolls into the University of Waterloo next week on an unprecedented wave of concern for the environment.

As a founder of Greenpeace International and a front-line environmentalist for more than 30 years, M'Gonigle is ecstatic to see the environment and climate-change as top-of-mind issues for Canadians.

But that's not enough, he says in a telephone interview from Victoria, where he practises law and teaches at the University of Victoria.

"My big concern is that there is a kind of issue-attention cycle, and it's really important that real leadership comes out of this and people seize the opportunity to do much more than just band-aid solutions," M'Gonigle says.

The environment has not been as big an issue since the acid-rain debates of the mid-1980s.

"The problem, though, is there is a correlation between how well the economy is doing and people's willingness to put the environment on top, but when the economy starts to slide, concern for the environment slides," M'Gonigle says.

"So it's a contradiction, a big contradiction. So being able to take advantage of this particular important window to start some pretty major re-thinking is a big challenge," M'Gonigle says.

During the past two months the environment has moved to the front burner in Canadian politics. Stephane Dion was elected Liberal leader in Montreal in early December, and the environment was the major theme of his leadership campaign.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded by appointing a new environment minister, and reinstating environmental programs his government had cancelled earlier.

While M'Gonigle is heartened by all this, he is far from satisfied.

"When you read the papers it's all talk, talk, talk, talk. Not solutions really. Not enough really thoughtful discussion of what do we have to do?" M'Gonigle says.

M'Gonigle has an extensive background in environmental activism.

He was co-founder of Greenpeace International in the mid-1970s. The group's work led to an international moratorium on commercial whaling. M'Gonigle was also a founding co-director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.

While he was chair of Greenpeace Canada, M'Gonigle started the Greenpeace forest campaign in 1990.

These days he teaches political ecology and green legal theory at the Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria, a program he recently founded. He has under-grad and graduate degrees in economics and law from the University of British Columbia, the London School of Economics, the University of Toronto and Yale.

When he comes to the University of Waterloo next week for a public lecture, M'Gonigle will draw heavily on a book he published last summer called Planet U: Sustaining the World, Reinventing the University.

All universities can play a much larger role in moving their local regions to more sustainable strategies in transportation, energy and planning, M'Gonigle says.

"The university can be a catalyst for local change. We haven't explored that nearly as much as we could," he says.

In March the University of Waterloo will hold a referendum on whether a bus pass for all students will be provided automatically. That would add $41 per semester to their student fees, plus an administrative fee tacked on by the students' union. All involved can expect a rebuke from M'Gonigle, who can't believe the issue is even up for a vote.

"Waterloo doesn't have a bus pass? Are you serious? Oh my God, that's good to know," he says. "They should have bus passes. They should have a sustainability office and a sustainability co-ordinator."

There is a continentwide movement for sustainable universities, and M'Gonigle holds up Yale as an example. M'Gonigle knows that school well, having earned two law degrees there -- a master's and a doctorate.

"Every university should have a vice-president of planning, innovation and sustainability. A vice-president who basically takes direction from the community and brings it into the university. That's the radical type of change I am talking about," M'Gonigle says.

Higher education is the most important industry on the planet, but it is also one of the most unaccountable.
The movement for a sustainable university intends to change that, he says.


Graphic: Submitted Photo; "When the economy starts to slide, concern for the environment slides," Michael M'Gonigle says.

Greenpeace International founder Michael M'Gonigle will speak at the University of Waterloo.
Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.
At the Festival Room, South Campus Hall.
He'll give a lecture called The Planetary University as a Catalyst for Local/Regional Sustainability.
For more information -- Call 519-888-4567, ext. 32440.


Well then. Bowling with the Planners Thursday night was a blast. I haven't done it for a year. The bus ride home was a little more subdued than last time I must admit.

Forums have been great, keeping the candidates on their toes.

The FASS play was a lot of fun last night. Michelle had a cameo and I'll post photos soon.
It's the kind of thing we need to see more of - a great idea!
Getting faculty, alumni, sstaff and students together on one project? If we can do that with other things to, we'll be rockin!

We're beginning to post short videos on youtube and linking them right on our site (thanks Aaron!) Look for some blogs in video from now on. It's so easy to share them with your friends too!