What a great event in the SLC last night. The Human Rights Conference Panel was delayed because of a snow day - but was such a good way to get people discussing big issues and how students can activate for change. I had the good fortune to get to speak with really interesting activists on the panel, and shared a common vision for social/sustainable change with solidarity - how to support each others movements and causes, especially at times of crisis.

We've actually achieved so much good as a collective social movement - banned CFCs in countries all around the world, so the ozone layer is moving into self-repair - we've stopped Canada's partiicpation in Iraq - we've built strong labour laws...
There's every reason to keep feeling hopeful and getting involved.
Join up here and keep posting and checking and thinking:

Now, the U-Pass...

I'm looking at a "No" poster for the U-Pass referendum.

"When Laurier got a U-Pass, bus service did not improve."
- WHAT? Of course service improved, and UW student indirectly benefitted and we're mooching off the service improvements gained.

"Traffic and pollution increased when Guelph got one."
- How does that make sense? A unviersal bus pass is generally known as one of the single best initiatives a university can adopt to make a positive change in emission reductions. And how very important this is right now! It is difficult to quantify a prediction of traffic reductions and health benefits that will result without significant studies, but all indicators show improvements. We need a cultural shift at this point where we build communities based on walking, transit and other alternatives to the car. As students come to a UW with a U-Pass, they will learn that a bus is feasible when living in the city, and take that attitude away once they graduate.
Guelph is moving ahead, where their University President juat announced they want to partner with the City in sustainability. Universities in the US (you know, that country that's supposed to be environmental lagging on us), aleady have bus passes and are moving on to approve green energy student fees by margins of 80-90%, even in the most conservative states like Tenessee.

Here's what a student from Guelph said:
"Here at Guelph, we have had a u-pass for quite a while, at a cost of $54 per semester. I am delighted to hear that I will be enjoying the benefits of this referendum (assuming it passes)." - Denis Agar - transferring to Waterloo

"Only 15% of students take the bus."
...is misleading. I overheard a couple students reading the poster and saying, but what would it be like it we had a pass?

A recent 84% approval of a U-Pass at the University of Alberta in Edmonton said otherwise. It looks more like 15% don't support the bus. And their pass was $75. What a deal we got.
University of Victoria, a much smaller municipality than ours has benefitted tremendously as cited in a Canadian Government report. Pollution/health, growth management, campus greenspace and parking issues are cited.


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