Founded in 2016, Enactus Mount Allison is a student society focused on supporting social, environmental, and economic community initiatives through entrepreneurial action. While the society’s network has been largely virtual over the past year due to the pandemic, their campus projects have continued to grow. Membership doubled at the Mount Allison chapter in 2020-21 with students joining from across academic disciplines and programs.
“It’s been exciting to welcome so many students to Enactus and work collectively on projects with different groups and departments on campus,” says Lopsii Olagoke, computer science, mathematics, and physics student and Enactus Mount Allison co-president. “Collectively, we’ve seen members contribute over 560 volunteer hours and we’ve secured external funding to help support our main projects, providing opportunities for student internships and other collaborations. Our group is open to students from all programs and we’re always excited to hear about new ideas around entrepreneurship.”
Following a busy year, the group is preparing to present their current three main initiatives this spring at the Enactus national conference. These projects include:
Project Green Light — Working in partnership with University staff and the Mount Allison Students Union, Enactus has launched an awareness campaign around local waste sorting practices on campus, with an aim to reduce landfill waste and divert more items for recycling and composting. The team helped produce the MASU’s Eco Rep Guidebook for residences and worked with the University to increase universal signage at waste receptacles across campus. With their efforts, it is estimated that over 25,000 refundables have been diverted on campus and, in 2021, the group was awarded second place in the ScotiaBank Climate Change regional competition. Project Green Light plans to expand its programs in the future to assist off-campus students in waste sorting.
“Different provinces and regions have different recycling regulations and procedures. This is because each waste facility has different levels of government funding, waste sorting technology/systems, and safety standards,” says Anna Hardie, economics major and project manager for Green Light. “Just because a certain product is made out of a recyclable material and COULD be recycled, it does not mean it is or can be recycled at the facility near you.”
Enviroot — Under the guidance of Mount Allison chemistry professor Dr. Andrew Grant, a group of students are researching environmentally-friendly alternatives for fibre boards using orange peels. Using peels discarded from the University’s dining hall, the group is exploring sustainable alternatives for fibre boards currently used in most building materials, particle boards, and bulletin boards. The project has enabled three part-time positions for student researchers.
“It’s been exciting to work on research exploring how orange peels could be upscaled in this way, both helping to reduce food waste and harmful chemicals in building materials,” says Enviroot project manager and third-year chemistry student Padmapriya Srinivasan. “This kind of adaptation is allowing us to use entrepreneurial ideas to combat climate change, which is really exciting.”
Textbook Osmosis — Launched in 2016, Textbook Osmosis is a book recycling program that aims to both reduce the number of textbooks that head to the landfill and help support students and community groups by improving access to donated resources. In partnership with Facilities Management, Enactus Mount Allison has place donation bins for textbooks on campus and this spring, the group was awarded a $5000 TD Ignite Grant through the Venture Space MtA Entrepreneurial Thinking Incubator powered by TD Ready Commitment. Textbook Osmosis is currently developing a web application which will assist in growing the textbook network nationally.
“Since its establishment, the group has been able to recycle 5,000 books and assist approximately 700 students,” explains project lead and computer science student Enoch Adekiitan. “We’re grateful to work with Mount Allison’s Facilities Management team as well as mentors from Bell Canada and Northbridge Financial to help expand the project to other campus through a web application and work towards becoming an official non-profit organization to help both students and the environment.”
The Enactus Canada national competition will take virtually between May 10 -20, giving students the opportunity to present on their projects but also meet with mentors from across Canada and participate in a career forum. Learn more about all three Enactus Mount Allison projects being presented at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z3_o39fG1Y
Photo captions: Members of Enactus Mount Allison meet via virtually. Enviroot project leads and researchers in the chemistry lab. Members check for donated books at the Textbook Osmosis collection bin in the Wallace McCain Student Centre