Building a college community on the foundation of environmental sustainability takes a group effort involving students and staff dedicated to making a difference. As the winter semester comes to an end, Selkirk College’s environmental sustainability committee is recognizing a pair of individual efforts that made a difference in the 2019-20 academic year.
Student Emily Markholm and employee Michelle Colley have been presented with a Selkirk College Environmental Sustainability Award for their dedicated effort. Presented annually to a student and employee who have made significant contributions to environmental sustainability, this year’s recipients have demonstrated outstanding leadership in encouraging a sustainability culture on campus and within the broader community.
“Both Emily and Michelle approach issues of sustainability with passion, dedication and humility,” says Selkirk College’s sustainability co-ordinator Laura Nessman. “Through their leadership, they have both contributed to direct action and overall awareness.”
Colley has been an instructor in Selkirk College’s school of academic upgrading for the past four years and during this time has made significant contributions to campus sustainability. Colley has taken the initiative to expand the recycling options on the Trail campus and set up a system to separate out plastics, glass, packaging and foam, which can be taken to the Trail landfill for proper recycling. She not only ensures these items are sorted and cleaned properly, but has also taken it upon herself to drop them off as needed.
“Michelle’s contributions to Selkirk College’s waste diversion efforts are truly appreciated,” says Nessman. “She’s been described by her fellow colleagues as someone who is incredibly environmentally conscious and one who is always gently encouraging both coworkers and students to be more conscious too.”
Markholm has shown strong commitment to sustainability at Selkirk College throughout her three years on the Castlegar campus. As an invaluable member of the Environment Club, she has played an integral role in sustainability-related events on campus, including waste audits, trail walks, energy conservation outreach events, waste reduction campaigns, garbage clean-ups and documentary film screenings.
During this past academic year, Markholm held a Selkirk sustainability ambassador position where she hosted sustainability workshops, provided outreach to students and staff, participated in sessions related to ecological grief, and supported the wide range of sustainability initiatives at the college.
“Emily’s contributions have made significant impacts on the college community,” says Nessman. “She has also been involved in the broader community, including as a member of the Sierra Club of Canada’s youth executive committee which takes a ‘think globally, act locally’ approach to environmental issues.”
Markholm is a graduate of the recreation, fish and wildlife program and this past year undertook two semesters within the school of university arts and sciences in preparation for her transfer to the University of Northern BC to pursue a bachelor of science in wildlife and fisheries.
Fine woodworking program instructor David Ringheim created the beautiful trophies which are in the sustainability display case on Castlegar campus. The wood used came from a big leaf maple that fell down in Lakeside Park in Nelson during a storm nearly 15 years ago. The wood from this tree has been incorporated into student projects ever since.