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UNB students make the world more sustainable, one small action at a time

Author: Hilary Creamer Robinson

Posted on Oct 17, 2023

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

These six students at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) are finding ways big and small to impact the environment. Here are some of their easy, innovative and inspiring tips to help you go green during Sustainability Month in October.

Madiha Kantroo

Madiha Kantroo
Master of environmental management, Fredericton campus

“It shouldn’t take a disaster to realize we’re doing something wrong.”

At 15, after surviving catastrophic flooding in her homeland of Kashmir in northern India, Madiha Kantroo became a sustainability warrior. Now, she is a citizens’ engagement officer at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick as she completes a master of environmental management at UNB.

“Sustainability, for me, means doing small things consistently that make an impact. It’s not about doing something major. First, change your own ways. Actions speak louder than words.”

Madiha recommends turning off the tap when brushing your teeth and ordering a free NB Power Renter Energy Saving Kit. Each kit includes LED lightbulbs and a nightlight, an electrical power bar, faucet aerators and a water-efficient showerhead.

Emma Harper

Emma Harper
Bio-psychology, Saint John campus

“I always keep learning and doing my best.”

Fourth-year bio-psychology student Emma Harper is president of the UNB Saint John campus’ Green Society.

Emma does little things, like using a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, metal straws, beeswax wraps and glass containers. She also considers herself a “flexitarian.” “I cut out beef and try and eat vegetarian when I can. I still live at home so it isn’t always possible.”

“Making tiny changes when you can go a long way.”

Rheya Rajeev

Rheya Rajeev
PhD in chemical engineering and physics, Fredericton campus

“I have a car, but I’d rather use my bike.”

Second-year postdoctoral candidate, Rheya Rajeev, won second place in UNB Sustainability’s Academic Bike Challenge, a month-long competition in Aug. in which participants track their biking mileage. Whoever has the most miles at the end of the month wins a cash prize.

“I try to bike as much as I can and have found other easy ways to be green.”

Rheya grows her own herbs and some food hydroponically in her apartment using recycled single-use plastics, like empty pepper containers and water bottles.

“Right now, I’m growing parsley, cilantro, mint and bell peppers. I’m also on my third try with a mango plant.”

Walter Fuerniss

Walter Fuerniss
Bachelor of business administration, Saint John campus

“When it comes to sustainability, I do little things.”

Walter Fuerniss, a fourth-year business student and member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) on UNB’s Saint John campus, is passionate about helping people turn their ideas into action. He’s also a champion for turning simple sustainable actions into everyday habits.

“I use the bus regularly. I walk a lot,” and recently, Walter made a big change. “I used to buy big cases of plastic water bottles. Now, I reuse plastic milk jugs.”

“It’s accessible, I’m reusing a single-use plastic, and it helps me consume more water.”

Walter also says the SRC has been working on becoming more sustainable and recently took advantage of the Green Society Fund, offering students kits of reusable utensils, something he now always keeps on hand.

Lydia Gorham

Lydia Gorham
Bachelor of education, Fredericton campus

“My actions alone won’t change the world, but I can still make a little bit of an impact.”

Lydia Gorham, a bachelor of education student on UNB’s Fredericton campus, recently switched from single-use plastics to reusable glass bottles.

“I stumbled upon Consciously Clean Refillery in downtown Fredericton. I got a bunch of bottles and started collecting mason jars and glass jars. I fill them up [at Consciously Clean] and started going to Bulk Barn for pasta, seasoning and chia seeds.

Lydia also curbs her consumption by turning old t-shirts and pants into “unpaper” towels using this method.

“It just makes me feel good. I’m not throwing something out that could be reused.”

Amanda Page

Amanda Page
Master of environmental management, Fredericton campus

“I thrift, I buy on Facebook Marketplace, I trade. I try to keep things as long as possible.”

Amanda Page, a master of environmental management student and ecological forestry researcher at the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, tries to hold onto her things long as possible.

“I’ve had clothes that I’ve had since high school, I recycle, which can be hard to do in apartments.”

“[Becoming more sustainable] didn’t happen overnight. I would choose one thing at a time that was very easy to do in life,” she said.

Amanda also recommends avoiding drinking from cans and plastic water bottles and switching to a reusable option.