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Vincent Massey Collegiate:    

CULTURE & SOCIETY:Eco-Information: Environmental School

SUSTAINABLE LIVING: Technology & Design: Wind, Solar site

  • Sustainable Development Committee and the Green Turn Project

The Sustainable Development Committee and the “Green Turn” project

The interest of turning knowledge into action led a group of students who took a course on sustainability several years ago to form an environmental organization, which is the Vincent Massey’s Sustainable Development Committee today. The Sustainable Development Committee (SDC) in Vincent Massey Collegiate is a student initiative group whose vision is to encourage the youth to reach their maximum potential in the school community and to integrate viable sustainability practices into the whole school community. Directed by Ken Corley and Mark Wiehler, two teachers of the Collegiate, the main focus of SDC is to promote projects in the school that exemplify a strong environmental ethic and ecological integrity.

The SDC at Vincent Massey Collegiate has raised about $34,000 for an ambitious school retrofit project “Green Turn”. This multi-phases project is aiming at integrating the sustainable design concept and practices into a more than fifty years old school building. Besides a wind turbine and a solar panel system that have been set up on the rooftop of the school building and recycled rubber paving and plastic benches, the project will also see a greenhouse to grow vegetables for use in the school cafeteria, a composting program for waste reduction and a green roof program for mitigating stormwater run-off.

Informed by the ecological and resilient concepts of renowned architect William McDonough and ecologist Crawfor Stanley (Buzz) Holling, the SDC is intended to create an “Inputs-Outputs Closed-Loop” for the school building. The “inputs” are solar and wind power generated from the solar panels and wind turbine heating the greenhouse, and the “outputs” are healthy food produced from the greenhouse. The surplus food and waste will be composted and returned to the soil in the greenhouse as fertilize, which then close the “loop”.

In 2008, Vincent Massey Sustainable Development Committee won the Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Award (Youth Award) from the Manitoba Round Table for Sustainable Development for the Green Turn Project.


Bergey wind turbine in action. Solar panels on rooftop of school building. Photos credit: Ken Corley

Recycled plastic bench.