With the ringing of the lunch bell on 5 December 2019, Garneau’s sixth Eco Exhibition kicked off. MGCI’s Eco Team organizes the Eco Exhibition, or Eco Ex, every year with the purpose of increasing environmental awareness among students through fun, interactive stands set up in the galleria. 

This year’s Eco Ex consisted of seven different stations, including the “Recycling Roulette” station, which taught students how to sort recycling, organics and garbage properly into their respective bins. At the “Lug a Mug” station, students could receive free hot chocolate if they brought a reusable mug or bottle. Also present at this year’s EcoEx were the food tasting station, where students had the chance to taste-test the difference between organic and non-organic foods, and the honey tasting station. While at the DIY station, students were supplied with recycled materials to use to make crafts such as bookmarks. 

Eco Team gave out free hot chocolate at the Lug-a-Mug station. Photo: Elmirah Ahmad.

A station that was new to this year’s exhibition was the free plant station, where students and staff could pick up a plant to grow at home. In addition, the petition station from previous exhibitions was reformed into the pledge station. At the pledge station, students wrote down actions they could take to help the environment, such as stopping the use of plastic straws in their daily lives, on a large pledge paper which will be displayed for the school later in the year. 

Eco Ex was run by a team of dedicated Eco Team members and volunteers who started preparations roughly three weeks in advance. Prior to the event, it was promoted through various social media platforms as well as on the announcements. Though Eco Ex usually takes place over two days, it was cut short this year because of the OSSTF strike on 4 December 2019. Despite this setback, the event saw a strong turnout and active student participation. 

“I hope students learned something new at Eco Ex and became more aware of how they could help the environment in their everyday lives,” said Dylan Xiao, the president of Eco Team. When asked about what he would change for next year, Dylan said that he would start setting up earlier and add new stations in order to continue attracting students to the event. 

Other members of Eco Team voiced similar ideas for improvement, but were satisfied with the success of the event nonetheless. “Understanding how we affect the environment is the first step to improving it,” said Derek Nguyen, a member of Eco Team who helped organize Eco Ex. He added, “By improving eco-literacy and overall environmental awareness, we can start making incremental changes in our daily lives to lessen our impact on the environment.”

In addition to the Eco Exhibition, the MGCI Eco Team has planned several other initiatives for the upcoming year. Among them are a possible movie night, a waste audit, and the introduction of paper-only recycling bins.