Students bag city award

Banner Bags project was chosen in the community group category at the Surrey 2011 City Awards.

  • Nov. 2, 2011 12:00 p.m.

They’ve saved more than 1,500 pounds of nylon from landfills and in the process, taught hundreds of teens how simple sewing could help the environment. Now a student team from Simon Fraser University is being honored with a Top 3 Green City Award from the City of Surrey for their creative environmental efforts.

Their Banner Bags project was chosen in the community group category (one of three categories) at the Surrey 2011 City Awards, held at the new City Centre Library on Oct. 25.

The student project was created three years ago by a team from Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), based at SFU Surrey. Students Lauren Watkin, project manager, Sonam Swarup, director of community development, and Ashish Gurung, project advisor accepted the award from Mayor Dianne Watts.

To date more than 800 banners no longer used by cities or community organizations have been turned into colourful reusable bags, produced by students in high school sewing classes led by the SIFE students.

Watkin, a student in SFU’s Beedie School of Business, explains: “Our efforts have made an impact. Over the past three years we have involved more than 1,000 students, saved 1,500 pounds of nylon from entering landfills and saved companies and cities approximately $6,000 in disposal and storage fees.”

Students estimated that amount of nylon in landfills could have resulted in more than 30,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.

Swarup, a communication student, was earlier named project manager at the Association of Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACE) annual national competition.

The Banner Bags program has run in more than 30 schools in the Lower Mainland and beyond, including classes in Ottawa and Vernon.  Students are continuing workshops this fall and organizing a showcase for next semester.

The Green City Awards recognize leaders in environmental stewardship and celebrates the outstanding contributions of individuals, non-profit groups or community groups and businesses who go beyond expectations to enhance Surrey’s natural environment, while also educating and engaging others and creating an awareness about issues of concern.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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