Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Humber

By Devon Imrie & Kabrena Robinson, Skedline.com

Following the rebranding of the Humber Students’ Federation to IGNITE in July, many students remain skeptical about the budget and transparency of the change.

The previous rebrand info session held by IGNITE on Oct. 5 sparked a lot of anger among students who saw the $400,000 budget as a waste of money.

The executive body of HSF hopes to resolve these concerns with a special meeting of members scheduled for Oct. 18 at the Humber North Campus. A live stream of the event will be available for Lakeshore students in the K building.

The meeting is intended to give Humber students a voice to vote on the legal name change from HSF to IGNITE. An update is also expected to be released on the categorized budget for the rebranding.

When asked about the $400,000 budget and past info sessions held by IGNITE, many students said they were unaware of how the money would be spent and also the operation of HSF under the new brand.

Humber Graphic design students Tristen Fitian said that she was unaware about the change .

“I didn’t know that happened,” she said. “I don’t think they should have spent that much on a rebranding.”

Accounting student Handeep Bains believes the money could be put to better use.

“I would prefer if they upgrade the cafeteria area with more space to sit because we barely have that and study areas,” she said.

However, some students are more aware of the changes and see the rebranding as a positive move.

“Ignite seems like a good idea, it seems like something that is bringing all the campuses together,” stated Ryan Bowman, a Digital Communications student at Humber.

“HSF was more reflective of a small amount of the Humber student body.”

However, like many Humber students, Bowman also expressed his concern about the budget.

“I like the rebranding but i don’t think it’s worth all that money. Something like that should be public on where they spent the money and how they spent the money,” he said.

Anna Bilan, the VP of Student affairs at Lakeshore campus, believes that the major reason behind the discontent among students with the new branding comes from a lack of understanding and involvement.

“When the students actually understand why the rebrand was made there are no concerns and they will say it was very very necessary. There are a lot of students who came to us and said they would love to get involved since the rebrand’’ she said.

“However, no matter how you send this message to some students, if they have already made up their minds to hear what they want to hear, you are powerless in changing that.”

She also commented on the $400,000 budget project saying that more will be disclosed in tomorrow’s meeting.

“The $400,000 is just the excess amount approved by the board. We do not spend that much money so tomorrow we are going to present the exact amount that we have spent so far,” she said.

Bilan stated that the rebrand has not affected the operations of any services that were provided by HSF.

For a handful of years Honours Bachelor of Music graduate Milan Boronell has shared his voice and musical talents within the Humber College and Athletics communities at everything from banquets, competitions to national anthems. Now the singer/songwriter has reached a new octave in the music scene with his debut self titled EP that was released on Feb. 27.

New athletic centre.
(Humber's new Fitness Centre being built)

You may have spotted the deadfall of recently cut down trees and cleared field on the corner of Kipling and Lakeshore and before you raise your arms in protest, what’s being built there may not be hurting the environment as much as you think.

With construction underway on Humber Lakeshore’s new Welcome and Fitness Centres the buildings will be designed according to LEED Canada’s silver standard rating, a system put in place to measure the environmental impact of buildings and how green they really are. So how green is Humber?

“Humber has set a minimum standard that all of our buildings would be at the LEED Silver standard although some buildings might be greater,” says Humber Lakeshore principal Wanda Buote. “Sustainability is built into our strategic plan and those principals and every time we approach a project, it’s with that lens.”

Well to start, all of Humber’s buildings are designed to a minimum of LEED silver standard and while there are also gold and platinum levels that could have been attained, there are a variety of factors that weigh in on how green Humber’s buildings are. But what is LEED and how does it work?

“The point of LEED is to transform the built environment, it’s a voluntary rating system that’s been in use in Canada since 2002, it’s an international benchmark for green building that’s used in 150 countries,” says Sarah Miller the Client and Member Services Operator at the Canadian Green building Council in Ottawa. “It really is about reducing environmental impacts from buildings.”

The voluntary rating system has been in use in Canada for 13 years now and in that time has cut down on construction waste and has led to better, greener buildings that produce less greenhouse gases and save money.

“Generally speaking LEED buildings consume less energy, they create less greenhouse gases, they keep waste out of landfills and they also provide a better return on investment in many cases as well.” Says Miller. “Since 2005 for example LEED certified projects have recycled over 2 million tons of construction demolition waste and we’ve had water savings totaling over 3.3 billion litres.”

As for what’s to be included in Humber’s buildings and those trees that have been lost to construction well, here’s what going to happen.

“One of the components we’re including is putting on a green roof and also because we had to take some trees down to build, we took 18 trees down, we’re putting 24 trees back onto the place and then we’re going to plant 30 more trees into Sam Smith Park and as well we’re going to plant 12 trees at a local high school that doesn’t have any trees, St. Leo’s Catholic school.” Says Buote.

So the trees will be back. But in order to accomplish the silver standard, something that has to be reviewed after the completion of the building to see if it holds up, there is much more that has to be accounted for. After all, the buildings can’t be certified by LEED unless they meet the required parameters on energy and conservation.

“The energy is the biggest opportunity to earn points but it is only one of eight categories,” says Kerry Johnston, the Sustainable Energy and Building Technology Program Manager at Humber College. “So energy is important but it’s also the water efficiency and the materials and the resources so earning points by using locally sourced material and making sure all of your stuff is recycled.”

As for the point system, the Welcome and Fitness Centres have to score between 50-59 points on its review. Of the categories, those points come from things like materials and resources, location and transportation, indoor environmental qualities, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites, regional priority and innovation. But while all of these aspects count for something and lead to a better, greener building during and after construction, some of the pitfalls of the LEED rating system is that your building may not function that way after the review.

“One of the knocks about the LEED rating system is that it is basically something that happens at a point in time and there’s not really a guarantee that you’re going to maintain the building the way you did when you got the rating.” Says Johnston.

“Like we have a LEED Gold building at the North Campus, the Centre for Urban Ecology and that was opened around 2007 and it achieved the LEED Gold rating but there’s nothing in that rating that really requires you to continue to maintain that status. That’s one of the criticisms of the LEED standard, that it’s a point in time and are you going to continue to operate the building the way it should be?”

But if well maintained, something Humber is adamant about doing, energy savings and the environment all stand to gain. Generally buildings built and owned by the same institution, like in Humber’s case, function to the LEED standard after the review more often as they have a stake in how it runs.

“Our goal is to really be efficient so we’re building to the LEED standard for construction standard, we want to make sure the building is economical in the future and sustainable as much as possible,” says Buote. “We’ll be looking at things as far as water efficiency, heating efficiency, even indoor environmental qualities, those kinds of things will be built into the plan.”

As construction continues on the new buildings students can look forward to having all new centres to stay fit and get counseling and financial services. As for that empty patch of torn up land, an eye sore to some, what’s coming will be brand new energy efficient buildings aimed at saving not only the wallets of Humber and its students, but also the environment. Construction on the new buildings is set to be complete sometime this year.

 

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A glass building with a parking lot of cars.

It is hard for students at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and University of Guelph-Humber to miss the shiny new building at the North campus.

The Learning Resource Commons (LRC) stands tall and wide at 6 stories, 260,000 sq. ft., and transparent with glass windows. The building, now nearly complete, will be open to staff, students, and the public during Humber’s spring open house on Saturday, April 18.

The LRC, soon to serve as the new welcoming gateway and the main entrance for North campus, will provide students with more study spaces and common areas that students will be able to use to socialize.

Humber Students’ Federation (HSF) vice president of student life at North, Ahmed Tahir, said the new building will provide much needed space for students.

“Down to it’s core, [it is] more space for students to study and hang out, [making] Humber a home away from home,” said Tahir.

Photo Courtesy of B+H Architects
Photo Courtesy of B+H Architects

The LRC, which can accommodate more than 2,200 students, will house a new library, group and independent study spaces, a centralized hub for student services, a student gallery and showcase space, and space for the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and college administration.

Carol Anderson, senior director of strategic asset management at Humber College, said the new building will provide Humber students a destination for all of their study needs.

“Whether it be quiet study, group study, casual study. . . it will be all-in-one place along with student services,” said Anderson, adding that it will be easier for students to access the services the school provides.

“Everything is accessible in terms of services on the first two floors, no sending them to another building to get lost on the way. You can move right from the registrar’s office over to career and program advising or vice versa. . . I think it [will] really help students find their way around campus and orient themselves more quickly,” said Anderson.

The fixed-price $84.2 million contract between PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and Humber College was made after PCL Constructors won the bid among two other bidders including Integrated Team Solutions and SNC Lavalin Capital in May, 2013. Ontario has contributed $74.7 million towars the overall initiative.

Montgomery Sisam / B+H Architicts in joint veture was hired as the Planning, Design and Compliance (PDC) team for the project, and employed on average 150 workers a day at the construction site.

A second-year Journalism – Print and Broadcast student Thalia Gamage, usually had a hard time finding a quiet place to study. With the new facility set to open in September this year, Gamage is excited to check out the facility.

“Having more accessibility to services and space to do work well and in groups or by myself, it will really benefit me,” said Gamage.

 

Two guys in white tops farming outside.
Gustavo Macias (left) and Jake Harding (right), founders of Skyline Farms. Photo Courtesy of Skyline Farms.

What would you do, if you came across a viable solution that would effectively tackle the negativte environmental impacts that comes with unsustainable farming practices?

Two Humber graduates, Gustavo Macias and Jake Harding, thought of just that and did not hesitate to turn their ideas into reality. After meeting as students in Humber College’s Sustainable Energy and Building (SEBT) program, they took the idea of vertical farming and started to come up with ways in which they can turn the idea into a profitable business.

Having shared similar passions in sustainable technologies, organic food and the food industry, the idea of utilizing unused urban spaces by growing produce using the vertical tower gardens strongly appealed to both Macias and Harding.

“We saw back then there wasn’t much urban farming happening in Toronto. We really saw how much underutilized space there is in the city and how it’s sort of an untapped potential. It tied both our passions together and that’s how it all began,” said Harding.

A tower garden stands in the middle of the field.
A standard vertical tower garden. Photo courtesy of Skyline Farms.

Here’s how aeroponic vertical towers work. seedlings are ‘planted’ into the cubicles that are scattered on different levels of the 6 – 9 foot vertical tower. Inside the tower that is essentially a plastic cylinder with pods for the seeds, is a pump that pulls the ionic mineral and water solution from the bottom of the tower to the top of the cylinder before letting the micro and macro-nutrient rich water disperse, mix with air, and get distributed to the plant roots evenly.

This method of growing vegetables has a number of benefits. It effectively cuts transportation cost as well as minimize the amount of energy lost in the transportation process, helping to reduce the carbon footprint the process might otherwise produce. The tower gardens can be situated on rooftops, balconies, and patios, all of which are abundant in an urban setting. This is possible due to the smaller amount of space the tower garden takes up in comparison to the amount of space traditional farming methods require.

In addition, vertical farming requires only 10 percent of the water and “a fraction of nutrients required to produce the same results as traditional farming methods. . .the towers also produce more than double the harvests available in the same time period” as it is noted on Skyline Farms website. On top of that, the towers eliminated the need for fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

“[Harding] decided to go through with his business plan and make it an actual project. At that point he had no one to partner up with and I said ‘you know what, let me partner up with you and we’ll make this happen’,” said Macias.

Harding’s business plan was to bring the vertical farming technology that was not being utilized much in Canada.

“Nothing had been done like this before and it just needed to be brought to fruition,” said Harding.

In trying to make their vision a reality, a crucial connection was made between Skyline Farms and Humber College’s entrepreneurial incubator HumberLaunch. Besides helping Macias and Harding network with experts, HumberLaunch also funded them with seed money. After winning $8,000 in Humber’s New Venture Seed Fund business plan competition in 2011, Harding and Macias went on to compete in the HumberLaunch incubator Friendly Fire Pitch competition (since renamed LaunchPad), and won $5,000 that ultimately helped launch Skyline Farms as a business. With the prize, they were able purchase 11 towers.

10 Tower gardens are situated at Thistletown Collegiate Institution
Skyline Farms’ pilot project at Thistletown Collegiate Institution (TCI).

Since then, the Skyline Farms had partnered up with Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Toronoto Education Workers Union and launched their pilot project in June, 2013 as part of the ‘My Food My Way’ student nutrition campaign. In the fall of that year, the students at Thistletown Collegiate Institute (TCI) were able to harvest the first crop from their on-site farm that included lettuce, chard, kale, zucchini, baby bok choy, cucumbers, tomatoes and a variety of herbs.

The TCI farm consisted of 10 Tower Gardens, the equivalent of 280 plants, and the students could learn about the facets of urban agriculture, and the produce harvested from the sustainable, organic farm was used in the school cafeteria.

Recently, Harding and Macias went on to design a garden for the Drake Hotel and a rainwater storage system for the the Big crow, all from salvaged materials.

Despite all the successes, setbacks and challenges were no strangers to Macias and Harding. As they moved forward with the business idea, they were faced with financial challenges.

“In terms of income, it’s almost impossible to make an income when you work with schools, because they are not-for-profit. . . You basically have to be a volunteer,” said Macias adding the fact that he is in the process of developing a business model that will allow them to generate profit.

As entrepreneurs, there is a natural need for support and guidance in the beginning. Macias and Harding had the same needs as new entrepreneurs, and were able to find the support from an entrepreneurship advocate and a professor at Humber College, Tony Gifford, along with venture capitalist and Humber entrepreneur-in-residence Bo Pelech.

Gifford said he sees two qualities in entrepreneurs who succeed.

“One of them is passion and the other is focus. The passion that they want to start up their own business rather than to be an employee. And the second thing is focus. They are very fixed on what they want to accomplish, despite setbacks and challenges in raising money. . . They are very clear in what the mission of the business is. They don’t try to specialize in everything. They have much focus on what they can provide to consumers and clients,” said Gifford.

Perhaps it is that passion in sustainable energy, urban space utilization, and a focus in providing Toronto communities with fresh, locally grown produce that drives Macias and Harding forward, despite the setbacks and challenges. Harding, as somebody who has worked as an organic butcher since he was only 14 years old, said he is going to remain an entrepreneur.

“We’re basically in a research and development phase where we’ve been out, we’ve piloted, we’ve utilized different technologies, we’ve done different designs . . . I’ve come to sort of enjoy the roller coaster of being an entrepreneur and I think Skyline is going to continue to evolve,” said Harding.

Skyline Farms is still searching for the best ways to utilize urban spaces.

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A wall poster for the

Humber Student Federation’s annual Dress for Success contest is coming to an end next week.

Every year, HSF gives students the chance to win $1,000 towards a shopping spree to help them “dress for success.” Students can apply with an essay or a two-minute long video, telling HSF why they deserve to win.

Stephen Wong, HSF’s communication coordinator, says most of the time students are on a tight budget and this will give them a chance to buy the wardrobe they need for the future.

“Students are generally on a budget, they might be worried about paying for food more than paying for a new suit,” says Wong. “This is an opportunity for one student to get the wardrobe that they need to get the job that they’re looking for.”

Some of the most impressive winners in the past have been single moms. Previously, the judges think the extra money helped give them a chance to shop for themselves, which is something they don’t often get to do. Every one has an equal chance of winning.

HSF’s vice-president of student affairs at North campus, Ahmed Tahir, says what he’s looking for in the applications is a real need for the makeover.

“For me it’s need, as well as ability to articulate why they need that thing and what they’re going to do with it,” says Tahir. “I’d like to hear examples and reasons that they feel like they’ll benefit from this.”

Along with winning the gift card, students get the chance to shop with the HSF staff who will give them style tips and advice. This will help students choose what outfits look best on them and what would be most appropriate for their prospective career.

Natalie Bobyk, HSF’s communications director, wants students to know that the winner of the contest doesn’t have to buy suits but can buy whatever is suitable for their field.

“Really at the end of the day, if it’s joggers that we’re buying or whether it’s a suit we’re just looking to help that student finance what they need to get them started in their next step,” says Bobyk. “We appreciate the fact of finding a new wardrobe, whether it’s a suit or whether it’s a casual attire. It’s still difficult to be able to afford those things.”

The Dress for Success contest closes April 6 and is open to all Humber students.

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