Western University “BUGS” Students About the Environment

After months of hard work, the Western University BUGS’ Fundraising and Finance committee gather together after the talent show. (Photo courtesy Jenny Phan)

After months of hard work, the Western University BUGS’ Fundraising and Finance committee gather together after the talent show. (Photo courtesy Jenny Phan)

July 8, 2014 | by Jenny Phan | 0 Comments

There’s a bevy of non-government organizations (NGO) supported at Western University, all with admirable objectives that fall on the grand spectrum of charity. Every academic year there is competition between clubs, each championing for their own cause for monetary donations and awareness impact; an environment that is very indicative of the saturated NGO sector we see now in the real world.

In the past few years, Western’s Biology Undergraduates Society (BUGS) has looked upon this collection of organizations and has sought out to support a group whose work not only inspires our students but, hopefully, gives them something to aspire to as well.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) approach to environmentalism invokes both these actions. With a focus on progress over provocation, NCC expresses its passion without confrontation. This allows for the science behind the environment to speak for itself; and obviously at BUGS, we really like science.

Protecting our environment is a hefty task and it’s our hope to inspire biology students — and Western students in general — to see that although at times overwhelming, the battle is not impossible. NCC fulfills this by consistently showing results for their efforts, and therefor, giving students with a passion for environmentalis, a possible career option to aspire to. With these implications in effect, more support of NCC can lead to more progress.

But before we can assume support, we need to capture that coveted awareness on campus. BUGS hosts a variety of events in support of NCC throughout the year; from photo auctions to selling pies on “Pi Day,” and on March 10 cumulating with our very first talent show. Our goal was to collect donations for the organization through a simultaneous raffle but mostly we wanted to let people know what NCC was.

Shreyash Dalmia and Athena Ko pair up to create the perfect harmony during the BUGS talent show (Photo courtesy Jenny Phan)

Shreyash Dalmia and Athena Ko pair up to create the perfect harmony during the BUGS talent show (Photo courtesy Jenny Phan)

Integrated between the displays of our biology students’ talents, we introduced the crowd to different NCC projects, always bringing it back to the importance of the progress the organization has made and not on the flashy idealism that sometimes clouds the cause of environmentalism.

It is difficult to capture the support of university students, a market that has a steady stream of everything targeted towards them. But through the display of creativity from our science students, the execution of incredible topical humour and overall education about the environment, I’d like to think that we were able to leave an impression on our peers that day.

Since 2008, BUGS has been able to raise up to $3,000 a year for the NCC. What we are most proud of however is the support we have been able to generate for the organization. As cliché as it may sound, working together does lessen the load. And when the weight in question involves the state of our environment, and in turn our own livelihood, isn’t that worth lending a hand?

About the Author

Jenny Phan is entering her third year at Western University in the Honours Specialization in Biology program.

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