The Students 4 Social Justice Club is a gathering of individuals who are passionate about the well being of the earth and its people.

The S4SJ club helps local or international organizations depending on the theme of a given year. In previous years, we have promoted and raised money for CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology) and Inn from the Cold. St Mary’s is proud to be the first University in Alberta who has made the commitment to become a bottled water free campus.

This year our theme is LAND and we are working with CCIS (Calgary Catholic Immigration Society). CCIS is an organization that helps individuals and families from different countries transition to life in Calgary.

Also this year, the S4SJ club is working on strengthening the STMU community in developing a community gathering space. We are raising money for a gazebo on campus to provide a space where students, staff and faculty can sit outside for fellowship with each other and to enjoy the beautiful land.

The gazebo project is an initiative that besides being enjoyed in the spring, summer, fall and chinook winter days, can be used for STMU photo-shoots or graduation photos, special events on campus such as mass and ghost tours and furthermore be a reminder of past organizations STMU students and community have helped over the years.

St. Mary’s becomes First Alberta University to be Bottled Water Free

Dr. Gerry Turcotte Social Justice on campus

— President Gerry Turcotte and a mysterious blue guest officially launched our 2011-12 social justice theme today by declaring St. Mary’s University bottled water free.

Students, staff, faculty and media representatives were on hand to witness the unveiling of one of six new water refilling stations and fountains in the Classroom Building. President Turcotte, who cut the ribbon, said St. Mary’s is the first post-secondary institution in Alberta to eliminate bottled water from campus.

With water in short supply in many areas of the world, the social justice committee felt that it is unethical to consume it in plastic bottles here in Calgary where excellent water is abundant, he said.

mattClayWaterLaunchDr. Matthew Clay (left), a St. Mary’s chemistry professor, said Calgary’s glacier-fed water supply is among the best in the world. He illustrated his comments with his own photographs of our Rocky Mountain water sources west of the city.

After the taste-test challenge (below left)), which asked participants if they could tell the difference between bottled water and fountain water, Dr. Turcotte and Campus Ministry Director Nancy Quan (below right) ceremoniously removed the final bottle of water from the vending machine.

“We are very proud to be the first bottled water free campus in Alberta! Not because we want to simply be the first, but because our students are challenged to become thoughtful and engaged leaders in the world,” said Nancy, who chairs the social justice committee.

“Our school is leading the way in Alberta universities in reducing the commoditization of water and reducing waste in the landfills. This is really something that we can get behind!”