On June 5th, 2017, in celebration of World Environment Day (WED), the UHN Research Green Team held its second Stop, Drop & Swap event! The event took place in the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower and called members of the building to “drop” any new or gently used items they had for a chance to “swap” those items for others of their choosing. The event was intended to promote environmental sustainability, re-purposing items and celebrating WED in a fun and creative way while promoting internal collaboration and cooperation amongst UHN staff. Those who participated in the event were included in a follow-up raffle based on the number of items donated. As well, any items not selected in the “swap” were donated to the Canadian Diabetes Association to be recycled and re-purposed.

As described by the United Nations, WED aims to inspire public action to prevent the growing strain on the planet’s natural systems while promoting sustainable development. WED seeks to encourage global awareness and action for the environment and since its designation in 1972 has grown to be a global platform for public outreach, celebrated by more than 100 countries. The day recognizes the opportunities that collective power and action can generate, amongst individuals and within organizations, for positive change and political momentum. WED serves as a chance for nations and supporting citizens to recognize the responsibility humans have to care and protect the planet for the well-being of current and future generations. Through decades of WED celebrations, countries across the globe and from all sectors of society have participated in individual and organized environmental action. With this, the UHN Research Green Team felt the event provided a unique opportunity to celebrate WED while engaging stakeholders and allowing them to learn more about the organization’s current environmental initiatives and how they can get involved!

Overall, the event was a success, receiving positive feedback from multiple participants throughout the day! From 10:00am-12:00pm, 103 items (58 lbs) were collected during the “drop” period, including housewares (glasses, ornaments, blankets, mugs), books, video games, clothing and personal accessories. Once staff and volunteers were able to organize and sort the material, the “swap” period occurred from 1:00pm-3:00pm. At this time, 40 items (26 lbs) were selected by participants to take home, leaving 63 items (32 lbs) to be donated to charity.

Congratulations to Natalie Galant from the Chakrabartty Lab for winning the Mercatto gift card generously donated by Fisher Scientific! As well, thank you to Starbucks (MaRS building) for providing hot coffee for participants during the day! Finally, a big thank you to any staff who were able volunteer their time towards the event! The support received from event sponsors, volunteers and staff throughout the day was more than appreciated and helped ensure the success of the event! In the future, the UHN Research Green Team hopes to find further opportunities to engage staff and community members while promoting environmental sustainability within the organization’s internal operations!