Friday, November 21, 2014

Trade the status quo for risk and innovation: discuss...

Where can OPIRG McMaster make changes? What can we try that we haven't tried?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pre google OPIRG has some real treasures in the paper archive...

OPIRG has a team of amazing volunteers ploughing through the paper file folders in cupboards that haven't seen the light of day in years. They pull out interesting things that relate to our history, and scan them to upload to our history blog. But there is a lot of paper in there that can be recycled to make room in the office for other things. This (above), for example, is so quaint....

Local Migrant Workers Speaker Series

Cup O Connections works! Connections are made, ideas are shared, all over tea & coffee

Best Cup O Connections so far - we even kept notes, sort of... Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a tea or coffee and shared stories, ideas, and connected to make a great afternoon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Want to start an OPIRG Working Group? Start thinking about it now!

Each year OPIRG McMaster takes applications for volunteer "working groups" on a wide range of environmental and social justice issues. We have room for a few more groups to start up in second term: got an idea? Talk to us! 


Working groups are semi-autonomous groups of students and community members who critique, research and take action on pressing social/environmental issues. 
Working Groups receive base funding from the OPIRG office, as well as ongoing support and training.
Working Groups use a CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING model to ensure equal access to power within groups, and are expected to take an ANTI-OPPRESSION workshop, offered for free each term.



  •  Start by reading the OPIRG McMaster WORKING GROUP POLICY.
  •  Fill our our online application. (Please read the working group policy before applying.)
  •  You will meet with our Board of Directors for an interview after the application deadline, after which the Board will approve or deny your proposed group.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Social Justice Coffee House

The Labour Studies Student Association is hosting a coffee house on November 19th from 6-8pm. The goal is to bring together people who are passionate about social justice and who want to learn about other social justice initiatives on campus. For the coffee-house, they are asking guests to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food bank. They will also be having  guest speaker from Hamilton discussing their experience living in poverty. There will be coffee/tea and muffins/danishes/croissants/cookies.  

Coat and Toonie Drive

Summer shadow into winter: More street trees in Crown Point

Good ideas catch on, and OPIRG's Street Tree program is a good example! Neighbourhoods are catching on to the power of reaching out to neighbours with the news: street trees are free in #HamOnt. Find out more November 25th in Crown Point!

Round table = many sides of Foreign Aid

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Food? Local food, sustainability, happiness!

By Ben Westerterp

OPIRG’s Sustainability Happiness Circle is dedicated to provide opportunities and knowledge that encourage the most recent trends in sustainable living, with the intention that these everyday routine modifications will evoke happiness. In an effort to provide adequate resources to do so, the Sustainability Happiness Circle organized for Juby Lee, of Environment Hamilton, to talk about recent movements in Hamilton’s local food economy and how consumers, volunteers and businesses can get involved. For those that couldn’t make it, here is what the presentation outlined.
Juby Lee

Juby Lee led an informative discussion surrounding Environment Hamilton’s commitments to support local food initiatives. There are a number of initiatives currently underway to advocate for support of a popular local diet culture in Hamilton. Juby broke Hamilton’s local food imitative down into three areas: Advocacy, Volunteer Support and For-Profit Initiatives, ending with a discussion on the challenges for a local food economy.


Environment Hamilton offers helpful resources such as the Farm Map – a local food directory that lists local farms in the Greater Hamilton Area, where people can purchase or inquire about farming practices and goods.

Growing the Greenbelt is another initiative taken by Environment Hamilton that encourages the expansion of the Greenbelt region by advocating the transition of surrounding “white-belt” urban areas into cultivable green space. “Designating a Greenbelt region is an easy way of protecting green space, but it’s not enough,” says Juby.

The Pollinator Paradise Project is an innovative approach to sustaining and encouraging the health of the solitary bees. Unlike the honeybee, solitary bees aren’t aggressive. These bees are known for their pollinating efforts. One-third of the produce we eat can be attributed to the pollination efforts of the solitary bee. The “Bee Box” is an artificial hive for solitary bees to reproduce, increasing the population and encouraging higher yields for local farmers.

Volunteer Driven Initiatives

Volunteer initiatives such as the Hamilton Food Charter aim at making food accessible to all Hamiltonians, recognizing cost and sustainability, in partnership with the Board of Health. Developments have led to the creation of the first urban farm in Hamilton - the McQuesten Urban Farm. This progressive change has inspired community action to help develop programs such as the Muslim Children’s Club, the Hamilton Community Garden Network and various organized athletics. Other volunteer initiatives include seasonal farmer’s markets and support for the Mustard Seed Coop on Locke Street

For Profit Initiatives
Coffeecology – a fair-trade, organic coffee delivery service.
Madeleine’s Local Bakery
Goodness Me! – Organic foods with local produce options.

Despite these inspiring initiatives, Juby mentions how there are still challenges with a local food economy that need to be addressed. With a lack of resources distribution is one of the most significant barriers. A local food terminal would be ideal, but this requires substantial infrastructural investment. Competition in the market place is another key barrier, as food is often sold under market value. Lastly, there is the issue of making local food and its preparation more convenient for everyone.


This event took place on November 10 in MUSC 311
Contact Environment Hamilton

Saying NO to war: double book launch

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Scanning for Success

Sure, it's all glory over on our history blog when we upload scans of old paper archives. But in the office, success looks more like this: getting rid of paper and file folders to create more useable space in the office! Hello recycling bin!

Snapshots from Thursday in the OPIRG office

Krista helps OPIRG make space by taking a table home...on her bicycle?! 
Staple Fun: Anna sticks up for OPIRG with posters and a staple gun. 

These 1st year students walked away with free tickets to FunctionKeys2 and a better understanding
of OPIRG McMaster

Geoff is going to FunctionKeys2 with a comp ticket

People make the office atmosphere, and so many good people stopped by today including those not photographed, like Yuvreet and Esmonde from the board of directors, archive volunteer Zafrin and Sunia, OPIRG Resource Assistant student staff Amandha, Hamish from the McMaster Museum of Art, Kevin from Software Hamilton, Chaplain Carol Wood borrowed our projector, working group volunteer/Making Connections student Madeleine, a few folks came and bought chocolate, we loaned a bucket to MacGreen, and many other wonderful interactions, some of which included fair trade coffee as part of Cup O Connections.

Drop in to OPIRG 12:30-2pm today for a fair trade coffee/tea and freely exchange ideas!

OPIRG.CA is back

Server is reset, and all is well once again in land.

To celebrate, we have some free stuff:

Bike Helmets (limited number available, contact to claim one, first come, first served)

Tickets for lectures at this weekend's Function Keys conference downtown Hamilton. Limited number per lecture, you need to arrange to pick up.

OPIRG Supports COOTES TO ESCARPMENT: Open House Monday at RBG

OPIRG McMaster will have a display at this open house Monday evening. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact or 905-525-9140 x26026.

Or you can just come and check out one of the largest environmental initiatives of our generation: be a part of Cootes to Escarpment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Canadian Mining Injustice

Come out to Canadian Mining Injustice with Grahame Russell, the Director of Rights Action.

When: Thursday, November 27, 2013 @ 7:30 PM

Where: John Hopkins Engineering, Room A114, McMaster University

Grahame will discuss the impunity with which Canadian resource extraction companies operate around the world, leaving a legacy of environmental, health and human rights violations and the ongoing work across Canada to hold our companies, investors and government accountable for these harms.

Grahame is a non-practicing Canadian lawyer, author, adjunct professor at the University of Northern British Columbia and, since 1995, director of Rights Action:,,

Sponsored by the Guatemalan Solidarity Working Group of OPIRG McMaster and McMaster Engineers Without Borders

For more information, contact

OPIRG.CA is temporarily unavailable

Our web site is down temporarily, but our social media is alive and kicking! Sorry for the inconvenience, be back soon!

Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers

Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers

When: Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6-8pm
Where: Volunteer Hamilton, 267 King Street East

The Migrant Worker's Alliance and Hamilton Sanctuary City Coalition are proud to sponsor the event: Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers. 

Come join 3 migrant workers, a live in caregiver, a farmworker, and a restaurant worker to learn about migrant workers rights and laws. 

You've heard a lot about Temporary Foreign Workers, now come hear from them!

For more information you can contact the HSCC at, or

Ethics Speaker Event

Ethics Speaker Event

Initiative for Community Engagement (ICE) is an MSU club dedicated to promoting proper ethics on engaging with the community. They are having an Ethics Speaker Event on Wednesday November 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm in HSC 1A4, where experts will be presenting the relevant ethical issues surrounding engaging with the community such as those that arise during volunteering placements, community-based research projects and careers involving interactions with members of the community. 

Here is a link to the Facebook event page with more detailed information: