The Perks of Being a GRASie!

10726477_10202438379715292_1299830095_nOn Thursday, October 9th as the general Glendon community got together to weed out and replant the garden behind Lunik. As the dominant environmental club on campus, we agreed the moment we knew Lunik was looking for volunteers for a gardening day. It was even luckier that it happened to coincide with our weekly Thursday meetings from 1:00pm to 2:30pm! The weather that day could not be better! Our members were supplied with gloves, shovels, shears, and/or pots. We worked in groups of two or three for an hour and no one minded getting their hands dirty! As a reward for our contribution, Lunik coordinators offered each of us a free ticket to their (then) upcoming Harvest Dinner.

The day of the dinner arrived and we attended. It was a scrumptious buffet with a large variety of vegetarian and vegan options. There were beet and potato salads, different kinds of pizzas, corn chips and pita for hummus dip, roasted carrots, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted corn, butternut squash soup, baked mac and cheese, and hot apple cider. The GRASies got to enjoy this dinner for FREE – just for helping out with gardening! This is just one of the many stories I have to share about my favourite topic – the perks of being a GRASie. As a diverse and active club at Glendon, GRAS likes to mix meetings and tabling with hands-on activities. These activities include the gardening event I just described, club-driven enterprises like the annual September campus-shoreline cleanup, and assisting at more grass-roots community-based charity events, like Lunik’s annual clothing swap.

GRAS is affiliated with the larger Roots and Shoots youth program which was founded by the renowned primatroots-and-shoots1ologist Dr. Jane Goodall. Each year, GRAS donates the majority of its proceeds to Jane’s institute (JGI), which helps to support community-centred chimpanzee conservation programs in Africa. These programs empower the local people to create and manage sustainable livelihoods, engage in reforestation, and support ending the bushmeat trade( In addition, each semester GRAS has one major fundraiser and/or advocacy event to promote JGI. The event this fall is the our second bi-annual Holiday Charity Gala and UNICEF Glendon will once again be our collaborators. This will be an event you do not want to miss: there will be guests speakers, vendors with exclusive merchandise and promotions, dancing, live music performances, and a fully catered dinner with refreshments and desserts included! Tickets go on sale mid-November and will be available all the way up to the day of the event. It will be a fun and sustainable party for all ages and all guests are welcome!

The purpose of our club is to show fellow students just how easy and rewarding it is to get involved in the Glendon community grassroots environmental movement: whether on or off campus, and even online through blogging and social media. Members not only improve their communication, leadership, time-management, organizational skills, but they also expand their networks and add co-curricular hours to their resume. Hours are given for attending meetings, planning, and volunteering at our events.

For me personally, the satisfaction I get from working alongside like-minded, compassionate comrades and seeing positive social change come of it is all the reason I need to volunteer and give my time to GRAS. I have over 500 service hours with GRAS and I plan to continue to accumulate more. However, for some, the value of a reward is important, which is whyJanegoodallI-Canada in addition to accumulating volunteer hours for your resume, GRAS has a points-reward system. For every hour you volunteer with GRAS and for every article attached with a photo you submit to our blog GREEN GRASS (, you get a point. You can trade your points for GRAS & JGI-related certificates and merchandise such as: buttons, documentaries, books, and stainless steel water bottles with built-in filters. This year, our top 2 volunteering members receive a FREE ticket to a Meet and Greet with Dr. Jane Goodall. This is just our special way of thanking our members for all of their contributions to the club and an encouragement for the GRASies to change their lifestyle to one that is more sustainable, humanitarian, and environmentally-friendly. or our Trick or Eat Halloween Food Drive on Halloween, where we went around our neighbourhood collecting non-perishable goods for the North York Harvest Food Bank.

Volunteers are highly needed for our events and as mentioned, there are a lot of perks in being a GRASie! You definitely do not want to miss out on becoming a member of Glendon Roots and Shoots and/or volunteering with us! We have meetings every Thursday, from 1:00pm to 2:30pm in C202 and bi-monthly events all year long!!

Lastly, we watched a documentary called Honour Your Word at the Planet-in-Focus Eco-Film Festival in Toronto, this passed Friday, November 7th at the Keele campus’s Nat Taylor Cinema at 3pm. It is a 90 minute film about Algonquins living behind the barricades in the Barrier Lake community, which an article about it will be published soon.

It would be a frightening place to live in, if everyone just cared for themselves, but with people like the GRASies, we have nothing to fear, because we, as social change agents, have reasons for hope!

Together, we can make a positive difference – starting with the Self! As Dr. Jane Goodall says “Change is within you”.

Colvin Chan,

P.S. If you have not already, you can join us on YU Connect, find us on Facebook (GL Roots Shoots) and

Twitter (@gl_roots_shoots), and email us at!


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