Smart commuters take the catwalk

BCIT’s Green Team hosted an eco-fashion show to promote their commuting campaign

BCIT’s Green Team, in cooperation with the BCIT Student Association, turned the Great Hall into a catwalk for its first ever eco-fashion show on March 19.

Models strutted down the runway in chic athletic gear to inspire staff and students to keep their cars in the driveway.

The On the Go! Fashion Show was part of the Green Team’s Commute Smart campaign – an initiative they have been working on all year to promote eco-friendly methods of commuting to campus.

“We thought that asking people to sell their car and bike to work every day was too much of a big task so we decided the campaign would be around try[ing] it out,” said Alex Hebert, energy and sustainability manager at BCIT. “We are just asking staff and students to just try something once.”

Those that want to participate in Commute Smart can register at the campaign’s website. They are encouraged to bike, walk, bus, or car-pool to campus – anything that eliminates the number of single occupancy vehicles traveling to BCIT.

Green-minded BCIT community members showed that sustatainability and style are not mutually exclusive. — (courtesy of Jordan Hayward)

Green-minded BCIT community members showed that sustatainability and style are not mutually exclusive. — (courtesy of Jordan Hayward)

With a number of participants biking and walking, however, the Green Team realized wardrobe options would be an issue.

“One of the questions we got was ‘Well, I am going to be sweating if I am walking, biking, running, so how should I dress?” said Hebert. “The idea was ‘Let’s just organize a fashion show and ask the experts what it is that is fashionable and practical.’”

Luckily, the experts that Hebert and the Green Team reached out to were more than happy to help.

Sporting goods company Mountain Equipment Co-op volunteered clothing for the show, while students from Blanche MacDonald, an institute specializing in cosmetics and hair design, offered to do the models’ hair and makeup.

“The fashion show was an early idea and it has really built into something. I thought it was really impressive,” said model Joe Boyd after the show.

Boyd is the program head in the applied research liaison’s office and was a member of the fashion show’s organizing committee. While he owns a car, he said that he never drives it and instead cycles to work year round.

“I find it easier, you have more freedom and you are outside,” said Boyd.

Hebert said that the models were recruited by the Green Team. Most were staff and three were students.

“The goal was to find different people and students from different departments who are willing to do this,” said Hebert.  “Most of them have some sort of cool commute story which shows their passion for this.”

Commuter-friendly organizations such as The Hub and Travel Smart also came to support the Green Team and set up booths at the show.

The Hub, a Vancouver-based cycling coalition, handed out free maps to attendees and offered advice on the best routes for cyclists to take to campus.

[pullquote]“The idea was ‘Let’s just organize a fashion show and ask the experts what it is that is fashionable and practical.’” — Alex Hebert, energy and sustainability manager, BCIT[/pullquote]

Travel Smart is an organization that works with TransLink. Their goal is to reduce the number of cars on the road. When they heard about the Eco-Fashion Show they asked the Green Team if they could be involved.

“We were trying to keep it small at first because we are just a team of volunteers,” said Hebert. “But the event ended up being much bigger than we thought because there was so much enthusiasm around it.”

Hebert isn’t sure what Commute Smart’s next event will be but he hopes it will be as successful and motivating as the fashion show.

“I hope this will create something for people where they realize biking and walking and running is good for them,” said Hebert. “We aren’t just reducing our carbon footprint. I think there is way more to it.”

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