End the oil influence

EOI group tries to discredit Sustainable Dawson by accusing them of being funded by oil companies

by Hani Kaddah

Last Monday flyers were distributed by a group called End the Oil Influence (EOI) in student lockers claiming that Sustainable Dawson is a flawed initiative.

EOI is a group of Dawson and non-Dawson students who came together to publish flyers claiming that oil corporations fund environmental programs including Sustainable Dawson.

The group has discredited Chris Adam and Cindy Elliot, the two people who run Sustainable Dawson, using their past employment history with oil companies.

The group, who wishes to remain anonymous, underlines the importance of environmental education but they wish it be done independently without corporate funding. EOI wants to find an alternative source of funding for environmental initiatives.

Dawson insists that it has never received any funding from oil companies.

“We have not received a penny of oil money for Sustainable Dawson, or anything else at Dawson,” said Communication Coordinator, Donna Varrica. “As a public institution, our finances are open and transparent and anyone who wants to look at the books can.”

Dawson is going to win the Cegep Vert Award of Excellence for its environmental initiative. EOI discredited Sustainable Dawson’s claim of having undertaken 200 projects. Essentially, EOI believes that all Sustainable Dawson has done is plant flowers and recycle.

“They are more interested in checking off boxes in the Sustainability Assessment Framework than in making a difference,” an EOI member said.

Dawson did not have an environmental initiative pre-2006.

“Dawson went from doing nothing pre-2006 to doing something for the environment. This is a success regardless of how you look at it,” said Varrica. “

Furthermore it is in the opinion of Cégep Vert that Dawson has been successful. Is this group saying that the work of Cégep Vert is also suspect?”

Members of EOI are not willing to divulge their identity in fear of repercussion. Most of their members are currently attending Dawson, and they did not feel comfortable discussing such topics in publics.

“There can be no discussion as long as this group chooses to remain anonymous,” Varrica said.

The group has not suggested any solution to the apparent problem, instead making accusation without proof and the College is not willing to debate with a group that wishes to remain anonymous, especially when the said group is circulating allegations without proof.

“At this point, there is no one to debate with,” Varrica said. “If they want to engage in meaningful dialogue with the College, they need to grow up and act like adults.”

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