CUPE 2950 Staff Appreciation BBQ Fundraiser

In advance of our annual staff appreciation BBQs, we decided to host a Virtual Food Drive in support of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB). We’re super excited about the work the GVFB is doing; providing healthy food to those in need. Our donations will support children, families, seniors, individuals who have lost their jobs, and anyone who just needs a little bit of help.

There’s still time to donate! The virtual fundraiser is open and will run until end of day, August 7, 2024.

We have received a fantastic amount of donations so far and already handed out some prizes at the Point Grey BBQ which took place on Wednesday, July 10 at the Great Hall, AMS Nest.

For those attending the off-site BBQ on August 7, show your donation receipt to collect your raffle tickets (number given based on your donation amount). We will host one prize draw at the BBQ and another in the August newsletter (for off-site members) – please hold onto those tickets!

Find the link to donate and more information on the virtual fundraiser page below:

CUPE2950 – GVFB Virtual Food Drive (foodbank.bc.ca)

Special thanks to our Treasurer, Mackenzie Dunlop for all her work on putting this fundraiser together 🙂

Meet our Members – Taran Dhillon, Asian Library

What’s your role at UBC?
I am the Public Services & Collections Management Assistant at the UBC Asian Library.

How did you get involved in Sustainability in the Library and at UBC?
My involvement in sustainability initiatives within the Library and at UBC began in 2019 when I joined the Asian Library. During my orientation, my supervisor, Shaun Wang, and Phoebe Chow trained me in my duties including several sustainable practices within the branch for efficient library operations. These practices included saving and reusing mail envelopes, storing book jackets in boxes for new books display, saving cardboard boxes for re-use, recycling used pens, using discarded printing paper sheets as scrap paper at the circulation desk, and switching off lights before closing to conserve energy. I was particularly inspired when I observed my colleague Phoebe Chow creating a retirement card for a library colleague using one of the saved book jackets.

Crafting has always been a natural inclination for me, stemming from my upbringing. My mother, a craft teacher, taught me how to transform discarded items into beautiful and useful crafts. We used to make paper boats from ad flyers, turning shredded paper and cardboard into birds nest, paper flowers, paper lamps, making kites from discarded newspapers during spring season and making collage from discarded magazines for art and craft competitions.

In the summer term’2019, a less busy period at the library, I was encouraged by the branch head, Shirin Eshghi Furuzawa, to utilize my crafting skills to create crafts from paper waste and book jackets. I started using my time in creating free to take-Asian library bookmarks for patrons, greeting cards, seasonal greetings, survey boxes, pen and phone holders, and more. Shirin also encouraged me to join the sustainability committee, where I collaborated with colleagues Felicia de la Parra and Stacy Campbell every month, who were running sustainability initiatives in library. When the pandemic began in 2020, our meetings transitioned to virtual platforms, but we continued our initiatives. In 2020 and 2023 I co-led a workshops with my colleagues Phoebe Chow and Felicia de la Parra for library staff members, demonstrating how to create bookmarks and cards using scrap paper and discarded book jackets. I have a particular fondness for book jackets due to their interesting designs and high-quality paper, which makes discarding them difficult for me. This has allowed me to contribute my ideas and initiatives to the library’s sustainability efforts. You can find more about my documented ideas here.

In 2023, I was honored to receive the 2023 UBC Library Innovation Award, recognizing staff who introduce new ways of performing existing processes or introduce new library services or programs beneficial to Library staff.

What tips can you give to your fellow members on ways to be more Sustainable?
There are many easy ways to become more sustainable and reduce your environmental impact to contribute positively to the planet’s well-being.

Here are some tips and ideas to help you and your community become more sustainable:

  • Reduce Single-Use Plastics: Minimize the use of plastic bags, bottles, and straws. Use paper straws if possible or make your own at home.
  • Conserve Energy: Turn off lights, appliances, and electronics at home and in office when not in use.
  • Choose Sustainable Transportation: Walk, bike, carpool, or use public transport whenever possible. For example, living in Wesbrook Village allows me to bike or walk to work every day.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Reduce waste by buying only what you need, reuse items like containers, shopping bags, and recycle paper, plastics, glass, and metals. Take advantage of UBC’s reuse initiative called Rheaply AxM, which allows employees to exchange low-value items ($1,000 or less) between departments. As a branch coordinator, I facilitate the posting of surplus items and seek needed items for our branch. We’ve given away over 100 items using this initiative.
  • Re-purpose and gifts: There are unlimited ideas on internet to re-purpose materials. For example: I turned empty tomato cans into kitchen spoon holders, pasta sauce glass jars into pen holder and flowering pot, newspaper and magazine paper into envelopes and many more.
  • Educate and Advocate: Share your knowledge and passion for sustainability with others. Encourage your friends, and co-workers to prioritize sustainability.
  • Use Less Paper: Opt for digital communications, electronic billing, and reduce unnecessary printing. When paper is necessary, choose recycled options.

Empowering CUPE 2950 Members: Navigating the AI in Today’s Workforce 

By Marat Raimkhan

In today’s rapidly evolving work landscape, Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands as a transformative force, revolutionizing industries and reshaping job roles. The McKinsey Global Institute projects that by 2030, approximately 70% of companies will have joined the AI revolution, integrating at least one form of AI technology into their operations. A study by Amazon Web Services and research firm Access Partnership found that hiring AI-skilled talent is already a priority for 73% of employers. At the same time, at least 14% of employees globally could need to change their careers due to digitization, robotics, and AI advancements.  

While concerns about automation often dominate discussions, AI brings numerous advantages for workers such as enhanced productivity and efficiency, therefore, consider upgrading your skills to stay informed and equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in this new era. To boost work skills, you don’t need a deep technical understanding like a PhD-level primer on deep learning, neural networks, or natural language processing. Rather, all you need is a grasp of the basic AI principles relevant to your job to excel in an AI-driven economy. Fortunately, there are numerous educational resources available to help understand and leverage AI technologies – find some links to courses and resources below:

Artificial intelligence (AI) Course by UBC Extended Learning – at UBC, you can enroll in Certificate and Micro-Certificate programs focusing on Artificial Intelligence in Digital Media, AI and Society for a Greater Good, and Artificial Intelligence Cloud Solutions Strategy.  
Reminder – you can use your tuition waivers as credit towards Extended Learning Courses.

Google offers a free introductory course on generative AI that explains the technology without delving too deeply into technical details. The course includes: explanation of generative AI and its functioning; introduction to large language models (LLMs) used in many generative AI applications; overview of responsible AI principles and Google’s application of them. 

Amazon introduced AI Ready initiative that aims to provide free AI skills training to 2 million people by 2025. They offer eight new, free AI and generative AI courses suitable for different skill levels and job types, covering basic to advanced topics for both business leaders and technologists. These courses supplement the existing 80+ free and affordable AI courses and resources on AWS.  

Intel aims to equip over 30 million individuals with AI skills by 2030. As a step towards this goal, the company offers numerous free self-paced online courses covering topics like deep learning for robotics, deep learning, and natural language processing.  

Intro to AI for Marketers is a free online class by Marketing AI Institute. Despite its marketing focus, it’s relevant to any knowledge worker. In just 30 minutes, learn how to understand and start using AI. Topics covered include defining AI’s significance, identifying use cases, evaluating vendors, understanding business outcomes, measuring AI tool value, and preparing for AI implementation. Next class is on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, 12pm ET/9am PT.  

Popular online platforms also offer a wide range of courses and educational programs: please check Coursera (specifically, “AI for Everyone” by Andrew Ng, one of the top minds in AI, that introduces beginners to AI fundamentals), EdX, Udemy, Udacity, LinkedIn Learning.  

Don’t forget, you can utilize staff professional development funding for paid courses. 

By embracing AI and investing in education and training, our members can harness its benefits to create more productive, and fulfilling work environments. As AI continues to evolve, consider upgrading your skills to adapt and seize the opportunities it presents, ensuring a brighter future for the workforce.