A green makeover for Canada's colleges
By Shilpa Vasudevan | Published: 09th September 2013 12:00 AM |
Meals using campus grown food at McGill University or Bikechain, a student-run DIY repair shop at University of Toronto are some of the initiatives you will witness if you take a stroll on some Canadian campuses. Sustainability has become the watch word for Canadian colleges and proof of the same is in the multitude of activities these campuses have come up with.
Sustainability is a top priority for McGill, one of Canada’s leading universities, says Julia Solomon, a university representative. McGill’ ideas towards sustainability has mostly come forward from students, adds Solomon. McGill’s Sustainability Projects Fund is a joint effort put together by passionate students and enthusiastic senior staff members, with both sets being able to convince their peers. Students pay $0.50/credit, which is matched dollar-for-dollar by the McGill administration. This results in a pot of about $8,40,000 per year, which is available for anyone in the McGill community to apply to if they have an idea for a project that will help sustainability at McGill.
Besides Bikechain Sustainable Engineers Association (SEA), Public Water Initiative (PWI), Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI), etc, are some of the initiatives embracing sustainability at University of Toronto. “At University of Toronto, sustainability and environmental initiatives are everywhere, with more and more happening each day to make our urban campus in the heart of Toronto a more sustainable place to live, work, study, and play,” says Lauren Binette, project coordinator, sustainability office, University of Toronto.
SEA empowers engineering students with knowledge, interest and experience of sustainable development of the society through symposiums, field trips and curriculum enrichment. PWI advocates safe and accessible drinking water on campus while GCI is into implementation of environmentally-friendly chemistry practices.
Not far behind in the sustainability race is Dalhousie University. “We have focused on sustainability since the 1990s. With the creation of the Office of Sustainability, the Student Office of Sustainability and College of Sustainability in 2008, and the resulting Green Building Policy, Climate Change Plan and Sustainability Plan, Dalhousie is becoming one of the most sustainable campuses in the country,” says Rochelle Owen, director of Dalhousie’s Office of Sustainability. On the anvil is issuing a president’s sustainability plan every five years.
Another university taking little steps in sustainability is University of Victoria. With the introduction of a transit pass, there has been a reduction in the number of people arriving in cars. Former parking lots have also been converted into new buildings.