How Sustainable is Your University?

We are all students associated with various universities   Have you ever wondered how sustainable your universities and campus’ are and what initiatives can be implemented in order for them to become more sustainable?  For example, what about making sustainability mandatory as part of the curriculum just as a language course is mandatory?  This can promote awareness and could help to create ‘global citizens’.    

 Also, what are your thoughts on how universities should approach the administration of sustainability?  Would a decentralized approach work better where all employees have a sustainability component written into their job description than a centralized approach where senior administrators have the onus of ensuring sustainability practices?

 I feel that as higher learning institutions, universities could be an excellent vehicle to promote sustainable practices and educate students who can then take these ideas and practices with them into the business world.  

As students who are part of these institutions, we can also play a role on our campuses.  Here is an interesting site that gives you ideas on how you can get involved.  You can also use the site to see what is going on in terms of sustainability programs at the University of Ottawa and other Canadian universities.

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Posted in sustainable development
4 comments on “How Sustainable is Your University?
  1. carolmanley says:

    A good example of how a University has attempted to make themselves more sustainable would be London School of Economics, where they have persuaded their students to donate things they no longer want to charity instead of dumping them in landfills.

    This has proven to be very beneficial as they have estimated that they have saved 21 tonnes of waste and approximately 163 tonnes of Carbon emissions.

    They have also adopted practices such as quick fixes such as implementing water saving devices, time switches and daylight saving sensors, which all help to reduce carbon emissions.

    However they have recognised that this is not going to be easy for all universities. Some universities have very old building making it more difficult for them to cut carbon emissions similarly universities with multiple campuses and large science facilities.

    The English government is also looking at implementing a new plan that will see funds given to institutions being associated with how well they are reducing their carbon foot print.

    Iain Patton, executive director of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, states “No matter how large a university carbon footprint is, it is nothing compared to the impact of its graduates when they leave and enter homes and workplaces.”

    Information taken from the article available at

  2. kristin28 says:

    One thing that I have noticed since coming to RMS is that the University here has taken some steps towards good conservation practices, more specifically I am impressed with the sensored lighting systems which are in place in all the washrooms throughout the school to save energy. Through my travels in Europe over the past month I have noticed that this is the norm in building areas where people are not passing through regularly (washrooms, stairwells, etc.) While this is a very simple measure it is not one that has become standard in Canada yet.

    However, for a school that makes an effort to regulate the electricity consumption – I am shocked that RMS does not have a recycling program at the school!!! Has anyone else noticed this?

  3. angelabrazeau says:

    These are good examples of sustainable practices but I wonder what more can be done. It seems that these institutions are operating as silos and developing their individual initiatives. In Canada, our universities are public institutions that receive funding from the provincial government. Given this, should the government legislate sustainable initiatives (i.e. green buildings) so that they are standardized across the country in all institutions?

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