Ontario universities reinforce their commitment to going "greener"

TORONTO, Nov. 26 /CNW/ - A made-in-Ontario sustainability pledge, Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World, reinforcing the university sector's commitment to the environment and the well-being of the province, was presented to the Ontario government today.

"Ontario universities are deeply aware of the challenges that face the world arising from climate change and the degradation of natural environments, and we accept the responsibility of helping to find solutions, share knowledge and incorporate principles of sustainability into our operations," says Sheldon Levy, Chair of Council and President of Ryerson University.

The Ontario government has been a leader in green initiatives, and Executive Heads of Ontario universities are committed to realizing the same goals. Prof. Bonnie M. Patterson, Interim President of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), says, "Beyond teaching and research that cut across virtually all disciplines, our universities are incorporating environmental sustainability in our operations and important policy areas. Our sustainability practices are helping the environment and also strengthening the learning environment for students."

"Ontario's students appreciate this pledge and are supportive of initiatives undertaken by university administrators to ensure our campuses embrace modern attitudes, focused on sustainability," says Dan Moulton, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. "We look forward to working with our university presidents on continued progress in this important area."

Examples of these wide-ranging initiatives are highlighted in a summary report, entitled Ontario Universities: Going Greener, which was also presented to government. The initiatives cover nine key areas: policy and administration; integrating sustainability concepts into curriculum and research; buildings and green space; recycling and waste management; energy management; water management; transportation and fleet; purchasing and procurement; and partnerships and other initiatives. This report and a full report of environmental and sustainability activities underway at 20 Ontario universities (across 22 campuses) are now posted on COU's website (www.cou.on.ca).

The presentation was made by the Executive Heads of Ontario universities at a luncheon reception held at Queen's Park, and was the centrepiece of a day-long series of meetings hosted by COU.

For further information: Lisa Krawiec for COU Interim President Bonnie Patterson, Communications Officer, (416) 979-2165 ext. 239, lkrawiec@cou.on.ca