TORONTO, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's university campuses are shrinking their environmental footprint by reducing waste and increasing recycling, and students are helping to drive the agenda, according to the fourth annual Going Greener report to be released Tuesday by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).
"Ontario students are driving many of the greening policies of their universities," says Alastair Summerlee, COU Chair and President of the University of Guelph. "It's terrific to see students playing a leadership role."
"Whether it's protected bike racks, discount transit passes, low-flow toilets or local food at campus cafeterias, Ontario universities and their students are showing they really care about the environment," says COU President and CEO Bonnie M. Patterson.
Universities also have expanded their own commitment to teaching about environmental sustainability, with 15 of 22 campuses across the province introducing new courses related to the environment in the past year.
The Going Greener report will be released June 11 in the main lobby of the Exam Centre of the University of Toronto's St. George campus at 225 McCaul Street at 9:30 a.m. Remarks will be delivered by COU President Bonnie Patterson, Paul Evans, Ontario's Acting Deputy Minister of the Environment, and Ron Swail, the University of Toronto's Assistant Vice-President, Facilities and Services.
Overall, the report concludes that Ontario universities made significant progress on environmental sustainability in 2012, despite the challenges of budgetary restraints.
- Two-thirds of campuses in Ontario now have staff dedicated to environmental sustainability
- The majority of Ontario campuses measure emissions and energy consumption
- 86 per cent of campuses offer free or discounted transit passes
- More than 85 per cent of campuses have installed low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets
- Local foods are available at the majority of campuses
All university Executive Heads signed a sustainability pledge in 2009, called Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World, committing them to environmental sustainability, with measurable outcomes and mandatory reporting.
The pledge, as well as further background information on the previous Going Greener reports and events, can be found on the COU website.
COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students, and the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.
SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities
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