Headlines (Campus Updates)
Green Report Card shows Laurier making strides in sustainability
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
Wilfrid Laurier University has received its first grade from the College Sustainability Report Card, an annual evaluation of North American colleges and universities committed to improving sustainability on campus.
Laurier received a B- in the report, scoring particularly well in the categories of food services and recycling and composting programs.
Laurier’s Sustainability Coordinator Sarah English says a B- is a great start because the university’s Sustainability Office opened less than a year ago and this is the first time Laurier has participated in the College Sustainability Report Card program.
“It shows that even though we have room for improvement, we are making a real effort to minimize our environmental footprint. It’s a positive first step that reflects all the accomplishments Laurier has achieved in only one year.”
To improve sustainability on campus, Laurier developed a Sustainability Policy last year. The Sustainability Office has been assessing Laurier’s campuses using the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The STARS assessment rates the university’s progress by using a number of indicators based on four categories: education and research; operations; planning, administration and engagement; and innovation. The final rating, to be released later this month, can be used to chart progress from year to year and to compare sustainability efforts with other universities.
The results of the STARS assessment and the College Sustainability Report Card will aid in developing Laurier’s Sustainability Action Plan in 2011.
“These assessments will help advance Laurier’s efforts to become a recognized leader in sustainability,” says English. “By identifying the university’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of sustainability, the Sustainability Office will be able to better allocate its resources and minimize the university’s environmental footprint more efficiently.”
This week, English, along with Laurier’s Assistant Vice-President: Physical Resources Gary Nower and EcoHawks Coordinator Ericha Regio, will attend a Going Greener Forum at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Hosted by the Council of Ontario Universities, the event will include experts in government, business, hospitals, colleges and universities discussing how to build a more sustainable future.
Last year’s Going Greener report recognized Laurier for developing its Sustainability Policy, as well as for adapting a green cleaning program and Energy Management Plan. Laurier has also been making strides with new sustainable building designs, such as the Laurier Brantford Research & Academic Centre designed to achieve LEED certification, and improved food waste and sustainable transportation programs.
About the College Sustainability Report Card
The College Sustainability Report Card is the only independent sustainability evaluation of campus operations and endowment investments. Published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, it uses 52 indicators to assess over 300 colleges and universities from Canada and the United States. All results can be viewed at: www.GreenReportCard.org.