U of M reboots sustainability strategy, reaches out to university community

In a bold effort to establish itself as a leader in sustainability, the University of Manitoba is developing a new comprehensive sustainability strategy that will impact nearly every area of the university.

The rebooted strategy will include new initiatives in food services, water usage, waste diversion, energy, purchasing, land use, transportation and climate change mitigation and adaption, to name only a few.

To accomplish this forward-thinking goal, the university is looking within by soliciting ideas and prompting feedback from the university community.

John Sinclair

“It is important for all of us who have the privilege of coming to campus every day to take ownership of sustainability; to make it a personal responsibility and a part of our collective philosophy,” said John Sinclair, chair of the U of M’s Sustainability Committee. “We already have some exceptional sustainability initiatives in place, but with this new strategy we can accomplish so much more.”

In 2009-10, the University of Manitoba diverted almost 450 metric tonnes of recyclables and organic waste from the landfill. Currently, the university consumes 46 per cent less energy per sq. ft. and per student than it did 20 years ago, and 50 per cent less water than it used 12 years ago despite substantial campus growth. The university has implemented fluorescent lamp and electronic waste recycling programs, and has adopted ‘green cleaning’ standards by using eco-friendly chemicals.

Perhaps most prominently, the University of Manitoba’s Aboriginal House is LEED Gold certified, only the fifth building in Manitoba to earn that status.

Over the next few months, the Sustainability Committee will be reaching out to the university community for assistance by offering opportunities for participation in working groups, focus groups and surveys.

“Contributions to this process from members of the university community will be critical to the success of the new strategy. It will ensure that we develop a plan that is relevant and meaningful to the whole University of Manitoba community,” said Debbie McCallum, vice-president (administration), University of Manitoba.

The University of Manitoba Board of Governors passed the new Sustainability Policy on January 25, 2011. More information can be found here: http://umanitoba.ca/admin/governance/governing_documents/operations/1156.htm 

For more information about campus sustainability, please visit http://umanitoba.ca/campus/physical_plant/sustainability/index.html

Or visit ‘University of Manitoba – Sustainability’ on Facebook.

Or contact Maire McDermott, Sustainability Coordinator, at [email protected], 204-474-8166.