Statement of Sustainability

 

Team Members:

   Jen Bocking, Dominique Grenier, Cara Humphrey, Natalie Langlois and Caridad Malebranche
 

We envision the University of Waterloo as being an institutional leader committing its resources and its expertise in the creation of an environmentally sustainable future. The University shall be managed in such a way as to:

The University will instil a strong and positive environmental ethic into all its policies, programs and practices. It will carry these goals and principles within the University, local community, as well as to national and international scenes.

Not only should a sustainable campus attempt to have little environmental impact on campus and surrounding communities, but it should be an active positive participant in the attempt to increase and maintain social and economic health. The university must be committed to environmental education on and beyond the campus.  Providing information to residents of Ron Eydt Village regarding environmental issues on campus is a small step toward the larger goal of informing the University of Waterloo Community.
 
Sustainability means that all parts of the system, in this case the campus of the University of Waterloo, be recognized as being interconnected. A new ethic will emerge on campus; one that will lead to a new physical and socio-economic structure.  The inclusion of environmental issues as a part of the decision-making process will result in issues being easier to solve. The new ethic will make people proud of what they have and what they are doing to maintain a sustainable system.  By providing Ron Eydt residents information on the direct effect of their actions and implications for campus environmental health, the concept of interconnectedness is addressed on a small scale.  This could also potentially expand studentsí knowledge of the existence of WATgreen as a source of information about campus environmental issues.

At the Campus Earth Summit, held in 1994, Mrs. Teresa Heinz, who had the honour of making the introductory remarks, had an extremely viable answer to the question of what a green campus will be like.

"A green campus is one that integrates environmental knowledge into all relevant disciplines, improves environmental studies course offerings, provides opportunities for students to study campus and local environmental problems, conducts environmental audits of its practices, institutes environmentally responsible purchasing policies, reduces campus waste, maximizes energy efficiency, makes environmental sustainability a top priority in land use, transportation and building planning, establishes a student environmental centre and supports students who seek environmentally responsible careers."

A sustainable University of Waterloo would be committed to a preventative approach rather than a reactive approach within the decision-making process. The campus would be an active participant in higher education initiatives such as the Campus Earth Summit, and more importantly, would adopt the recommendations that are produced in this type of forum. The University would also be an active participant in the community by promoting and funding both activities and projects that are community based. Partnerships with organizations and groups in the community would be formed, with the goal of developing solutions to local, national and international environmental and social problems.

The University of Waterloo would take pride in its innovative approach to education. The University would promote awareness of the natural environment and the impact different lifestyle choices have on the campus. Environmental ethics would be taught to all students, as well as academic, administrative and support staff. Each faculty would have a core credit course that would educate students on how their field of study connects to their environment, including accountability of individual actions on the environment.

The University of Waterloo would no longer follow the 3Rís of waste reduction, but instead expand this principal to the 7Rís: reduce, reuse, recycle, reject, replace, repair and rejoice. Not only would UW greatly reduce solid waste and minimize the use of paper products, it would encourage teachings in repairing of products that would otherwise be discarded into landfills. The social well being of all individuals affiliated with the University would be improved as a result. The University of Waterloo would continue being sustainable because people would have a sense of pride and stewardship towards the environment, and as a result could rejoice over its beauty and efficiency.

The University of Waterloo would increase the presence of  WATgreen, which would design and implement an environmental management system, thus improving economic efficiency, protect and restore ecological systems, and further enhance the well being of all citizens in the community. The University of Waterloo would also have WATgreen advisory sub-committees in each faculty to monitor, assess and audit existing programs. It would also be required that each department prepare a comprehensive specific plan for the implementation of a University-wide Environmental Policy. These sub-committees would report to the WATgreen, ensuring implementation of policies is in partnership with waste management and administration. The University would also monitor each department and invite all members of the community to support the efforts to meet policy goals by notifying the EAC about any non-compliance with such policy.

The University of Waterloo campus would manage its system in a way that would be the pride of the campus. One such characteristic would University policies that exceed government standards, regulations and guidelines.  These policies would set a precedence for other campuses to follow. The University of Waterloo would prove to be second to none.

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