Sustainability Matters creates group for a green campus


The Sustainability Matters: Champions meeting with campus representatives discussing plans of action. (Jean Ko Din / Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson is taking steps to create a greener campus. The university’s Sustainability Matters program hosted two meetings to talk about existing sustainability projects going on around campus.

More than 20 campus groups met at the Campus Facilities and Sustainability office (CF+S) last month to discuss key sustainability needs around campus.

“What we’re really trying to get out of this meeting is to build relationships with (campus groups) directly,” said Randy S’ad, Sustainability Matters co-ordinator.

“The goal is really to involve and engage the campus as a whole, and develop more of a culture of sustainability across campus.”

During the afternoon, Sustainability Matters met with representatives from different Ryerson faculties and departments to talk about sustainability problems and projects they are working on within the group.

The meeting introduced a key program initiative, called Sustainability Matters: Champions, for faculties and departments across campus.

According to the program’s website, its goal is to bring together sustainability advocates from many faculties and departments to create a team to work with Sustainability Matters.

There were representatives from the Faculty of Arts, the school of interior design, the Centre for Urban Energy, the financial services office and many others.

“We started a program where we wanted to reduce our paper use over the last two and a half years, and also educating our staff as to why it’s important to print less,” said Andrea Skyers, administrative co-ordinator from Ryerson’s financial services office.

“We wanted to take it a bit further and see what else we can do towards making the department more sustainable, so we formed a committee, and we had our first meeting last (month). We came up with a lot of initiatives that we want to work on.”

The groups discussed dozens of initiative and project priorities. Many departments already have sustainability plans in place.

“We’re looking to inspire people in the faculty and beyond about the things that are happening on the campus, and kind of drive change through inspiration and projects,” said Jennifer Fischer, who is the sustainability co-ordinator for the Faculty of Arts.

From this meeting, Sustainability Matters is looking to continue the conversation among the different faculties and departments, with two to three Sustainability Champions meetings per year.

Student campus groups were invited to a roundtable that evening to connect and create opportunities for future project collaborations.

The event was facilitated by the Environment and Urban Sustainability Students’ Association (EUSSA).

“I’m personally really, really happy with how the meeting went,” said Claire Stevenson-Blythe, EUSSA president.

“When I talked about EUSSA’s (challenges), three or four people immediately came up with solutions of how they can help.”

Other student groups that attended the roundtable included representatives from Ryerson 350, Rye’s Homegrown, Bodhi Collective, RU Water Environment Association of Ontario and many others.

Stevenson-Blythe says she wants to continue these roundtable meetings on a monthly basis, with the hopes of expanding their outreach for more student engagement.

S’ad said the evening was a huge success for the Sustainability Matters program.

“I’m really pleased with the turnout and the diversity of groups that came,” said S’ad.

“It’s an exciting first step in having champions of change for our campus. It’s really creating a two-way street.”

Sustainability Matters also conducted a campus-wide survey to gather measurable information about what priorities are important to people on campus

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