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A Bright Green Future at UTSC

A ban on the sale of bottled water is just one of many sustainable measures embraced at UTSC

A workshop in early March will allow staff and faculty to discover ways to green their office and find out how there is more to sustainability than just recycling.

The event, hosted by the UTSC Sustainability Office, aims to inspire staff and faculty to curb energy consumption and waste, while showing participants the many sustainable programs currently running on campus. 

More importantly, the session will be interactive so thoughts, questions and suggestions are welcome.

The Sustainability Office’s mandate is to work with students, staff and faculty to provide the knowledge to embrace sustainable practices. 

“We don’t go into a department and start mandating that they follow certain practices. We try to give them the tools to use themselves,” says Tim Lang, manager of the Sustainability Office.

For example, tips on two-sided printing, using rechargeable rather than single-use batteries  and how to conserve energy by doing simple things around the office like shutting off lights and computers are all part of the consultation process.

Various outreach projects spearheaded by the office include tree planting around campus, a campus wildflower and vegetable garden as well as supporting the Ban the Bottle campaign which ended the sale of bottled water at UTSC in November.

The plan is to install three water fountain and bottle filling stations around campus in the near future to make it more convenient to fill up water bottles, while old fountains will be upgraded. When the ban came into effect maps were prepared indicating the location of water fountains on campus.

It’s just one example of the many initiatives the office undertakes to maintain a support role on campus. In addition to meeting one-on-one with staff, faculty and students, Lang says his office is always available to answer questions or offer tips on how to make a departmental office more sustainable.

“Everything starts with individuals making good decisions on their own … There is only so much a central office can do on its own, so our success comes with everyone knowing how to make sustainable choices.”

As for the future, Lang hopes to pilot an organic waste bin project near food service areas, and his office is also working towards planning an eastern GTA green summit along with the TRCA, Toronto Parks, Live Green Toronto and area high schools. 

Campus Sustainability: Towards a Bright Green Future, takes place March 8. Check the Sustainability Office’s website for more details and sign-up information.

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