U of G Launches First-Ever Sustainability Day

October 23, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph is hosting it's first-ever Sustainability Day: Greening the Campus Oct. 28, with the aim of promoting realistic ways of living a sustainable life.

Organized by the Guelph Institute for the Environment (GIE) in partnership with a variety of student groups, the day will be launched by president Alastair Summerlee and Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge at 9 a.m. in the University Centre.

"University teaching and research are foundations for developing a sustainable Canada, but the most important factor in achieving that goal is putting that knowledge of sustainability into practice," said GIE director Prof. David Anderson. "U of G's Sustainability Greening the Campus Day is an opportunity for all of us to move forward in making sustainability a part of our campus life."

The University has held events promoting sustainability, but never one of this size, said Arthur Churchyard, student researcher with the GIE.

"Dozens of student groups worked collaboratively and creatively with staff, administration and faculty to make this day a force for long-term living change," he said. "I am very proud of what the students have accomplished on campus and the way they have embodied sustainable values."

The daylong event will includes talks running from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Room 103 of the University Centre.

Charles Simon, architect and leader of the Eden Mills carbon-neutral project, will discuss the project, which aims to make the village the first carbon-neutral spot in North America.

Volker Thomsen, past president of St. Lawrence College in Kingston, will describe how he brought green technology to the campus during his time as president, as well as how he has incorporated the technology into his home.

Gillian Maurice, U of G's sustainability co-ordinator, will discuss the environmental initiatives happening on campus as well as future projects.

The talks will be followed by hands-on workshops from 1 to 4 p.m. in the same location. These sessions will cover topics from worm composting and creating sustainable clothing to bike maintenance and juggling.

A resource fair runs throughout the day in the UC courtyard and will include displays by dozens of community environmental organizations as well as U of G groups.

As part of Sustainability Day, Hospitality Services is holding Feast of the Fields and serving meals created with locally-produced food. They are also promoting the local food offered in campus cafeterias by handing out raffle tickets for prizes to students who buy these items.

The University launched its local food initiative this fall by posting weekly lists of the local food available in Centre Six and the cafeterias in Creelman Hall, Prairie and Mountain halls. Throughout the year, the cafeterias' selection will include from 10 to 15 per cent local food, said Ed Townsley, head of retail services.

"During the warmer seasons, the amount of local food that is available will be greater, but we want to make sure we always have local food available throughout the year," he said. "We are focusing on sustainability because it's the right thing to do."

Hospitality Services will also be giving out raffle tickets on Sustainability Day to students who use reusable mugs and containers when buying products from campus cafeterias.

Raffle tickets can also been earned throughout the day if you’re seen doing something on campus that is deemed environmentally friendly. About 100 U of G students as well as 20 student volunteers from a local high school will be traveling around campus in search of people who are doing things such as using reusable mugs, biking to school or taking the stairs.

For more information visit the Sustainability Day website or send email to sustainabilityday@gmail.com.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1