Social Purpose in
Administration & Finance:
An Inventory of Sample Practices
This is an inventory of social purpose administration and finance practices within Canadian post-secondary institutions as of 2018.
It was created to demonstrate the ways in which higher education is integrating social impact/innovation within administration. It is to designed as a resource for administrators seeking to better understand this concept and pick up new ideas for their own institutions.
This database of sample practices is an initiative of the collaboration between CAUBO (Canadian Association of University Business Officers) and McConnell. More details are available at this link.
Most of the sample practices in this inventory were submitted by institutions in response to a call for examples issued by CAUBO and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) to their memberships. Some practices were sourced from the project white paper. They illustrate specific social purpose finance and administration instruments. Disclaimer: By showcasing these practices, the McConnell Foundation and CAUBO are not expressing opinions about the practices, departments or institutions.
CROSS-INSTITUTIONAL AND DEPARTMENT-WIDE INITIATIVES
ISI is a non-profit organization serving 18 Atlantic Canada post-secondary institutions, offering services, training and events to their operational, financial and administrative personnel. ISI has a member sustainability committee that meets twice a year to build member sustainability knowledge and learn of best practices. They share information on their sustainability initiatives, liaise with national and international bodies, and receive presentations from government, industry, suppliers and sector advocates to advance member awareness on a broad spectrum of sustainability related issues. For example, in 2018 ISI hosted a day long Sustainable Procurement Workshop at the University of PEI for members of both ISI’s sustainability and procurement committees to build awareness, knowledge and capacity of sustainable procurement within maritime institutions.
David H. Davidson, Chief Executive Officer
In 2018, the VP Finance and Administration at SFU included a one-hour introduction session on social purpose administration and finance within his regular meeting of direct reports. The purpose of the session was to increase awareness of the Social Purpose Administration and Finance Framework among administrative leaders, to share current practices at SFU, and to consider new ways to advance social impact in admin, finance and operations using the Framework. A secondary purpose was to pilot an orientation workshop that could be used for professional development and planning at other institutions via the CAUBO-McConnell project.
Participants included senior leaders in finance, human resources, safety, sustainability, facilities, strategy, procurement, IT services, commercial services and external relations. The session concluded that there are many strong practices in place, driven by the culture and individual passions, although a strategic intent is not yet defined. Leaders were beginning to collaborate externally with peers and there were untapped opportunities to collaborate with external stakeholders on shared projects, in which costs could also be shared. Engaging more with expert academic researchers and the student body are future opportunities. There are challenges with time, resources and entrenched systems, however this is not insurmountable as progress is happening.
As a result of SFU’s experience a workshop template was developed and is now a resource available to other institutions for staff orientation and engagement.
Martin Pochurko, Vice-President Finance & Administration, firstname.lastname@example.org
Responding to the absence of a formal approach to sustainable procurement, in 2013, McGill Procurement Services gathered a group of internal stakeholders from various departments (students and faculty included) and developed a strategic plan for sustainable procurement. The comprehensive five-year strategy included the following key action items:
(1) Training central buyers to apply life cycle thinking and triple bottom line objectives in their decision-making;
(2) Applying social and environmental criteria in calls for tenders;
(3) Developing a framework for optimized asset management in support of a more circular economy; and
(4) Reaching out to faculty members and students to develop “Applied Student Research Projects” in Sustainable Procurement.
Procurement Services also developed an inter-university network to share best practices, find solutions to common problems, collaborate on joint group-buys, and more. The group’s first project aims to create a platform for selling and reusing research equipment across Quebec universities. More information here and here.
Stephanie H. Leclerc, Program Manager, Sustainable Procurement
The grounds and gardens at Vancouver Community College are maintained by Mission Possible, a maintenance company that employs inner-city residents and assists those with employment barriers to reach their full potential.
Carleton includes social enterprises in its centralized online procurement hub, “eShop”, through which campus buyers order goods and services. Here is one example: “Sweet Memories Baskets and Favours is an Ottawa-based Social Value Enterprise that offers baskets of goodies, while providing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. If you are looking for speaker gifts or gifts for a special occasion, take a look at their catalogue in the New and Noteworthy section of eShop and see what they have to offer. Note: All purchases of gifts must comply with the Payments to Individual Policy.”
KPU has committed to considering environmental and community impacts in their procurement processes, as detailed in their Procurement Sustainability Plan (2018). The plan consists of:
- Encouraging internal stakeholders to embed sustainability criteria in procurements over $1000;
- Three-year targets to have 100% of procurements over $75,000 to undergo a sustainability assessment and a minimum three procurements over $200,00 to have sustainability as an explicit selection criteria; and
- Suppliers must provide information on the social and environmental impacts of their goods and services, and detail their approach to environmental management during the bid process.
SFU is committed to being a model for community sustainability, demonstrating leadership through support of fair trade and advocating for ethical purchasing practices throughout the university community. For example, SFU Ethical Procurement Policy AD11.21 promotes and encourages participation in trade relationships that are fair and respectful through purchasing products that are certified Fairtrade. This purchasing policy has encouraged campus food services, meetings, conferences, events and bookstores to integrate Fairtrade products into their offerings. More information
Sarah Heim, SFU Fair Trade Manager
York University included a Social Procurement Program in the Request for Supplier Pre-Qualification for the Construction of the University’s Markham Centre Campus. Proponent(s) were encouraged to consider social responsibility as value-added to York University. The program could include: fair wage programs, youth training and hiring practices that encourages employment of members of equity-seeking communities such as women, Aboriginal people, racial minorities, persons with disabilities, newcomers and LGBTQ persons.
Nicole Arsenault, Director, Sustainability, email@example.com
The York University Pension Fund has an Action Plan on Sustainable Investing. The assets in the Pension Plan, currently $2.5 billion, secure the retirement benefits for over 8,500 current and former employees and their beneficiaries. Climate change risk is growing for pension investments, which is two-pronged: there is the physical impact of climate change on the holdings in the Fund (physical risks), as well the possibility of future changes in regulation intended to address climate change (transition risks). Consideration of the financial implications of climate change risk is an important aspect of Sustainable Investing, and incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) related factors into the decision-making process can assist with mitigating climate and other risks. To that end, the Pension Fund Board of Trustees created an Action Plan to improve the integration of ESG factors into the investment decision-making process. The plan is as follows:
- Create a working group with Trustees and Sub Committee on Investment Performance (SCIP) whose members review and update the existing Sustainable Investing Principle with input from faculty, staff, and senior administration as the working group determines.
- Continue and strengthen engagement with the Fund’s investment managers on integration of ESG factors into the investment process.
- Update and expand reporting and disclosure from investment managers on this integration.
- Continue and strengthen integration of ESG-related criteria and questioning in the selection and evaluation of potential new investment managers.
- Consider updating the carbon impact analysis on a manager-by-manager basis when the new Equity manager structure is in place, with results used to inform the ongoing continuous improvement discussions with the managers.
- Continue to work with like-minded investors through the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, the Carbon Disclosure Project, Pension Investment Association of Canada, Canadian Association of University Business Officers, Responsible Investing Association, and others to raise awareness of investment-related climate change risks and the need for data and disclosures for better evaluations.
Leona Fields, Director, Pension Fund
In March 2016, McGill’s Investment Committee reviewed the percentage of assets in the McGill Investment Pool (Endowment Fund) that are managed by managers who adopted an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy and/or were signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). The Committee undertook the objective to increase this percentage to a minimum of 80% by 2021. In 2016, 71% of the Investment Pool’s market value was managed by ESG/UNPRI-committed managers. By December 31, 2017, that number increased to 79%. More Information.
Additionally, an initial $5 million coming from cash in McGill’s Endowment Fund (representing .3% of assets worth $1.63 B) was invested in a socially responsible Fossil Fuel Free (FFF) Fund in March 2017. Donors of the Endowment Fund are offered the choice to invest their gifts directly into this FFF option.
The goals of the Fund are as follows:
- Invest in companies employing leading environmental practices in the resources/energy sector;
- Address a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in applying a defined set of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) principles;
- Support shareholder resolutions to encourage changes in company practices deemed inconsistent with ESG practices;
- Attempt to generate returns in line with equity benchmarks, with reasonable management fees; and
- Avoid the securities of companies engaged primarily in production or distribution of alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gaming, and weapons.
Line Beauregard, Senior Manager, Finance & Governance
Reflecting a global trend, since 2014 student groups at the Université de Sherbrooke organized to demand that the institution divest from fossil fuels and expressed these concerns during the nomination of the University’s President in 2017. In response, the Vice-President Administration and Sustainable Development struck a multi-stakeholder advisory committee on socially responsible investment with a dozen members: professors specializing in social finance, UdeS Foundation and pension managers, and student representatives (including one from an anti-pipeline group). The purpose of the committee is to propose an investment strategy for the institution.
Denyse Rémillard, Vice-rectrice à l’administration et au développement durable
UVic has an Employment Equity Plan 2015–2020 with a goal to improve the participation of members of designated groups in all jobs and at all levels where they are under-represented, and achieve and retain a workforce representative of the appropriate community. Designated groups include Indigenous Peoples, Members of Visible Minorities and Persons with Disabilities.
The Directors of Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion led the development of the Employment Equity and Fair Hiring policies in 2017 with the intent of reducing barriers to accessing and advancement in employment for members of designated groups. The Fair Hiring policy denotes the ability to have designated competitions for visible minorities included in collective agreements. The Employment Equity policy includes actively removing barriers for members of underrepresented groups in hiring practices, and providing professional development opportunities. Designated groups include Indigenous persons, Indigenous Black Nova Scotians, and persons with disabilities. See more information here and here.
Janet Byrne, Director of HR, Janet.Byrne@nscc.ca
Joseph Fraser, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Joseph.Fraser@nscc.ca
The Physical Plant Department at King’s University College collaborated with the LEADS Employment Service in London to employ people with disabilities during the summer, which eventually led to more permanent employment opportunities. Additionally, the Student Services Department entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2016-2017 to promote the support of students with disabilities transition into the workforce.
Joe Henry, Dean of Students
In 2017, UNB established a bi-campus Presidential Standing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) reporting to the President. Co-chaired by the Associate Vice-President Human Resources and the Human Rights Officer, the committee provides an opportunity for increased collaboration and innovation with respect to EDI at UNB and to embed EDI across institutional planning. With an initial strategic focus on recruitment and retention of diverse employees, the committee has ignited a three-year plan of self-study to better understand UNB’s equity challenges and accomplishments. The committee is also a vehicle to expand the university’s partnerships with external organizations to advance multiple equity goals. More information
For over 15 years, the NSCC has had a progressive and regularly-updated Fair Hiring Policy. The intent is to reduce barriers to access and advancement in employment for members of designated groups.
As such, the Employment Equity policy includes actively removing barriers for members of underrepresented groups in hiring practices, as well as providing professional development opportunities. Designated groups include Indigenous persons, Indigenous Black Nova Scotians, and persons with disabilities.
On top of this, the NSCC collective agreements include designated competitions for visible minorities, and in the case of non-union hiring, administrators can exercise flexibility to use designated competitions at their discretion. See more information here and here.
Janet Byrne, Director of HR, Janet.Byrne@nscc.ca
Joseph Fraser, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Joseph.Fraser@nscc.ca
University of Toronto Scarborough partners with Hammer Heads for on-campus construction projects. Hammer Heads is a skill and employment-based training program offering apprenticeship career opportunities for “at-risk youth”. Recent construction projects involving the program include the Environmental Science and Chemistry building and Highland Hall, the new home for Social Sciences, and the Registrar’s Office.
Funds from KPU Co-op and KPU Faculty of Arts are being used to support the SurreyCares Community Foundation in hiring a Co-op student from Criminology to research the Community Foundations of Canada Vital Signs Report.
Operating since 2009, Green Labs is a program that offers researchers access to recycling, training and resources to reduce the environmental impact of their research or lab activities. It is a collaborative initiative from Energy & Water Services, Financial Operations, Risk Management Services and Sustainability & Engineering. Financial support is made available through the Green Labs Fund, providing up to $4,000 for creative solutions that reduce the environmental impact of laboratory operations. The Fund comes from vendor rebates and is available to students, staff, and faculty. It funded, for example, the Centre for Blood Research to purchase a more efficient dishwasher rack for pipettes. The result was reduced water consumption, energy use, and solid waste (as it allowed the centre to use glass pipettes rather than plastic ones). More Information
Torbjorn Album, Acting Treasurer
Ryerson University responded to the Syrian refugee crisis by raising $4.9M and mobilizing over 1,000 volunteers, including students, to sponsor 437 Syrian refugees. The “Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge”, grew to involve all four Toronto area universities supporting 90 sponsorship groups. Key to the success was the role of Ryerson’s finance and administration departments. Units managed refugee sponsorships as applied research / experiential learning initiatives; administered complex financial reporting and reimbursement processes; and managed donations and charitable tax receipts in support of the university’s charitable objects. Given the university had never undertaken an initiative like this before, technology systems and administrative processes required significant adaptation and support from staff beyond regular activities.
Wendy Cukier, Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, firstname.lastname@example.org
BUDGET AND CAPITAL PLANNING
The Sustainable Development Fund of Laval was created in 2007 to ensure the support of the University’s innovative and early stage initiatives in sustainable development. The annual cap of $300,000 has enabled a total of 500 ideas to come to fruition since its inception. The creation of the fund was enveloped within a long term vision of the University to implement sustainable and innovation actions in its operations and day-to-day. It is one of the large sustainable development funds in the Québec university network. More Information
Pierre Lemay, Adjoint au vice-recteur exécutif
Established in 2011, UBC’s Sustainability Revolving Fund (SRF) provides a minimum $10,000 for projects that reduce the consumption of utilities or resources on campus, increase operational waste diversion from landfill, and/or increase the use of alternative energy and transportation. The savings from the reductions in resource use are in turn re-invested into the fund, which sustains it for future investment rounds. This limits the fund to consist of mostly low-risk projects with a high likelihood of payback within two to five years. Higher risk projects, or those whose payback period go beyond five years, are required to have higher levels of scrutiny. The SRF allocated a pool of up to $1M to be loaned over time. See more information here and here.
Additionally, $265 million of UBC’s consolidated working capital and endowment fund is invested in social housing and $117 million is invested in climate change greenhouse gas emission reduction projects.
Torbjorn Album, Acting Treasurer
UVic offers two funds under its broader Campus Sustainability Fund, promoting an increase of sustainability projects on-campus, concretely aligned with the 2014-2019 Sustainability Action Plan.
One of the funds does not require repayment and is used to support student learning opportunities. The second fund is for energy or water savings payback projects, with access to a total of $250K to fund conservation projects on campus that provide a return on investment (ideally a five-year payback period). It is a revolving fund, where loans are paid back with the savings from utility or operating costs. Through loan repayments, the fund is able to reinvest the capital to fund additional sustainability projects on campus. One successful project consisted of replacing the water fixtures in several buildings with low flow fixtures. Implemented in 2013, the project cost $30,000 and has estimated water savings of 3,600 cubic metres per year and cost savings of $8,500 per year. See more information here and here.
Mike Wilson, Director, Campus Planning & Sustainability
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID
In 2017, Brock University restructured its Student Financial Services and Accounts Receivable functions, combining them in one unit. The Manager of Student Financial Services and Accounts Receivable, who had many years experience managing student accounts, had a new mandate to consider how to improve operations and results for both the university and students. Early into her new mandate she realized that many Emergency Bursary students applied every year for emergency funding. To address this problematic issue for students and the institution, she initiated a new requirement that applicants participate in a personalized budgeting session. This is an hour long one-on-one budget consultation with a Student Financial Services Officer who helps the student develop an online budget they can self-administer as their circumstances change. The intent is to help the student develop a budget so they can manage their financial situation, reduce their need for emergency grants, and increase their retention rate. About 75 students have been assisted in this way after one year. In the early days of the new business unit, the Manager was able to hire an individual with banking experience who developed the program and trained Student Financial Services Officers to offer the service. Future plans are to train a team of business students to act as financial ambassadors and run the budget sessions. While not in the formal job description, financial education is becoming an important role for the Manager of Student Financial Services and Accounts Receivable.
Patti Latham-Malton, Manager, Student Financial Services and Accounts Receivable
The University of Winnipeg is an urban campus serving diverse communities of interests, encompassing those of students, faculty and staff, as well as those of the community. After a broad consultation with local community organizations, UWinnipeg implemented a series of principles, which are encompassed in a Community Charter to accompany the opening of its recreational and sports complex, the Axworthy Health and Recplex. The Charter is intended to serve the best interest of the University and Community in a collaborative and transformative manner. The Community is defined as “namely the urban core area and City of Winnipeg at large.” The principles, ratified by UWinnipeg’s Board of Regents in 2012, guarantees community members access and inclusivity to the centre and its activities. More Information.
Dean Melvie, Director – Recreation Services
Since 2009, NSCC committed to significantly reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Action items included replacing boilers with high efficiency propane systems at three campuses, providing infrastructure to encourage alternative transportation (carpooling and cycling), and improving building insulation. As of 2018, NSCC reduced its GHG emission by 34% since 2008-2009, with a goal of a 40% reduction by 2020. This initiative was led by the director of Facilities & Engineering alongside the manager of Sustainability & Infrastructure. More Information.
Dan Kelly, Director of Facilities and Engineering, email@example.com
Mike Chapman, Manager of Sustainability. firstname.lastname@example.org
UWinnipeg’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre is a bridge between The University of Winnipeg and the Aboriginal and inner-city communities. First opening its doors in 2012, the Centre is a partnership with community that provides educational and capacity-building opportunities for children, youth and families. The Wii Chiiwaakanak Centre is designed to meet community needs for an educational gathering place that is inclusive, and help break down the barriers to post-secondary education. The Centre provides free and open access to computers, meeting space, as well as free educational and cultural after-school and summer programs. Current programming includes women’s self-defense courses, Indigenous Math Leadership Summer Camp, an after-school science homework club, and pow wow hoop dancing classes for young girls. More than 1,700 community members use the Centre each month. More Information
Angeline Nelson, Director, Community Learning
The Innovation Hub, a 2400 sq. ft. space, launched in 2017/2018, offers a collaborative work-space which fosters the growth of the innovative capacity in the St. Lawrence College community. By focusing on twenty-first century employability skills (creativity, critical thinking, reflection, collaboration, and social impact), the Innovation Hub builds innovation capacity through a carefully designed system of discussions, activities and events. For example, the Hub hosted an innovation bootcamp, an accounting hackathon, and the First Kingston Youth Financial Literacy Symposium. The space is offered to staff, students and the community for outreach and initiatives that focus on the employability skills. In February 2018 alone, the Hub hosted over 1200 guests for various events.
Brooke Gilmour, Sustainability Manager, Facility Management Services
The Université has several agreements with individuals and community groups, giving them access to various facilities on the Church Point campus. These individuals and community groups are permitted to use these facilities rent free as long as Sainte-Anne students are permitted to participate in the activity. For example, yoga or zumba instructors have offered classes to the public and the University’s students had the option to attend classes free of charge. A local nonprofit also occasionally brings in theatre groups – these group have access to the Sainte-Anne theatre at little to no cost and students can watch the performances for free.
Eric Tufts, vice-recteur à l’administration
The PEPS is the largest university sports complex in Eastern Canada. As the owner and manager of PEPS, Université Laval has developed an innovative agreement with the City of Québec to ensure Québec City residents have priority access to spaces and activities that promote healthy lifestyles, all the while meeting the needs of the staff, faculty and students of Université Laval. The PEPS is a unique partnership that integrates sustainable development in every aspect: in addition to the focus on community and individual quality of life, the complex itself is built with sustainable materials and was highly energy efficient in its construction. More Information.
Pierre Lemay, Adjoint au vice-recteur exécutif
UOIT has opened its doors to the community for a variety of events from conferences and lectures to workshops, tours, and campus farmer markets. Staff, students, faculty, and the community visit the campus’ farm land for tours of the various gardens and other sustainable features. Youth groups also visit to learn about sustainability, indigenous practices, and reconnect with nature. During summer 2018, UOIT community members were able to access community gardens and a greenhouse.
Nadia Harduar, Asset and Sustainability Planner
UNB’s Energy Management Program (EMP) has been in place since 1996, investing in improved energy efficiency and combating climate change. Through the EMP, $12.9M has been invested in 154 projects with forecasted cost avoidance target of $22.2M over ten years. The program has avoided over 100,000 tonnes of emissions by focusing on energy efficiency through building retrofits, building automation upgrades, energy and water conservation, LED lighting, and heat recovery systems. UNB has also invested in innovative green ventilation system technologies, such as a solar wall and earth tubes.
Tom Gilmore, Energy Manager
HEC is increasingly becoming engaged in the sustainability of its operational activities. To better gauge the institution’s strengths and areas for improvement in this area, HEC Montréal is participating in the BOMA BEST Sustainable Buildings Certification. This program allows the University to tie its environmental initiatives to a strategy of continued improvement and accountability, aligned with the institution’s Sustainable Development Goal Action Plan. The certification led to studies on the environmental profile of campus buildings in collaboration with HEC students.
Jean-Michel Champagne, Responsable – Développement durable
The university has a quarter acre rooftop farm on the Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof, located on the George Vari Engineering Building. A pilot project in was launched in 2013 to determine if it was possible to successfully grow food on the roof. Due to the success of the project, in 2014 the entire green roof converted into a small-scale farm/market garden. In 2015 the Ryerson Urban Farm completed the conversion of the 10,000 square foot rooftop, producing 7,910 pounds of food with a revenue of $18,634.00 that year.
Concordia’s Low Waste Office program started as a pilot project in 2016 on the President’s floor of the University. Individual desk-side trash bins were removed and replaced with desktop mini-bins which individuals then brought to kitchenettes equipped with bins for compost, recycling and trash. The pilot program was successful and has since rolled out in most of Concordia’s main buildings in the downtown campus. The program is effective as it keeps staff accountable for their own waste and removes the temptation of disposing compostable and recyclable items in the nearest trash bin. The program, once fully implemented, is expected to divert 80% of office waste from landfills. More Information.
TEMPORARILY VACANT STUDENT HOUSING
The University of Alberta played a key role during the Fort McMurray 2016 wildfire crisis. When the region was evacuated in May 2016, 80,000 people had to flee on short notice, with little ability to gather their belongings. In a coordinated effort with the Province and the City of Edmonton, the University provided crucial resources to the affected population. The University’s student residences provided shelter for 1,200 evacuees, as well as became a centre for distributing meals, toiletries, and other essentials. The University organized over 100 volunteer students, faculty, and staff to help with the crisis. UAlberta also provided space and logistics to give out cash cards to 37,000 victims, hold fundraising events, and much more. More Information
Gitta Kulczycki, Vice-President Finance and Administration
The City of Edmonton and University of Alberta partnered to make wifi available in the Light Rail Transit system.
In 2017 SFU Surrey’s IT department donated 161 desktops and 11 laptops to 11 community non-profit agencies. IT staff personally delivered the equipment and provided some technical support to get the computers operational at each agency.
Stephen Dooley, Executive Director, Surrey Campus, email@example.com
UNB has implemented a number of sustainability projects intended to engage a variety of stakeholders and create a sense of stewardship regarding natural areas of campus. These projects include the following:
- Wildlife friendly gardens: UNB collaborated with a local nonprofit organization (Nature NB) to create three Wildlife Friendly Gardens on the Fredericton Campus. The University’s daycare centre participated in the planting of the gardens. The gardens provided youth and the campus community with the opportunity to engage in on-the-ground initiatives that help protect and conserve habitat. They serve both as an educational tool and a way to increase biodiversity on campus.
- Interactive tree trails: The Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management developed the trails, which allow individuals to connect with nature, explore the benefits provided by trees, and provide information on how to identify different species.
- First Nation’s medicine wheel garden: The Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre’s Elder-in-Residence and UNB planted a medicine wheel garden in honour of residential school survivors. The garden features traditional First Nation’s medicinal plants and every part of the garden is connected to First Nations culture and practices. More Information
Tom Gilmore, Energy Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2018, UQAM and the City of Montréal partnered to make five new green spaces in the surrounding neighbourhoods accessible to the public. UQAM is the first institution to have signed an agreement with the City for this new program, a $20 million investment by the City. Named the Accès Jardins Program, the project will further strengthen the University’s ties to the community, in addition to improving the quality of life of thousands of people who visit the campus and its surroundings. The initiative consists of furnishing the spaces, increasing vegetation, expanding sidewalks, planting trees, and increasing access for persons with reduced mobility. Ultimately, the aim of the redevelopment is to improve the pedestrian experience and increase the safety and liveliness of these areas. More information here and here.
Alain Milette, Directeur, Bureau des transactions immobilières
UdeM, in the interest of sustainable development and promoting its future science complex, offered vacant land near the construction site of the science pavilion for community use. One aim of the initiative was to foster the community`s ownership of the science complex. In 2015, UdeM established a permaculture project in close collaboration with municipal authorities and neighbourhood organizations, called Projets Éphémères. The 2000 sq. m. area consists of vegetable gardens, nurseries, beekeeping, cultural shows, and much more. Events and activities are held here year-round as a result, such as the Harvest Festival, Salad Happy Hours, and Cinema under the Stars. Benefits of the initiative include improving air quality, offering a learning and education space for all ages, improving water retention of the ground, and creating concrete links to the community. More information here and here.
Stéphane Béranger, Coordonnateur au développement durable
UOIT has worked to revitalize underused land by creating and fostering pollinator habitats and improving the natural environment. The Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability planted over four hectares of wildflower gardens, created a tree nursery with over 500 trees, along with a vegetable garden. The University also houses seventeen beehives, bat homes and solitary bee homes with plans for expansion. More Information
Nadia Harduar, Asset and Sustainability Planner
Since 2012, UdeM has adopted a strategy for biodiversity on campus, created a summer camp focused on the topic, implemented projects on urban agriculture and apiculture (beekeeping), and consolidated a forest aimed at feeding wildlife. The University also initiated an ecological corridor project in the Montreal Cote-des-Neiges neighbourhood, Project Darlington, which aims to connect its future Outremont campus to Mount Royal. This connection would enable the collection of rainwater, the movement of wildlife species (aiding biodiversity), provide opportunities for urban gardeners, and create pockets of agriculture that would help residents become familiar with the area. All of these projects were initiated as a concerted effort with the broader community and enabled the participation of numerous stakeholders on campus and beyond. More Information
Stéphane Béranger, Coordonnateur au développement durable
In 2014, Sainte-Anne entered into an agreement with the Municipality of Clare and a local non-profit to promote a series of trails on their Church Point campus called ‘le Petit-Bois’. The Municipality runs its visitor centre on the campus and a stroll through Le Petit-Bois is one of their featured attractions. The trails are maintained on a volunteer basis by the university’s staff and students. A local non-profit set up two yurts in le Petit-Bois and runs a day camp during the summer months using several of Sainte-Anne’s facilities. More information here and here.
Eric Tuft, vice-recteur à l’administration
UdeS owns three quarters of the Mont-Bellevue Park (PMB), which is adjacent to the main campus, with the City of Sherbrooke as the co-owner. The park is used for hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, teaching, research, and various events. The University had previously agreed that the City would manage the entire park, until certain issues emerged: conflicts regarding usage, inadequate signage, environmental degradation, and little maintenance of hiking trail. In response, UdeS and the City relaunched a joint committee to contribute to managing the PMB and begin the process of acquiring nature reserve status for the park. The goals of the committee were to better protect the PMB’s natural environment, and improve both the territory management and the visitor experience. At UdeS, an internal committee was struck and consists of the University’s experts and stakeholders who frequent the park. Parallel consultations are currently or soon to be underway: one at the University and a public consultation organized by the City. A nonprofit organization specialized in conservation, Appalachian Corridor, which had produced a study on a park conservation strategy in 2007, will be assisting both partners during this process. More Information
Denyse Rémillard, Vice-rectrice à l’administration et au développement durable
As of 2018, Nova Scotia College of Arts and Design (NSCAD) University and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) are in the feasibility phase of developing the Waterfront Cultural Hub, an art and culture destination for Nova Scotia. The co-location of two significant provincial arts institutions has the potential to concentrate specialized facilities and technical expertise. The AGNS and NSCAD partnership reveals the values and passion that drive contemporary arts research and creative practice: social innovation, environmental sustainability, technological advancement, social justice and community building with sensitivity to the transformative power of the creative imagination and human potential. The Hub intends to:
- Replace the existing provincial art gallery buildings in downtown Halifax and the Fountain and Academy campuses of NSCAD, providing much-needed new facilities for both institutions;
- Create an inclusive and accessible new public gathering space;
- Provide a venue to celebrate the province’s culture; and
- Include other public amenities that are identified through the community consultation processes.
The SFU Bookstore is a longtime advocate of establishing an ethical procurement policy at SFU and the store’s product-sourcing initiatives reflect this value. Some efforts include:
- Working with suppliers to ensure the clothing sold at the Bookstore is manufactured in fair labour conditions;
- Sourcing and supporting local BC companies and products; and
- Offering a selection of handmade gifts and jewelry that are sourced from socially responsible distributors. Many of these suppliers are members of the Fair Trade Federation and/or work closely with the local/indigenous communities to support job creation, sustainable production methods and economic opportunities. More Information
Mikhail Dzuba, Director, SFU Bookstore/Spirit Shop
In 2018, Trent Foodservices gave away free coffee and tea to any individual using a travel mug for an eight-week period. The length of the free promotion was to create the habit of always carrying a travel mug. During the promotional period, 54% of all coffee and tea was provided in a travel mug. Six weeks after the end of the promotion, the use of refillable mugs hit almost 15%, more than seven times the average for chain stores like Tim Hortons and Starbucks. A cup wash sink was installed in the Trent Student Centre to make it more convenient for students to wash their travel mugs, helping to increase mug utilization.
Mark Murdoch, Director, Foodservices,
Through its Centre for Applied Research Technology and Innovation North Island College secured funding from a foundation and the regional district for a project to increase local food provided by the cafeteria and other regional institutions. Food service provider Custom Gourmet and Vancouver Island Farm Products were supported by the college to offer a seasonally adjusted menu by extending the local supply chain. Through the collaboration, fresh produce was provided to the college and health care facilities within 24 hours of harvesting. Due to challenges scaling the initiative, the College made recommendations to the BC Government. Now the Province is working to initiate a program to increase the use of B.C.-grown and processed foods in hospitals, schools, and other government facilities. More Information.
Naomi Tabata, Manager, Centre for Applied Research, Technology and Innovation
Guelph Hospitality Services purchases produce and protein from over 75 local Ontario farmers; 55% of in-season produce on campus is grown in Ontario. Hospitality Services also supports community outreach by assisting on-campus organizations such as CSA Foodbank and Meal Exchange.
The UofG Coffee to Compost program runs with the help of 23 volunteers who pick up coffee grinds from cafeterias daily. Office staff weigh the bins and bring them to the University’s Organic Farm. This program is especially valuable to Hospitality Services as it allows for the department’s increased visibility on campus, as well as direct student engagement through volunteering. The total weight of waste diverted through Coffee to Compost during 2017-2018 was 36,191 kg (as of April 2018).
Ed Townsley, Executive Director Hospitality Services
“Parking Services” at SFU has been renamed Parking & Sustainable Mobility to recognize the importance of sustainable transportation. In 2013, the University installed Electric Vehicle charging stations. The stations have 100% usage and Parking & Sustainable Mobility plans on expanding the program.
The University also partnered with multiple car-sharing companies, which have continually expanded their presence over the past number of years. This facilitates travel between different SFU campuses (Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver) and reduces the need for students living in residence to have cars and for SFU to supply parking for those cars.
David Agosti, Director, Parking & Sustainable Mobility,
In 2013, Simon Fraser University was the first institution in the country to implement a 24/7 dining hall for residence students, faculty, staff and guests, along with the option for students to prepare their own meals in the ‘My Pantry’ area of the dining hall. The initiative has improved the community atmosphere and student satisfaction through creating a genuine “home away from home” experience. More Information
Dan Traviss, Director, Dining Services,
Since 2016, SFU Ancillary Services has used part of its annual budget to engage students in the fair trade movement by sending them to producing countries. The Fair Trade Origin Trip encourages students to think from a global perspective and allows them to gain on the ground experience of the realities and challenges within the fair trade system. More Information
Sarah Heim, SFU Fair Trade Manager,
When a new contract with a campus food service provider began in 2015, the university established targets for local and sustainable food purchases, including season-based targets for local produce, 100% cage-free shell eggs and 90% Fairtrade-certified coffee and tea. In addition to working with the contractor, the university collaborates with on-campus student initiatives and student-run food services to identify local and sustainable purchasing opportunities. A Sustainable Food System Coordinator tracks local and sustainable food spending and helps identify new suppliers. Concordia Food Services have also identified over 100 recipes used in their residence dining halls or retail outlets that are made up of 50 percent or more locally-sourced ingredients, including soups, salads, mains and side dishes.