‘Yorkwise’ will promote sustainability and quality of life

As classes resume and students flood back to campus, this week couldn’t be better to launch “Yorkwise”, a campaign to promote sustainability and quality of life on campus.

Two brochures – one a Guide to Healthy Living and another about York’s new evening transportation service called goSafe – are being distributed to students, staff and faculty this week. Both are also available on the new Yorkwise Web site.

And there’s more to come. Over the next two months, you can expect to see ads in Excalibur and posters around campus suggesting ways you can do your part to keep classrooms clean, conserve energy and recycle everything from books to batteries.

The Marketing & Communications Division helped shape the pan-University project, which arose out of discussions with Facilities Services, Campus Services & Business Operations and Student Community Development. “The more we heard about all the initiatives involving sustainability and quality of life around the campus, the more we thought a pan-University campaign made sense,” says Richard Fisher, chief marketing & communications officer.

“Yorkwise is about mutual respect and respect for our shared environment,” explains Fisher. “It’s as much about energy conservation and recycling as it is about personal health and safety, and clean public spaces. It’s about the University being a good citizen and promoting sustainability and it’s about members of the York community doing their part to make a better environment for all to live in. “

How can you do your part? Check out the new Yorkwise Web site.

There you will find out how you can be energy wise, waste wise, health wise and street wise. There are tips for how you can make a difference just by doing little things daily. Reduce waste — sell used texts to the York University Bookstore. Go safe — use York’s new and improved evening shuttle. Save energy and water — in campus residences, take a shower, not a bath. 

Yorkwise encourages individual action for the greater good. One poster says: “Don’t mess with York!” and argues that cleaner classrooms and lecture halls contribute to a better learning environment. The final message? “We all benefit from a better campus.”

“Yorkwise means everybody works together to create a community that benefits everyone,” says Mike Markicevic, assistant vice-president, Security, Parking & Transportation Services.

Dig deeper into the Web site and you will also find just how committed this University is and has been to sustainability. Links take you to York’s Facilities Services Web pages which explain the University’s “green” approach to campus planning, York’s stewardship of the land it occupies and how environmental sustainability is critical to decisions made concerning the physical campus. Did you know, for instance, that York has installed green roofs and solar panels on some buildings as part of its energy management program? Or that the University aims to reduce its utility bill by 20 per cent (the equivalent of 18,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year)?

“Yorkwise is about stewardship and being responsible for the impact we have on our surroundings,” says Mike Graham, assistant vice-president, Facilities Services. “York has an excellent record for recycling and waste diversion and maintaining a clean, safe and pleasant campus. And coinciding with the launch of Yorkwise, we are embarking on a major energy conservation program to further reduce our eco-footprint.”

Also on the Web site you will find a link to a map of Keele campus walking trails – another way the York community can be health wise.

Being Yorkwise will mean embracing sustainability and quality of life on many levels as time goes on. “Many students are already eco-friendly,” says Fisher. “Participation in this initiative by 50,000 students and York staff and faculty can make an even bigger difference here on campus.”