With Earth Hour and Earth Day on the horizon, York University is getting a jump on planet-friendly events by launching new sustainability initiatives. Sustainabilty @ York has a new website and there are two new programs, the Sustainability Ambassadors Program and the Green Office Program.
“I am proud that York University continues to implement initiatives that will promote and enhance environmental awareness on our campuses,” says President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “As a large institution, it is important that we fulfil our social, economic and environmental responsibilities and integrate sustainable practices into our daily activities. The new website, as well as the Green Office and Sustainability Ambassadors programs, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to sustainable teaching and practice.”
The University’s new Sustainability website has been developed to serve as a hub for those interested in learning more about all things related to sustainability at York. The website features information on a wide variety of ongoing initiatives at both the Keele and Glendon campuses, including ways to get involved, such as taking a pledge to show your commitment to the environment.
The Sustainability Ambassadors Program encourages volunteers to assist other community members in learning about and acting on sustainability. “I volunteered to be a Sustainability Ambassador at York because of my passion and concern for the environment,” says Kelly Lui, a Glendon Student living in Maison Verte in undergraduate residence and a former Residence Environmental Ambassador. “Sustainability is an important issue as it has a direct impact on our quality of life.”
The Green Office Program builds on the existing efforts of Yorkwise, ZeroWaste and other initiatives that help staff, faculty and students make greener choices in their offices. Interested offices can download the Green Office checklist for tips and resources on dozens of sustainable options in waste, energy, transportation, purchasing and innovation.
The Centre for Human Rights was one of the first offices to enrol. “We are very keen to be part of the Green Office Program, promoting individual awareness and understanding about the impact we each have on our planet, and how individuals can make positive change” says Noël Badiou, director of the CHR. “The ability for individuals to make positive change, no matter how seemingly small, is vital if we are to preserve our planet and create inclusive workplaces.”
There are many ways to get involved to continue to make York a leading university in Canada on sustainability. So take a sustainability pledge, volunteer to be a Sustainability Ambassador, or get your office involved with the Green Office Program today.
Be sure to watch for Earth Week events March 20 to 22 in Vari Hall.
Submitted by Pavel Graymason, sustainability engagement coordinator, and Andrew Plunkett, sustainability project coordinator