York University celebrates its green heroes

Image shows a hand holding a pine cone against a lush backdrop of greenery

York University’s green heroes were celebrated during the annual President’s Sustainability Leadership Awards reception held on Jan. 23. The celebration took place in the new et al. co-op café located in 166 South Ross Building located on the Keele Campus. The event emcee was York University’s Vice-President of Finance & Administration Carol McAulay. York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton presented the awards. Lassonde Professor Usman Khan, who is the Chair of the President’s Sustainability Council, introduced each of the recipients. Each recipient was presented with a bespoke award crafted from recycled material by York University student Maira Zafar.

York University student Adam Lake; Darryl Reed, the et al. co-op and the Green Campus Co-op; and the Campus Services & Business Operations Energy Management Team (Brad Cochrane, Gary Gazo, Steve Prince and Bogdan Strafalogea) were named recipients of the awards.

Above: From left, Lassonde Professor Usman Khan, President’s Sustainability Leadership Award winner Adam Lake and York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton

Adam Lake is a York University undergraduate student who is an advocate and activist. In his political activism, Lake strives to make the GTA a better place for all by ensuring environmental justice and elimination of racism. He is an ardent advocate for the elimination of air pollution, racialized schools that are built on lands that are contaminated, increasing the awareness of the impacts of climate change and the importance of environmental justice in lower socio-economic areas that are highly racialized and stricken with poverty.

Above: From left, Lassonde Professor Usman Khan, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Professor Darryl Reed, who is the recipient of a President’s Sustainability Leadership Award, and York President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Professor Darryl Reed is a leading Canadian authority on co-operatives, fair trade and sustainability. Over the past several years, Reed has worked tirelessly as the president of two campus co-operatives to build a system of non-profit enterprises that are run co-operatively and voluntarily by students and faculty members on campus. Reed has orchestrated and mobilized an impressive amount of sustainability research and practice at York University. He has led the effort to build organizations and structures to support initiatives that encourage the participation of others and ensure these movements will survive for years to come. Reed strives to bring justice and fairness to every project he is involved in and sets a strong example for his students.

The Green Campus Co-operative and et al. café are two initiatives that have grown and developed through Reed’s careful guidance and were recognized along with Reed as co-recipients of the President’s Sustainability Awards.

The Green Campus Co-operative strives to bring sustainable, fair trade, organic goods and services to York University. The co-op offers a range of learning opportunities for students, from curriculum to hands-on entrepreneurship experience to events and activities. The co-op collaborates with students, faculty, staff, community organizations and local businesses to achieve its vision of a sustainable campus through such initiatives as the Green Campus Cotton Project, which sources the fair trade and organic clothing that is sold in the York University Bookstores.

The et al. co-op operates a café for faculty and graduate students, was also recognized as a co-recipient of a President’s Sustainability Award. As a co-operative, et al. provides York University faculty and graduate students with a welcoming space to relax, eat and drink. The café provides food and beverage services, operates in an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable way and supports local food providers, fair trade, organic goods and initiatives.

Above: From left, Lassonde Professor Usman Khan, Bogdan Strafalogea (CSBO), Steve Prince (CSBO), all are co-recipients of a President’s Sustainability Leadership Award, and York University President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton

And finally, the CSBO energy management team (Brad Cochrane, Gary Gazo, Steve Prince and Bogdan Strafalogea) was recognized with a President’s Sustainability Award. The team submitted several applications on behalf of York University to be part of the Ontario Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (GGRP). Two of applications were approved and the results translated into grants of more than $14.5 million. The combined funding allocated to York is being used for energy conservation projects that specifically enable the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, generally produced by the burning of natural gas. These projects, in many cases, allow for the replacement of existing, aging infrastructure with new, highly efficient replacements. As a result, the University is improving the reliability of its infrastructure and reducing maintenance costs and issues. Initiatives include: replacing indoor and outdoor lighting with LED alternatives to reduce the electricity consumption; upgrading steam traps to stainless steel; replacing aging boilers and air handling units; installing modern metering technology; insulating valves and pressure relief valves with ThermoHelp reusable valve blankets; installing premium efficiency motors, variable frequency drives and Toronto Hydro PUMP savers; and, installing a solar array.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018-19 President’s Sustainability Awards.