SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

February 24, 2016 14:30 ET

University of Calgary launches Institutional Sustainability Strategy

Comprehensive approach to include new sustainability certificate for undergraduate students

CALGARY, AB --(Marketwired - February 24, 2016) - The University of Calgary has launched an institutional sustainability strategy that for the first time incorporates an academic framework to advance education and research for sustainability. The strategy is the result of more than two years of broad consultation with students, faculty, staff and community partners.

During the launch of the new strategy, held Wednesday, the university also announced a new interdisciplinary sustainability certificate that will be offered to all undergraduate students to prepare them to help solve complex social and environmental challenges faced by local and global communities.

"The University of Calgary is committed to the principles and practices of sustainability," says Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice-chancellor. "Through this overarching strategy, we will renew our focus on excellence and leadership in elevating sustainable practices through teaching, community service and our day-to-day operations."

"The most progressive organizations today are not afraid to address sustainability challenges, from finding solutions to extreme poverty to climate change. The University of Calgary is advancing the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability in the governance and operational practices of our institution."

The university's sustainability strategy joins three frameworks -- education and research, community engagement, and administrative and operational excellence.

The new sustainability certificate will be available as a complement to any undergraduate program of study. The certificate, which will combine classroom theory with hands-on project learning, is intended to help prepare students to contribute to tackling complex sustainability challenges at local, regional and global levels. Details of the program will be announced at a future date

The strategy also outlines two new sustainability models: Campus as a Learning Laboratory and Community as a Learning Partner. Through these models students will have the opportunity to develop leadership skills for sustainability through project-based learning gained from working on sustainability challenges both on campus and in the community. 

These models are showcased in several recent projects led by students, faculty and staff. Examples include the first Fair Trade Campus designation in Alberta -- received last September; engaging undergraduate students in life-cycle assessments of potential sustainability practices in campus operations; graduate students researching options to enhance the efficiency of the campus energy distribution system; and international learning experiences that explore social justice issues through the ucalgarycares program.

The strategy also defines an institutional approach to leadership in social responsibility in administration and operational practices, and a renewed commitment to a suite of operational goals. This approach builds upon significant progress to date such as reducing main campus greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent since 2008, and completing seven LEED certified projects including two Platinum buildings, with five additional projects anticipating LEED certification this year.

"We are committed to serving as a model of sustainability for our students and the communities that look to us as leaders in social responsibility," says Joanne Perdue, chief sustainability officer at the University of Calgary. "This strategy builds on accomplishments to date and challenges us to set our sights even higher."

Currently, the University of Calgary offers 350 courses related to sustainability across all faculties. There are more than 250 faculty members engaged in sustainability-related teaching or research and the university has more than 50 active, sustainability-related student clubs.

Read the Institutional Sustainability Strategy on the university's website, along with the three frameworks: education and research, community engagement, and administrative and operational excellence.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.' 

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Contact Information

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    Sean Myers
    Media Relations Advisor
    University of Calgary
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