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RU:Sustainable Certification Program

Learn how you can participate in this program aiming to significantly advance sustainability for your group and/or event.

About This Program

The RU:Sustainable Certification Program was designed to help involve our campus community in driving change through building a culture of sustainability. Sustainability Matters has created a simple framework that leaders of student groups, administrative departments and faculties can use to address the sustainability of their organization or event.

All groups are encouraged to participate regardless of their starting point or level of sustainability-related expertise.  If you’re considering applying to be certified, don’t be worried about the size or scope of your efforts. Certifications are awarded to groups that sincerely complete our process, regardless of how exceptional the outcome may be.

RU:Sustainable Campus Certification Program logo

Program Objectives

Addressing sustainability isn’t simple. It can be hard enough measuring how sustainably the university is functioning, let alone figuring out what to tackle first. That’s what we are here for.

The RU: Sustainable Certification Program helps campus groups make the most of their efforts.

Here’s how:

Reduce Duplication of Efforts

With literally hundreds of groups across campus that largely function separately, bringing our efforts together and encouraging collaboration will naturally reduce the duplication of efforts.

Promote Meaningful Change

Our goal is to empower groups to smartly prioritize the adoption of projects and fully integrate sustainability into ongoing planning, reporting and communication efforts.

Establish a Campus-Wide Perspective

While Sustainability Matters can rely on data to prioritize efforts; we feel it is equally important to know what matters to you. Having many groups participate will help us understand what is important to our community and what barriers stand in the way of our sustainability objectives. This will shape our plans and the solutions we develop to enable groups like yours.

5-step Certification Process

1. Commit

Make a commitment to being a more sustainable group or hosting a more sustainable event.

2. Identify 

Identify the economic, social and environmental factors related to the group or event’s sustainability.

3. Plan 

Build a plan for improving the sustainability of the group or event.

4. Implement 

Implement improvements according to the developed plan.

5. Report 

Measure and report on the impact of the actions taken.

Benefits Of Participating

Take advantage of our methodical process to help your group address its sustainability more effectively.  

Build a relationship with the Sustainability Matters team – we can help you realize your goals and take action!

Have your group recognized and featured on Sustainability Matters website.

Receive the official RU:Sustainable Campus Certification program logo and post to your website and print materials.

How To Participate

Participating in the program is simple. The following describes how you can work with us to have your group or event certified.


If your group hasn’t been previously certified you will need to fill out a simple online form to declare your intent to participate. All groups newly applying are required to attend a brief orientation session.


You will need to submit an action plan for the current academic year. To save you time, we have created an easy-to-use template, although groups can also submit their own document, so long as it includes all of the information requested. Once submitted, we will meet with each group to discuss the plan details and how we can help.


You will also need to submit a final report describing your progress, what worked and didn’t, as well as what you have learned for the year ahead. We again, have created an easy-to-use template, although groups can also submit their own document, so long as it includes all of the information requested. A follow up meeting will be requested once your report has been received.


The following is a schedule of key program deadlines
for the 2017-2018 academic year:


Milestone Depts. & Faculties Student Groups Events


November 30th, 2017

October 31th, 2017

At least one month prior to date of event

Action Plan

December 15th, 2017

November 30th, 2015

At least one month prior to date of event

Final Report

July 31st, 2018

March 31st, 2018

Within one month after date of event

Recognition Announcement

First Monday in September

First Monday in April

Within two weeks of receiving a final report

Applying To Be Certified

The following groups and events are currently pursuing certification.

  • Orientation Week - Event Certification
  • Ted Rogers Students' Society Orienation - Event Certification 
  • Ryerson Engineering Student Society Orientation - Event Certification
  • Ryerson Science Society - Organizational Certification 
  • Ryerson Arts Society - Organizational Certification 
  • Ryerson Residence Service Desk - Organizational Certification
  • Ted Rogers School of Management - Organizational Certification 
  • Ted Rogers Students' Society - Organizational Certification
  • Financial Services - Organizational Certification 
  • Ryerson Global Management Group - Organization Certification 

We are currently accepting applications to certify events. The organizational certification application deadline has past for this year. 

Click here to apply for your event to be certified sustainable

Currently Certified

The following groups and events were certified RU:Sustainable. Click on the groups below to read more about their successes. 

Creative Industries Course Union

Through the certification process the CICU was able to make meaningful goals for all three pillars of sustainability. This included improving their financial bookkeeping, making sure that participation in their events and in the course union was accessible for everyone, eliminating food waste at their events and aiming to purchase all recyclable materials and ensuring they were recycled after use. The group discovered the value of education and collaboration around sustainability initiatives and has identified ways to continue to improve and address the sustainability of the CICU.

Faculty of Arts

This is the second year that the Faculty of Arts (FoA) has participated in the certification program. In 2015, FoA released their Arts Eco Action Plan which outlined three objectives that every sustainability project had to address: minimizing their environmental impact, being an important community partner and protecting Ryerson’s urban ecosystem. Two of their major projects included working towards rejuvenating O’Keefe Laneway where they collaborated with many internal and external stakeholders and implementing a student run worm composting system with MicrobeHub on the 10 floors of FoA offices in Jorgenson Hall. They are very excited to continue their Arts Eco Action plan this year by encouraging cycling, addressing sustainability at their meetings and events and continuing the success of existing and new projects.

Financial Services

This is the second year that Financial Services (FS) participated in the certification program. Their sustainability committee made meaningful goals that touched on all three pillars of sustainability and built upon the previous year’s successes. One of their biggest projects is the Think Before You Ink campaign that has engaged and educated FS staff on printing best practices and resulted in a reduction of over 160,000 sheets of paper from their 2011/2012 usage despite an increased volume of work. Other environmentally focused initiatives include purchasing reusable flatware for the kitchen, upgrading the water cooler to a point-of-use water filtration system meaning they no longer have water jugs delivered, improving waste signage and education and purchasing plants for the office space. To address their social sustainability, FS ensured there were First Aid trained staff and Fire Wardens in all areas, recruited a new member to the Sustainability Committee, educated the department on the sustainability accomplishments and continued participating in a food and toy drive where they donated 1525 items of food and 60 toys. FS is excited to continue addressing their sustainability in the coming year!


This is the second year that RSEED (Ryerson Social, Economic and Environmental Design) participated in the certification program (previously named “Ryerson School of Interior Design”). One of their biggest accomplishments this year was strengthening the foundation of the group and expanding it from just engaging the School of Interior Design students to engaging all Faculty of Communication and Design students. They now have a group constitution with a formal funding and succession structure ensuring the group’s ability to continuously address FCAD sustainability opportunities from a student perspective. Beyond the growth of the group, RSEED completed various initiatives including constructing an upcycle bin entirely of recycled materials for students to store, sort and use off-cuts, addressing the sustainability of their year-end show, hosting a “Sustainable Project Showcase” for FCAD projects focused on sustainable design and creating a sustainable material feature for the RSID Design Centre. With a new mandate to address sustainability opportunities for all of FCAD, RSEED is excited to continue these projects and in the coming years.


Through the certification process, RyeTAGA was able to make goals and learn that sustainability doesn’t need to be sacrificed even when things don’t go according to plan. As a group who designs and publishes a journal, RyeTAGA focused many of their efforts on materials based goals. In light of a challenge with printing that left them with 150 “unusable” journal covers, they got creative and repurposed the covers to create mini notepads that also made use of extra paper purchased in the past. RyeTAGA also attends a conference to showcase their work on an annual basis and made an effort to address and consider their impact by looking at accommodations and modes of transportation. By beginning to measure things this year, RyeTAGA will be able to better plan and assess their sustainability in the coming years.

Sustainable SURP

In 2015/2016, Sustainable SURP (School of Urban and Regional Planning) focused on engaging SURP students on sustainability topics, performing a week long waste audit for the SURP building and assessing the Ryerson Secure Bike Room in collaboration with Campus Facilities and Sustainability, Capital Projects and Real Estate and University Business Services. By surveying their fellow students, they were able to learn about the priorities of their stakeholders (which focused on waste and cycling) and better work towards improvements. Their annual waste audit provides them with regular data to assess their effectiveness and consider future upgrades. To contribute to an improved cycling culture at Ryerson, Sustainable SURP collected thorough data on the existing Secure Bike Room, conducted research on bike room best practices and developed a report suggesting improvements that would result in a higher usage of the space. Sustainable SURP plans to continue addressing the priorities of SURP students and working in collaboration with the University to improve cycling culture on campus.


2015 Orientation Week


This is the second year that the Orientation Team has participated in the certification program. In addition to maintaining the goals from the previous year, many new goals were created at addressed all three pillars of sustainability. A few examples of their goals were: making sure that all the events during Orientation week were accessible to students both financially and physically, having alternative programing that incorporated sustainability topics, ensuring student staff and volunteers did equity, diversity and inclusion and consent training, supporting local and socially conscious businesses and being conscious of how much and what type of waste they were producing and diverting it properly. 


Previously Certified

These groups and events were successfully certified in previous academic years. Click on the group names to open their profile and learn when they participated and what they accomplished.