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. Read the Arts Eco Action 2016 Plan and find out how we're transfomring the campus one initiative at at a time.

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Through the collective efforts of faculty and staff, the Faculty of Arts has a good Eco start.

The Arts Eco Action Plan will take it to the next level by formalizing a local approach through the development of an Eco Plan and committing to Eco Actions.

We trust each other to do our best and to do the right thing, not because someone is watching or because we have to, but because we can and we should.

On November 12, 2014 we launched the development of the Arts Eco Action Plan alongside faculty and student initiatives that exemplify innovation, inclusion and direct action. Read more about our Eco story in The Ryersonian.


The Faculty of Arts was the first faculty at Ryerson to recieve the Sustainability Matters certification from CF+S.

ryerson sustainable certified campus group

Certified groups have made a commitment, identified all the factors, built and implemented a plan and reported on the progress which results in an informed and effective approach to addressing sustainability. Ryerson University and Sustainability Matters is very proud of the the initiatives the certified groups have undertaken. Learn more and apply to become certified here!

A holistic approach to our sustainability ecosystem

We want to put our hands up in our classrooms, our meeting rooms and our offices to show that we are accountable to each other, our partners and our community.

trees Protect Ryerson’s urban ecosystem
We are committed to increasing and protecting Ryerson’s Urban Forest
We want to minimize harm
We are being careful by:
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Reducing water consumption
  • Reducing waste
Be an important community partner
Meaningfully engaged community and partners

Current Arts Eco Actions

Students have been a driving force in the initiation of this plan as have faculty from the Environment
and Urban Sustainability program. Their enthusiasm is being showcased as the first Arts Eco actions. Sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Sustainability Matters, the new Ryerson Nature in the City web-based tool has been created by Dr. Andrew Millward and colleagues in UFRED as a way to inspire engagement in contributing to a vibrant and resilient urban forest at Ryerson University. Building off of
Dr. Millward’s community relevant research, students from the Environment and Urban Sustainability program were inspired and are now working within the SocialVentures Zone to create viable ways to raise awareness of our urban forest. Community partners such as Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests’ (LEAF) will mentor this student-led initiative within the SocialVentures Zone. These are the first of many Arts Eco Actions to come.

Cycle to the Arts

The Faculty of Arts is excited to help curve our carbon print and increase our health by looking at how we commute to Ryerson. We know that when our faculty, staff, and students ride their bicycles to Ryerson, they make our community a healthier place.

In October 2016 we will be launching Cycle to the Arts, a multipronged approach to engagement, education, and awareness around cycling and sustainable means of commuting to Ryerson. October will host themed days around various forms of transportation in conjunction with RU Sustainability’s Healthy Commute Week, bike tune-ups, giveaways, and morning meet-ups with light refreshments.

The Arts Eco Action teamed up with the Trans Media Zone to create a mini documentary showcasing the Faculty’s leadership, environmental leadership, and transformation.

O'Keefe Laneway Revitalization Project

The Arts Eco Action team is hard at work engaging with multiple stakeholders to revitalize community and university shared spaces. The O'Keefe Lane laneway revitalization project includes the help of:

In 2015, Ryerson launched a design competition to re-envision O’Keefe Lane as a space that will better serve the community. The goal was to redesign the O’Keefe Laneway as a complete urban space that is safe to walk through, pleasant to linger in and beautiful to look at, while retaining its practical service role in the neighbourhood.

The winners were student team, “Multiplied Ground” from the School of Urban and Regional Planning. Their design is grounded by four thematic principles: Layers, Connection, Character, and Inclusion. The students did a great job proposing short-term improvements such as artwork and lighting, and long-term improvements such as the floating courtyard connecting to the SLC.

Street artist Peru Dyer Jalea has kicked off the rejuvenation with his graphic mural, enhancing the space with inviting and colourful artwork. Grow, Rise, and Lead are painted at the north end of O’Keefe laneway as they are words that inspire and resonate with Ryerson and the local community. 

O'Keefe Garden Project

Growing New Life in a Forgotten Garden

This past year, the O’Keefe Garden has flourished into a vibrant urban pollinator garden. The Arts Eco Action team, with the help of volunteers, worked hard to revitalize the garden, planting native perennials, pollinating flowers, shrubs, and hops!

Rye’s Homegrown leads a weekly team of volunteers to continue doing garden maintenance. Sign up for their newsletter here to find out when you can help out in the garden. 

The Arts Eco Action Team would like to acknowledge the Rye's Homegrown (RHG) team as an exceptional partner in our O'Keefe Garden project. Their expertise, guidance and support help us build a transformative approach to sustainability across the Faculty of Arts. We look forward to adding to the beautiful gardens they have created over the last four years across the campus.

A Tree App for Ryerson’s Campus

Ryerson University’s Nature in the City project will be launching a web app that allows a person to walk through campus, stop in front of a tree, and using a mobile browser, be given a wealth of eco-information specific to that tree. is the spawn of the recently launched, a city-wide tree learning experience on trees and the urban forest we live in. This time, the web app is specific to the Ryerson campus, initiated by Andrew Millward, Ryerson geography professor who plays a significant role in Ryerson’s Urban Forestry Research and Ecological Disturbance (UFRED) group.

“This is more forward-thinking. Most if not all of the plantings have been more so reactive than proactive. There isn’t an active maintenance cycle to keep the forest healthy,” says Millward of the Nature in the City project. The diversification of the urban forest is important for it to be sustainable. What the app will be able to do is monitor the diversification of the forest, with new native tree species and shrubs. This will protect it against some of the fatalities, like that of the ash tree, caused by the Emerald Ash Bore crisis.

Nature in the City is a new venture supported by the Social Venture Zone and part of the Arts Eco Action initiative. The app will be launching in partnership with a tree planting event happening on Wednesday in the quad, instigated to represent Ryerson’s Arts Eco Action’s commitment to sustainability on campus.

Written by Lindsay Fitzgerald

The Ryersonian

Ryerson's Nature in the City Initiative

Dr. Andrew Millward

Ryerson's Nature in the City (RyersonNC) Initiative celebrates our green infrastructure — the treed ecosystems that make our cities livable, sustainable and resilient. A cornerstone project of the Arts Eco Action Plan, RyersonNC emboldens a vision of city building that embraces urban trees as natural capital to be protected and enhanced. The web app ( is a custom tool designed to inspire increased stewardship for Ryerson's urban forest. It fosters education by providing an interactive platform for users to learn ecological information about a specific tree on campus. Integral to this tool is the ability for stewards of Ryerson’s urban forest to inventory and track the health of Ryerson’s trees. Created by Ryerson's Urban Forest Research & Ecological Disturbance (UFRED) Group in partnership with Ryerson's Faculty of Arts, RyersonNC aims to raise awareness of the value of nature in cities, especially trees, by engaging a new generation of citizens for whom mobile devices are now ubiquitous.

For more details about this project, write to

Ryerson's Urban Forest Stewards

Amber Grant and Robert Ozimek

Ryerson’s Urban Tree Stewards’ intention and commitment is aimed to improve the integrity and presence of urban forests in cities. The community is calling for education surrounding the urban forest, and a healthier, urban green space. The Urban Forest Stewards intend to inspire and educate communities within urban areas about the importance of proactive environmental maintenance, as well as the ecological, social, and economic benefits associated with them.  

How We're Working Together


There is a group of volunteer Arts Eco Champions in place to guide the development of the Eco plan as well as the first year priorities. Current Arts Eco Champions include: representative from the Dean’s office and staff in four departments. We invite your participation on the plan development and Eco Actions through participation with this committed group of volunteer. The working group hopes to have a sustainability framework in place early in 2015 based on feedback and input from faculty, staff and students.

Thank you to all the Arts Eco Champions and all department staff for your commitment and participation to guide the success of the Eco plan:

Department of Economics Champions: Neha Nahrang and Melissa Eluik

Department of Sociology Champions: Elizabeth Johnson

Department of Philosophy ChampionRyan Walters

Department of History Champions: Anne-Marie Donovan and Fatima DaSilva


Your Eco Action Input

No idea is too big or too small to make a difference. Please provide your input on Eco priorities through the form below.