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Ryerson plays its part in support of Climate Day of Action

Campus-wide initiatives promote a year-round commitment to improving environmental sustainability
September 26, 2019
Aerial view of Ryerson University quad

Sustainability continues to be a priority and commitment for Ryerson.

Friday, September 27, 2019 marks Climate Day of Action, external link, a worldwide youth-led call to action for climate change justice.

Provost and Vice-President, Academic Michael Benarroch made a statement earlier this week, saying, “We stand behind those who are engaging in conversations around climate change.”

Sustainability is a core value of Ryerson University. As stated in our academic plan, “the university takes responsibility for its shared future with the broader community, and aims to pursue environmental, social and economic sustainability through its programs, SRC (scholarly, research and creative) activity, policies, built environment, and fiscally sound operations.”

Ryerson University has long been committed to advancing sustainability on campus and within our community. In 2017, the Student Learning Centre earned LEED Gold status, external link from the Canada Green Building Council. Below are a few examples of how Ryerson is approaching climate change and environmental sustainability:

  • Ryerson Eats sources local and sustainable ingredients for our meals on campus, and they use biodegradable takeout containers. Last year, they switched to purchasing and supplying compostable paper straws.
  • Spanning 10,000 sq. ft. atop the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre, Ryerson’s Urban Farm grows 10,000 lbs. of spray-free, ecologically grown fresh produce annually, and includes more than 50 crops and 100 cultivars.
  • Ryerson’s Sustainability Office recently launched F.R.E.S.H., a student-led initiative during Orientation Week which stands for food, recycling, energy and the environment, sustainability, and health and wellness. 
  • Ryerson has waste stations through the campus that separate mixed paper and recyclables from non-recyclable materials. In the Library and Service Hub, SLC, VIC, EPH and SHE these stations also separate organics. This is part of a pilot program that will roll out to more buildings this year.
  • Ryerson’s Facilities Services and Sustainability team hosts a number of engagement and outreach events and campaigns to raise awareness on sustainability and other environmental initiatives. Annual events include World Environment Day, Earth Day, Waste Reduction Week and Healthy Commute Week. 
  • Ryerson partners with other sustainability focused initiatives including Student MoveTO, Ryerson Bike Club, Ryerson Urban Farm, to support and promote their mandates of a cleaner and happier environment.
  • Ryerson is investing in buildings and grounds to ensure that we are providing the best experience for our community members. This includes investing in energy conservation projects, upgrading our waste management system, implementing a road-salt reduction program, monitoring events on campus that could contribute to air or water pollution and ensuring that these are managed to protect our community.  
  • To reduce reliance on fossil fuels, Ryerson operates very minimal car parking operations, for an institution of this size. We also now offer some charging stations for electric vehicles in the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex.
  • Over 70 per cent of our employees ride transit and almost 20 per cent walk or bike. An even higher percentage of students commute via transit. Ryerson’s Campus Master Plan update, which is underway, will provide more options for bicycle parking in the future. All of these initiatives help to minimize our carbon footprint.

In addition, Ryerson’s public realm initiatives, such as the Campus Core Revitalization project, are improving green spaces and adding trees and plants to broaden the survivability and ecological function of our urban forest. Ryerson Today reported in August everything you need to know about the project.

For further information on sustainability at Ryerson, visit the Sustainability section of the Facilities Management and Development webpage at www.ryerson.ca/facilities-management-development/sustainability/.

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