U of T news

U of T honours sustainability champions

Ron Swail, chief operations officer, property services and sustainability, presents Jane Forbes with her award via Skype (photo by Jonathan Sabeniano, Sustainability Office)

Kristy Bard, assistant to the chair of the anthropology department, rallied support to restore a derelict greenhouse.

Trinity College student Larissa Parker organized more than a dozen speaker events, outings and fundraisers in support of sustainable activities and blogged from the COP21 climate change conference in Paris.

Faculty of Medicine professor Patricia Brubaker led an effort to reduce the number of light bulbs in the Medical Sciences Building, and implemented a “bring your own cup” policy in the building.

Bard, Parker, Brubaker and other U of T sustainability leaders were honoured with Green Ribbon awards at the third annual Green Gala held at the U of T Faculty Club on March 9.

“The gala is a celebration of sustainability at U of T,” said Paul Leitch, who directs U of T’s sustainability office. “It’s a chance for people from different areas of the campus who are working to make U of T more sustainable, to meet each other, and to showcase all the different ways that people are making this a more sustainable institution.”

It’s the eighth year that the university has awarded the Green Ribbons, and more than 700 people voted this year, he said. “It’s indicative of the fact that sustainability is really taking off and gaining traction here at U of T.”

The winners of this year’s Green Ribbon awards were:

  • External partner: Sky Solar Group – helped with equipment and installation of the GRIT Lab atop the John H. Daniels building
  • Student leader:  Larissa Parker – member of the Trinity College Environmental Society
  • Student group: Sustainable Engineers Association – hosted sustainability focused events on campus
  • Faculty (tie): Jane Forbes, OISE – promoted a culture of sustainability at OISE; Patricia Brubaker, Medicine – founded and chaired the Faculty of Medicine Green Committee
  • Staff Inspirational Award: Kristy Bard, anthropology – not only restored the anthropology greenhouse but started a food garden (which supplies herbs to the Harvest Noon Café)
  • Staff Eco Footprint Award (tie): John Walker, Facilities & Services – led successful building energy reduction projects at OISE and Robarts Library; Mike Dymarski, chemistry – has championed energy saving and sustainability at U of T for more than nine years

Scott Mabury, vice-president university operations, paid tribute to the sustainability office’s accomplishments. “We have much to celebrate as the University of Toronto continues to build on past achievements,” he told the Gala attendees. Among those achievements, he noted the St. George campus’s 70.6 per cent waste diversion rate, a move to local food sourcing and being named one of Canada’s greenest employers in 2015.

Mabury also noted that the university has 12 LEED-certified buildings on all three campuses, including the new Environmental Science & Chemistry Building at UTSC and Deerfield Hall and the Innovation Complex at University of Toronto Mississauga.

Besides honouring the Green Ribbon winners, the sustainability office also used the Gala to officially unveil the office’s 2015-16 Sustainability Yearbook, which highlights the University’s green initiatives and accomplishments.

“We’re proud of these accomplishments and we aim to do even more,” Mabury said. “Along with our profound contributions as an international leader in climate change research and teaching, the University of Toronto community is indeed committed to the fight against climate change.”

The 2015-16 Sustainability yearbook can be found here 

Read about sustainability initiatives at University of Toronto Scarborough

Read about sustainability initiatives at University of Toronto Mississauga