Provincial report notes UWindsor commitment to sustainability

The appointment of the University of Windsor’s first environmental advocate is among the measures highlighted by the Council of Ontario Universities in a report detailing ways that the province’s campuses are reducing their environmental footprints.

Paul Henshaw, an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, took on the new position in January.

“Windsor … provides a budget and reduced teaching load for this Advocate to work to make the university a more ecologically responsible institution,” notes the fourth annual Going Greener report, released by the council earlier this month.

The report also cites UWindsor’s Freshwater Fish Conservation Centre and a $1 million research project to develop lightweight automotive parts as examples of environmental stewardship.

“Whether it’s protected bike racks, discount transit passes, low-flow toilets or local food at campus cafeterias, Ontario universities and their students are showing they really care about their environment,” says COU president Bonnie Patterson.

Overall, the report concludes that Ontario universities made significant progress on environmental sustainability in 2012, despite the challenges of budgetary restraints.

Highlights include:

  • Two-thirds of campuses in Ontario now have staff dedicated to environmental sustainability;
  • The majority of Ontario campuses measure emissions and energy consumption;
  • 86 percent of campuses offer free or discounted transit passes;
  • More than 85 percent of campuses have installed low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets;
  • Local foods are available at the majority of campuses.

University presidents signed a sustainability pledge—called Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World—in 2009, committing them to environmental sustainability, with measurable outcomes and mandatory reporting.