Rye’s sustainable campus initiatives the past and present

In Campus News, Climate Crisis, NewsLeave a Comment

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By: Madi Wong

According to Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi, the university is working towards a sustainable campus this school year through a number of initiatives. 

In an emailed statement, Lachemi said that the university “has long been committed to advancing sustainability on campus and within our community.” 

On that note… here are some other climate change and sustainability initiatives of Ryerson campus’ past and present.

Bottled-water free campus (2010)

Back in 2010, the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) teamed up with the Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson (CESAR) to rid the sales of bottled water on campus. 

The RSU and CESAR launched a pledge for the university to not only stop selling plastic water bottles on campus but to improve water infrastructure.

“As part of our mandates, the [RSU] and [CESAR] work to promote and advocate for more sustainable practices throughout the University community and as part of the broader student movement,” the pledge reads. 

The pledge was officially signed in March 2013.

Worldwide partnerships to research renewable energy (2016)

Ryerson announced in 2016 that the university had signed agreements with three technology companies in India to support renewable energy research: Tata Power, Tech Mahindra and L&T Technology Services.

The Eyeopener previously reported that this would allow researchers at Ryerson to develop and create effective, sustainable technologies such as microgrids. 

EcoStudio’s rental unit with sustainable energy (2017)

Ryerson’s EcoStudio teamed up with Endeavour Centre, a Peterborough-based design firm in 2017 to design a rental unit that uses sustainable energy for power. 

The project involved students from Ryerson, the Endeavour Centre, Seneca and Ted Rogers. Together they worked to design a “toxin-free, carbon-neutral, all-natural housing unit using recycled materials.” 

“After looking at the production costs for this building, we determined that it would be no more expensive to build a net-zero version than it would [be] to build a custom single-family home of the same size,” Cheryl Atkinson, director of Ryerson’s EcoStudio told The Eye. 

Additional campus waste station streams (present-day)

Ryerson currently offers waste stations throughout campus with three collection streams: mixed paper, recyclables and waste to landfill. 

Lachemi said that these stations are currently some stations that offer a fourth separation stream, organics, in the library building and Service Hub. He said this is “a part of a pilot program that will roll out to more buildings this year.”

The Eyeopener previously reported that the goal of the organics bin is to collect all food waste, napkins, coffee grinds and other organic materials. 

Ryerson’s Urban Farm

Ryerson’s Urban Farm (RUF) has stood at the top of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre as an on-campus hub for healthy and sustainable food growth. 

RUF states that the rooftop farm uses spray-free and ecological growth methods. The Eyeopener previously reported that RUF provides 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to Ryerson cafeterias.

Lachemi said that Ryerson’s food services “source local and sustainable ingredients for our meals on campus.”

“They use biodegradable takeout containers [and] last year, they switched to purchasing and supplying compostable paper straws.”

In addition to RUF, Lachemi said that the university is partnering with other campus groups such as Student MoveTO and Ryerson Bike Club to “support and promote their mandates of a cleaner and happier environment.” 

Staying F.R.E.S.H downtown (present-day)

In August, Ryerson’s Sustainability office launched a student-led initiative called F.R.E.S.H. (food, recycling, energy and the environment, sustainability and health and wellness) during Orientation Week. 

The initiative invited incoming students to learn how to get involved with sustainable activities on campus. 

A greener, friendlier campus 

The loud, disruptive construction on Gould Street, is a part of Ryerson’s Campus Core Revitalization project and is intended to create a more pedestrian-friendly campus and in addition, aims to bring more green space to campus. 

According to Ryerson’s Facilities Management and Development’s site, there will be “15,000 large shrubs, perennials and grasses planted.” 

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Leave a Comment