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University of Calgary awarded top marks for sustainability

UCalgary #2 in Canada and #12 in North America for overall sustainability performance
February 14, 2017
Campus communities care for our planet, and people celebrated this Valentine’s Day with a gold rating for sustainability. Photo by Colourbox.com

Campus communities care for our planet, and people celebrated this Valentine’s Day with a gold rating for sustainability. Photo by Colourbox.com

Gold. It’s our anniversary colour, in our coat of arms and in our renewed sustainability performance rating.

Gold. It’s our anniversary colour, in our coat of arms and in our renewed sustainability performance rating. 

UCalgary currently ranks second among our Canadian peer institutions for engaging our campus and community in sustainability. Last year, our students contributed more than 1.6 million hours of community service in local and global communities. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

UCalgary currently ranks second among our Canadian peer institutions for engaging our campus and community in sustainability. Last year, our students contributed more than 1.6 million hours of community service in local and global communities. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

UCalgary has received a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), ranking second in Canada and 12th in North America for overall sustainability performance.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is the most broadly used tool by North American colleges and universities for tracking sustainability performance. Progress is measured in 17 impact areas covering teaching and research, community engagement, governance, operations, and administration.

"The University of Calgary has achieved a 75.16 per cent score," says Joanne Perdue, chief sustainability officer. "This is our highest score to date and we have maintained our Gold rating under a new, more rigorous version of STARS. This reaffirms that we are on the right track and marks another milestone in our journey toward excellence and leadership in sustainability." 

Collective momentum challenges students, faculty and staff to continue sustainability efforts

Ratings are valid for three years; however, our rank among other institutions can change as others join or renew their STARS submissions. This helps generate collective momentum and challenges post-secondary institutions to keep setting the bar higher.

“Students value sustainability,” says Branden Cave, vice-president operations and finance for the Students’ Union. “We have found ways to make a positive impact on campus by creating more than 50 sustainability-related clubs and volunteering time on projects we care about. The Students’ Union has awarded over $75,000 to support student-led projects through our sustainability fund. I am proud to be part of a community where students, faculty, and staff work together to make a difference that extends beyond our campus.”

Currently, UCalgary is one of only 11 institutions in North America to achieve full marks for sustainability in research. Eighty per cent of departments that do research engaged in sustainability-related research. Other select highlights include:

  • 34 per cent of graduates taking at least one sustainability focused course as part of their degree program
  • Students contributed more than 1.6 million hours toward community service supporting a diversity of community needs
  • 96 per cent of our academic departments offer sustainability courses with more than 350 sustainability courses offered
  • 11 LEED certified projects are on campus, two of which are LEED Platinum
  • More than 40 per cent of daily waste was diverted from landfill last year

University of Calgary demonstrates exceptional leadership in sustainability

“UCalgary students, faculty and staff are an exceptionally caring community, and sustainability is important to so many on our campus. The breadth of leadership and dedication to move sustainability forward both on campus and in the community is truly inspiring,” says Perdue. “This, combined with our Institutional Sustainability Strategy, which provides a clear  strategic direction, is enabling UCalgary to demonstrate exceptional leadership in sustainability.”  

The Institutional Sustainability Strategy (ISS) joins three frameworks for sustainability — education and research, community engagement, and operations and administration — to integrate our sustainability initiatives and strengthen our connection to industry and the community.

Thank you to all students, faculty and staff for your support, commitment and daily contributions resulting in our STARS Gold rating.

To view our full submission, visit the STARS website. To learn more about our sustainability initiatives and how to get involved, visit our sustainability website. Join the conversation using the hashtag #ucalgarysustain.

Slideshow shows recent accomplishments

Below is a slideshow containing recent accomplishments captured in our 2016 Sustainability Report which also contributed to our STARS Gold rating. 

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