Lean Green Ambassadors

Monday, September 14, 2009

The University of Ottawa is and has been a very green campus for many years; perhaps even since its inception. You don’t have to take this fact completely on faith, I promise to lay out my argument for this in future blogs, but for now let’s assume that uOttawa is one of the greenest institutions in North America.

This begs the question; if we are so green why is it that no one knows this? The answer unfortunately is complicated, but I will do my best to keep it simple. I have actually mentioned this problem in previous posts but the University of Ottawa’s green initiatives are almost all invisible. Allow me to illustrate; the University employs a district heating system which means that there are pipes under the campus that shares the heat between buildings. Not exactly the kind of thing you would notice while strolling around outside.

So the name of the game is to make the invisible... visible. Tricky, I know. But fear not, we here at the office have been dreaming up tonnes of ways to let everyone know how much energy we use (or don’t use), how much water we consume, how many trees there are on campus, etc. The solution; let someone else come up with a solution for us.

Wait hold on, I don’t want you to get the impression that we are a bunch of lazy slobs that haven’t been doing anything all this time. It just so happens in this case that the solution found us, and not a minute too soon. A big thank you goes out to the people folks at the Liaison office, especially Nancy Beland.

Just for those of you that don’t know what the liaison office does, they are the people that conduct the campus tours and receive all the prospective students on campus. The office acts as the link between the interested public and the services of the campus. As it turns out we both had a problem and a mutual solution existed.

There is brilliant and simple solution here for both of us because 1) sustainability is a hot topic these days and something that youth are extremely interested in, and 2) the Liaison office tours like 30,000 people around the campus every year and that is a lot of ears to here our story.

So thank you to all those great people at the Liaison Office who are now giving green tours of the campus. Together we can tell the environmental story of the campus and maybe get people interested in sustainability.

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