From "Bad" to "Less Worse"

Monday, December 07, 2009

Two years ago the University faced a stark reality... the students didn't think that the campus was sustainable. Actually, if you want to really get down to the nitty gritty, the students perceived that the Univerrsity had a low level of commitment to the environment.

Every year the Globe and Mail releases a survey about universities in Canada. The survey is a perceptions based exercise which asks students to rate their campuses. Hundreds to thousands of students respond to these surveys and the G&M is able to regroup the info to grade various institutions. (Check out the special report on the environment section here)

So two years ago the University of Ottawa received a "D". Not so great. I mean it could be worse... not much worse... but it could have been. This was a wonderful opportunity actually. When universities get a bad rating, then things start to happen.

The UofO responded with a massive push on recycling. My boss often talks about the three things that students relate to environmental commitment -1) recycling, 2) recycling, and 3) recycling. So we implemented a huge campus recycling retrofit and became the Canadian Champions of RecycleMania in 2009!

But apparently that wasn't enough because when we received our G&M results this year we climbed a measly two spots... to a "C-". I know I should be happy that we went up two spots and that is actually what we anticipated, but I can't help but feel that we deserve better.

Nevertheless, we are not going to take this lying down, our office has promised to double our efforts to ensure that you the students truly do feel that we merit a higher grade. So this is your chance. You tell us what you want and we will deliver. Afterall, that's what sustainability is about... always striving to be better.

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