The Second Most Sustainable Campus in Canada

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


There is a very famous advertising campaign that was created by Avis back in the 90s that still makes me laugh to this day. It is the "We're Number Two" campaign, celebrating the fact that Avis had become the number two provider of car rental services in the U.S. The marketing team knew that being number two wasn't as good as being number one.... but that didn't stop them. The commercials they produced showed an ecstatic group of people waving flags sporting the number two while popping bottles of Champaign. In the commercials, there were people passing out from the shear excitement of being number two. They were celebrating like it was nobody's business.

That was basically what happened at our office last week. The UI GreenMetric World University Rankings for 2011 came out and the University of Ottawa was ranked number 2 in Canada and number 15 in the world. PARTY TIME!!!! And just so you know what the GreenMetric rankings are all about, "the aim of this ranking is to provide the result of online survey regarding the current condition and policies related to Green Campus and Sustainability in the Universities all over the world."

The overall Canadian leader was York University, who scored 7245.76. The University of Ottawa was narrowly edged out with a score of 7241.23 (a difference of 0.0625% - a photo finish). There were four other Canadian universities that made the top 178, including Sherbrooke (21), Laval (51), Simon Fraiser (54), and Acadia (118).

The enthusiasm of the Office actually spilled out into the digital streets, so to speak. For four hours last week, @uOttawaSustain (our Twitter handle) was the number one trending topic in all of Ottawa. We were more popular than #Harper, #Ottawa, #Sens, #StuntManStu, etc...

Most of the buzz was actually generated by two people; a uOttawa employee (Marc-Andre Gougeon), and an alumni (Celeste Cote). Their tweets were picked up by everybody else and the word spread quickly.

So this is the part where I thank each and every one of you for helping make this happen, and seriously you deserve it. Sustainability is not one person in an office working on projects; it is a community of people working together to do the right thing. Sustainability is not a one-off choice to recycle a can or a bottle; it is a lifestyle change to systematically make an ethical choice as opposed to a selfish one. And so I thank every person in the University of Ottawa community for making this possible. So go ahead, pop the cork, colour your face green, paint a number two on the side of the car, and start celebrating.... We're Number Two!!!!!!!!!

~jon - campus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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