The first Environmental Assessment of Vanier College was written in 2010 and covered many of the institution’s most obvious environmental impacts. It made recommendations about how to move forward in lessening the impacts of Vanier’s actions. This environmental assessment took nearly two years to put together. From the start, it was intended that the process of researching and writing this document be as inclusive as possible, in the hope that this would widen the scope of the people involved and thus widen its potential impacts, use and referrals. The document can also be seen as a starting point for sustainability at Vanier College.
The fall after the writing of the first assessment, an environmental consultant was hired full time in order to lead the sustainability campaign at Vanier College. Under the supervision of this person (later to become the Sustainability Officer) the environment and sustainability at Vanier took on a much higher profiles.
Notable advances happened in the links with education, both in the formal classroom sense (the Sustainability Major and the Sustainability in Action Course) as well as informally (many student activities and special events: Earth Week, Water Week, 100 mile lunch). The education of the staff and faculty has also advanced through this endeavor; many people are now bringing up sustainability and see it as part of their decision making, notably in the highest decision making instances of the College. The transformation of Vanier’s food landscape in the past five years is also an advance that clearly goes beyond an environmental impact; it is one that contributes to a more sustainable world by using the improvements to systems to make educational links. Our water systems were also improved in this way.
Major transformations also occurred in the way we purchase and dispose electronics and in the way we treat hazardous material.
Minor improvements have occurred in our transportation impacts, our grounds (a new subject in the year’s assessment), the way we treat waste material, our paper use and our energy use. But these areas still require major changes in order for Vanier to claim to have done its best on an environmental or a sustainability level.
Vanier College has moved towards lessening its physical environmental impact. In the past five years, strides have been made to bring the discourse up to the level of sustainability as well as making sustainability a fundamental part of our educational mission. Furthermore, we have worked hard at making education our most important impact as regards creating a more sustainable world. This work is far from complete but we can hope that the next five years truly see the changes that need to occur for the next assessment to be one that truly can consider Vanier’s sustainability.
View the 2015 Environmental Assessment .