Questions about the Office of Sustainability

  1. Does the University of Alberta have a commitment to sustainability? Yes, we do. The university's Sustainability Commitment and Guiding Principles were endorsed by the Board of Governors in 2008 to illustrate our commitment to sustainability. By reflecting and enhancing the University of Alberta’s core vision and mission, it guides members of the university community towards sustainability in their decision making and actions. Learn more about our progress by reading our latest submission to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS™).

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  2. Who is responsible for sustainability at the University of Alberta?
    Responsibility for developing a sustainable campus is shared with all members of the university community. The Office of Sustainability serves as the hub for the campus sustainability initiative, providing strategic leadership, coordinating performance measurement and building bridges between faculties, organizational units and student organizations. Undergraduate students also receive leadership through Sustain SU, the student sustainability service operated by the Students' Union. There are many organizations and groups working to make progress on sustainability at the university. Visit the “Get Involved” section of our website to learn more.

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  3. When was the Office of Sustainability formed?
    The Board of Governors endorsed the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2008. The first chief sustainability officer for this office was appointed in September 2009.

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  4. Who is the Office of Sustainability?
    The strategic direction for the campus sustainability initiative and overall mandate of the Office of Sustainability is guided by the chief sustainability officer - Trina Innes. The outreach & engagement focus area of the campus sustainability initiative is also lead by the Office of Sustainability. The teaching & research focus area is lead by a faculty member appointed to the role of academic director by the Provost. The facilities & operations focus area is co-lead by manager of energy management & sustainable operations, Michael Versteege and the chief sustainability officer. Programs are coordinated by program leads, project planners, sustainability coordinators and student interns.

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  5. Where is the Office of Sustainability located?
    The Office of Sustainability's Office is located at:
    2-06 North Power Plant, Edmonton, AB
    T6G 2N2

    As we are often out of the office delivering outreach programs, you may find the door locked. Please ring the doorbell at our east entrance across from Rutherford Library (and beside Aboriginal Students' Council).

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  6. What are your hours?
    Monday-Friday (8:30 am - 4:30 pm, closed during lunch from noon to 1:00). While we welcome visitors, we are often out and about delivering outreach programs or attending meetings both on and off campus. If you would like to sit down with someone for an extended conversation, please call or email to make an appointment.

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  7. How can I contact you?
    Contact us by email at sustainability@ualberta.ca or telephone: 780.492.9289

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  8. How can I stay up to date on Office of Sustainability news, events or other opportunities?
    Visit our homepage for the latest information. You can also subscribe to Sustainability eNews, read the Office of Sustainability's blog, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Questions about Sustainability

  1. What is sustainability? The Office of Sustainability's Academic Advisory Committee developed the following working definition for the University of Alberta.

    Sustainability is the process of living within the limits of available physical, natural and social resources in ways that allow the living systems in which humans are embedded to thrive in perpetuity.

    The University of Alberta is committed to a continuous effort to instill sustainability into the many aspects of university life, on our campuses, in our institutions, and in the larger community of which we are part.

    The University takes an integrated approach to sustainability that incorporates teaching, research, operations and the outreach services needed to support them.

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  2. What are the benefits of a sustainable campus?  
    There are several benefits to creating a sustainable campus. Besides the obvious benefit to the earth, projects and programs related to research, energy conservation, pollution prevention and wise water use have potential to generate cost-savings for the University of Alberta. Savings can be invested into programs to improve the availability of teaching and learning opportunities related to sustainability on campus. These opportunities are helpful to all graduates interested in incorporating sustainability into their future careers. They also position the University of Alberta as a leader in sustainability. 

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  3. What is the role of universities in advancing sustainability?
    Universities, as institutions of higher education, have a unique responsibility to provide leadership in their communities and throughout society. Universities are role models, in training and equipping the next generations of leaders and citizens of society who will develop sustainability solutions. The University of Alberta affirms the importance of playing a role in global efforts to attain sustainability, but including sustain a key goal in our institution's strategic plan "For the Public Good".

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Questions about sustainability on campus

  1. How can I get involved in sustainability on campus?   
    There are LOTS of ways to get involved on campus. Campus-wide sustainability initiatives, programs and groups are outlined on our website. They include everything from administrative programs, research and academic units, student initiatives and clubs, campus facilities and projects and community groups. Visit the Get Involved page on our website to learn more. 

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  2. I want to create a new program related to sustainability on campus. How do I get started?
    Before pitching your idea, you should start by doing a little bit of homework. You may discover that our institution has already solved a problem, or that a student group on campus has worked on a similar project before. Take time to meet with staff and other student groups, to explore what they accomplished and learned.

    Organizations like the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education provide information about sustainability projects on other campuses. Define the problem and confirm your rationale. Find out what's happening on campus by reviewing our submission to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS™), the Office of Sustainability's website, and the Sustainability Plan. Once you’ve done your homework, consider submitting a proposal to your club, supervisor, Sustain SU or the Office of Sustainability. You may also pitch your idea to the Undergraduate Research Initiative using our campus as a living lab. 

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  3. Is there funding assistance available for sustainability initiatives?
    The Office of Sustainability offers two streams of funding. Green Grants support projects valuing less than $2,000 and are available year-round to students, faculty and staff. The funds for this program are generated from refundable beverage containers and gifts from alumni and friends of the University of Alberta.

    The Sustainability Enhancement Fund was launched in 2010 and supports projects valuing between $2,000 and $50,000. The funds for this program are generated by energy savings programs at the University of Alberta. Letters of interest may be submitted year-round. Our Green Labs program is also supported out of this fund.

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  4. How do I make a suggestion for improving sustainability on campus?
    We welcome your suggestions! Share your ideas by submitting them to sustainability@ualberta.ca. We will respond to all emails within 5-7 working days. If your proposal is something we can act on immediately, we will do our best to do so.  

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  5. Where can I find out about degree programs, courses and other learning opportunities related to sustainability?
    Please visit the "Education & Research" pages on our website to find our more about the Certificate in Sustainability, degree programs, courses, community service-learning and research opportunities. 

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