Environmental sustainability

Georgian College takes environmental issues seriously. Official policy requires us to keep environmental concerns in mind in everything we do. This ranges from curriculum and classrooms to products we purchase and how we deal with our waste.

Georgian’s strategic plan

One of the commitments in Georgian’s most recent Strategic Plan, Accelerating Success 2016-2021is environmental responsibility. The college’s goals are to improve waste diversion rates and decrease emission production/carbon footprint.

Created in 2007, the Environmental Sustainability Committee leads the way in making sure that Georgian steadily makes progress on these issues and more.

Georgian’s official environmental mission statement

As a leading postsecondary educational institution and responsible corporate citizen, Georgian College is committed to practising environmental sustainability through education and corporate practices and balancing future growth with the protection of the environment.

Our guiding principles

Georgian College commits to promote, practice and pursue excellence in environmental sustainability through:

  • compliance with applicable laws and requirements
  • conservation of natural resources and the prevention of pollution
  • continuous improvement to maintain the highest environmental standards and practices

You can also view our Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plans.

Some Environmental Technology students displaying their reusable mugs as part of the #GCKilltheCup campaign

Some Environmental Technology students displaying their reusable mugs as part of the #GCKilltheCup campaign

Georgian aims to integrate environmental sustainability into all learning activities. Faculty in every program have been asked to look at how their academic material can take the environment into account. Many have already made changes and it’s an ongoing process.

We have full-time programs that focus directly on the environment: 

Visit the Engineering and Environmental Studies page to view the program descriptions.

We are proud of the great progress we’ve made in environmental sustainability across all campuses since 2007.

Waste diversion

Goal: To reduce waste to landfill by 50 per cent from 2008 (our base year).

Accomplishments

  • monitored waste diversion rates on an annual basis
  • developed an annual waste reduction work plan
  • implemented on-campus points for cell phone, e-waste and battery collection
  • implemented organic waste collection in kitchens and student labs at Barrie and Orillia campuses
  • added a third “mixed paper” stream to hallway collection
  • promoted the use of reusable travel mugs and reusable bags, notably through #GCKilltheCup, to reduce the amount of disposable cups and plastic bags on campus
  • implemented two-sided printing and photocopying policy
  • lighting fixtures recycled through Physical Resources department
  • promoting the use of electronic newsletters
  • writing instrument recycling
  • ditching individual desk garbage/recycling bins in favour of shared waste stations with more recycling options
  • we’re currently creating clearer waste station signage, to improve sorting

Environmental literacy

Goal: Ensure that all graduates of all programs have the knowledge to make sound environmental decisions in their personal and professional lives

Accomplishments

  • integrated sustainability into curriculum and learning activities
  • new courses developed that pertain to environmental sustainability
  • students in Georgian’s CNC program program use scrap blocks of aluminum rather than full blocks; filings and other scraps from student projects are collected for recycling
  • hosted green screens, low waste events and relevant guest speakers

Procurement/purchasing policy review

Goal: To ensure that vendors and products are environmentally sensitive

Accomplishments

  • All RFPs are now evaluated, in part, taking into account environmental considerations
  • Renegotiated Georgian’s office supply contract to only include “green” office supplies
  • Switched to 30 per cent post-consumer paper stock
  • Major college publications are now printed on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper

And there’s more…

  • Georgian has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • recognized by Greater Barrie Chamber of Commerce Green Step programs (gold level)
  • Chartwells, the college’s food service provider, has signed a contract to collect used cooking oil from the Barrie Campus cafeteria and the Last Class for conversion to bio-diesel
  • continuing efforts by Georgian’s Physical Resources department see huge gains in energy efficiency, particularly through the introduction of improved lighting systems
  • Earth Day is marked annually by a campus-wide clean-up activities in which thousands of pounds of waste are gathered up
  • Energy Conservation Week and Waste Reduction Week are often marked with special activities showcasing college sustainability initiatives
  • hydration stations at most campuses reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used
  • portable recycling units are available for use at special events
  • a Georgian award recognizes employees who have reduced their environmental impact at work
  • the college uses green cleaning products
  • live meeting technology
  • electronic waste asset recycling
  • LEED construction standards
  • recently completed its first conservation demand management plan
  • Georgian undertakes annual reporting for energy consumption
  • a student group called Green Thumbs is currently creating a campus community garden that will support Georgian’s food bank and the Georgian Dining Room
Sara Tuck, left, and Angela Bertram pick up garbage at the Barrie Campus as part of Georgian College’s two-hour campus cleanup on Earth Day, April 22, 2015. More than 100 people braved the cold and sleet to tidy up the college’s Barrie, Orillia, Owen Sound and Midland campuses, collecting over 20 bags of garbage. (Handout-Georgian College/Doug Crawford)
Group poses with some shovels and a sapling.

Members of the Sustainability Committee welcomed some new saplings – generously donated by Turning Technologies – to the Barrie Campus.

Environmental Sustainability Committee members 2016-17

  • Angela Lockridge (VP, Corporate Services and Innovation)
  • Avery Konda (President, Georgian College Students’ Association)
  • Dianne Corrigan (Sustainability Co-ordinator)
  • Donna Armstrong (Physical Resources)
  • Karin Thomson (Chartwells)
  • Mikaela Lefaive (Marketing and Communications)
  • Marvin Patani (Student)
  • Nicole Barbato (Faculty)
  • Sandra Kurt (Academic Officer)
  • Scott Marshall (Physical Resources)
  • Shawn Watkins (Chair)
  • Sheona Morrison (Student Life Advisor)
  • Tim Green (Faculty)
  • Tom Gardzinski (Process and Strategic Initiatives)
  • Tony DeSciscio (Purchasing)
Alex from GEAR with his reusable mug

Alex from GEAR and his reusable mug

GEAR

GEAR (Georgian Environmental Activism and Research) is a group of student volunteers who work throughout Georgian College to raise awareness and provide solutions for environmental issues.

When active, the group actively supports and promotes sustainability practices and in the community, and offers chances for everyone who counts themselves a part of this community to get involved!

GEAR is currently looking for new members to help keep the organization moving.

Past GEAR initiatives include:

  • Coffee Booth mornings: Where the group serves Fair Trade Coffee once a week for those who bring a reuseable mug
  • Green Screens: Weekly/monthly screenings of environmental-related movies/documentaries
  • Lib LEAD: Public issue discussions that focus on specific environmental issues
  • Earth Day Cleanup: On campus and at Little Lake
  • Recyclables Drop Off: Weekly collection/drop off of unusual recyclable items (light bulbs, batteries, ink cartridges and cell phones)

Georgian Green Thumbs

Thanks to this new student-led group, an innovative community garden is taking shape at the Barrie Campus. With hungry students as its focus, it will be ready for full use in the 2017 growing season.

Located at the north end of the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences, the garden will eventually consist of one dozen 12 by 12-foot plots that will be available to the Georgian community for growing a variety of fruit trees, and leafy greens and other vegetables.

With support from faculty, students, alumni, and external partners, the group hopes to have enough fruit and vegetables to help supplement the Georgian Food Locker, our campus food bank, and the Georgian Dining Room, our campus fine dining establishment.