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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.

One of the college’s core principles inVision 2015, Georgian’s strategic plan,  is this:  “We will evolve our practices and embrace change to ensure financial, social and environmental sustainability.”

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.

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:  a two-year and three-year diploma program. We also offer two environment-related graduate certificate  programs.

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 #KilltheCup, 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

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 observed annually 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
Georgian College employees Sara Tuck, left, and Angela Bertram pick up debris at the Barrie Campus as part of Georgian’s two-hour campus cleanup on Earth Day, April 22, 2015.
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. From left to right: Clement Bamikole, Professor, Dianne Corrigan, Environmental Administrator, Kimberley Rowntree, Director of Marketing for Turning Technologies, Mikaela Lefaive, Communications Specialist, Janet Davis, Senior Projects Manager and Sustainability Committee Chair, Angela Foster, Placement Officer.

Environmental Sustainability Committee members 2015-16

  • Angela Lockridge (VP Corporate Services)
  • Dianne Corrigan ( Sustainability Co-ordinator)
  • Angela Foster (Human Services and Community Safety – Orillia)
  • Boris Poredos (Physical Resources – Orillia)
  • Mikaela Lefaive (Marketing and Communications)
  • Clement Bamikole (Faculty)
  • Nicole Barbato (Faculty)
  • Sheona Morrison (Student Life − Owen Sound)
  • Phil Le Boeuf (Program Manager – Midland)
  • Tim Green (Faculty)
  • Scott Emslie (Georgian College Student Association)
  • Alex De Guzman (GEAR)
  • Laura Robert (GEAR)
  • Elizabeth Beamish (Corporate Services)
  • Janet Davis (Chair)
Alex from GEAR with his reusable mug
Alex from GEAR and his reusable mug

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.

On campus, 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 tries to stay as active as possible and welcomes new members to help keep the organization moving as it grows and changes, at any one of the campuses.

The group has been involved with a number of initiatives including:

  • 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)

For full details on current activities, contact the group at gear.georgian.college@hotmail.com or check out their Facebook group.

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