The Office of Sustainability shares its five-year plan
Sustainability is foundational to MacEwan University—dating back to the days of our namesake, Dr. Grant MacEwan—to more recently when it was made an institutional pillar. The Campus Sustainability Plan clearly lays out our priorities so the community can tackle them together.
"The Campus Sustainability Plan is our strategic direction forward for sustainability at MacEwan University,” says Kalen Pilkington, the director of the Office of Sustainability. “We developed the goals and strategies included in the plan in accordance with what our community wants to see on campus. This was a great opportunity to re-engage the campus community in the sustainability conversation to help co-develop the plan and vision for the future."
The plan covers long- and short-term goals from now to 2021, focusing on four areas: academic program, teaching and research; engagement, outreach and communications; campus operations; and leadership.
Some of the goals outlined in the plan focus on renewable energy and reducing electricity and water consumption, creating a sustainability credential, developing a diversity coordinator position, employing campus as a living lab principles, and fostering student mentorship opportunities.
"Some of our long-term actions will take more than five years to achieve, however we wanted to ensure these initiatives were captured within the plan to demonstrate a phased approach,” says Kalen. "A lot changes in five years, therefore it is important that we revisit the plan regularly to ensure we're on track and the plan remains relevant."
Carolyn Ives, curriculum planning and development coordinator, was part of the committee that put the plan together.
"Sustainability is such a big concept that some people don't really know where to start,” she says. “So having concrete steps that people can take and be part of makes people realize that taking these sustainable actions is doable and achievable.”
Kalen says those actions become even more achievable when the campus community works together.
"Having this approved university-wide strategic direction means other departments can align to the campus sustainability plan because it's a coordinated effort,” she says. “These goals and actions will be delivered collaboratively throughout the university and with our community partners. It's really great to have this plan as a point of positive collision."
By working together, Carolyn say, the campus community can take ownership of sustainability accomplishments that will be achieved in the future. She highlighted how these accomplishments will create an improved sense of wellness at MacEwan.
“The goal is to make people understand that it's about more than saving paper," she says.
Kalen adds, “The long-term goal is to improve the overall well-being - for individuals, communities, and ecosystems. Sustainability and innovation allow us to dream of what we can do together to create a better, equitable and resilient future. The university community provides a platform where staff, students, faculty and the community can co-create positive change.”
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