On September 23, the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Sustainability Office published the draft Sustainability Strategic Plan and urged students and staff to provide their input and feedback.
The plan was devised following an 11-month long research process by the Principal’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. It was built around the university’s five sustainability standards as detailed on their website: Academic Programs and Curriculum, Research, Campus Engagement, Civic Engagement, and Human Resources and Infrastructure.
Three years ago, these standards were established by the Sustainability Pathways Working Group and were included in the group’s updated report, which was finalized in October 2018.
“A culture of sustainability can be fostered only by incorporating sustainability in all aspects of UTM,” read the report. “For UTM to truly embrace sustainability, there is a clear demand for better integration between theory and practice; UTM needs to walk the talk as well as to conduct the research and teach sustainability throughout the curriculum.”
The Sustainability Pathways Working Group (SPWG) was initially organized by Amrita Daniere, the vice-principal, academic and dean, in 2017 following the publication of UTM’s Academic Plan. Daniere, who also serves as the co-chair of the Principal’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, stated in her message that the implementation of this plan would ratify UTM’s leading position in sustainability initiatives
“The Academic Plan, at its core, values sustainability, and it’s evident that the remaining four identities are a part of creating a sustainable institution,” said Daniere on the draft plan. “The SPWG recognized that the campus was well-positioned to develop sustainability-specific transdisciplinary information and knowledge and suggested that a comprehensive sustainability strategy was vital in creating a more environmentally conscious campus.”
This draft plan echoes UTM’s goal of becoming an international leader in sustainability and maintaining its “green reputation” as a campus. The draft emphasizes the importance of collaboration and outlines goals and initiatives for each and every administrative body, from food and dining services to transportation.
UTM Principal Alexandra Gillespie discussed her views on the draft in her message and thanked both the working group and the advisory committee for their work.
“By affirming our culture of sustainability going forward, this Strategic Plan builds on our past efforts to realize an even better future,” said Gillespie. “I look forward to realizing our goals together as we create a more sustainable campus—and a more sustainable world.”
Students and staff can submit their comments on the draft via the Sustainability Office’s online form by Friday, October 8.