The University of Guelph is “gold” when it comes to sustainability. U of G has earned a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The independent global organization assessed U of G’s sustainability efforts across academics, operations, community engagement, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership.
AASHE uses the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), deemed the most comprehensive and transparent framework for the post-secondary sector to measure and report campus sustainability efforts. The STARS framework also allows universities to track their progress against the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. STARS measures sustainability across five distinct pillars, which includes areas such as energy, water and food operations, teaching and research, and community engagement and responsible investing.
Highlights that supported U of G’s rating include:
• 94 percent of departments engaged in sustainability research;
• 26 percent of courses sustainability-focused or -inclusive;
• 90 percent grounds managed organically;
• 30-year Sustainability Action Fund to advance campus sustainability actions and efforts;
• President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability serving as a key resource to U of G leaders and the campus community;
• Fair Trade Campus, Guelph Student Food Bank, plastic straws ban and other initiatives;
• Healthy Workplace Certification from Excellence Canada;
• Stewarding valued resources as a pillar of the University’s Strategic Framework; and
• Participation in public policy (Smart Cities, Ontario Universities Committed to a Greener World, Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre, World Economic Forum).
Globally, 1,014 institutions are members of AASHE, 90 of them in Canada. Nationwide, 16 Canadian universities, including U of G have achieved a gold rating; four of them are in Ontario.