Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.39
Liaison Christine Pinkham
Submission Date March 30, 2021

STARS v2.2

British Columbia Institute of Technology
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

Enactus BCIT: Enactus is a group of students who advocate that entrepreneurial action matched with sustainable business practices can empower the Greater Vancouver community, and communities around the world. With the mentorship of faculty advisors and industry professionals, Enactus BCIT members devote themselves to developing and implementing unique programs that benefit local and global communities.

BCIT Women in Computing (WIC): BCIT Women in Computing is a group of individuals supporting equality in the Technology field. The goal is to support current female students to thrive in academics, while also forming strong connections with female professionals working in Vancouver’s Tech community. WIC is not exclusive to female students, but welcomes anyone who supports the club’s visions.

BCIT Women in Engineering(WiE): BCIT WiE is a community from varying Engineering disciplines with a mission to encourage STEM education and careers for women. Their mission expands to promoting female STEM role models, ensuring equal access and opportunity for women, and striving for a diverse and gender inclusive environment. The student groups welcomes all genders into its executive team and WiE community.

BCIT Young Women in Business(YWiB): YWiB BCIT was founded with the purpose of connecting ambitions students across various schools that share the same belief of female empowerment in the professional workplace.

Engineers Without Borders BCIT: The EWB BCIT chapter is committed to bringing positive social change to BCIT. By raising awareness on important issues such as development and fair trade, this student group aids to create more globally minded individuals.

Indigenous Culture Club: The BCIT Indigenous Culture Club is a student-run organization for any student on campus who is interested in Indigenous culture, history, issues, or activities. The members of this club are First Nations, Metis, Inuit, non-Indigenous, and come from many different backgrounds and experience.

Jack.org BCIT: Jack.Org BCIT is a network of students working towards shifting the way we think about mental health, by raising awareness and ending the stigma surrounding mental health. This group strives towards creating a supportive community that fosters student wellbeing through meaningful conversation and outreach.

Society for Ecological Restoration: This organization is composed of a group of BCIT students committed to bringing ecological restoration opportunities to the community.

All the above mentioned are groups hosted under the BCIT Student Association (BCITSA). Website URL: https://www.bcitsa.ca/clubs/

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

The BCIT Community Garden was established in 2010 and is located on the southeast side of the Burnaby campus. It shares a half acre with the sweat lodge hosted by Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships and a research area run the School of Construction and Environment. It is a space for students and employees to enjoy, share knowledge and learn together. It is an engaging interactive garden space that highlights sustainable activities, education and urban agriculture opportunities.

In the summer of 2019, BCIT partnered with a local beekeeping company to bring two honey bee hives to campus, adding to the ongoing efforts to support healthy pollinator populations within the Burnaby campus. The introduction of bees was the first step towards transforming the garden into a more interactive space and as a site for community workshops that teach about pollinators and the role they play in a thriving and healthy ecosystem. The bees are part of a broader vision to create more edible gardens on campus, including fruit trees, which promote sustainable gardening practices, provide food for the community, and offer places of respite from the stresses of school and work.

More information on the garden can be found in credit IN 7: Community Garden.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

In 2019, the latest campus eatery, Pavilion was opened in partnership between BCIT and the BCIT Student Association (BCITSA). Located in the NE1 building of Burnaby Campus, sustainability and innovation are key components of the new eatery, including a commitment to offering compostable utensils.

BCITSA or ‘SA’ is a non-profit student service and advocacy organization at BCIT with a mandate to enhance student life. Their programs and services (including food services) are designed to benefit and support all 48,500+ full-time and part-time students across BCIT’s five campuses. Students lead the organization and govern the affairs of the BCITSA. The Board of Directors is composed of 12 elected Student Executives and Student Councillors from each of the different Schools at BCIT. In 2019, a new VP Equity and Sustainability position was created. More information on the BCITSA: https://www.bcitsa.ca/governance/

More information on Pavilion: https://commons.bcit.ca/news/2019/05/pavilion-opens/


Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

The BCIT School of Construction and the Environment Sustainability Speaker Series: The School of Construction and the Environment at BCIT holds its own sustainability speaker series. This series is aimed at students and brings in speakers to discuss a range of topics pertaining to sustainability.
More information: https://www.bcit.ca/organizer/sustainability-speaker-series/

BCIT’s Diversity Circles is an initiative housed in the BCIT Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion Office. Diversity Circles holds panels, workshops, focus groups, and other events for the BCIT community, to support engaging in safe and productive conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity Circles events are open to all members of the wider BCIT community including staff, faculty, students, the BCIT Student Association, and BCIT alumni. Since 2015, Diversity Circles has held over 150 events and consultations. More information: https://www.diversitycircles.com/

Ecocity World Summit: The Ecocity World Summit is the longest-standing international Summit that addresses building cities in balance with nature. It is a biennial event involving over 1,000 delegates from around the world, with the purpose of bringing together bright minds to share knowledge on ecological and sustainable city designs. On October 7 - 11, 2019, the Summit was hosted by BCIT in collaboration with the City of Vancouver and Tourism Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Within BCIT, the School of Construction and the Environment took the lead in convening the Summit program. Ecocity 2019 consisted of keynote and guest speakers, presentations and local field trips highlighting features of sustainable city design, construction and operation. The 2019 Summit brought focus to the International Ecocity Standards (IES) which were developed through a decade-long partnership between Ecocity Builders and BCIT School of Construction and the Environment. The IES has 18 standards pertaining to sustainable urban living grouped under: Urban design,  Bio-geophysical conditions, Socio-cultural features, Ecological imperatives. Each day of the 2019 Summit highlighted one of these four topics in order to promote the understanding and development of Socially Just and Ecologically Sustainable Cities.

Students were involved in the conference as volunteers, attendees and presenters. The keynote sessions were broadcast to all BCIT campuses to provide all students an opportunity to participate at no cost.

The website for the 2019 EWS is no longer active but information on the 2021 EWS can be found at: https://ecocity-summit.com/.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

BCIT commissioned a local Squamish First Nations artist Aaron Nelson-Moody (aka Splash) to design and carve a traditional Coast Salish House post – now installed in the lobby of SW1 on the Burnaby campus. BCIT’s campuses are located on unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations. Various student service departments including Student Information and Enrolment Services, Program Advising, Registrar’s Office, International Student Centre, and the Indigenous Gathering Place (Mi Chap Tukw) are housed in SW1.

Splash is a renowned artist, storyteller, and teacher who has spent years working with community groups and schools. House posts are carved to reflect the character and values of the families and community they look over. Splash worked with BCIT staff to develop the design that tells the story of BCIT’s past, present and future. Also carved into the post is a QR code linking the traditional to the digital. The QR code was hand carved onto a copper outline of the Snewayelh, the hand-shaped logo for Indigenous Initiatives. Snewayelh means “teachings.” It symbolizes the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next. Students scan the QR code to access a website designed to respect indigenous art and culture, and push the boundaries of technology - extending traditional storytelling into the digital sphere. A photo gallery of the installation of the QR code can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcit/albums/72157659014143653

The final product has a game-like quality. Users select tiles on the site, with no hint as to where that selection will lead. It’s a bit like a digital choose-your-own-adventure story. Sometimes it goes to content, sometimes not. As each tile is selected, the drawing transforms into an image of the finished artwork, symbolically mirroring Splash’s journey. https://housepost.commons.bcit.ca/

The need to explore reflects a basic tenant of Indigenous education—the hunt for understanding. Users aren’t given an answer. They must come up with the meaning for themselves. “That is what Native art is for,” says Splash. “In Coast Salish teachings, we encourage students to take an extra minute to go a little further to get to know what they want to know.”

Check out https://youtu.be/7g2ku5qT0ug for more information on our collaboration with Indigenous Artists to raise awareness and create a stronger First Nations presence on campus.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The BCIT Fish, Wildlife and Recreation (FWR) program is two-year Diploma that provides students with hands-on training in managing fisheries, wildlife, and parks and recreational lands. This program is widely renowned locally and internationally for its “field-oriented” learning and applied research. The FWR program offers a number of field trips and outdoor programs that follow Leave No Trace principles.

For over forty five years, the FWR program has been doing an annual field trip with second year students to Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia (BC). This is a three day backpacking trip supported by BC Parks, the BC provincial government park agency. The students hike up a ten kilometer trail and camp for two nights and then hike back down the trail. During the field trip the students engage with staff from BC Parks including Park Rangers and park planners. They also are given time to experience the park through day hikes.

Prior to heading out on the first day the students are introduced to backcountry safety and Leave No Trace Principles. The students then apply these skills in their three days in the backcountry of Garibaldi Provincial Park.



Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Each year a new Vice President of Equity and Sustainability is elected to the BCIT Student Association (BCITSA). Their role is to champion sustainability initiatives at BCIT focused on a theme of their choosing for the year, typically through a committee structure. The 2020/21 theme is promoting the alignment of BCIT and BCITSA operations and values with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme for 2019/20 was to raise awareness about climate change.

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The BCIT School of Construction and Environment hosts a 2-Day Challenge in collaboration between programs which allows students to solve real-world issues. Students have just 48 hours to identify the elements of a problem, design a plan for collecting the information they need to build their solution, complete their field work and design a presentation for their peers and industry judges. The 2019 rendition specifically held a Ecocity and Sustainable Development Theme.

Website URL: https://commons.bcit.ca/2daychallenge/

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Sustainability Office and the Centre for Ecocities at BCIT offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities. Opportunities vary based on current project needs with ten students employed during the 2020/21 academic year. Students worked on a number of projects including:
• Assisting with data collection and writing for the AASHE STARS report. This student was also responsible for promoting the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and worked on aligning the findings of the STARS report with the SDGs.
• Research and data compilation for a project exploring how living within the Earth’s carrying capacity can be measured and managed at the city scale. The purpose is to understand how a handful of high-consuming cities around the world are achieving absolute reductions in energy and material throughput and how this could be translated into policy and action in Canadian cities.
• Providing social media support posting about various sustainability topics.
• Researching, writing, and distributing stories about the Centre for Ecocities and sustainability at BCIT.
• Engaging with and providing support to BCIT students on various sustainability initiatives including World Wildlife Fund waste recycling and three newly forming student-led initiatives: i) Global Health ii) nutrition and food security, and iii) SDG leadership
• Assisting with municipal pilot one-planet scenarios and updating life cycle assessment research and assumptions.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Interdisciplinary Work Integrated Learning (iWIL)

The iWIL Project was initiated by Institute Sustainability in partnership with the School of Academic and Computing Studies and the School of Business + Media. This project grew out of an academic research project that aimed to bridge the link between industry, BCIT, and sustainability. The intent was to take advantage of existing student experience models, by steering them toward opportunities with a sustainability focus and by providing students with sustainability-focused challenges generated by employers seeking to overcome barriers. For employers, the project would reward employers with sustainability conundrums with subsidized research expertise guided by experienced faculty. This entire process was supported by BCIT through the employment of a dedicated iWIL Coordinator, who facilitated project connections and identified and removed barriers to successful student-industry partnerships.

This project was initially designed to take advantage of existing student project vehicles, such as:
• Industry Sponsored Student Projects within the School of Computing and Academic Studies
• Capstone Projects within programs such as Business Operations Management and Sustainable Business Leadership
• Final term or through-term projects within other programs across the Institute

This project was first deployed in October 2018, as a feature project in the lead-up to the 2019 Ecocity World Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia, hosted by BCIT, the City of Vancouver, and Ecocity Builders. To enhance the performance of this project, Institute Sustainability engaged the services of a highly respected research team within BCIT, MAKE+, who provided guidance to ensure that the coordinator was fully supported to deliver the project outcomes. Subject matter expertise was provided by Institute Sustainability, to ensure that projects were relevant to themes of sustainability.

Support for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The BCIT Student Association is proud to offer Entrepreneurship support to BCIT students and alumni. The programming was developed in response to student demand and our aim is to engage students and alumni in a culture of entrepreneurial thinking, learning and development. Through programs and services, this initiative hopes to inspire potential entrepreneurs, provide opportunities for exploration, and connect BCIT entrepreneurs to additional resources on and off campus.

Website URL: https://www.bcitsa.ca/beaboss/#about

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.