Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.01
Liaison Lindsay Walker
Submission Date Feb. 14, 2023

STARS v2.2

Humber College
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Lindsay Walker
Sustainability Manager
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
The Land Teaches Us: Walking Together to (re)story Pedagogy and Practice Through Etuaptmumk - Two-Eyed Seeing

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Two-Eyed Land-Based Play and Co-Learning is a new culturally-focused and Land-based course in the Early Childhood Education program, within the faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness at Humber College. The course design braids together both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives, and was informed and shaped by the traditional territories and lands on which Humber College is located, local and regional Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Holders, storytellers and mentors and the Two-Eyed Seeing work of Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall (Bartlett, Marshall & Marshall, 2012).

The course takes place in the 250-acre Humber Arboretum, part of the Carolinian Life Zone, Canada’s most biologically diverse ecological region sheltering woodland birds and white-tailed deer, two-way migratory pathways and stopovers for monarch butterflies and birds, wetlands, and cattail-edged ponds for leopard frogs, green frogs and painted turtles.

Supporting respectful, reciprocal and responsible relationships on and with the Land through spirit, heart, mind and body, for the benefit of all, the course is uniquely co-taught by Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty. Grounded in the principles of Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing (in the Mi'kmaq language) and braiding the strengths of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing, also known as the gift of multiple perspectives, students and faculty (re)connect to the Land through storytelling, teachings, mapping place, co-learning and reflection through journey sticks, in all seasons and weather.

Through a co-learning and decolonizing evidence-based process that links to Humber’s 2021-2023 Indigenous Education Plan, including Goal 1 to braid Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing into Humber’s academic programs and co-curricular activities, the course is an exemplar of an institution-wide framework of mindsets (Indigenous Knowledges, Sustainability, Systems Thinking, and EDI), learning outcomes and skills that enact SDGs 3, 4 (includes target on early childhood), 13, 14 and 15. 

Understanding that nature has rights, and we all have collective responsibilities to protect the Earth as good ancestors, this work explores how, in planting the seeds of sustainability as it relates to relationality (engaging in meaningful relationships with All Our Relations) and reciprocity (giving back in return for what we receive from the Earth), true co-learning supports ethical, transformative, reconciliatory and action-oriented pedagogy and practice.

Truth and Reconciliation through (re)connecting to the Land

As part of Humber ECE program goals and the broader field of Canadian early learning and care to disrupt, reconceptualize and transform pedagogy and practice in a discipline and pre-service training system largely dominated by Euro-Western child-centered pedagogies, we have been exploring how Indigenous worldviews see children as connected to nature and Land as teacher. In the words of Smith and Weber, “The prospect of actively applying Indigenous knowledge in ways that disrupt euro-centric knowledge systems is in itself a transformative endeavor” (2018, p.4).

Aligned with strategic priorities for place-based learning and to expand and enhance Indigenous perspectives in Humber’s Strategic Plan (Humber College, 2018-2023) including the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action - particularly Article 12 to develop culturally appropriate ECE programs - we are working to address and take responsibility for supporting children’s embodied knowing and relational engagement with place, plants, and animals in a colonized and increasingly ecologically challenged life-worlds. As Elder Crowshoe explains (TRC, 2015, p.19), “...reconciliation requires talking, but our conversations must be broader than Canada’s conventional approaches. Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, from an Aboriginal perspective, also requires reconciliation with the natural world.”

Enacting Sustainability Goals through Two-Eyed Seeing Research
Ongoing research explores how the Two-Eyed Land-based Play and Co-Learning course is engaging and impacting the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical realities of both the learner and faculty. Demonstrating a responsibility to act on that awareness, understanding and knowledge, the course is contributing, both pedagogically and institutionally, to decolonizing and Indigenizing post-secondary education at Humber.

Co-Learning and Collaboration
This work involves Humber’s Indigenous Education and Engagement, Arboretum and Centre for Urban Ecology, Sustainability, Research and Humber’s Executive Team, supported by the Lawson Foundation’s innovative Outdoor Play Strategy 2.0., a three-year project which supports eight regional demonstration projects across Canada.

2021 Humber College President’s award for Sustainability
2022 Finalist for Canadian Museum of Nature’s Nature Inspiration Award

Support for Two-Eyed Land-Based Play and Co-Learning is provided by the Lawson Foundation's Outdoor Play Strategy 2.0, a three-year project which supports eight regional demonstration projects across Canada. More information can be found here: https://lawson.ca/our-work/outdoor-play/second-phase/

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Public Engagement
Diversity & Affordability

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
The Humber Cultural Hub

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Humber College is transforming its Lakeshore Campus into a destination for arts and culture through the development of the Humber Cultural Hub – the largest new building project the institution has ever built. The Cultural Hub will be a catalyst for building the next generation of artistic, cultural and creative leaders. It will inspire creativity, support a connected community, encourage public appreciation of the arts and offer world-class film, media and performance facilities.

The Humber Cultural Hub (HCH) project will be one of the most sustainable developments in the country and a showcase for global best practices in sustainability and energy efficiency within world-class, technology-rich teaching and performance spaces. It is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, Toronto Green Standard, and Net Zero Carbon targets with a total energy use intensity of 75kWh/sq.m/year. It incorporates “mass timber” construction, a more sustainable and lower carbon building material. The completed building will be among the lowest energy use buildings of its size and complexity in Canada, serving as a new benchmark for future buildings.

Humber has adopted a passive design approach that uses the building architecture to maximize occupant comfort and minimize energy use. Environmental goals will be achieved through state-of-the-art, automated and highly efficient building systems including HVAC, lighting and water management systems.

A high-performance building envelope will reduce heating costs and the strategic use of glazing and shading will control solar heat gain and loss. The building design makes efficient use of the land to create a compact infrastructure that will support more students with lower operating and maintenance costs, improve internal circulation and enhance connectivity to the surrounding communities and historical parklands.

The building has already become a “living laboratory” for instructing students in sustainable construction practices and efficient operation. As a polytechnic institution we embed experiential learning opportunities for our students in much of what we do. Currently, Humber students are using the HCH construction project as a basis for 3D animation explorations. Once the building is completed, we will leverage many visible sustainability elements on the interior and exterior of the building, so that students can work with faculty on multi-disciplinary teams to design and test innovative ideas and solutions to real-world sustainability issues, preparing them to shape the future of sustainable building design.

In addition to sustainability elements of this building, Indigenous design elements are woven throughout the HCH, and the Indigenous Classroom and Indigenous Residence Lounge will be unique features of the Cultural Hub, offering culturally immersive experiences for students.

We know that the institutions’ reach goes far beyond our campuses and our work can influence transformational change in the marketplace. By challenging the market with new and innovative approaches to energy efficiency and sustainable construction practices, we work to not only educate the industry on new methodologies but use our projects as a vehicle to inspire the design and construction industry with what is possible.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

In Spring of 2022, Humber College started making the transformation from disposable containers to reusable ones at several cafeterias and dining locations at our North and Lakeshore Campuses. In the effort to reduce single-use packaging waste that ends up in landfills and to be more sustainable, Humber has introduced two programs depending on what campus you attend: O2GO at North and Friendlier at Lakeshore.

O2GO: Developed by OZZI, the O2GO® Reusable Food Container program is a sustainable alternative to single-use packaging. All meals at our north campus Residence Café are served exclusively in O2GO containers and users can opt to have their meals served in O2GO containers at our Street Café and Staff Lounge.

Friendlier: All meals from our two cafeterias - Lake Café and L Commons Eatery – are served in Friendlier containers. Users pay a small deposit, enjoy their meal and then return the dirty container at any drop box around campus. The containers are washed off-site and users receive their full deposit back. Through the program’s app, users can track the environmental and social impact they have made by participating.

Since the start of #ReuseHumber in September 2021, over 150,000 disposable containers have avoided landfills thanks to students, staff, and faculty who joined the reusable container program.

In September 2023 the program will further be expanded at additional food service locations.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Food & Dining

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

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.