Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 76.32
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Dec. 11, 2020

STARS v2.2

McGill University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Karen Oberer
Sustainability Officer
McGill Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

Currently, there are almost 50 student groups focused on sustainability and/or address the UN SDGs. Below is a small selection from this list of groups.

Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) Environment Committee
A committee within SSMU, the student union, they hold a variety of events and work on several initiatives each semester, all with the aim of enriching the knowledge, experience and connectivity of SSMU members on the topic of sustainability.

McGill Energy Association (MEA)
MEA strives to bring together and educate the McGill community through initiatives focused on understanding the global energy challenge through fact-based analysis and education.

Science Undergraduate Society Environment Committee (SUSEC)
SUSEC is a group of students in the Science Undergraduate Society committed to promoting environmental awareness and improving the environmental standards and practices within McGill and the community at large.

Young Greens at McGill
The Club's mandate is to increase support and awareness, as well as provide students with a political arena to discuss issues around sustainability, social justice, and representative democracy.

Sustainability in Engineering At McGill (SEAM)
SEAM is a committee within the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). The committee serves as a supporting platform, fostering and promoting a culture of sustainability within the Faculty of Engineering at McGill through four main efforts: events, projects, consulting work and by compiling and providing resources.

Desautels Sustainability Network
Based out of McGill and the Management Undergraduate Society, the Desautels Sustainability Network seeks to connect students, professionals, and faculty members interested in sustainability as a profitable opportunity for businesses. Through various events, DSN aims to break silos between faculties, connecting Montreal’s professional community with students.

For general information:

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 Macdonald Student-Run Ecological Garden (MSEG)
MSEG is a diversified vegetable farm located at the Macdonald Campus of McGill University. The farm was founded in 2009 as a student gardening club and has since grown to a scale that allows it to feed hundreds of members of the McGill, Sainte-Anne, and Montreal communities. The farm, run entirely by students, operates from the beginning of May to the end of October. Each employed student commits two growing seasons to the farm: the first as an apprentice and the second as a manager who trains the new apprentices. This structure allows the student club to operate as a highly effective and unique "farmer incubator program", giving the students a level of responsibility and training that is not generally possible with internships at larger, more established market gardens.

McGill Farmers' Market
The McGill Farmers' Market was established to make local food more accessible to both the McGill and Montreal community. It pays particular attention to sourcing food that is healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced. The Farmers' Market is a weekly gathering spot for students, faculty, and community members to discover local foods. With more than ten local suppliers, the Market provides the opportunity for downtown residents to connect to the agricultural community of Quebec.

Staff Gardens
The Staff Gardens consist of over 75 container gardens on the downtown campus. McGill staff and faculty can sign up for a garden free of charge, where groups (three or more) purchase their own seeds and maintain the plots themselves. Learning opportunities are provided through bi-weekly Lunch-and-Learn sessions about gardening techniques, urban agriculture, and sustainability on campus.

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:

Out of the Garden Project
The Out of the Garden Project is a student directed café at the MacDonald Campus of McGill. It aims to source a majority of its produce from on campus farms and other members of the West Island farming community.

The café is a place on campus where members of the Mac community can go to enjoy healthy and affordable food. The goal of the project is to create a closed loop food system at Mac and educate students about the chain of production.

As the home of McGill’s agricultural, environmental, food science, and nutrition faculties, Macdonald Campus has the potential to be a national leader in food system sustainability by including student and community engagement at every step of a closed cycle food service.

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:

Montreal Social Value Fund (MSVF)
A branch of the National Social Value Fund (NSVF), the MSVF aims to create a positive social and environmental impact in the Montreal community by investing in local social enterprises, enterprising nonprofits and cooperatives. The MSVF is a team of 9 McGill students from diverse academic backgrounds that are supported by local impact investors and social economy experts. Along with other Social Value Funds across the country, the MSVF aims to create national-at-scale, local-in-scope impact while empowering student leaders to tackle social and environmental issues.
See: https://nsvf.ca/locations/montreal/

SSMU Financial Ethics and Research Committee -- student governed
The Students' Society of McGill University oversees the Financial Ethics and Research Committee that investigates purchasing and investment issues at the Students' Society level, including policymaking, working with investment managers, and the governance process. The SSMU has also done research on ethical investments at the university level and provides advocacy at the Board of Governors (Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility).
See: https://ssmu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Financial-Ethics-Research-Commissioner-Report.pdf?x14259

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:

Events hosted at McGill:
- McGill Sustainability Research Symposium (2019): The Sustainability Research Symposium 2019 focused on the most recent innovations and progress towards a sustainable future. The 9th edition of this symposium highlighted the work of researchers and innovators who are pushing the boundaries of biochemistry, urban architecture, and epidemiology to respond to some of our planet’s most pressing challenges. The event had over 100 attendees, and hosted 4 keynote speakers and 11 student posters. Members from 19 departments in 8 faculties at McGill participated, and the event also welcomed groups and individuals from the wider sustainability community.

- Students Pursuing Opportunities & Knowledge in Environment & Sustainability (SPOKES) conference (2019): This conference strove to bring together existing and potential sustainability champions in a collaborative environment. This conference was created with McGill students in mind, but all community members were welcome. The conference featured leading experts in sustainable food systems and food security, and on how to apply an individual's knowledge to real-world food systems issues.

- the Desautels Business Conference on Sustainability (2019): The Conference was titled "From threat to opportunity" and involved speakers presenting on a variety of themes: "The Tri-sector: a Systemic Approach"; "Corporations as Leaders: Sustainability at Scale"; "Individuals as Leaders: Social Entrepreneurship"; and "New Technologies: Expanding the Horizons."

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:

The Science Undergraduate Society regularly organizes the ECOuture Fashion Show as part of SUS Green Week. The show aims to increase awareness about eco-friendly alternatives to the mainstream fashion industry. The show features sustainability-inspired clothing made by local Montreal designers. Proceeds from the event go to a different local non-profit organization each year. [Last ECOuture event was held in 2018].

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:

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:

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:

Educational Community Living Environment (ECOLE)
ECOLE is a model of urban sustainable living and a physical hub for the McGill and Montreal sustainability communities. Ten upper year McGill students, called ECOLE Facilitators, live in private rooms in the ECOLE House, with shared community resource rooms in the rest of the House. The Facilitators live sustainably, both materially and socially, by incorporating living practices including composting, reducing energy and water use, and using consensus-based decision making and anti-oppressive practices. Facilitators also complete Applied Student Research (ASR) projects on an aspect of sustainability and develop tools and resources to support ASR projects carried out by non-Facilitators. Facilitators make all the common spaces of the ECOLE House available for use free of charge by student and community groups with sustainability mandates.

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

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

McGill Office of Sustainability Internship Program
The McGill Office of Sustainability (MOOS) coaches and mentors interns every year with the objective of providing them with a stimulating and valuable work experience. The interns work to support McGill's sustainability goals and projects in the following areas: communications, engagement, multimedia, sustainable events, Sustainability Projects Fund, and others, as the office needs dictate.
The internship program targets the entire McGill community, including faculty members, staff, and students.

Other employment opportunities, including the MOOS Sustainability Projects Fund Ambassadors, the Food Educators, and the Waste Educators are described in EN-1.


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:

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.