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

STARS v2.2

McGill University
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Karen Oberer
Sustainability Officer
McGill Office of Sustainability
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Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Has the institution held a sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:

Name of the campaign:
Sustainability Projects Fund Referendum

A brief description of the campaign:

In 2017-2018, McGill Office of Sustanability (MOOS) organized a referendum to continue student support of the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF). The campaign efforts targeted students; the goal was to pursuade students to continue contributing to the SPF via fees.

The SPF was formed through student referenda in November 2009 and established a joint funding mechanism whereby the total amount that the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), the Post-graduate Students’ Society (PGSS), and the Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS) students contribute to the fund is matched dollar-for-dollar by the University. Every five years, the SPF is evaluated for renewal. This is contingent upon; (a) all three students’ societies passing referenda in favour of continuing their funding contributions and (b) the University renewing its commitment to match these contributions.

MOOS supported the referendum by planning and coordinating with key stakeholders (including the 3 student groups); helping define the referendum questions; preparing communications materials (e.g., posters, social media advertisements, classroom announcements, emails, etc.); and campaigning for the "Yes" referendum committee.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:

In the end, 84% of students from the three groups combined voted to continue the student contribution to the SPF. McGill University also agreed to continue its matching of student contributions.

In FY2019, the SPF accumulated roughly $985,000 dollars to fund sustainability projects. That year saw: 24 projects funded, 1,625 volunteers engaged, 196 people trained, and over 120 partnerships & collaborations developed. 89% of project teams reported improved knowledge of sustainability and personal growth; 78% of teams reported professional growth.

Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Refill McGill

A brief description of the campaign (2nd campaign):

This campaign was directed at staff and students. On March 22, 2018, World Water Day, McGill announced that it planned to eliminate the sale of single-use plastic water bottles on campus by the end of May 2019, representing 85,000 bottles per year. To help with the transition, McGill committed to installing more water fountains; providing mobile water refill stations for events; and selling affordable reusable water bottles at the McGill Bookstore, Le James.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):

Over the following year the initiative worked toward reducing the number of plastic bottles sold, increasing access to municipal drinking water and raising public awareness as to the benefits of eliminating single-use plastic water bottles on campus. 27 water fountains on campus were either renovated or newly installed. The on-campus sale of water bottles ended in May 2019.

The McGill Office of Sustainability also created a Refill McGill Guide for Event Planners (both staff and students), which demonstrates ways that event planners can avoid purchasing single-use water bottles.

On March 22, 2019, the Quebec-based Eau Secours advocacy organization conferred upon McGill a Communauté bleue designation for the University’s commitment to responsible water management.

A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns:

Since November 2019, the McGill Office of Sustainability has been performing outreach during an extended consultation process in order to develop the next Climate and Sustainability Strategy, due to be released by the end of 2020. The process involves reaching out to hundreds of key stakeholders and McGill community members.

MOOS is currently working with several units and groups across the campuses in order to create a plan that is reflective of the needs and desires of the university as a whole. These partnerships enable stakeholders to dig deeper into the roots of sustainability issues, discuss viable solutions, and distribute the ownership of the strategy's goals and pathways.

MOOS's communications team has worked hard to promote the new strategy in the following ways:
- organizing the #SustayinHome Virtual Art Expo in which McGill community members were invited to submit art pieces which reflected their personal commitment to the sustainability movement. The strategy consultation process was advertised during the expo livestream
- Instagram takeover on February 24, 2020 and July 20th, 2020 during which the strategy consultation process was featured
- Promotion in Office of Sustainability newsletters, as well as the newsletters of several student associations
- Promotion in the “What’s New” a staff and student wide newsletter
- Published multiple articles in McGill’s online newspaper “The Reporter”
- Created an online consultation website for the strategy
- Post #StrategizeSunday posts, along with other strategy-related posts on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube)
- Had electronic posts advertising the consultation process on the front gates of the university
- Run targeted consultations sessions, including vision boarding with the Staff Sustainability Network


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.