Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.71
Liaison Sharmilla Raj
Submission Date May 6, 2024

STARS v2.2

Toronto Metropolitan University
EN-2: Student Orientation

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

Are the following students provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability?:
Yes or No
First-year students Yes
Transfer students Yes
Entering graduate students Yes

Percentage of all entering students that are provided an opportunity to participate in orientation activities and programming that prominently include sustainability:
100

A brief description of how sustainability is included prominently in new student orientation :
Toronto Metropolitan University begins educating students on sustainability as soon as they arrive on campus. During the summer, the Sustainability Office trains student orientation volunteers/ leaders on campus sustainability issues related to energy, waste, and green living. These leaders then participate in Orientation Week engagement events. The Sustainability Office hosts an information booth during Orientation Week for incoming first year students, transfer students, and graduate students during the Fall and Spring semesters to provide incoming students with information and opportunities to participate in sustainability activities at TMU. The Sustainability Office also partners with orientation staff to ensure that sustainability measures are incorporated into orientation events. For instance, we have trained waste monitors as part of our Zero-waste Team, to stand by waste sorting stations to educate students on how to properly sort their waste on campus. The Sustainability Office works exceptionally hard to ensure that we are present at every engagement event possible during Orientation.

Some example of events the Sustainability Office participates in are:

Take the Sustainability Pledge - Whether you’re an expert environmentalist or just getting started, the Sustainability Pledge can help you find ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
The pledge takes approximately two minutes to complete and invites you to commit to eight actions that contribute to a more sustainable university and community. Students are also invited to take the pledge in-person at the Campus Services and Involvement Fair, chat with our team and grab a free succulent (while supplies last).
By taking the pledge, you will have the option to be added to our listserv, which will allow you to stay up to date on sustainability news, events, and opportunities at TMU!

Campus Services and Involvement Fair - The campus services and involvement fair stations student groups, clubs, and different departments to promote the services, support, and opportunities that TMU offers to students. The Sustainability Office holds a station to educate students about the sustainability related features of the TMU campus as well as the opportunities offered. In addition to the Sustainability Office assigned station, the office advertised and hosted a pop-up Free Store, promoting the campus’s recently opened second hand store. During the 2022 Orientation week, the Sustainability Office introduced the Sustainability Ambassador program to all newcomers. Upon completion, the students received a succulent plants, as well as zero-waste swag and Evergreen swag, which drew in a lot of attention and received positive feedback. A collage of National Geographic images highlighting plastic pollution was displayed on the table. This visual piece drew in a lot of students and was a conversation starter for many about disposable waste and plastic pollution.

Eco Vibrant Art Competition - The Sustainability Office has teamed up with Orientation Week’s Nuit Vibrant for a fourth year in a row to host a night full of art and inspiration called Eco Vibrant. This year, the sustainability office requested to participate alongside Nuit Vibrant with a sustainability-themed art competition called Eco Vibrant. Eco Vibrant is meant to raise awareness of plastic pollution and consumption through art pieces made of 100% recycled or up-cycled materials. The competition had a cash prize for the top three winners, and was judged by Sharmilla Raj and Lauren based on a given criterion. Students were also given the opportunity to vote.

Pop-up Free Store - The Sustainability Office will be hosting a Pop-up Free Store during O-week - a one-stop shop for TMU students to pick-up secondhand treasures. Students are able to choose from a variety of free items like office supplies, electronics, home decor, kitchen supplies, and books.

Sustainability Scavenger Hunt - The Sustainability Office hosts a campus-wide scavenger hunt during Orientation. This scavenger hunt is open to all TMU students. Students enter a draw and work in groups to complete a set of question uncovering how Toronto Metropolitan University is striving to become a greener campus. The winners of the scavenger hunt are rewarded $100 Presto Card and a TMU-branded sweatshirt from the Campus Store.

Sustainability Campus Tour - The Sustainability Office hosts a tour of TMU's campus with a Sustainability lens. Aspects of campus design and planning that will be explored include energy efficient and low carbon buildings, responsible waste management, urban food security initiatives, spaces to honour ongoing Indigenous reconciliation, and low-impact development initiatives that foster integration of local ecosystems with human activity. By the end of the tour, students gain a fresh perspective on sustainable design and operations when passing through institutional and commercial spaces.

Orientation Festival - O’Fest hosts numerous sponsored companies like Sephora, Lyft, and Bunz. These companies are not directly affiliated with TMU, but promoted many services and discounts that target students. The sustainability office stationed themselves near the FMD table and focused on promoting the waste engagement survey. Two volunteers were recruited for waste monitoring, but helped out with the table event due to low monitoring opportunities.

Street Fest - Street Fest is an outdoor festival where numerous student groups, sponsored companies, and departments station themselves along campus. During this event, the sustainability office set up a table with our waste hauler, Anthony. Anthony spoke with some of our volunteers about waste management and what happens once it leaves campus. Both the trivia game and the waste diversion game were played during the festival. Our four-stream waste bin was positioned beside our table, along with the National Geographic collage for a visual component.

Wellness Station - The Wellness Station is a place where students can escape from the chaos happening on campus and interact with students and faculty about health related inquiries. The wellness room hosted a bring your own lunch event, which the sustainability office felt fit with their theme of reusable materials and waste reduction. For our event, we gave a quick presentation and had two participants play the waste reduction game.

Pancake Breakfasts - Two waste monitors were stationed outside the TMSU every morning for the Pancake Breakfast. This location was chosen because it had a lot of foot traffic, and consisted of large amounts of plates, cutlery, and food waste. A large organics bin, and a three-stream landfill, organics, and mixed-recycling bin was requested and placed outside the TMSU each morning. The bins were moved in front of a large outdoor garbage bin to prevent students from tossing their waste incorrectly, and to ensure students engaged with the volunteers. Most students sat near the TMSU to finish their food, but some took their plates to go which limited our ability to monitor their disposal. The volunteers were encouraged to stop students before they tossed their items and engage with them about proper waste disposal.

Salad King Lunches - Four waste monitors were recruited to stand near the Salad King Lunch. A large organics bin, and a three-stream landfill, organics, and mixed-recycling bin was requested and placed along Gould Street. The bins were moved in front of a large outdoor garbage bin in order to prevent incorrect waste disposal. This event was chosen due to the high foot traffic and popularity of Salad King. Salad King provided compostable food containers and cutlery; the containers could be disposed of in the organics, but the cutlery had to be thrown into landfill.

In an effort to further enhance our participation in Orientation we developed a program called F.R.E.S.H. which is an initiative that aims to ensure that sustainability is incorporated into new student orientation. F.R.E.S.H. recognizes that sustainability is interwoven into many aspects of life, each letter representing a daily theme. The following are on and off-campus groups with which we collaborated during tabling events across campus; Food: Partnered with TMU Eats on OZZI program, had representation from Good Food Centre; Recycling: What Waste Goes Where game station, Waste Monitor volunteer program, and had a Rep from Waste Reduction Groups, our private waste hauler, come talk to students; Energy: Centre for Urban Energy present, and we discussed our own energy projects (submetering and dashboard); Sustainability: TMU Urban Water, WWF Canada tabling collaborations; and Health and wellness: TMU Bike Club bike repair station, and, Mood Routes program promotion. By highlighting the services of the groups listed above, students learned how to get involved with sustainability on the TMU campus. We hosted 13 on-campus events and reached approximately 2500 incoming students.

Website URL where information about sustainability in student orientation is available:
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.