|Submission Date||May 5, 2020|
University of Victoria
EN-3: Student Life
|2.00 / 2.00||
Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability
Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:
Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:
Name: University of Victoria Sustainability Project (UVSP)
Description: The UVSP actively works towards a socially, ecologically, and economically viable campus community at UVic by running united environmental initiatives, promoting environmental choices, and by formulating and implementing sustainable systems on campus. They provide the campus with a number of different services and activities such as hosting informational and engaging events on campus to promote sustainable practices; provide grants for campus projects for undergraduate, graduate, and alumni students; and provide connections with other sustainability groups and services on campus.
Name: Environmental Studies Students Association (ESSA)
Description: ESSA is the Undergraduate Course Union for Environmental Studies at UVic. They meet regularly to organize a variety of sustainable projects and events including ecological restoration work-parties, charity fundraisers, ethnobotanical nature walks, and many other activities that are focused around environmental activism. Students have the chance to volunteer at these various events, and can be provided with references for future jobs or volunteer opportunities upon completion of their work with ESSA.
Name: The Community Cabbage
Description: The Community Cabbage is a student organization that aims to decrease food waste while increasing access to healthy food for UVic students. They work to achieve this goal by serving a free weekly hot meal to the campus community that is prepared from reclaimed food. This food is donated from nearby grocery stores that deem the food items edible but unsellable. A group of student volunteers turn these ingredients into a healthy and delicious vegetarian meal at a community kitchen, where anyone is welcome to join in on cooking and/or eating.
Name: The Ecological Restoration Volunteer Network (ERVN)
Description: ERVN is a student-led initiative that began in the University of Victoria’s Restoration of Natural Systems program. They recognize that invasive species are a threat to natural areas and ecosystems on a global scale, and focus on the removal of invasive species on the university campus. In place of the invasive species removed, native species that are beneficial to the local ecosystems are planted. They aim to further their initiative by building a large community of students that are passionate about restoring ecosystems. They are currently building this community by offering opportunities to engage in discussions, share resources, and gain practical restoration skills. These opportunities include various workshops, training sessions, field trips, restoration endeavors on campus, and the maintenance of a native plant garden and nursery. ERVN takes their work beyond campus by providing helping hands needed for successful implementation of restoration projects within the Greater Victoria Community.
Name: The UVSS Food Bank and Free Store
Description: The UVSS Food Bank and Free Store is run by a team of dedicated student staff and volunteers, and provides all UVic students with access to food essentials and free household items in the face of rising costs of tuition, housing, childcare and food. These items are donated by people that no longer need these resources, thereby reducing waste and supporting a more connected, sustainable community. Although the focus of the Free Store is on UVic students, it is open to faculty and staff members as well.
Name: UVic Parks Club
Description: The UVic Parks Club is a dedicated collective of students who love nature and want to make a positive impact on regional, provincial, and federal parks through participating in conservation projects around southern Vancouver Island. They provide students with educational and engaging events that take place both on and off campus, including restoration projects, workshops, plant walks and more. Furthermore, they involve students in healthy activities by organizing various trips to explore parks around Victoria and Vancouver Island.
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:
Name: Campus Community Garden
Description: The Campus Community Garden provides a space where students can engage in topics related to sustainable urban agriculture such as food security, permaculture, composting, organic gardening, native plant propagation, and local organic food production. The Community Garden operates under an organic gardening model whose best practices exclude the use of pesticides and GMO’s, and works to support the ecology of the surrounding area by planting local species and supporting pollinators. The Garden also fosters practices and teachings surrounding food security by designating specific garden plots as “Giving Gardens” in which food plants are grown and all food harvested is given to food banks or to UVic students to promote food accessibility.
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:
Within the Student Union Building (SUB) on campus, there are nine Student Run Businesses that are social enterprises owned and operated by the students’ society. According to the University of Victoria Students’ Society website, “All businesses are designed with students’ needs in mind and strive to be as environmentally sustainable and socially conscious as possible”. These businesses are:
- Bean There Café
- Catering & Conferences
- Felicita’s Campus Pub
- Health Food Bar (HFB)
- Munchie Bar
- The Grill
- Zap Copy
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:
Name: Campus Sustainability Fund
Description: The Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) empowers students and other members of the university community to create stakeholder-driven projects that build on the most current Sustainability Action Plan and advance leadership in sustainability. The Fund provides one-time allocations to projects that focus on energy or water savings, sustainability awareness or learning opportunity. It provides seed money for projects or money for a continuing project for incremental changes. Since 2016, the CSF has approved and funded 24 projects in total. Of these 24 projects, 21 of them took place between 2017 and 2019.
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:
Ideafest is the University of Victoria’s annual research festival that showcases the ideas of faculty, students and staff from across the University. At this event, new and emerging research is explained, debated, re-worked and brought to life in a range of creative panels, workshops, exhibits, presentations, performances and tours. For example, Ideafest 2019 featured over 40 events on topics ranging from women’s rights and climate change to deep sea research and the latest in regenerative medicine.
Seminar: Climate Change, International Law and the Green Economy (August 28, 2018)
The Centre of International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), University of Victoria Faculty of Law, International Law Association (ILA) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network of Canada (SDSN) hosted a two hour seminar on Climate Change, International Law and the Green Economy. The seminar addressed the importance of law for climate change, and how legal and governance reform could support the realization of all green economy sustainable development goals.
Film Presentation and Panel Discussion: Beyond Climate Impacts…To Solutions (March 9, 2019)
As part of Ideafest at UVic, David Suzuki and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) presented a screening and discussion of Ian Mauro’s latest film, Beyond Climate. The film explores the climate impacts facing the places and people of British Columbia. After the screening, event attendees were able to engage with panelists Suzuki, Mauro, PICS executive director Sybil Seitzinger, Heiltsuk First Nation hereditary chief Frank Brown and special guests as they examined different ways of advancing climate solutions.
Humboldt’s Planet: Cosmos, Gaia, and the Coming of the Anthropocene (September 13, 2019)
Prof. Laura Dassow Walls gave a talk on how Alexander von Humboldt’s concept of nature acquires new urgency in the present transition to the Anthropocene, the epoch in which humanity has become ‘a geological force’. Her lecture was followed by a full day of keynote presentations and roundtables on Humboldt and the Anthropocene.
Greg Hill’s Electric Adventures (October 8, 2019)
Greg Hill, one of Canada’s foremost ski mountaineers, is committed to sustainable adventuring. He came to UVic to discuss how electric vehicles have transformed the way he explores the outdoors, debunking myths and misconceptions about them along the way. The event’s purpose was to promote the shift towards electric vehicles in B.C., and was supported by UVic’s Community and Government Relations unit.
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:
Ego to Eco: An Art Event (November 25, 2019) – the Ego to Eco Art Event was put on to raise awareness for the importance of reconnecting to the other than human world in the face of our ecological crisis. It involved visual, musical and literary art to better connect people on a visceral and emotional level to the living world around them.
Community-painted Mural Installation in Campus Bike Center (May, 2019) – A new mural designed by a UVic Visual Arts Student was painted on the East wall of the Campus Bike Center. The UVic community participated in painting the mural through a paint-by-numbers activity that filled in the stencil of the mural. The mural shows a Victoria-like landscape, with three cyclists at the center of the mural enjoying their sustainable transportation. The new mural was a celebration of the intersections of art, sustainability, and community.
Testify! Indigenous Laws + the Arts (September 29, 2018) – The UVic Legacy Art Gallery hosted this project as a celebration of Indigenous Laws as expressed through art. The dialogue that was invited by the Testify project put the idea of reconciliation into practice by creating a space for both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians to imagine a way forward which respects and reflects the diversity, strength, and hope embodied within Indigenous traditions.
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:
University of Victoria Outdoors Club (ODC)
The ODC is a student-run club of outdoor enthusiasts at the University of Victoria. They frequently organize trips to explore the coasts, forests, and mountains of Vancouver Island and beyond. These trips range from introductory to more advanced, and may range from day trips to overnight excursions. They enjoy hiking, rock-climbing, backpacking, snowshoeing, bike-touring, camping, paddling and all manners of self-propelled adventure. Throughout their many trips, they practice the Leave No Trace Principles, as they are informally representing the University of Victoria wherever they go. They take effective measures to ensure their trips are thoroughly planned ahead, they camp on durable surfaces, they dispose of their waste properly, leave what they find, minimize campfire impacts, are respectful of wildlife and are considerate of other visitors.
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:
Living Learning Communities – Sustainability Community
Residence Services at UVic offer ten different Living Learning Communities (LLCs) to enliven first year students’ residence experience and to enhance their learning. These residence communities all have different themes, and encourage interaction by bringing together students with shared interests or areas of study. In the Sustainability Community, first year students can explore sustainable living practices, understand human influences and their effects on the environment, and learn to reduce their own carbon footprint. Students focus on identifying changes they can make to their behavior in order to integrate sustainable practices into their everyday activities. In addition, students participate in initiatives beyond their daily activities so they may further their positive impact on the environment. Students are further urged to take a leadership role for events that promote and expand their understanding of living a sustainable life. This community welcomes students from all fields of study.
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:
Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability, Student Co-op position (Sustainability Intern)
Throughout the academic year, the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability offers one or two co-op student positions. In this position, co-op students have the chance to see up close and in-depth how sustainability is integrated into all aspects of a higher education institution. They also work on the engagement, outreach, research and the administrative side of large sustainability projects and initiatives in collaboration with many staff, students and faculty across campus. This provides them with the real-world skills and knowledge that is needed to work in the sustainability sector of the community beyond campus.
Work Study Program
The Work Study Program at UVic is aimed at providing additional financial assistance to students with documented financial need through on-campus part-time employment opportunities. These employment opportunities are listed under different departments and centers, many of which have a strong focus on sustainability including but not limited to: Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability, Environmental Studies, Equity and Human Rights, Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Forest Biology. Within these departments, many different employment positions offer students career experience in sustainability-focused jobs.
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:
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.