Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.92
Liaison Mat Thijssen
Submission Date Oct. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Waterloo
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mat Thijssen
Sustainability Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" 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:

Founded in 2018, Impact Alliance is a student-run club focused on mobilizing youth action on the Sustainable Development Goals. They engage students from various disciplines through workshops, training modules, digital campaigns, and larger conferences/events. In addition, WUSA Sustainability Initiative (WSI) provides opportunities for student leadership and involvement, as do the Climate Students, Campus Compost, and other clubs. There are many other active student groups that are focused on specific aspects of sustainability (https://uwaterloo.ca/sustainability/get-involved/student-groups).

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 Community Garden Project is a student run initiative that aims to create a community of sustainability conscious individuals who are driven to improve food accessibility in the community while highlighting sustainability issues in food production. The garden also acts as an educational tool to demonstrate that students can grow their own produce in a sustainable and financially accessible way.

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:

ES Coffee Shop – The Environmental Studies Coffee Shop is a student run coffee shop operated in EV1-138. The Coffee Shop is dedicated to offering premium quality coffee and foods from local shops while maintaining high environmental standards. Their coffee is Fair Trade certified and is roasted locally in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Their Policy Statement clearly recognizes and prioritizes exemplifying social and environmental leadership in operations of the Coffee Shop (p25 of the attached: https://uwaterloo.ca/environment-students-society/sites/ca.environment-students-society/files/uploads/files/ess_constitution_november_2019.pdf).The Coffee Shop is operated by volunteers, and managed by two University of Waterloo students (taken from: http://ess.uwaterloo.ca/coffee-shop/) In addition, WUSA is launching a new secondhand clothing store as a social venture to provide students with low-cost gently used items while preventing waste to landfill from clothing.

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:

Sustainability Action Fund – The Sustainability Action Fund (SAF) supports projects and initiatives that improve sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Project funds are distributed based on a call for applications, with successful applications determined by the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (PACES). Any student, staff, or faculty is able to apply to the fund. (https://uwaterloo.ca/sustainability/get-involved/sustainability-action-fund)

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:

Numerous conferences have taken place focusing specifically on Student Engagement in the SDGs, including but not limited to the Global Solutions Conference in 2019, Canadian Conference on Sustainability in Engineering in 2020, and the SDG Impact Challenge hackathon in 2021.

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:

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (KI) program at the University participate in an annual Knowledge Integration eXhibition (KIX) to fulfill their capstone program requirement. Since 2018, the KIX exhibits have focused on the Sustainable Development Goals. Students are responsible for selecting a topic, establishing learning objectives, designing information/activities, and ultimately producing an exhibit. The installations are displayed in the Faculty of Environment Courtyard for one week; students, staff, and faculty from across campus are welcome and encouraged to attend. In 2019, student teams created five exhibits, including installations on waste reduction and socially sustainable communities. (https://uwaterloo.ca/knowledge-integration-exhibition/kix-2019)

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:

.): The Ecology Lab provides opportunities to engage with the University of Waterloo community, prospective students, local schools, and even internationally through their established outreach programs. They offer field and lab activities designed for students, including enrichment programs, workshops, and competitions. (https://uwaterloo.ca/ecology-lab/outreach-workshops). In addition, the Sustainability Office often hosts workshops on various sustainability skills and resources for sustainable living.

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

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

Waterloo’s Sustainability Office regularly hires multiple co-op students to assist in the coordination of events, campaigns, research projects, and program implementation. Similar roles have been hired in Plant Operations to support energy and waste management initiatives.

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:

Multiple design teams on campus including:
1) Midnight Sun Solar Team – Founded in 1988, the Midnight Sun Team arose with the concept of a solar powered bike. Named after the natural phenomenon in the Arctic, the Midnight Sun is when the sun remains visible for 24 hours a day during the summer – the ideal situation for sustainable solar power. As the largest student run project on campus, they have moved on from bikes to designing and producing world-class solar race cars for competitions around the globe. With a team of almost all University of Waterloo undergraduates and funding from sponsors, they have managed to build and race 12 solar race cars. (http://www.uwmidsun.com/)
2) UW Alternative Fuels Team – Formed in 1996, the UW Alternative Fuels Teams focuses on technology changes in vehicles to make them more environmentally friendly, including conversions for electric vehicles. (https://uwaterloo.ca/alternative-fuels-team/)
3) Warrior Home – Formed in 2018, this student design team is focused on working with local partners do design home concepts that are affordable and meet net-zero-energy requirements. They have worked collaboratively with Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region in the past. They compete annually in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon (https://uwaterloo.ca/sedra-student-design-centre/directory-teams/warrior-home)

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Many of the above initiatives, student groups, clubs, and societies are available online on the Sustainability Website: https://uwaterloo.ca/sustainability/get-involved/student-groups

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.