Green Ribbon Awards

The Green Ribbon Awards recognize outstanding achievements in campus sustainability.  Awards are made for the nominee’s direct contribution to the minimization of negative impacts on the environment, the conservation of natural resources or the promotion of biodiversity on campus. Alternatively, their contribution may have increased awareness of the need for environmentally sustainable behaviour; encouraged and assisted members of the university community to adopt more environmentally sustainable behaviour; or helped establish a campus culture allowing this to happen.

There are four categories:

  • Student
  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • External business or partner

Nominations can be made for an individual, group, committee, or department.  The nomination period for the 2017 awards is now open!

To make a nomination, please submit the name of the nominee(s), the category they are being nominated for, and a paragraph of approximately 200 words describing why they should be considered for the award.

Nominations should be sent to Chelsea Dalton, at chelsea.dalton@utoronto.ca.  Nominations must be received by Friday, March 17th at 5 pm.

Past winners are listed below:

2014

Student:  UTM Residence Council is an elected student body committed to the enrichment of the quality of life of all residence students.  As part of this commitment, Residence Council offers events and trips to students.  One of these events is the “Envirolympics”, which is typically held in 2 parts each year:  an afternoon event in the fall and a half-day conference in the spring.

The Envirolympics events pair student teams with staff and faculty members to carry out litter pickup on campus, among other environment-themed activities.  In this friendly competition, teams compete against each other to see who can collect the most litter and the most interesting piece of litter.  This gives students an opportunity to meet other likeminded students and get directly involved in improving the environment at UTM.

The Environmental Affairs Office has been invited to present at the Envirolympics, and has given a presentation on UTM’s Green Features for the past 2 years.  This gives students an opportunity to become educated about the projects that UTM has undertaken on campus to improve the environment, as well as letting them know how they can get involved.  The Envirolympics has also involved tours of UTM’s geothermal system on the Instructional Centre.

By holding the Envirolympics events and encouraging residence students to adopt environmentally-friendly habits, UTM Residence Council is actively contributing to a healthier environment, both on and off campus.

Staff: For the past decade the theatre staff has been investigating changing over the incandescent stage lighting equipment to LED stage lighting units as the new technology has been developing. We started with a few experimental units in 2008/09. Then in 2010, at the MiST Theatre, we exchanged 12,000 watts of overhead stage lighting to 972 watts of LED stage lighting fixtures. At Erindale Studio Theatre in 2013 we took out of service 18,000 watts of cyclorama lighting and replaced it with 400 watts of new LED lighting.

Replacement of these fixture has meant a reduction in cost for electricity, lower HVAC costs, a more comfortable auditorium for our audience, improved flexibility for our stage lighting system, reduced maintenance costs and the knowledge that we are contributing to the environment. 

Our next goal is to replace 62,000 watts of overhead lighting at Erindale Studio Theatre and 10,000 watts of cyclorama lighting at the MiST Theatre with LED fixtures.  We also have a small performance space opening up in the new Deerfield Hall this summer that will be 90% LED fixtures.

Faculty:  Initially, I was apprehensive entering John Currie’s Writing About the Environment and Ecology class. The idea of writing about trees just made my eyes glaze over. But of course, I wouldn’t be nominating him for this award if my demeanor hadn’t changed. Through Professor Currie’s guidance and encouragement, I learned the importance of the environment, and noticed my connection with nature. In class, we discussed several interesting topics I wasn’t aware of - environmental conservation, salmon breeding, sustainability, and everyday connections to nature, among others. Environmental issues started to matter. In one of my assignments, I learned about the geothermal heating and cooling system implicated at UTM’s Instructional Building. The geothermal system gave a new meaning to saving energy and sustainability, and made me want to be part of this new wave of change. So I do what I can, and turn off the lights when they aren’t needed, recycle, and take short showers. I believe that this consciousness was only possible once I had become more open-minded about real environmental stories and issues, and that’s all thanks to Professor Currie.

External:  Call 2 Recycle has been collecting UTM’s batteries for recycling since 2013.  While the Environmental Affairs Office has been collecting batteries from campus community members for many years for environmentally responsible disposal, they had previously been unable to be recycled.  While recycling programs for lithium-ion and other rechargeable batteries are numerous, recyclers of alkaline household batteries were much rarer.   In early 2013, a group of students from the Environmental Sustainability Practicum course, ENV 232, were charged with finding the best way to dispose of these batteries.  The students recommended using Call 2 Recycle’s battery recycling program.  Call 2 Recycle has since picked up over 500 lbs of batteries from UTM for recycling.  Best of all, this program is run at no cost to UTM!

Call 2 Recycle’s program has made disposal of used batteries at UTM easy, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly.

2013

Student:  Moe Qureshi was instrumental in bringing the Sierra Youth Coalition’s Sustainable Campuses Conference to UTM in the fall of 2012.  This conference brought together students from all across Canada to discuss, learn, and organize.  Moe was also extremely involved in the planning of the conference, including securing Maude Barlow as the keynote speaker.  Moe’s careful planning and organization helped ensure the success of the conference.

In addition, Moe held a position on the Green Team as Student Eco-Network Coordinator.  In this position, he helped to strengthen the Envirohub (formerly the UTM Environmental Alliance) by creating a new website.  Moe also planned a movie night as part of the Green Daze events, and attended events held by Campus Roots, the Student Association for Geography and Environment, and the UTM Urban Agriculture Society.  Moe’s work has greatly raised the profile of environmental activities on campus.

Moe’s dedication to the environment is exceptional – when the department of Facilities Management & Planning had a potluck, Moe brought ceramic dishes for everyone from home to avoid the use of disposables.

Staff:  Matt Malcolm has been extremely helpful to the Environmental Affairs Office and the Green Team in facilitating UTM’s recycling programs.  Besides facilitating the pickup of printer cartridges and electronic waste for recycling, Matt has also introduced year-round electronic waste collection, allowing faculty, staff, and students to recycle e-waste at any time, instead of having to wait for designated dates.  In addition, Matt has been proactive in suggesting improvements to UTM’s collection systems, from providing advice on creating new printer cartridge collection bins to providing battery collection buckets.  Matt’s work has helped to increase UTM’s diversion rates and improve the range of recycling services offered.

Faculty: Amrita Daniere had the idea for a new program, the Master of Science in Sustainability Management, and has seen this idea through to completion.  

The MScSM is a 20-month professional masters’ program designed to educate students to act outside the traditional disciplinary black boxes; integrate knowledge from management, social and natural sciences to address sustainability issues; and make leading contributions and lasting advances in sustainability management.   The MScSM degree is for individuals who want to pursue management careers in sustainability-related divisions and organizations in private, public and non-government sectors. 

The Master of Science in Sustainability Management program was approved in February 2013, and is set to launch in September 2014.

External: Aevitas Inc. has been recycling UTM’s used lamps – including fluorescent lamps - since 2006.  In 2011 alone, Aevitas recycled 4,503 of UTM’s lamps, diverting a total of 1,304.7 kg of glass, 16.59 kg of metals, 20.24 kg of phosphor and 0.138 kg of mercury from landfill.  In addition, Aevitas collects light ballasts, including PCB-containing ballasts, for recycling or appropriate disposal.  Aevitas has helped to make the process of recycling these items quick, simple, and easy, increasing UTM’s diversion rates and increasing recycling.

2012

Student:  Brad Allen worked to reduce waste on campus by pushing forward the water-bottle free campaign on campus. Once the new fountains had been installed on campus, Brad began a new project to reduce the volume of compostable material that is being shipped to landfills. In addition to a best-practices report regarding compost and universities that Brad delivered in the summer of 2011, he also initiated a compost program in the Instructional Centre with Second Cup. Now the coffee grounds and some other compostable material is taken weekly from the IC to the campus research garden. Without Brad, many sustainability initiatives would not have been realized on campus.

Staff:  Laura Ferlito joined the Office of the Registrar as an Academic Advisor in September of 2011.  She quickly became an active and influential member of our team going above and beyond her duties.  In March of 2012, on her own initiative, she introduced the Garbage2Garden program, a UTM Greenhouse project, to the Office of the Registrar.  Laura has enthusiastically encouraged all 40+ members of our large office to place their fruit and vegetable waste, egg shells, tea leaves, and coffee grounds in the bin.  She has recruited a bucket brigade to regularly exchange the full bins with empty ones from the greenhouse and has everyone thinking twice before they automatically empty their waste into the usual garbage cans.  Members of the Keurig coffee club will even pry open their used K-cups to empty the grounds into the Garbage2Garden bin!  As a direct result of her initiative and effort, Laura has successfully implemented a program that has made an impact on how the staff in the Office of the Registrar think about the environment when dealing with their garbage, not just in the office but in their homes.

Faculty:  The Department of Geography has pledged to transitions all 50+ classes to a paper-free system using modern digital technologies such as the Blackboard learning management system. An audit of paper consumption in the Department led to a decision to take action and to make a change to procedure.  This initiative will result in paper printouts being used only for some tests where other tests and exams may utilize innovative digital options. All courses will have a paper-free syllabus and will eliminate the provision of paper handouts. Thousands of sheets of paper will be reduced through this initiative.

External:  A strong partnership has developed between the UTM campus and our primary transit provider, Miway, since the U-Pass program started in 2007. Most recently, Miway has agreed to pilot a summer part-time U-Pass program in addition to the regular term and summer pass program for full-time students. Miway has been flexible and diplomatic during this process and continues to offer reliable and inexpensive transportation options for our students. Over 90 percent of the student population uses the U-Pass program and the U-Pass has significantly reduced the stress on campus parking lots and local greenhouse gas emissions.