Following an intensive assessment, Durham College (DC) has succeeded in achieving a second silver rating from the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), offered through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), for its on-campus sustainability initiatives.
DC first achieved its silver rating in 2017; the college first joined AASHE in 2009 and achieved a bronze STARS rating in 2012. A tremendous amount of work went into achieving and maintaining silver status with employees from numerous departments and schools across DC contributing to the collection of data required to support the application.
Highlights of new initiatives undertaken by DC since first achieving a silver rating include:
- Over 600 courses offered by the college that include social and environmental sustainability themes.
- Launch of a campus-wide Green Office Certification Program.
- The Centre for Collaborative Education became DC’s first LEED certified building.
- Opening of new geothermal field and Energy Innovation Centre at the Oshawa campus.
- Receipt of a SIEMENS research grant for building sustainability into new course curriculum development.
- Recertification of the CFF as a 3-star certified Green Restaurant Association (GRA) facility, and 20 staff members achieving certified GRA green employee status.
Environmental responsibility and sustainability remain key areas of focus for the entire campus community. DC is committed to a path of continuous improvement and sustainable development across both the Oshawa and Whitby campuses and the Pickering Learning Site to increase green activities and operationalize sustainability programs across the college. These include the use of solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, co-mingle waste bins and low-flow toilets, all of which contributed to achieving the silver rating.
STARS is a comprehensive tool that compares the sustainability initiatives of participating colleges and universities by focusing on several key areas including education and research; operations; planning; and administration and engagement, with each category holding a percentage-based score.
AASHE has extensive participation from several universities and colleges throughout North America. This group of institutions creates networking opportunities to advance sustainability through sharing ideas and opening dialogues on behalf of the diverse community AASHE effects. Administrators, faculty, staff and students all contribute to improve sustainability and demonstrate the value of collaboration on these initiatives.