Member Interest Articles

Happy Earth Day 2022

Happy Earth Day from the USask Office of Sustainability!

The world has changed a great deal in the past two years and we’ve had to stay on our toes to make campus a more sustainable place despite the ever-changing circumstances. Sustainability still remains a complex realm stitching together all aspects of campus life to reduce our overall impacts and help transform the world for the better; however, with the shifting away from campus many of us have experienced due to COVID-19, being agile and taking advantage of opportunities to improve campus has never been more important.

One of the greatest opportunities we saw with the decrease in population was its timing with our Optimizing Energy Efficiency collaboration with the Government of Canada. This sprawling project is taking a deep dive into the infrastructure of campus to improve building systems and envelopes to bring them into the modern era, reducing energy requirements, greenhouse gas emissions, and utility costs along the way. These small changes can have massive long-term impacts. A simple isolation damper replacement at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, for example, has saved the university an annual amount of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to burning 8,520L of gasoline. The cumulative benefits of this project will be critical in our journey towards the university’s goal of a 40% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching towards net-zero emissions by 2050. If you are interested in learning more about the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and strategies to achieve these goals, we encourage you to read more about it all in our latest available Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report.

Away from our buildings, we’ve been working hard to advance sustainability across our educational and research realms during the pandemic. Erin Akins, a member of the Office of Sustainability, shifted her position to the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Excellence to help advance these efforts. Much work has been put into expanding the potential for sustainability content across all USask degree programs and increasing access to microcredentials and certificate programs to further integrate these concepts. They’ve also been working to develop a Sustainability Fellows program, which will help dedicated faculty members engage in peer education and development to help other faculty and researchers integrate sustainability learning outcomes into their courses and adapt their research to address current issues in sustainability.

The Office of Sustainability remains a far-ranging group that touches nearly every part of campus life. For those who may be unfamiliar with our office, a quick trip to sustainability.usask.ca will give you an overview of just how many programs and initiatives we oversee to help make campus a better place. This year, the Office will undergo its greatest change ever with the hiring of a Chief Sustainability Officer reporting directly to the President’s Office. We are eager to meet our new campus leader in sustainability and further operationalize the great ideals set forth in the university’s 2021-2030 Sustainability Strategy.

For any questions, comments, or concerns you have regarding sustainability in any form on campus, always feel free to reach out to sustainability@usask.ca. We love engaging people in action for sustainability and we’d love hearing more about how we can best serve all of the members of the USask community.

Matt Wolsfeld, Community Engagement Coordinator

USask Office of Sustainability