The Climate Crisis
Since 2017, the University of Ottawa has published a yearly report detailing its actions to address the climate crisis. The latest report, published on April 18, 2023, highlights some of the biggest achievements, including uOttawa’s commitment to be the first Canadian University to take the Cool Food Pledge, reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030. This news is in addition to the new transportation infrastructure which includes the installation of 20 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus, as well as a new outdoor bike repair station near the uOttawa LRT station on the main campus.
As the Government of Canada rolled out its new single-use plastics ban this year, the University is responding by encouraging the use of reusable coffee mugs across campus. As an incentive, a 25-cent discount on beverages such as coffee will be given to those who bring their reusable mug. They can also receive a free hot drink after their tenth purchase.
This summer Food Services will be implementing a pilot project at Premiere Moisson which aims to switch their food packaging to a deposit return reusable container program. This swap will eliminate most single-use packaging at that location.
And finally, this year will mark the 2-year anniversary of the Period Project, a program offering free menstrual products on campus that have compostable packaging. There are now seven dispensers in buildings on main campus and at Lees campus.
The University of Ottawa has joined hundreds of institutions across the world and signed the Nature Positive Universities Pledge to have a positive impact on biodiversity. This initiative is reflective of the important greenspace programs that materialized this past year, including the new pollinator garden installed in the Marion Park, the edible landscapes planted around the UCU, and the new bird safe mural at the SITE building.
But biophilia isn’t just for outdoor spaces! This past fall, hundreds of plants were given away to campus community members to spruce up their offices and homes, and a beautiful moss wall was installed at the Wellness Centre in the Sports Complex.
Faculties and Services on campus play an important role in raising awareness about environmental issues and taking the lead on action. The Faculty of Education joined the Accord on Education for a Sustainable Future, an initiative created under the leadership of the Dean of that faculty, while Telfer published a review of their sustainability practices under their 2025 Strategic Plan.
This year also saw some amazing environmental events designed to engage students in a more sustainable lifestyle. This includes the Impact Runway presented by the Ventures Initiative, and the Environmental Bootcamp spearheaded by UOSU’s Sustainability Centre.
Want to make our campus more sustainable?
To learn more about our sustainability initiatives, or to participate in one of them, visit the Office of Campus Sustainability website, write to us at [email protected], or follow the Office on Instagram @uottawasustain.