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Red River College receives green thumbs up

April 15, 2019

Winnipeg, MB – Red River College is abuzz once again and it’s not just the honeybees. This time paper reduction is taking a front-seat, even ahead of electric vehicles and urban beekeeping, as one of the many innovative and green initiatives that has once again landed Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning on Canada’s Greenest Employer list for the ninth straight year.

This annual award recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs that continue to successfully engage staff in their sustainability efforts on campus and at home. Staff surveys consistently show that 90 per cent of RRC’s staff and faculty believe sustainability needs to be a priority in all College operations. It continues to be a key strategic priority for Red River College and is a fundamental part of the College’s Strategic Plan.

“Organizational sustainability is a journey without a final destination at Red River College,” said Sara MacArthur, director of sustainability. “We must continually adapt to use resources more efficiently and reduce impacts by implementing new programs, embracing innovation and fostering a culture of sustainability among staff, students and stakeholders, and we are proud to say what we’re doing is working.”

One area where staff have really gone green this year is the Mechanical Engineering Technology department, where a group of instructors worked with the College’s Sustainability Office to reduce their overall paper consumption by 23 per cent over which worked out to 11,672 sheets of paper. Not only did that mean less paper use in their department, but it also resulted in a cost-savings of 33 per cent and earned them the College’s Sustainability Leadership Award.

“Staff and student engagement is critical for the success of any of the sustainability projects that we initiate, and we have seen that many areas of the College eager to get involved and make positive change within their departments,” said MacArthur. “We are fortunate to have a variety of individuals throughout the organization who are committed to sustainability and take initiative, over and above their job duties, to advance sustainability and inspire others”

Green transportation continues to be top of mind at the College and it didn’t just stop at the creation of the City of Winnipeg’s first all-electric transit bus either. Through the College’s applied research initiatives, staff, students and visitors now have access to seven multi-level electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Notre Dame Campus.

That means staff, students, and even visitors at RRC have an option to charge their car in as little as 30 minutes, using our Level 3 rapid charging station, one of the first of its kind in Manitoba, or they can plug-in to one of our Level 1 or 2 charging stations to top up their car while they’re on-campus.

Another exciting initiative is the College’s urban beekeeping project that is operated in partnership with Beeproject Apiaries. RRC has three hives installed on the rooftop of the Notre Dame Campus and three on the fourth floor patio of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, and together these hives yielded nearly 200kgs of honey last year that was sold at the College-run farmers’ markets held throughout the year.

Throughout the summer, staff and students had the opportunity to visit the hives and learn about the important role bees play in our food system.