For the 10th year in a row, Red River College has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. To mark the milestone, the College is inviting staff and the public to use their backyard gardens to “grow a row” to help those in need.
“Red River College takes to heart the belief that sustainability is a journey without a final destination,” says Sara MacArthur, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability at RRC. “We’re proud of today’s recognition because it highlights not only the past year’s achievements, but our long-term commitment to a greener future. Our staff and students planted the seeds of our sustainability initiatives, nurtured them, expanded our garden — and now we see the results flourishing.”
“Growing a better, greener future is a high priority for the entire Red River College community,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Office. “Our achievements are a testament to the leadership of our Sustainability team, who engaged and focused the efforts of RRC staff, students and partners across eight campuses and over an entire decade. We couldn’t be more proud.”
This year’s award recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs, and staff engagement in wide-ranging sustainability efforts such as reducing waste and energy consumption, campus greening, composting programs, community maker markets, environmentally friendly building management, and sustainable transportation.
The College is inviting everyone to join in this commitment by literally growing a garden of their own. RRC is once again participating in Winnipeg Harvest’s annual Grow-a-Row project by planting vegetables in their on-campus garden and donating the harvest to Winnipeggers in need, including Red River College students.
MacArthur (shown above, with gloves) says adding your own home-grown vegetables to RRC’s fall bounty is a great way to make a difference.
“While we can’t all be on campus together this year because of COVID-19, we can still collectively support sustainability from home while fighting food scarcity,” she says. “This year in particular, food security is top of mind for many of us. Growing, cultivating and preserving your own food can benefit not only you and your family, but your community.”
Last year the College broke its own record by donating 4,270 pounds of carrots, beets, onions, pumpkins and potatoes. Since it began in 1986, Grow-A-Row has yielded millions of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables supporting the food security initiatives within our greater community.
To join this year’s efforts, sign up here.
2019 Sustainability Achievements at RRC
- RRC enhanced its ongoing support for sustainable transportation by installing four transit screens at key locations on two of its Winnipeg campuses. These screens let riders know exactly when their bus is coming. The College already offers a subsidized bus pass to staff and students, cycling amenities, a bike rental program, electric vehicle charging stations, and more.
- The College created a pollinator garden at its Notre Dame Campus full of pollen- and nectar-producing plants to provide abundant food sources for pollinators. RRC also held two markets to sell College-made honey and other goods.
- RRC continued its comprehensive waste, recycling, composting and re-use programs, and introduced new pumpkin and Christmas tree composting programs that diverted an estimated 700 pounds of holiday-themed organics from the landfill. The College also prevented 188,103 sheets of paper from landing in the recycling or garbage bin, avoided 5,981 kilograms of CO2 emissions, and saved $19,168 by implementing a new print-job release feature.
- The College held its first-ever Great College Clean-Up, a week-long event that saw staff and faculty bring unwanted, non-College asset items to a central location on campus. All donated items were available for the College community to take home and/or donate to community organizations.
- RRC was an active participant in annual sustainability events and partnerships in the community, including Bike Week, the Commuter Challenge and Winnipeg Harvest’s Grow-a-Row program.
- This year all College-owned buildings were moved onto the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s online ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Having a one-stop shop for energy, waste and greenhouse gas emissions information allows the College to better understand the impacts of building performance as a whole, and to develop plans to reduce costs and environmental impacts.
Top 10 Achievements
- 7,882 kilograms of campus-grown produce donated to Winnipeg Harvest Grow-A-Row since 2013
- 2 geothermal buildings
- 36 students, staff and alumni who’ve showcased their talents at Made-by-RRC Markets
- $804,599 in avoided costs since bringing a coordinated effort to print reduction in 2015
- 18 years of operating an on-site compost program at the Notre Dame Campus
- 5 consecutive gold-medal finishes in the Commuter Challenge
- 93 indoor bike parking spots as part of the Sustainable Transportation Program (with more planned for the Innovation Centre).
- 86% of staff and faculty who believe sustainability should be a priority in College operations
- 6 electric vehicle charging stations
- 1 College community dedicated to advancing sustainability in operations, academics, research and community connections