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Green day: RRC recognized for eco-friendly initiatives

April 22, 2014

green2014-englishFor the fourth year in a row, Red River College has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, an award that acknowledges our environmentally friendly policies and programs that effectively engage staff in sustainability efforts.

“Red River College is leading the way in campus sustainability,” says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth. “This year, RRC is the only post-secondary institution in Manitoba to receive this honour. Sustainability is one of our four strategic priorities; all of our work follows the triple bottom line – people, planet, profits. As a public institution, we believe that we have a responsibility to model and impart sustainability to our students and staff.”

RRC has worked hard to show it’s worthy of such an honour, and the numbers speak for themselves. Last year, the College diverted more than 50% of materials leaving campus from the landfill (35% more than the average Winnipeg household). Thanks to the largest on-site institutional compost program in the city, RRC not only diverts hundreds of pounds of food waste from the campus every day, but also saves more than $1,000 annually in topsoil costs by using the finished compost on campus grounds.

The College is one of only four Winnipeg employers to offer a 60% subsidized EcoPass to its employees. This incentive results in bus ridership rates that exceed 50% for our downtown-based employees – a percentage well beyond the city’s transit ridership rate of 14%.  Read More →

RRC is powering down for Earth Hour

March 28, 2014

JfKNkTGBRi_xxXP5TJfwqpo_b5ECYwhDT-Kvc_LkWkEThis Saturday, March 29, at 8:30pm, Red River College will be joining millions of individuals and organizations around the globe by switching off the lights for 60 minutes to celebrate its commitment to the planet during Earth Hour.

Now in it’s eighth year, Earth Hour is a grassroots movement that aims to bring awareness to environmental issues and showcases how sustainable practices such as turning off lights and non-essential appliances can have a positive impact on the health of the planet.

Red River College is proud of the steps it has taken to reduce energy consumption on campus – both in new construction and through renovations.

Our newest buildings, the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC) and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI), are built to LEED standards meaning they have to be at least 25% more energy efficient than comparable buildings of the same size.

In HETC, high efficiency lighting, the use of natural light and photocell-controlled lighting help reduce energy consumption by 41%. At PGI, lighting in public areas is done by occupancy sensors so the lights only turn on when people are in the space.

Find out more about Earth Hour at and learn about RRC’s sustainability practices at Red Goes Green.

Proud to be one of Manitoba’s Top 25 Employers

November 25, 2013

Red River College is pleased to announce it has been named one of Manitoba’s Top 25 Employers for the fourth year in a row. 

“It truly is an honour for the College to be recognized as one of Manitoba’s Top Employers once again,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President and CEO, Red River College. “Our most important asset is our people, hence the development of a comprehensive People Plan created to foster a culture in which all 2,500 staff feel connected and supported by the organization. We’re an employer of choice in Manitoba and I am proud to say that we have been one for 75 years.”

This comprehensive human resources strategy has made RRC an employer of choice through a variety of initiatives related to recruitment, retention, professional development, succession, total rewards, labour relations and organizational effectiveness.

RRC provides exceptional benefits, such as: three weeks of vacation for new employees; maternity top-up payments; a defined benefit pension plan; a flexible health care plan; and an on-site daycare. The College was also recognized for its efforts to improve environmental sustainability, which earlier this year earned a designation as one of Canada’s 50 Greenest Employers for 2013.

“Having a positive work environment offers many benefits,” said Forsyth. “It makes us more competitive in recruiting new talent. It reduces staff turnover and it improves productivity because satisfied employees who feel empowered in their roles are a lot more enthusiastic about their work. It also creates an environment in which people know they are a significant and vital part of an organization committed to excellence.”

Red River College has nine campuses and annually sees more than 30,000 enrolments in over 200 full-and part-time degree, diploma, post-degree and certificate programs. Through award-winning instruction and training on state-of-the-art equipment, RRC prepares its students to become leaders in their fields, while partnering with industry to conduct research and ensure curriculum remains up-to-date.

See the full story from the Winnipeg Free Press.

Concentrating Solar Power in Manitoba

September 23, 2013

Pictured L-R (Kim Jasper, , RRC; Mr. Dale Friesen, MB Hydro, Mr. Bert van den Berg, NSERC, Mr. Ray Hoemsen, RRC, and Dr. James Blatz, U ofM)

From left: Kim Jasper, Red River College; Dale Friesen, Manitoba Hydro; Bert van den Berg, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); Ray Hoemsen, Red River College; and Dr. James Blatz, University of Manitoba.

Red River College (RRC), Manitoba Hydro (MH), and the University of Manitoba (U of M) partnered to develop a solar thermal parabolic trough system (Solar Trough) to concentrate energy and test its effectiveness in cold climates.

“This world-class project will explore the feasibility of providing sustainable heating to the world’s cold-climate communities,” said Stephanie Forsyth, president of Red River College. “It also serves as a successful partnership model for applied learning and innovation, with the University of Manitoba and the College sharing resources and expertise.”

The system captures and concentrates solar energy into a fluid-filled tube where heat production is being measured. Phase One of the project will measure the amount of heat the troughs produce in a cold climate environment. This is the first time an application like this has been explored in a cold climate. While solar power systems have been effective in much warmer regions like California and New Mexico, there has never been a chance to determine their effectiveness in an extremely cold climate.

“This project will test the trough’s performance in Manitoba’s climate, and we intend to use the results to estimate Manitoba’s solar thermal resource,” said Dale Friesen, division manager, Industrial and Commercial Solutions for Manitoba Hydro. “These troughs could potentially be used to lower the province’s use of electricity and natural gas for heating purposes.”

Solar Trough located at Red River College's Notre Dame Campus

The Solar Trough located at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus

“This partnership between the University of Manitoba, Red River College, and Manitoba Hydro is an example of how we can pool our considerable research talents at the three institutions to deliver successful and meaningful research,” said James Blatz, associate vice-president (partnerships) and professor civil engineering, University of Manitoba. “It’s our collective goal to capitalize on many more successful research partnership opportunities such as this.”

The solar trough site is the latest in RRC facilities and equipment dedicated to research in sustainable energy and infrastructure. Along with funding from Manitoba Hydro and the U of M, this project is financially supported in part by the College’s Sustainable Infrastructure Technology Research Group, with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Paterson GlobalFoods Institute Honoured with Heritage Winnipeg Conservation Award

February 19, 2013

Diane Ready, RRC Vice-President Finance and Administration (right) receives the Heritage Winnipeg Conservation award from Lisa Gardewine, 1st Vice-President, Heritage Winnipeg.

Red River College received a prestigious Heritage Winnipeg Conservation Award over the weekend, for its work transforming the century-old Union Bank Tower into the newly-opened Paterson GlobalFoods Institute.

The award, accepted Monday afternoon during a ceremony at the Millennium Centre, recognizes special efforts to protect, conserve and reuse structures of high historic or architectural value. Commercial, institutional or residential projects are eligible, in particular those that involve the sensitive and adaptive use or re-use of such structures, while providing for their long-term protection.

Of particular interest to the judging committee were RRC’s “amazing” efforts to preserve the bank tower’s original facade and windows, the repurposing of old materials such as marble corridors and hardwood floors, the marriage of old and new elements, the highly-accessible public spaces included in the design, and the fact that PGI represents one of the largest such projects undertaken in years.

“So why would Red River College, with its strong culture of innovation, put so much effort into restoring a century-old building?” asked Diane Ready, vice-president of finance and administration at RRC. “Because we strongly believe in preserving Winnipeg’s architectural heritage — for it reflects our history, culture, traditions and values.” Read More →

We Day Sponsorship Empowers Displaced Teens from Lake St. Martin

November 5, 2012

RRC President Stephanie Forsyth (far right), with Grade 7 to 9 students from Lake St. Martin First Nation.

When overland flooding forced them to be evacuated from their homes, residents of Lake St. Martin First Nation figured it would be a few months at most before they were allowed to return.

But after spending a year and a half living in temporary housing in Winnipeg — and with much of their community still under water — those same residents are wondering if they’ll ever return to their community again.

The 18-month ordeal has been particularly tough on the teens and children who were displaced when Lake St. Martin flooded in May 2011. That’s why Red River College stepped forward to send 12 of those students and two teachers to We Day — a global “youth empowerment” event that has since inspired the teens to become agents of social change for their own community.

“Too frequently we hear of children and individuals losing hope, or who feel powerless, and we have seen this with some of the evacuees of Lake St. Martin,” says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth.

“I wanted to reach out to the youth of this community — to afford them the opportunity to hear We Day’s very powerful message of hope, and the role they might play in bringing about change.” Read More →

RRC Grad Honoured for Launching Recycling Program at Peguis First Nation

June 26, 2012

Congratulations to RRC student Tannis CochraneCook (Computer Applications for Business, Peguis-Fisher River Campus), whose efforts to set up a recycling program at Peguis First Nation have earned her a 2012 Spirit of the Earth Award from Manitoba Hydro.

CochraneCook first began advocating for environmentally-safe waste disposal practices while volunteering at the Peguis Landfill site in 2009. (Her motivation was simple: The landfill was located next to her home, and owners were burning materials rather than recycling them.)

She’s since launched a community-wide recycling program at Peguis, for which now serves as Project Coordinator. In just two years, the program has proven so popular that an estimated 25% of businesses and residents on the reserve now recycle on a regular basis. Read More →

RRC Joins with Community Advocates to Launch New Selkirk Avenue Development

April 30, 2012

Rob Neufeld, Executive Director, North End Community Renewal Corporation

Representatives from Red River College joined a host of North End advocates and community organizations in celebrating a newly-announced housing and retail development on Selkirk Avenue yesterday morning.

Following news the notorious Merchants Hotel is now being managed by a coalition comprised of 20 government and community agencies, RRC President Stephanie Forsyth commended those involved on their collaborative vision of renewal and revitalization.

“This is what Red River College is all about — meshing the needs of the community with the community’s educational goals, so that we can move forward,” said Forsyth. “That constant renewal is so critical to initiatives like the one announced today.”

Read More →

Red River College Goes Green for Earth Day

April 27, 2012

Students and staff at Red River College pledged to continue serving as sustainability leaders this week, during activities timed to coincide with Earth Day celebrations taking place the world over.

On Monday, April 23 (one day after the actual Earth Day), RRC held a “State of Sustainability” forum to inform the College community of the results of a recent environmental assessment.

Over the past year, RRC became the first Manitoba institution to take part in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a comprehensive process to measure post-secondary sustainability performance — including operations, academics, social outreach and long term planning — and to benchmark those results against other post-secondary institutions.

College officials also launched Sustainability 365, a one-year work plan that outlines 42 specific and measurable targets to advance sustainability, including developing a Green Catering program, enhancing sustainability awareness through faculty development, and forming a Paper Reduction Task Force. Staff and students were invited to make their own sustainability pledges, by setting eco-friendly targets they plan to achieve within the coming year. Read More →

RRC Named One Of Canada’s Greenest Employers

April 20, 2012

Manitoba’s largest college has been recognized as one of Canada’s sustainability leaders, as Red River College was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the second year in a row.

“Corporate social responsibility is an important concept at Red River College,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President of RRC. “As an institution, we’ve committed ourselves to minimizing the environmental impact of our operations, incorporating sustainability into our research and academic programming, and engaging staff and students in more eco-conscious behaviour.” Read More →