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Hooray for the Harvest!

September 27, 2018

At Red River College, we’re growing more than innovative minds. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, the College’s Grounds department went above and beyond their regular responsibilities to maintain a vegetable garden at our Notre Dame Campus. On this 30’ X 60’ plot of land, we grew a variety of vegetables to donate to Winnipeg Harvest in support of the corporate Grow-A-Row initiative – a program that’s collected more than 4 million pounds of produce since its inception in 1986. 

Last week we assembled an enthusiastic crew of students and staff (including our Prez, Paul Vogt) to join the Grounds department in the harvest. Once all the digging, trimming, scrubbing and boxing was complete, we were thrilled to donate a whopping 3,100 lbs of carrots, beets, onions potatoes to Harvest, with a portion going straight to the RRC Students’ Association food bank. Click here to see the full gallery of the 2018 Grow-A-Row Harvest. 

Spearheaded by our green-thumb gardener Shivcharan Sandhu, the College first participated in Grow-A-Row in 2013.  Since that time, the initiative has really grown, and so has the amount of produce we’ve donated to Winnipeg Harvest. 

Grow-A-Row Annual Harvests
Year Weight (lbs.)
2013 1,200
2014 1,504
2015 1,622
2016 2,877
2017 2,803
2018 3,100

In addition to the vegetables donated to Winnipeg Harvest, our garden grows other goodies like pumpkins and herbs, many of which end up in the ACC baking students pies and jams, to the pesto in your sandwich in the Voyageur Cafeteria. You may be wondering why are our pumpkins are so big, and our basil so lush. Well, another neat fact – the garden is fertilized with nutrient-rich compost from our onsite windrows right on campus. All fruit and veggie scraps from our cafeteria kitchens and coffee grounds from food services locations are broken down and recycled back into our earth, avoiding the landfill, and creating the beautiful bounty of produce to support the greater community and RRC students in need.

Thank you again to all our volunteers, we couldn’t have DUG it without you.

Fair Trade Campus Week 2018

September 20, 2018

Fair Trade Campus Week is right around the corner!  Fair trade is about re-connecting you to the products that you buy, every single day.  From September 24-29, come celebrate the fair trade movement and Fairtrade certified products on Campus!

Stop by our Fair Trade Campus Day event Thursday, September 27th from 11:00 – 1:30 pm in the Library Hallway (NDC). Sample and discover your favorite blend of our new Fairtrade Certified Spirit Bear Coffee and vote to win a free bag of your favorite! What’s coffee without a treat? Chef Barbara O’Hara and her students will be baking up some chocolatey fair trade goodies, you will not want to miss. In addition, Ten thousand Villages will be selling fair trade merchandise alongside our table full of fair trade giveaways and your chance to enter to win a GREAT prize pack.

Not on campus Thursday? You have another way to enter to win… just show us!  It’s this easy:

  1. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
  2. Take a photo demonstrating your Fair Trade commitment
  3. Tag us or send your photo to us on any social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) using the hashtag #RRCFTCampus

Hint: Fairtrade products can be found in vending machines, food service locations, the Campus Store, and The Ox.  Think chocolate, coffee, and tea!

In case you wanted to learn a bit more about what fair trade is, we added some information below:

Read More →

RRC’s Third Annual Farmers’ Market – See you there!

September 4, 2018

It’s that time again. The leaves are starting to turn, the air is crisp, and pumpkin everything has begun. Fall is quickly approaching, and so is our third annual RRC Farmers’ Market!

On Friday, September 14th, the Library Hallway will be transformed into a festive fall market full of local goodies open to all RRC staff, faculty, students and the public. Not only do we have a great line up of new and returning vendors, but this will be the first chance to purchase our very own 2018 RRC Creekside and Bijou honey.

 

When: Friday, September 14th – 11:00 am – 1:30 pm

Where: Library Hallway – Notre Dame Campus (2055 Notre Dame Avenue)

 

So, check out the vendors below, start making your lists, hit the ATM and get your re-usable bags ready!

Read More →

What’s that buzz?… it’s the BEES!

June 28, 2018

The bees are back at RRC! 

Welcome back our busy, buzzy little buddies to both NDC and PGI campus rooftops. For the third year in a row, we have partnered with Beeproject Apiaries to install three hives on the 4th floor patio at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, and for the second year, three hives on the roof of Building A at the Notre Dame Campus.

Bee hives on NDC Building A rooftop

Urban beekeeping is an important movement to promote biodiversity within cities and provide valuable educational and engagement opportunities for people to connect to nature and our local food system. Not only that, bees are an essential element to enable and sustain healthy food production.

Did you know, bee’s are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat? One out of every three bites of food we eat is a result of pollinators like honey bees, and crops like blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent on pollination.

Three hives are once again installed at PGI

On your next lunch break, take a walk around the NDC campus and check out our healthy, diverse and beautifully landscaped campus, maintained using only 100% biopesticides!). RRC is busy at work developing a pollinator garden on the NDC grounds to keep these bees and other native pollinators going and our environment flourishing. Stay tuned for updates as the site progresses. Read More →

We’re #1.. FOUR years in a row!

June 26, 2018

Well, that’s a wrap! We rolled through June full speed, blasting through our many successful Bike Week events, finishing in FIRST PLACE in this years Commuter Challenge, for the fourth year in a row.

The RRC Sustainability Office and Mayor Brian Bowman on his Pit Stop visit.

That’s right, Red River College received the Commuter Challenge first place award for highest participation in our workplace category (500-999 employees), coming in at a total of 24% of our workplace. Because of your collective efforts to commute 16,914.67 kms sustainably, RRC staff and faculty….

Burned 151,742.26 calories!

Saved 1,192.59 Litres of fuel!

Avoided 2,255.56 kgs of Co2!

We learned that the highest number of RRC employees use transit, followed by cycling. Thank you to all who participated, we hope you continue to reap the environmental, physical, mental and financial benefits that active and sustainable transportation has to offer. Check out the Commuter Challenge results to see how Manitoba did as a whole, and how RRC compares within our City. Read More →

Bike Week Inspiration with Breanna Sawatzky!

June 20, 2018

As you may know, this week is Bike Week, and what better time to dust off that bike and take it for a ride. So, with a ton of great events going on all week, lets get moving!

Not only is biking a great way to reduce your personal carbon emissions, but it has many other benefits on your physical health and mental wellbeing.

Our office sat down with Breanna Sawatzky, the College’s Mental Health Coordinator to discuss sustainable transportation.  Her role consists of many important facets such as drop-in counselling as well as training and education. Below Breanna answers some questions about her experience biking to work, and how it can positively affect your mental health.

Q: Tell me about yourself and your transportation strategies in the past?

A: I live in St. James and have a family of four, with one car. In the past, we would convoy together when we all worked downtown. When I started at the college, my husband and I would take turns either busing or taking the car, without really finding a method that worked better than the other. Our home is about 7km away from the campus so in reality it isn’t that far. Read More →

Bike to Work Day and Bike Week Events – June 18-24, 2018!

June 12, 2018

Start your week with off cinnamon buns and end it with ice cream! Here’s how:

Gear up for Bike Week Winnipeg, held throughout the City June 18 -24 to celebrate just that – people riding bikes! Start Bike Week off right with Bike to Work Day, Monday, June 18, hosting over 70 pit stop locations.

Can’t make it to all 70? We understand. But make sure to stop by RRC’s very own pit stop location being held again for the second year in a row. Check out lasts year’s event and mark your map, as this is a stop you do not want to miss (think cinnamon buns)!

 

We will keep the wheel turning and roll into the afternoon with a Cyclist Meet Up to mix and mingle with fellow staff and faculty, cyclists or not, and let us know what YOU would like to see RRC do to enable and promote cycling and sustainable commuting here on campus.

We continue to speed into the week with multiple Ask the Expert Workshops with a chance to try out our new repair stations (yes, that’s what those are). Read More →

And then there were four! Welcome Kale, RRC’s new Resource Reduction Assistant

June 8, 2018

Hi there! My name is Kale Kostick and I am happy to share that I have joined the Red River College Sustainability team as the Resource Reduction Assistant for a six-month term. Through the UNA Canada Green Corps program, I was selected to assist Laura, Whitney, and Sara in their efforts to improve the sustainability of all Red River campuses. Mainly, Whitney, the Resource Reduction Specialist, and myself will be working on an energy planning and implementation framework that prioritizes energy reduction projects on campus and engages both staff and students in more energy efficient operations. In addition, we will be continuing work to reduce the amount of paper on campus through interactive strategies.
My fascination with sustainability evolved from a little bit of nurture and a little bit of nature – pun intended. Growing up in a home that was ever so conscious of purchasing and disposal practices, I inherently adapted these processes into my day to day life. I took this insight around the globe with me as I embarked on many backpacking travels throughout the years. This led me to become increasingly aware of the degradation that the planet faces at a macro scale, and the growing necessity to create more environments that facilitate a sustainable lifestyle. Read More →

Introducing Pen, Battery and Bag Recycling on Campus!

April 27, 2018

RRC’s New ReBin

Much of what we do in the Sustainability Office starts with what we hear from staff and students. One recent survey showed that 63% of staff and faculty want to see non-standard recycling options on campus. You spoke. We listened.

After conducting a successful pilot project in 2016, we’re pleased to launch ReBin. Available to all staff and students, the ReBin accepts pens, batteries and plastic bags for recycling and repurposing.

 

 


All used writing instruments – pens, markers, mechanical pencils, highlighters- deposited in the “Pens & Markers” receptacle will be recycled through the Staples program. Plastics from these instruments are sorted by type and melted down to be reused in the creation of other plastic products, such as lawn chairs, flower pots, playgrounds, picnic tables and more!


Let’s reduce our risk of contaminating our soils and waterways with toxic chemicals by keeping batteries out of the landfill. Deposit small household batteries in the “Batteries” receptacle, where they will be consolidated and responsibly recycled by our partners at Call2Recycle.

If you have a large quantity of end of life batteries at home, or industrial batteries to dispose of, check out the list of battery drop off locations throughout Winnipeg.


I think we can all admit that plastic bags are one of those items we tend to collect, intentionally or not. Don’t we all have a drawer or cupboard shelf of stockpiled bags? Of course, refusing plastic and choosing reusable is your best bet. But with this program you’ll also have the opportunity to purge your plastic by depositing them in the ReBin.

In partnership with MMSM (Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba), Winnipeg Harvest and the RRC Students Association, all plastic bags collected will be donated to Winnipeg Harvest’s Bag It Forward Program which supplies emergency food kits to more than 64,000 Manitobans monthly. Any bags that can’t be reused will be recycled at a local facility.


Make sure to look for these new bins in the hallway outside the NDC Campus Store and in the Library, and outside the Campus Store at the Roblin Centre campus.

This is a posi+ive change we can all get behind!

Groundskeeper wins Sustainability Leadership Award. Let’s (compost) pile on the accolades.

April 13, 2018

Congratulations to Brady Barron for receiving this year’s BRAVO Award for Sustainability Leadership. This award is a recognition of his dedication, innovation and commitment to sustainability here at RRC.

Figure 1 - Brady monitors the temperature of the compost pile at NDC

Figure 1 – Brady monitors the temperature of the compost pile at NDC

Brady has been a valued part of the College community for nearly 10 years, first as a graduate of the Greenspace Management Program (2012) and then as a Groundskeeper at the Notre Dame Campus. Brady’s up at the crack of dawn tending to the College’s grounds and parking lots in rain, sleet and snow. Throughout his work, Brady maintains a keen eye for sustainability, often going above and beyond.

Brady plays a vital role in the College’s pre-consumer compost program. Since 2002, fruit and vegetable food scraps from the cafeteria kitchens and coffee grounds from our NDC Tim Hortons locations are collected daily and transported by the Grounds crew to compost piles located at the back of the campus. This program has kept an average of 34 tonnes of food waste from the landfill every year, diverting a record 48 tonnes in 2017. In addition, approximately 2 tonnes of yard waste is collected annually from the College grounds and added to the compost pile, ensuring the proper balance of carbon to nitrogen. In addition to that, Brady monitors the temperature, moisture and density of the pile to make sure conditions are just right to create a safe, nutrient rich compost. Mixing the pile every 3 weeks until done, he then proceeds to screen the material and finally using it for landscaping and in flower beds throughout campus.

Figure 2 - Total organic waste diverted from landfill from NDC campus 2015-2018

Figure 2 – Total organic waste diverted from landfill from NDC campus 2015-2018

Composting is an important part of a sustainable campus, as it reduces the amount of organic waste going to the landfill turning it into a rich, nutrient dense, valuable product that we use here on our grounds and gardens in landscaping. By composting, we are not only reducing our costs in waste hauling and turning our waste into a usable product, but we are also showing our commitment to sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing hazardous leachate production at the City landfill. Through Brady’s dedication, RRC operates a safe, healthy and successful pre-consumer compost program, with hopes of expansion in the future.

Congratulations Brady on this well deserved award. The College is lucky to have you!