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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!

Earth Week Celebrations 2018

April 5, 2018

Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day – a worldwide event to celebrate our planetary home and to show our support for a healthy, sustainable environment. At the RRC Sustainability Office, we think that one day is just not enough to celebrate our Earth, so we’re hosting Earth Week Celebrations April 16-23! Find out the details below.


e-Waste Drive* from Home and Work

A photo of a bacti-cinerator dropped off for recycling

Drop off your e-waste (including old bacti-cinerators) for recycling

Monday, April 16th to Friday April 20th (noon) | Shipping and Receiving at NDC and Roblin Centre

Springtime means spring cleaning. Now’s the time to securely dispose of electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner. Allowable items include: computers and computer equipment, printers, stereos, speakers, cellphones, microwave ovens (for a complete list click here, or contact us).

Please note: College assets must be accepted by someone at Shipping and Receiving to ensure they’re disposed of properly.

* Please ensure that private data is removed prior to dropping off personal equipment that may contain confidential information. Red River College and Powerland do not accept liability for data or any other digital content left on your device.


Earth Hour pledge that says "Do Right Save Light"Watt’s your FootPRINT?

Wednesday, April 18th | 11AM – 1PM | NDC Library Hallway | Refreshments Provided

The Resource Reduction Specialist, is hard at work developing strategies to help the College reduce paper and plug-load energy consumption. But it can’t happen without your help! Drop by our first consultation session to learn more about where we are, what are plans are going forward, and share your ideas.


­­­­8th Annual State of Sustainability over background of trees8th Annual State of Sustainability

Friday, April 20th | 12PM – 1PM | eTV Studio (GM22, North Gym Hallway) | Lunch Provided

It has been another exciting year at the Sustainability Office! Come to find what we’ve been up to this year and what’s in store for the future.

Can’t make it? Stream it live?


­Blue snowflake with the word "postponed!" written overtop is dark blueI ❤ My Bike Day

With Winter hanging on longer than anticipated, we’ve decided to postpone this event until we all thaw out and it starts to finally feel like Spring.

Stay tuned for for the new date and details soon!


Other events happening around RRC during Earth Week:

I Be-Leaf in Protecting Mother Earth

Thursday, April 19th | 12PM – 2PM | Library Hallway

Did you know, the New Zealand Government has acknowledged a river as a living entity and a park as having Human Rights?  Let’s jump on board and Be-Leaf in our abilities to help Mother Earth!

Students in the Aboriginal Program for College Enrichment and Transition will be offering staff and students the opportunity to plan how to help Mother Earth.  Participants will write their idea on a paper leaf and attach it to the APCET idea tree.

The tree will stay up in the hallway until Friday April 20th.  When the foliage is removed and recorded, it will be forwarded to the RRC All-Staff News and the RRC newspaper; The Projector.


RRC Greenspace Horticulture Plant Sale and BBQ

Thursday, April 19th | 11AM – 1PM | Greenhouse Complex. NDC Campus

There will be trees, shrubs, perennials, prairies, tropicals, desk gardens, succulent gardens, terrariums, edibles and annual plants for sale. Cash only please – we cannot take debit or credit cards. Please bring your own boxes and bags to transport plants.


RRC Library Earth Day Resources

The Library has pulled together some great resources for Earth Day to help you learn more and take action on various sustainability issues.


Some other events you may find interesting include:

The Downtown BIZ is hosting a Downtown clean up: Team Up to Green Up on Monday, April 23. Sign up as a team to help clean up downtown and win prizes!

FortWhyte Alive has a full day of family activities planned for Earth Day on Sunday, April 22. Admissions is free all day.

Earth Hour a Success – What’s Next?

March 28, 2018

Earth Hour pledges hanging in library hallway

On Saturday, March 24 we joined millions of people around the world in powering down lights and non-essential electronics for Earth Hour 2018 from 8:30-9:30 PM.

And we couldn’t have done it without your help! Many of our RRC community helped by ensuring that lights were turned off, computers were shut down, and unnecessary electronics were powered down and unplugged before the weekend. Not only that:

106 RRC staff, faculty and students
pledged to participate in Earth Hour at home!

Lindsay with some of the prize pack, including a board game and a bag of organic popcorn

Earth Hour Prize Pack Winner – Lindsay

Thank you to everyone who participated for continuing to show your support for sustainability and for climate action. And congratulations to Lindsay who won the draw for an Earth Hour prize pack.

One way RRC is taking action to reduce our environmental impact is to engage staff, faculty and students in reducing plug load energy consumption.

Stay tuned for announcements coming soon on how you can learn more about what we are planning and how you can share your ideas for reducing energy consumption at the College.

Power Down for Earth Hour and Win!

March 9, 2018

We're powering down for Earth Hour. Are you?

Join us in shining a light on climate change for Earth Hour 2018. Millions of people around the world will power down their lights and electronics for one hour on Saturday, March 24 from 8:30 – 9:30PM local time.

Red River College is powering down for Earth Hour and we need your help. Non-essential lights will be turned off during the hour, and we ask that before you leave for the weekend you shut down your computers, unplug unnecessary electronics and turn off your lights.

Did you know that the College spends about $555,935 annually powering products plugged into AC outlets and lighting? Powering down lights and electronics when possible can save a lot of money!

Pledge to Power Down and Win

Because Earth Hour is on the weekend, we can make a bigger impact if members of our College community pledge to power down at home. This year, all staff, students and faculty who pledge will be entered to win a Earth Hour Prize pack: Enjoy a candlelit game night with friends or family with a gift certificate to a A Muse N Games, locally-made candles and some delicious organic snacks.

Earth Hour is done for this year. Thanks to everyone who pledged!

Read More →

Are you 18-30? Looking to Start a Green Career? Join us!

March 7, 2018

Canada Green Corps logoAre you a youth interested in starting a career in the sustainability sector, but having a hard time getting a foot in the door? If so, this may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for!

The United Nations Association of Canada’s (UNA-Canada) Canada Green Corps program connects un- and underemployed youth with employers in the green sector. Participating employers receive a subsidy to hire youth who bring their talents to the table and gain meaningful work experience, gain new skills, and make valuable connections to help kick start their green careers.

Here at the Sustainability Office we’re excited to be participating in the Canada Green Corps program. The Resource Reduction Assistant will play an essential role in establishing baseline data and developing programs and strategies that engage staff and students in campus sustainability. Over a six month term, the work will focus mostly on plug load energy and paper reduction interventions, however there will also be waste reduction and diversion components and an opportunity to work on other sustainability issues at the College. This position provides an exciting opportunity to be part of the planning and creation of sustainability programming at a large institution named one of Canada’s greenest employers. Read more about the position here.

Read More →

Please don’t leave the light on this holiday break

December 20, 2017

Someone pulling a cord to turn off a light

Don’t forget to shutdown all unnecessary lights and electronics before you leave for the break.

The winter break is fast approaching and we’re making a list and checking it twice – our seasonal shutdown checklist that is. With the College being closed for 10 days, we’re asking for your help to clean up and shut down before you leave for the holidays.

Over the break, the College’s major building systems will run in “Un-Occupied Mode”, which means lower temperatures and, in most cases, minimal ventilation.  This will reduce our energy consumption, and our environmental footprint, while the College is shutdown. We can increase that impact by everyone doing their part to ensure unnecessary lights and electrical equipment are shut down.

So, before you dash away into the night, please go over the checklist below to help save energy and reduce our collective footprint at the College this holiday season.

SEASONAL SHUTDOWN CHECKLIST

Red checkmark in a box DISPOSE OF PERISHABLES AND GARBAGE

Remove perishables and clean fridges
Collect, bag and dispose all garbage by December 21

Red checkmark in a boxTURN OFF ELECTRONICS

Monitors
Computers
Televisions/Digital Displays
AV Equipment, including Projectors
Power bars
NOTE: Printers should be left ON, they’ll go into energy saving mode on their own.

Red checkmark in a box UNPLUG APPLIANCES NOT IN USE

Electronics items use standby (or phantom) power even when you aren’t using them, so where possible unplug these items.

Fridges (turn the temperature up on fridges that can’t be unplugged)
Space heaters
Coffee makers
Kettles
Toasters/Toaster Ovens
Microwaves
Chargers
Water Coolers

Red checkmark in a boxTURN OFF LIGHTS

Offices
Classrooms
Meeting Rooms
Common Areas

SOME TIPS:

  • Lab equipment: Together with your colleagues identify equipment that can be safely turned off, unplugged, or placed in standby mode over the break.
  • Do a department walk-through to ensure valuables are secured; lock cabinets.
  • Activate alarms if applicable before you leave.
  • Set yourself a reminder in your calendar or on your phone (or even on a sticky note on the door) to remember to do your season shutdown checklist before you leave.
  • Set yourself a reminder for when you return from holidays to plug needed items in or turn them on.
  • Use this checklist for whenever you’ll be away for an extended period of time (long weekends, vacation, term breaks). When you book the time off in your calendar, add a reminder to do this as well with a link to this blogpost.
  • Don’t forget to water plants and feed and water vermicomposting worms!

Energy and paper reduction are consistently listed as sustainability priorities by RRC staff, prompting the recent addition of a Resource Reduction Specialist (Whitney Crooks) to the Sustainability Office. Whitney is looking forward to working with all of you in the new year on identifying opportunities for reducing paper and plug load energy use on campus. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday!