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Welcome Laura! RRC’s new Sustainability Coordinator

November 17, 2017

The Sustainability Office has grown from two to three! We’re excited to introduce Laura Hnatiuk as RRC’s new Sustainability Coordinator while (former Sustainability Coordinator) Whitney Crooks takes on the role as Resource Reduction Specialist for the next two years.

Learn more about Laura in her own words.

Laura Hnatiuk

Hello RRC! My name is Laura Hnatiuk and I am beyond excited to take on the role as Sustainability Coordinator. I look forward to engaging with students, faculty and staff to deliver and expand top notch waste, recycling and other sustainability programs and events on campus. So… who am I?!

Since a youngster in diapers, I’ve always had a fascination with nature. You could often find me gazing at the sky, picking at leaves, poking at bugs and collecting many, many rocks. Growing up, my fascination developed into a passion to protect and maintain the integrity of our earth and its valuable resources.

To no surprise, I went on to get my Bachelors in Environmental Studies from the University of Manitoba, focusing on biodiversity and conservation. After spending some time away in the Rocky Mountains, I returned to Winnipeg full of fresh mountain air, to pursue my career in environmental sustainability.

It became very evident to me that my ambition lies within public outreach and institutional sustainability, working towards the development and expansion of sustainability programs and initiatives to provide the access and resources needed to build a strong culture of sustainability, and promote behavioral change that can be carried forward into everyday life.

I have since worked to integrate sustainability programs and initiatives within both the public and private sector, most recently coming from Green Manitoba as the Organic Waste Program Coordinator. There my role was to coordinate the development and delivery of the Manitoba Composts Program, Schools Compost! Program, and expansion of various organic waste diversion initiatives, projects and funding opportunities throughout Manitoba. Before that, I had a great opportunity at MTS, where I established an Environmental Management System and worked to integrate waste, recycling and other sustainability programs across the telecommunications industry in Manitoba.

On my own time, I’m active in both the local environmental community and the gym (you can find me at Bootcamp!). I enjoy volunteering in many different fields of interest, particularly local arts and culture, as well as all things food! In addition to that, Farmers Markets and yoga take up much of my free time.

I am confident that RRC will continue to build its reputation as a leader in sustainability and am thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of the team! Please feel free to contact me anytime with comments, questions, concerns or ideas. I can be reached at,  204 632 2144 or drop by C519 (baking is always welcome).

We’re having a Pop-Up Market!!

November 16, 2017

Snow is flying, streets are slippery, gingerbread lattes are being served… holidays are right around the corner. The Sustainability Office and Students’ Association have partnered to bring holiday cheer and reduce your holiday stress by holding our first ever Loving Local Holiday Pop-Up Market at the Notre Dame (Nov. 29) and Exchange District Campuses (Nov. 30). We’ve assembled a stellar lineup of 20+ small local businesses and individual artisans to give you a one-stop-shop for all your holiday shopping. We’ll even have an eco-gift wrapping station on hand to wrap your lovely local gifts in a sustainable manner. This service is free, but we’ll be gladly accepting donations for the Students’ Association Food Bank

Our loving local line-up includes:

Erin Edwards – Paper crafts and cards for a lovely personal touch.  

Blissful Minds – Bath bombs, soaps and scrubs to give the gift of relaxation.

Queenston Crafts – Upcycled wool sweater mittens made with love by RRC’s very own Lynn Gibson.

Cooks Creek Kimchi – The ancient Korean superfood made right here in Manitoba. 

Brie’s Botanicals – Vegan and ethically sourced aromatherapy products including air fresheners, yoga mat cleaners, multipurpose cleaners and more.

Prairie Girl Candles – Small batch, hand poured Manitoba beeswax candles to set the holiday mood.

Bee Boyzz Honey – Liquid, creamed and flavoured honeys make a sweet gift.

Sarah Neville Studios – Adorable greeting cards and illustrations.

Cupcakes by Design – Beautifully made cupcakes, cake pops and imperial cookies.

Daydreamer Handcrafted Creations – Hand forged, custom-made fire pokers. Perfect for lake-goers and ‘mallow roasters.

Gold Bone Broth – Bison bone broth and chicken bone broth is a delicious way to fill your body with all kinds of goodness like protein, calcium, antioxidants and amino acids. Plus it’s delicious. Plus they’re RRC grads!

More Than Pyjamas – Handmade sleepwear and loungewear to keep you cozy on chilly winter nights.

Pod4design – Warm up and and soothe tired muscles with these naturally made therapy bags.

Fresh Emblem – Adorable wood, laser-etched car fresheners.

Elleanne Baking – Homebaked cookies, sandwiches, brownies & squares.

The Stak Co.- Colourful packets of pulses and legumes to make delicious soups, burritos and chilis. Perfect for a holiday potluck.

Nosh on This – Pamela whips up delicious sweet and savoury baking. Bet you’d never know it was vegan and gluten-free. Which means you can eat twice as much, right?

Leda & Spark – The dynamic duo of Nadine and Caitlin make handmade jewelry.

Cze By Tania – If a beard was ever to be described as lustrous it would be thanks to Cze’s beard oil. Hair and body products too – all made by RRC grad Tania Czemerynski.

Prairie Quinoa – Did you know that in Bolivia and Peru there are more than 6,000 varieties of quinoa? Closer to home, engineer turned farmer Percy Philips grows amber quinoa on his farm near Portage la Prairie.

Note to marker-goes: We cannot guarantee our wrapping will look as adorable as these little packages.

Embracing the Stone – Hand forged, one of a kind jewelry made from sterling silver, fossils, turquoise and other exotic, precious materials.


RRC Sustainability Office – Your last chance to pick up Bijou and Creekside honeys this year. 

Volunteers needed! Are you a holiday elf with a flair for creativity? We’d love for you to lend a hand at the eco gift wrapping station (at both campuses). Contact us for more information.

Bike Lockers – rent yours today!

October 15, 2017

We’re happy to tell you that bike lockers are now available for rent at the Notre Dame Campus. Seventeen bike lockers have been installed in high traffic locations around campus. The lockers have access doors on both ends and hold two bikes each – adding a total of 34 bike parking spots on campus. These lockers are ideal for regular bike commuters who want a place to lock their bike, bag and helmet in a secure place protected from the elements.

Rental Details:

  • Lockers cost $10/month, beginning on the first Monday of every month until the last Friday of the month. However during this kick off period, lockers rented in October will be valid until the end of November.
  • Personal locks aren’t permitted. You’ll be given a College-issued key for your locker.
  • Rentals are done in person at the Print Shoppe.
  • More info can be found here.

About the bike locker designs: In addition to improving end-of-trip facilities for cyclists, we wanted to give these big grey boxes (formerly known as our herd of elephants) a splashy makeover to animate our campus. We came up with the idea of showcasing prominent Winnipeg landmarks and the distance to travel to them by bike from campus. Our talented designer Marc executed this vision perfectly. We’re particularly fond of the FortWhyte Alive! design… What’s your fave? We still have some more lockers to complete. If you have a suggestion for a notable landmark you’d think should adorn one of our bike lockers, email us!

These bike lockers are part of RRC’s Transportation Plan. We’re committed to continuing to provide flexible, equitable and sustainable commuting options for students, staff and faculty. Find out more here.

Happy cycling.

RRC named a Finalist for Sustainability Award

October 13, 2017

Red River College has been named as a finalist for the 2017 AASHE Sustainability Awards. Our Pitch In redesign project – Branding our Waste: Creating College-Specific Recycling Signage through Collaboration – earned us this honour in the Campus Sustainability Achievement Award category for outstanding achievements in sustainability.

“We are excited to recognize Red River College for their high-impact sustainability projects and pioneering research,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “The innovation and leadership demonstrated by these finalists is inspirational.”

Students performing a waste audit in the greenhouse holding a garbage bag full of Tim Hortons cups.

Environmental Engineering Technology Students performed waste audits to test the effectiveness of the initial redesign

The College launched Pitch In, our comprehensive hallway waste and recycling program, in 2011. The concept behind “Pitch In” is two-pronged: it shows students and staff where to “pitch” their waste and recyclables and also reminds us that the program can only be successful if we all “pitch in” and do our part.

In an ongoing effort to improve this program, and to make signage more accessible to our users, we decided to redesign the Pitch In signs last year. In keeping in line with the brand, invited our College community to “pitch in” on every step of the redesign process to make truly College-specific signs.

New Pitch In Sign with photos of actual items found on campus to help sort waste more effectively

New Pitch In Sign Design


The new Pitch In signs will be launched at NDC and Roblin Centre later this fall. They are the result of direct input from approximately 150 stakeholders as well as data from two student-led waste audits which sorted through approximately 95kg (209lbs) of waste. The most notable difference is the shift from a text-based sign to an image-based one, which includes photos of actual items found on campus to make sorting easier.

Professional photographer taking a photo of a disposable coffee cup.

“Garbage photo shoot” – photos of items found on campus were used in the new Pitch In signs.


This approach, which not only engaged stakeholders across the College but also includes photos of actual College-specific items is a unique approach to recycling signage. We even went so far as to have a “garbage photo shoot” with Marketing of items which were collected on campus! Read more about the project here.

AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. Their prestigious annual awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. By raising the visibility of high-impact sustainability projects and pioneering research, the awards program helps to disseminate innovations and inspire continued progress toward sustainability.

Winners will be announced during the opening ceremony at the AASHE Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas this Sunday. Finalists’ entries were judged on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each category.

Wish us luck!

Go on RRC, give GoManitoba a try

September 25, 2017

Here’s the deal… we know that 60% of staff and 50% of students are concerned about the environmental impacts of commuting. We also know that many staff want flexibility in their commuting options throughout the year and that 25% of students prefer to carpool to campus. For these reasons, and many more, Red River College is excited to introduce GoManitoba to students, staff and faculty.

GoManitoba is a province-wide commuting platform that matches you with carpool partners (drivers and/or riders) who live and work/ attend campus near you. The system also gives you transit options, walking and cycling routes, and matches you with commuting buddies. Students and staff have the option of matching with everyone on the GoManitoba site, or you can choose to limit your search to College-specific users/ ** Use your Red River College ( email address to ensure you get connected with RRC peers.

Registering and navigating the site is just a simple as creating and using your Facebook account, but if you need some help you can refer to this handy GoManitoba How to Guide.

Cutest air freshener I ever did see. Thanks Green Action Centre!

The free app can be download to your smartphone, tablet or desktop. GoManitoba works best when a critical mass of people sign on, so encourage your friends, family and colleagues to join. To sweeten the deal, the Sustainability Office is offering a $200 Commuter Care Package to one lucky Rebel who registers before November 30th. Green Action Centre, the provincial coordinator for this program, is also offering some ‘early adopter’ prizes for the first 5,000 registrants to the site.

Happy commuting everyone.

Launching GoManitoba is another way the College is promoting sustainable commuting to campus. Learn more about our plans and priorities by checking out our Transportation Plan.

Fair Trade Campus Week 2017

September 21, 2017

Poster promoting Fair Trade Campus Week Sept 25-29. Poster. Photo of someone holding freshly-picked coffee beansFair Trade Campus Week will be September 25-29 this year. As with years past, we have some fun activities planned.

When you purchase a fairtrade product, you are ensuring that farmers and workers in developing countries that helped bring that product to market are receiving adequate compensation for their hard work, that they have safe working conditions, and that environmental standards were met in its production.

Red River College is proud to be participating in Fair Trade Campus Week. Here’s how you can get involved:

Show How You Support Fair Trade and Win!

Photo of student with their Fair Trade coffee holding a sign that says "I Support a Fair Deal"

Show how you support Fair Trade and be entered to win!

During Fair Trade Campus Week, get caught with a certified fairtrade product on Campus and be entered to win free coffee for a month*! We will be popping up all week at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses catching you in the act of supporting Fair Trade and entering you for our prize draw.

Never in the right place at the right time? Don’t worry! You can also share with us how you support Fair Trade on social media and be entered to win. Simply:

  1. Take a photo or video demonstrating your Fair Trade commitment.
  2. Post it on social media using the hashtag #FTCampus
  3. Make sure you tag us (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Fair Trade Fair

Thursday, September 28 | 11AM – 1PM | Library Hallway, Notre Dame Campus

An ACC student holding a tray of Fair Trade baking.

ACC Students will be handing out Fair Trade Banana Rum Biscotti at the Fair Trade Fair.

Our office has partnered with the ACC International Baking Students again to bring you a free Fair Trade treat: Banana Rum Biscotti dipped in chocolate made with fairtrade sugar, bananas (donated by Discovery Organics) and dark chocolate (donated by Camino). See the full list of ingredients here.

And what’s biscotti without coffee or tea? De Luca’s will also be there sampling their fairtrade coffee and we will sampling the fairtrade Numi teas that are now available on campus.

We are also excited to have Ten Thousand Villages selling their beautiful fairtrade products. Start your holiday shopping early, or pick up something for yourself.

Read More →

Farmers’ Market – here’s our line-up

September 7, 2017

Red River College’s 2nd annual Farmers’ Market is being held on Friday, September 15th from 11am – 1:30pm in the Library Hallway… and we hope to see you there!

Our local line-up includes:

Wafflelicious – Savour one of these waffles and you’ll swear you’re sitting in a café in Brussels.

Gold Bone Broth – Bison bone broth and chicken bone broth is a delicious way to fill your body with all kinds of goodness like protein, calcium, antioxidants and amino acids. Plus it’s delicious.

Pod4design – Warm tired and sore muscles with these naturally made therapy bags. I can tell you that the Peppa Pig Therapy Bag I got for my 3-year old at last year’s market is a hit.

Hearts & Roots – Farm fresh, organic veggies. Need we say more?

The Stak Co.- Colourful packets of pulses and legumes to make delicious soups, burritos and chilis. Ole!

Nosh on This – Pamela whips up delicious sweet and savoury baking. Bet you’d never know it was vegan and gluten-free. This means you can eat twice as much, right?

Cze By Tania – If a beard was ever to be described as lustrous it would be thanks to Cze’s beard oil. Hair and body products, too! Did we mention Tania’s a former grad?

Prairie Quinoa – Did you know that in Bolivia and Peru there are more than 6,000 varieties of quinoa? Closer to home, engineer turned farmer Percy Philips grows amber quinoa on his farm near Portage la Prairie.

Assiniboine Community College Baking Program – Chef Barb and her students are back at it. This time they’re bringing streusel cake, bread and jams. Delish!

RRC Sustainability Office – The three hours a year when the Sustainability Office becomes a Market Vendor. We’ll be there selling our Bijou and Creekside honeys. Jars are $10 each.

Come hungry. Come with a reusable bag. Come with a full wallet. Come with your co-workers. We look forward to seeing you!


Cutting Paper Use. Slashing Energy Consumption – A fresh sustainability focus for Fall

August 28, 2017

We’ve got some exciting news to share. Sustainability is growing from two… to three. This Fall a Resource Reduction Specialist will join the Sustainability Office to bring a focused and dedicated effort to campus paper reduction and plug load energy reduction. Staff and students consistently rank these topics as top sustainability priorities. In the most recent staff survey (Feb-Mar, 2017) staff cited paper reduction and energy reduction as their top two sustainability priorities.

Staff rank campus sustainability priorities

These results aren’t surprising considering the significant financial and environmental impacts that come with them. Chew on this:

  • The amount of electricity consumed at College-owned campuses is enough to power the RM of Headingley for nearly two years.
  • As a college we use 14 million sheets of paper every year. Stacking our annual paper use is taller than putting the One World Trade Centre (1,776 feet) on top of the Burj Khalifa (2,717).

These numbers are big and somewhat daunting… but we’re up to the challenge!

The Resource Reduction Specialist position is being filled by Whitney Crooks, our current Sustainability Coordinator, on a two-year basis. (Whitney’s current position will be backfilled through a competition.) “I’m very excited about this opportunity. We know that there’s a great culture of sustainability at the College. I’m continually amazed at the support for sustainability and the great energy and ideas generated from students and staff. I’m committed to working collaboratively with all College stakeholders to addressing paper and energy reduction at the College.”

So stay tuned. The consultation process will begin in late Fall and we hope you’ll be a part of it!

Introducing… Creekside Honey

August 17, 2017

Creekside Honey: NDC’s very own private label honey. Don’t worry, our Marketing Department will make a much nicer label .

You submitted (98 honey names) and you voted (an astounding 6,794 times) and we finally have a resolution to our NDC honey-naming contest.

A huge congratulations goes out to Bettina Allen for coming up with Creekside Honey. This honey is aptly named because, in Bettina’s words, Omand’s Creek runs along the edge of the college grounds and through Brookside Cemetery. It is home to a variety of wild plants, flowers and wildlife and likely a popular place for the RRC bees to collect pollen.

Mark your calendar! Creekside Honey, along with our Bijou Honey, will be sold at RRC’s 2nd annual Farmers’ Market on Friday, September 15th. Since we’ve doubled our hives from last year, our honey yield has increased substantially, so there will be much more to go around.

Congratulations also to our finalists Rob Buisson (Bad to the Drone), Shaun Scrymgeour (Born to Bee Wild), Lynn Gibson (Campus Buzz), Dave Wozny (Notre Dame Nectar), Mark Hoddenbagh (Rebelicious).

Thank you to everyone who participated in this fun summer contest. It sure did create a buzz on campus!

Honey, here’s your shortlist

August 7, 2017

Our bees (and our Leslie) on Building A.

We received a whopping 98 submissions in our contest to name the Notre Dame Campus honey.

The honey names and descriptions were then passed on to our judges (Gord ‘Guardian of the Grounds’ McLeod, Riva ‘Penchant for Puns’ Harrison, and Darryl ‘Actual Apiarist’ Oshanyk) to develop our shortlist. It was a difficult task to pare the list down from 98 to 6 submissions, but our judges were up for this challenge.

Without further ado, our shortlist is….

Honey Name Description Submitted by
Bad to the Drone A George Thorogood Song is now in your head. Rob Buisson
Born to Bee Wild Many species of bees have recently faced extinction, one of the reasons behind this being excessive use of pesticides. Most of these bees were born to be wild. It’s always important for us to think about our environment and everything living within it, especially when it affects life on this planet so profoundly! Shaun Scrymgeour
Campus Buzz The name illustrates the fact that the bees are on Campus, and also includes the word buzz, which is the noise bees make. The name also refers to the details, scoop or lowdown on what’s going on at the College. Lynn Gibson
Creekside Honey Omand’s Creek runs along the edge of the college grounds and through Brookside Cemetery. It is home to a variety of wild plants, flowers and wildlife and likely a popular place for the RRC bees to collect pollen. Bettina Allen
Notre Dame Nectar Notre Dame, obviously because of the location, and nectar as the essential sugar component of honey. Dave Wozny
Rebelicious Honey We are the “Rebels” and the honey will be “delicious”. Mark Hoddenbagh

All students and staff are now invited to vote for their favourite honey name through the online poll below. Voting will end on Wednesday August 16th at 4pm and our winning honey will be announced on Thursday, August 17th.

The creative minds who came up with the 6 short-listed honey names will each receive one jar of our Notre Dame Honey, with the winning submission receiving four jars (2 of the PGI honey and 2 of the NDC honey). Sweet deal!

This honey-naming contest is one of many events we’re holding this summer to promote our partnership with Beeproject Apriaries and the 6 hives we have dotting the rooftops of our college campuses. We’re still gearing up for a honey extraction workshop and Farmers’ Market, so there’s plenty more time to get involved with this project.

Happy voting!

[poll id=”3″]