Note: This page will be updated periodically in the days and weeks ahead. Please check back regularly to see what has been added.
This web page has been constructed for the use of University Councillors to help them prepare for the 2008 Annual Meeting which has Sustainability as its theme.
The concept ofsustainability has received much attention recently, but the term is not easy to define, partly because it has been used in many contexts. For our purposes here, we understand it as the attempt to take account of the short and long-term ecological and human consequences of our planning and actions. The concept has broad implications across the University, in areas ranging from the very concrete, such as the energy-efficient construction of new buildings or reductions in energy and resource use in our ongoing operations, to the educational, such as educating ourselves to become more conscious of the global implications of our decisions as members of society, consumers, and citizens, to the academic, including research on issues of energy, resources and choices at the political, scientific and humanistic levels.
Although this is perhaps not broadly known, Queen's is already the home for a wide range of sustainability initiatives across all facets of the university. One of the goals of this meeting is to showcase some of these efforts. At the same time, recognizing that University Councillors bring with them a rich background of experience and expertise, we hope that discussions at the Meeting will help us to see ideas and areas we have missed.
In addition, a number of the activities in the area of sustainability have taken place perhaps not in isolation, but sometimes without strong bridges to other facets of the issue. So, for example, it can be a challenge to map questions of building construction to the content of courses. Another goal of the Meeting is begin to bridge some of these gaps.
These pages have been designed to provide some background that Councillors are encouraged to consider in advance of the meeting in May. Some of the links are also fun, such as the live window into energy consumption in each of the buildings on campus! Over the next few weeks, we will be adding to these materials. In particular, we welcome suggestions from Councillors concerning possible additions or modifications. Comments or suggestions may be sent directly to Greg Lessard or to Peggy Watkin.
Many of the offices and units at Queen's are currently seeking to embed sustainable principles in their operations. The following lists are far from exhaustive, but they provide a sense of the breadth of activities already found on campus.
The Office of the Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) has been devoting significant attention to sustainability issues for a number of years. The following links provide a sample of their initiatives.
Students and student organizations have been leaders on the sustainability front. The following links represent a small sample of their recent efforts.
The AVP and Dean of Student Affairs and his staff have been doing important work to bridge the gap between the operational and educational facets of sustainability. Since many students spend their first year in residence, this has given rise to a range of new initiatives, some of which are listed below.
Teaching and research in the area of sustainability spans the campus. The following links provide only a tiny fraction of these initiatives:
In recent years, the Queen's Sustainability Network, a coalition of students and faculty, have been working to express and make visible a set of principles and values around the notion of sustainability. The following link shows the current version of the set of Principles they have proposed:
Draft version of Sustainability Principles (PDF*, 28 KB)
Queen's is not alone in working on the issue of sustainability. The following readings provide a more general overview of activities in universities and elsewhere.
The reading list on sustainability is vast and the following links only skim the surface of this fast-evolving area.
It is our hope that Councillors will use their own experience together with the materials provided above as a basis for further discussion. To facilitate this, a link is provided here to the discussion facility created by Peter Gallant.
To enter the discussion list, click here and sign in.
*PDF files can be viewed using Adobe Reader.
Last updated: March 27, 2008. Please send corrections or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In keeping with the theme of sustainability, we have tried as far as possible to avoid mailing out large quantities of paper. However, any Councillor who has difficulty accessing any of this material may request a printed version by contacting Peggy Watkin in the University Secretariat at email@example.com or by telephone at 613 533 6093.