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Campus community

Diversity

The University of Waterloo is an international community dedicated to creating, testing and proving new ideas. By encouraging an environment where individuals can learn and work according to their own needs, and where each individual’s right to express and present themselves relative to their religion, culture, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender-identity, physical and mental ability is acknowledged, Waterloo is a place where knowledge can thrive.

Students in faculty coloured tshirts running across a field

In 2009, a committee was formed to develop a framework to meet the diverse needs of the campus. From that committee, The Principles of Inclusivity were created to acknowledge, communicate, and promote an understanding of the complexity and uniqueness of the University of Waterloo’s campus community, presenting the ideals by which campus members should engage one another – with respect, sensitivity, and fairness. 

The principles of inclusivity​

  1. Acknowledge individuals have unique and particular needs in the learning and work environment.

  2. Respect each individual’s right to express and present themselves relative to their religion, culture, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender-identity, physical and mental ability.

  3. Promote inclusivity by reasonably adjusting procedures, activities and physical environments.

  4. Focus on the capability of the individual without assumptions or labels.

  5. Be inclusive in all forms of communication.

  6. Serve all with sensitivity, respect, and fairness.

This philosophy is supported by stakeholders across campus, including through the Federation of Students' One Waterloo campaign.

Accessibility

The University of Waterloo has a longstanding commitment to support persons with disabilities as they participate in or access university programs, services, and facilities. To continue with this commitment and to honour — and whenever possible to exceed — obligations set by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the University will make all reasonable efforts to provide goods or services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities.  

Through Accessibility Services, customer service training is provided to staff, faculty and student leaders who interact with the public. The university also works to make the public aware of policies regarding the use of assistive devices, service animals, access to support persons, notice of temporary disruption of services, and what to do if a person is having difficulty accessing university goods or services.

Sustainability

A university building for the future must plan for tomorrow. As Waterloo establishes campuses and partnerships around the world, sustainable development means pursuing strategies and activities that meet the needs of students, employees, alumni and communities. Waterloo’s sustainability efforts enhance both the independent and the integrated relationships of the environment, society and the economy today and into the future.

One of the many green spaces on campus

As outlined on the university’s Sustainability website, Waterloo was the first university in Canada to adopt Greening the Campus, the philosophy that university campuses should reflect the world students seek to create. With related research and teaching in each of Waterloo's six faculties, the environment is a topic that bridges many disciplines at Waterloo.

LEED Platinum certified Environment 3 building

Environment 3, LEED® Platinum Certified

The university’s demonstrated commitment to sustainability includes on-campus projects from research into solar cars and cleaner energy, to the new Environment 3 building, which achieved LEED platinum status, as one of the most environmentally-friendly buildings in the world. That commitment also extends out into the world, including projects that examine the effects of climate change in areas stretching from the arctic circle to tourism-dependent island nations.

In 2009, the University of Waterloo signed the Council of Ontario Universities sustainability pledge, Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World. By signing this pledge, the university accepted the responsibility “to assist in finding solutions to the challenges of environmental sustainability; to share knowledge about sustainability and climate change; and to incorporate, wherever possible, principles of sustainability into our own operations.”