About us

Aerial map of campus east side viewSustainability is embedded across many areas of the University of Waterloo. With over 500 courses related to sustainability and 485 faculty members conducting research that advances the global Sustainable Development Goals, Waterloo is actively developing a sustainable future.

As the University continues to grow, this commitment to sustainability is also reflected in our own operations, including ongoing efforts to minimize waste, reduce emissions, and shrink our environmental footprint. The Sustainability Office works collaboratively with departments across campus to move these efforts forward.

More importantly, Waterloo is continually increasing its efforts. Created by the President's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability, two guiding documents will spur further efforts at Waterloo:

Campus Sustainability Map

The interactive map below shows a number of sustainability features, including water bottle refill stations, EV charging stations, green spaces and rooftop gardens, and waste drop-off locations. Check it out or load it in Google Maps!

Timeline of Sustainability at UWaterloo 

Waterloo's sustainability efforts have a deep history. It has long demonstrated leadership in environmental curriculum and interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex sustainability challenges.

It was the first university in Canada to adopt Greening the Campus, the philosophy that university campuses should reflect the world students seek to create. Throughout the 1990s, students were tasked with identifying on-campus challenges and opportunities through the course ERS 250, "Greening the Campus and Community." This course alone generated over 200 student project ideas and led to real changes on campus, including pesticide phase-outs, recycling and composting programs, and more.

In 2009, Waterloo joined all other Ontario universities as a signatory to the Going Greener Pledge, facilitated by the Council of Ontario Universities. This accelerated our partnerships, projects, and capacity building on campus and in the community.

  1. 2021
  2. 2020
      • Completed a comprehensive campus-wide energy audit of all buildings as an early action of Shift: Neutral
      • The University of Waterloo approved Shift: Neutral, Waterloo’s Climate Action plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050
      • The University of Waterloo hired two co-op students
      • Celebrated the University's first WWF Living Planet Leader
  3. 2019
      • GBDA students were selected from over 60 teams across Canada at the World Vision Social Innovation Challenge winning ,000
      • Launched the Green Residence Ambassador program in partnership with Campus Housing
      • Received its first Fair Trade Campus Designation
      • The University approved a new Diploma in Sustainability available to undergraduate students
  4. 2018
      • Received the Sustainability Breakthrough Award from Sustainable Waterloo Region 
      • The University of Waterloo hired a Sustainability Engagement Coordinator 
  5. 2017
  6. 2016
      • The University of Waterloo invited input for Sustainability Strategy through campus-wide survey and open house
      • Launched the Green Office program pilot on campus
  7. 2015
      • Creation of the President's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability
      • The University of Waterloo joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
      • ​Received the Stormwater Management Community Engagement Award from Reep Green Solutions
      • The University of Waterloo hired a Sustainability Coordinator
  8. 2014
      • The Sustainable Campus Initiative implemented the Davis Centre permeable pavement project
      • St. Paul’s Greenhouse launched a community garden for local food production
      • The University of Water hired its first Energy Manager
      • A student group launched the UW Campus Compost Initiative
  9. 2013
      • The University of Waterloo Sustainability Project rebranded as the Sustainable Campus Initiative
      • Parking Services launched summer suspension program to facilitate walking and cycling in the warmer months
  10. 2012
      • The University of Waterloo joined the Regional Carbon Initiative as an observing organization
      • The University of Waterloo joined the TravelWise pilot program with the Region of Waterloo
      • Upgraded and retrofit of data servers saved approximately 0,000 annually
  11. 2011
      • The University of Waterloo released its first Sustainable Development Report with forward from President Feridun Hamdullahpur
      • The Environment 3 (EV3) building became the first campus building in Ontario to receive a LEED Platinum certification
  12. 2010
      • The University’s Executive Council approved Statement on Green Information Systems and Technology from the Green IT Advisory Board
      • A student group produced a feasibility study for the regional Climate Action Plan
      • Conrad Grebel and St. Jerome’s launched an organic waste collection pilot program through the Region of Waterloo Green Bin
      • Central Stores launched an e-waste initiative saving over 30 tonnes of electronic waste annually
  13. 2009
      • The University of Waterloo signed the Council of Ontario Universities Pledge, Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World
      • Founding of the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development
  14. 2008
      • The University of Waterloo joined the Blue Box program through the Region of Waterloo
      • Biology 1 fish laboratory retrofit saved approximately 19,000m3 of water annually
  15. 2007
      • The Campus Master Plan highlighted sustainability and environmental stewardship as the defining development features of the next 25 years
      • The Residence Reduction Challenge achieved 18% water reduction and 4% electricity reduction
  16. 2006
      • The UW Food Services opened the UW Farm Market with 100% local produce
  17. 2003
      • Solar Technology Education Project installed 2 kilowatt solar array on Fed Hall
  18. 2002
      • The Sustainability Project student group was launched to encourage campus sustainability and engage students
  19. 2000
      • The University of Waterloo released its first State of the Environment Report
      • WATgreen nominated for the Environmental Sustainability Award by the KW Chamber of Commerce
  20. 1998
      • Plant Operations achieved 0% pesticide use target 2 years ahead of schedule
  21. 1997
      • The University of Waterloo issued Guidance Statement for Research & Technology Park to protect the environment, creating a 109-hectare Environmental Reserve
      • Plant Operations, WATgreen, and faculty members compiled native plant species list for exclusive use for future operations
  22. 1995
      • The University of Waterloo faculty, staff, and students delivered its first campus-wide WATgreen meeting
  23. 1994
      • WATgreen won the Company of the Year Environmental Achievement Award from KW Chamber of Commerce
      • Turf Grass Maintenance Action Plan launched with a 0% pesticide target
  24. 1993
      • WATgreen won the Environmental Achievement Award for General Ecology from KW Chamber of Commerce
  25. 1992
      • WATgreen Task Force on Turf Grass Management launched
      • WATgreen won the Environmental Achievement Award for Innovation from KW Chamber of Commerce
  26. 1991
      • The University of Waterloo hired a Waste Management Coordinator
      • Environment and Resource Studies ran a WATgreen course for the first time; helping students understand its environmental impacts
  27. 1990
      • The University of Waterloo accepted  proposal for a “Greening the Campus” initiative
      • WATgreen launched with a goal of integrating learning onto the campus