Building foundations at Eco-Summit 2017 by celebration and collaboration

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The fourth annual Eco-Summit took place on Wednesday,Eco-Summit poster on the table that outlines the day's agenda July 12th at St. Paul's Alumni Hall to celebrate progress, create ideas, and build relationships with campus sustainability champions and community members. Over 65 staff, students, faculty, and community members came together to listen to campus case studies, engage with student groups, and celebrate achievements made by employees on campus.

Eco Summit 2017, was hosted by FEDS Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) and the UWaterloo Sustainability Office, where this year's theme was "Building Foundations." As Waterloo is a growing leader in innovation, this theme reflected an emphasis on building a culture of sustainability by starting at the foundations of our campus with staff, students, and faculty.

"As a student group on campus, we only really get to meet and interact with other students at our events and initiatives. It was amazing to meet staff, faculty, and community members committed to sustainability and to watch them present their projects and accept the Green Office awards. Bringing people from all levels together is important and inspiring."

—MARIA NESTOROVSKA— Sustainable Campus Initiative Coodinator

The event kicked off at 12pm with a networking session with several booths including five student groups and one local initiative. The student groups present include Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI), SWIGS, Campus Compost, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), and UW Campus Market Garden. In addition to the student groups, Climate Action WR hosted a booth to share progress on the Region's carbon footprint progress.

As the Keynote Speaker, Frances Edmonds, the Head of Sustainability at HP Canada, started off the afternoon discussion by highlighting HP's Sustainability journey. With her leadership and experience, Ms. Edmonds was able to showcase how and why HP is the most environmentally responsible IT Company in Canada.

Frances Edmonds, Head of Sustainability at HP Canada, presents to the audience at Eco-Summit

Aside from being a leader to help HP Canada achieve its sustainability goals, she is highly committed to engaging and educating students from K-12 and over 1500 workplace champions in the Living Planet at Work Program with WWF Canada. 

Following the keynote speech, Mat Thijssen, Sustainability Coordinator, provided the audience with insights into campus sustainability progress from the operations, academic, and engagement aspects of campus sustainability.

For the remainder of the afternoon, case studies were highlighted from three different on-campus groups. The first case study was presented by the Water Institute, who described the water-related research being completed on-campus and abroad. Currently, the Water Institute sits as the 26th top water research institution globally, but hopes to achieve Top 25 in the coming years.

The Water Institute giving a presentation

Subsequently, UW Food Services talked about its commitment to bringing more local, sustainable, and vegetarian-friendly options to campus, including certified seafood, Fair Trade coffee, and a reusable container project launching in the new residence building.

Lastly, the Sustainable Campus Initiative discussed its projects related to sustainable fashion on campus including its success with second-hand clothing sales on campus. In just two days, sales reached $2000 from clothing items that were donated across campus!

To finish off the afternoon, President Feridun Hamdullahpur gave final remarks and presented Green Office staff with certificates. The Green Office Program is an initiative open to all offices across campus that are looking to add more sustainable practices in their offices from waste management to energy conservation. Several offices were recognized with achieving either the bronze, silver, or gold level of Green Office certification scheme.

President Feridun Hamdullahpur speaking to the audience at Eco-Summit

  • Bronze Level
    • Dean of Applied Health Sciences Office
    • Dean of Engineering Office
    • Graduate Studies Office
    • Knowledge Integration
    • Political Science
    • President’s Office
    • Propel Centre for Population Health Impact
    • Psychology
    • Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education and the Waterloo Professional Development Program
  • Silver Level
    • Dean of Arts and Arts Undergraduate Office
    • Dean of Environment Office
    • Library
  • Gold Level
    • Centre for Teaching Excellence

President Feridun Hamdullahpur with the Green Office certified offices

The final awards category was for the Green Office Energy Challenge from Earth Month.

  • Small office winner: the Water Institute
  • Medium office winner: the Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of Co-operative Education and the Waterloo Professional Development Program
  • Large office winner: the Dean of Engineering Office

We thank our event organizers, partners, attendees, and volunteers who made a contribution to Eco-Summit. Stay connected online with the Sustainability Office on Facebook and Twitter.

Make sure to check out the full photo album for Eco-Summit on our Facebook page!

If you have any questions about the event, please connect with Mat Thijssen, Sustainability Coordinator.