Imagine Western: The Future of Our Campus

Monday, February 6, 2012

Did you know that

  • 75% of Western’s utility costs is electricity ($22.5 million/year)?
  • 20% of Western’s garbage is recyclable?
  • 15% of Western’s garbage is coffee cups?

These were some of the statistics presented to over 250 members of the Western community by Beverley Ayeni, Western's new Manager of Energy and Environment, at the second Professional Network Forum on February 3, 2012.

Ayeni described to participants the many initiatives under way to promote increased conservation and sustainability at Western. Such initiatives include the new President's Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainability (PACES), who will create a Sustainability Vision for the university this year. This group of 15 members spans the Western community and includes graduate and undergraduate students. Taking direction from PACES, Western will set goals to achieve greater efficiency in building projects, water conservation, recycling, and waste management.

The Western campus Master Plan will also continue to consider sustainability in the planning and design of campus buildings, including the second phase of the Ivey Building, a new Medical Education Building to be built on Richmond Street near Westminster Hall, the new residence under construction near Althouse, and three projects at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in south London. A campus planning reference group is being created which will provide input and direction on this year's Campus Master Plan updates, and it is anticipated the plan will be ready by fall 2012.

Facilitators encouraged forum participants to act as “sustainability ambassadors” in their local communities. Financial Officer Darlene Porter, who attended the afternoon session, explains that even small acts of conservation, such as turning out lights, can have a meaningful impact. “We have to think of the sustainability of not just of each building but of Western as a whole,” Porter notes. “The Faculty of Education is  trying to contribute to sustainability by recycling as much as we can,” Research Officer Karen Kueneman adds, but also recognizes that“we could always do more.”