We’ve been working closely with Sustainable Dawson over the past few months and are increasingly impressed by their efforts to “green” their campus. We wanted to share their accomplishments so we took some time to talk to Chris Adam, who is in charge of the organization’s Project Development and coordinates operational, educational and administrative aspects of sustainability throughout the college.
What are the goals of Sustainable Dawson?
To reduce our ecological footprint as much as possible and to review the social, economic and environmental factors involved with any decision we make.
What is the involvement of the student population? What motivates students to get involved?
Dawson’s sustainability program is truly student-driven and action-based. We believe in learning by doing and offer authentic opportunities for students to learn various subjects and create a healthier planet at the same time. Students want to be engaged in learning and contribute to positive and exciting change. Sustainable Dawson facilitates that process.
Other than installing Trusource systems, what other endeavours have you achieved to meet the mandate of Sustainable Dawson?
Dawson has 176 sustainability performance indicators that are tracked and updated yearly. These indicators range from such things such as the number of fluorescent bulbs recycled, to volunteer hours given by students to their community to greenhouse gas reduction; 95% of our classroom lights now turn off automatically when no one is in the room and we use cleaning products that are 95% biodegradable.
How do you perceive Trusource as an environmentally friendly technology? How did you become interested in the company?
Concern for social responsibility goes beyond the product. This is important to me personally and as a representative of Dawson College. We want to create partnerships with businesses that think about sustainability and want to consistently evaluate their business to lessen their ecological footprint. This forward thinking is what needs to be modeled and, in fact, be part of any business plan.
Can you give us some figures that demonstrate how the Trusource systems have impacted bottled water usage at Dawson College.
The Trusource system we piloted, with only a few water refill stations throughout the college, has been a tremendous success. Students and staff alike are very pleased with the quality of the water and the ease of use of the systems. Presently over 250 litres of water are used per day and filled into reusable containers at Dawson from Trusource dispensers, the equivalent of over 100,000 plastic bottles of water in two semesters! We are now considering expanding the program.
Anything else you want to tell us about your work and/or your outlook about student engagement in environmental activism?
With the environmental problems we face, and there are many, I believe there is always hope and resilience in our youth. An engaged and informed youth can do anything and create rapid change. They need to be encouraged and shown that where human will and spirit thrive, positive change can take place. Dawson, as an educational institution, is leading the way in this regard within the Quebec college network.
Visit the Sustainable Dawson website