Friday, 1 February 2013

Sustainable Department of the Month – MSA

Each month the Sustainability Office will highlight a College department that is addressing sustainability as a part of their day to day operations. The MSA has been actively supporting the new policy on single-use plastics, making their team a perfect fit for Sustainable Department of the Month. We contacted Steve Kosh, Marketing and Communication Manager of the MSA, and here’s what he had to say: 

1) Why is the MSA supporting the new policy on single-use plastics?

The MSA is supporting the policy, because we recognize the impact that plastic bags and bottles have on the environment. The MSA has made a firm commitment to sustainability, and this is just another prime example of that commitment.

2) What actions is the MSA taking to support the new policy?

The MSA will be launching a full awareness campaign to support the new policy. We will be wrapping all of the filtered water stations around the campus with information about the campaign. Also, all of our food services employees have been educated on the campaign, and can explain to customers why the bottled water option no longer exists.

3) What has the student response been to the BYOB campaign?

I personally have been at a booth handing out the free multi-use water bottles to students, and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The students that we have interacted with think it is a fantastic idea, and some even stated they wish we had started the initiative sooner.

4) How does this initiative fit in with other sustainable initiatives at the MSA?

Last year the MSA board initiated a program to ensure that all of our food services outlets were using compostable containers, serving utensils, etc. With one less item going to landfill, it ultimately reduces our carbon footprint and aligns with our current composting initiatives.

Single Use Plastics, Be gone!

Did you know? As of January 1, 2013, Mohawk College will no longer sell or distribute plastic bags and water bottles intended for single use.

Why? This policy, introduced by the Sustainability Office and the MSA, supports the EMP’s reduction target which calls for a 20% reduction of 2007 baseline carbon emissions by 2020. Additionally, the policy assists in lowering waste management costs associated with the disposal of single use plastics.

What’s the alternative? Please BYOB (bottles and bags). Reusable bottles can be refilled at water stations across campus, each equipped with a unique feature that tracks how many plastic bottles have been diverted from landfill. Reusable bottles are sold at campus stores, andremember to bring your tote-ally reusable bags, too!

Please note: Due to licensing agreements, Starbucks and Tim Hortons do not comply with the Single Use Plastics Policy.

Questions: Contact us at

Sustainable Tip of the Month

Attention Mohawk staff and faculty: register to send your Mohawk College pay stubs to an ePost mailbox today! This service saves paper, is easy to access, and keeps your information secure. Canada Post offers the FREE ePost digital mailbox, a convenient place for all your bills and statements like utilities, credit cards, property taxes and more! Go paperless today. Register two bills and you’ll have a chance to win $1,000 in their ongoing monthly draw! 

Sustainable Champion of the Month – Jeremy Dowling

Jeremy Dowling, a member of Mohawk’s class of 2003 in Architectural Technology, has played a pivotal role in the success of one of the largest projects in Mohawk’s history, the Fennell Renewal Project. As part of his current role as Project Manager of the Mohawk Recreation Centre, Jeremy ensures that the construction of the Mohawk Recreation Centre adheres to LEED standards. A building achieves LEED certification by accumulating point across five major credit categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, plus additional points for Innovation in Design and Regional Priority.

Dowling conducts ongoing monitoring to ensure that all the targeted LEED points are met. Dowling says, “Every point is important to achieve LEED Gold status, including all the waste and recycling. For example, we receive two LEED points for diverting at least 75% of  construction waste from going to landfill. This requires constant attention to make sure all the waste is sorted properly, all the time. Our diversion rate is at 96% right now.” Dowling also takes the time to educate those involved in the project about the LEED system to ensure that everyone is on track.

Outside his normal duties, Dowling also helps tend a garden located in the Mohawk Recreation Centre Construction Offices. Dowling says, “We mainly had tomatoes, with some lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and peppermint mixed in. We have two office trailers side by side, with an open area that is covered with a plexi material, so it made a great greenhouse.”

Jeremy has previously held a number of other important titles at the college including Engineering Services Assistant, and Assistant Construction Manager for the Fennell Renewal Learning Exchange Project. He has also been previously been recognized with the Mohawk Award of Excellence and the 2011 Mohawk President’s Award. And now, Sustainable Champion of the month!

Mohawk College and AASHE join forces

Mohawk is now a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in HigherEducation (AASHE), which supports post-secondary institutions in reaching their sustainability goals.

As a member, Mohawk is able to fully utilize the Sustainability Tracking, Assessmentand Rating System (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to collaborate and measure their sustainability performance.  This system directly correlates with Pillar 7 (Tracking, Reporting and Communication) of the EMP, which allows the College to measure and track its progress in reaching a 20% reduction of 2007 baseline carbon emissions by 2020.

Mohawk proudly joins leading North American schools like Harvard University, and University of Toronto, along with other local peers including Seneca College and Fanshawe College. Mohawk now has access to a large, diverse network and a valuable information database that will help us become even more sustainable. Mohawk and AASHE: a perfect match!

Sustainability eNews Gift Package Winners

The Sustainability Office is pleased to announce the winners of this month’s Sustainability eNews gift packages. Drumroll please … congratulations to Jim Allez, Cassandra Cope and Telia Deeley!

Your new water bottles can be filled at water refill stations across campus! Your reusable mugs will save you 25 cents off each hot beverage purchased at Tim Hortons, Starbucks or eCafe! Better yet, your ‘Sprouts in a Box’ will be sprouting in 14-21 days!

If you’d like a chance to win, be sure to subscribe to Sustainability eNews. Every 100th subscriber wins!